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Malaysia

Malaysia is a blend of Malays, Chinese, Indians and indigenous groups. Multiculturalism has not only made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise, it has also made Malaysia home to hundreds of colorful festivals. From the dense urban jungle of Kuala Lumpur to the pristine beaches of the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia is a beautiful and often underrated country. Spend the day with a traditional tribe or on a tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands or trek through the dense jungle of Borneo. Malaysia is a unique travel experience that is much different from its neighbours.

Highlights

Malaysia has a lot to offer. Below we made our own selection of places we think are definitely worth a visit.

  1. Visit Kuala Lumpur - a city that personifies modern cosmopolitan sophistication and nostalgic old world charm. There is so much to see and do in Kuala Lumpur, lots of good hotels and good food, fascinating bazaars and shops. A must-visit are the Petronas Twin Towers.
  2. Stroll around Georgetown – this colonial town on Penang is a World Heritage site with beautifully restored colonial buildings and a vibrant Chinatown district. You also can enjoy delicious food on this island.
  3. Dive at Sipadan Island – this is one of the best places on earth for diving. It lies 35 kilometers off the coast of Sabah. Sipadan is the stuff of divers' dreams, where you see turtles, sharks, barracuda, huge schools of jacks and many more. The number of divers allowed to access Sipadan has been limited to 120 per day so diving here is not cheap.
  4. Relax at the Perhentian islands – this is a small group of beautiful, coral-fringed islands off the coast of northeastern Malaysia. The islands are covered with jungles thick and fecund, beaches with sand so white as snow and perfect opportunities for snorkeling and diving.
  5. Climb Mount Kinabalu - conquer the 4095m granite peak and a World Heritage Site renowned for its ecology, flora and geology.
  6. Visit the tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands – the Cameron Highlands exist of serene mountains, cooling resorts, tea plantations and strawberry farms sprawl lazily across lush valleys and meandering hill slopes.
  7. Explore Taman Negara National Park - the majestic tropical rainforest exists of limestone caves, waterfalls and a lot of wildlife. It is the perfect place for travelers who love wild life viewing, jungle trekking, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, camping and much more. It is perfect for those who don't have the option of visiting the jungles of Borneo.

What to eat

What do you get when you combine Malay, Chinese and Indian influences on a plate? An addiction to Malaysian food. Street food in Malaysia and, especially in Penang, can be overwhelming: the abundance, the no-nonsense-ness, the speed.

  1. Nasi Dagang – a fantastically tasty dish, consisting of rice steamed in coconut milk, fish curry and extra ingredients such as fried shaved coconut, solok lada, hard-boiled eggs and vegetable pickles.
  2. Batu Muang Satay - marinated beef, chicken, pork on skewers serve it up with a spicy peanut sauce dip, or peanut gravy.
  3. Mee Goreng Mamak - yellow noodles fried with beef or chicken, shrimp, soy sauce, veggies and eggs. A bit of chili tossed in for an irresistible jolt.
  4. Laksa - rice noodles in a fishy soup soured with tamarind.
  5. Wonton Mee – this is a soup filled with noodles tossed in black sauce, served with wontons, and topped with a little bit of a choy and hot pink roasted pork, with pickled chilies on the side.
  6. Otak Otak - fish cake wrapped in banana leaf.

When to go

You can visit Malaysia all year round. The temperature stays around 30 degrees and showers occur year-round too, often in the mid-afternoon. Rain falls fairly evenly throughout the year and the difference between the main October to April rainy season and the rest of the year is not that marked. The exception is the east coast of Malaysia, which receives heavy rain from November to mid-February. The states of Sabah and Sarawak receive high rainfall throughout the year, but it is heaviest from October to March.

What to know

Most travelers are given a 30- or 60-day visa on arrival, depending on the expected length of stay. If you arrive by air you will be given 60 days automatically, though coming overland you may be given 30 days unless you specifically ask for a 60-day permit. For the latest visa information check www.kln.gov.my



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