In the heart of Asia lies a land of many cultures, wonders and attractions. Malaysia is one of the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to visit in Asia. It's buoyant and wealthy, and has moved towards a pluralist culture based on a vibrant and interesting fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous cultures and customs.
Multiculturalism has not only made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise, it has also made Malaysia home to hundreds of colorful festivals. It's no wonder that we love celebrating and socializing. As a people, Malaysians are very laid back, warm and friendly.
Geographically, Malaysia is as diverse as its culture. There are two parts to the country, 11 states in the peninsula of Malaysia and two states on the northern part of Borneo. Aside from the gleaming twin glass towers of the 21st Century, though, cool hideaways are found in the highlands that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.
For the perfect holiday full of surprises, eclectic cultures and natural wonders, the time is now, the place is Malaysia.
Malaysia has a combined population of over 18 million people. Because of its central location, between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Malaysia has traditionally been a meeting point for traders and travelers from both the East and West. As a result, Malaysia has a multicultural and multiracial population consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous indigenous peoples. Although Malay is the official language, English is widely spoken, especially in business, and the English language is a compulsory subject in all schools. With such a varying ethnic composition, it is no surprise that a great diversity of religions is prevalent throughout Malaysia. Although the official religion is Islam, freedom of worship is practiced. As a result, it is a common to see temples, mosques and churches within the same area.
Its always hot and humid in Malaysia, especially on the eastern coast; at higher altitudes, it does get better (it even gets downright cold in the Cameron Highlands). There is a rainy season, but you need not fear a monsoon. The east coast is wet between October and February, and many tourists operations on the islands shut down because of rough seas. This is the best time to visit the west coast, where it tends to be dry when the east coast is wet. Borneo is more humid. Take along a sweater if you're going to the higher elevations in the Mt. Kinabalu area.
Malaysia's tropical climate means that Kuala Lumpur is warm all year. Temperatures range from 70-95F/21-35C. You should expect rain year-round, but it's heaviest and most frequent during the Northeast Monsoon, which runs November-February.
The local currency is the Malaysian ringgit (RM), which is divided into 100 sen. In circulation are RM1, RM2, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50, RM100, RM500 and RM1000. Coins being used in Malaysia are the 1,5,10,20, and 50 sen, and RM1.
The country's regulation requires all travellers to declare the amount of local and foreign currencies in their possession on arrival into and departure from Malaysia. The Travellers Declaration Form (TDF) for this purpose can be obtained from all entry/exit points in Malaysia or any Malaysian mission abroad.
Non-resident travellers entering Malaysia are permitted to import up to a maximum amount of RM 1000 only and any amount of foreign currencies. Conversely, they are permitted to export up to a maximum amount of RM 1000 only and foreign currencies not more then what was originally brought into the country.