Overseas Travel Bureau


Kuala Lumpur with Style
More than any other spot in the country, Kuala Lumpur, or "KL" as it is commonly known, is the focal point of new Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is a grand gateway to a fascinating destination.

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Penang the Pearl of Orient
Malaysia's 'Pearl of the Orient' carries a natural beauty and cultural splendour like no other place. Its name comes from the Malay translation of betel nut - 'Pinang'.

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Malaysia is one of the rising stars of South-East Asian tourism, a nation looking to the future while cherishing the ways of the past. Centuries of trade have resulted in a vibrant mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous tribal cultures, creating a veritable melting pot of peoples, traditions and religions that makes it a deeply intriguing place to visit.

Tropical island resorts and endless white, sandy beaches offer a taste of paradise, while beneath warm coral seas, world-class dive sites await exploration. Orang-utans, the oldest rainforest in the world, city skyscrapers and majestic mosques and temples plus a gorgeous coastline are enough to tempt even the most jaded visitor.

The region now known as Malaysia was first mentioned in Chinese and Sanskrit records of the seventh and eighth centuries. In subsequent centuries the area was under the influence and loose control of various Thai and Indonesian empires, including the great Sumatra-based civilisation of Sri Vijaya.

The British were relatively late arrivals to the region in the late 18th century, but they played a key role following the European wars of the 1790s and, in particular, the defeat of The Netherlands by France in 1795. The Federated Malay States were created in 1895, and remained under British colonial control until the Japanese invasion of 1942.

After Japanese defeat in 1945, the 11 states were once again incorporated as British Protectorates and, in 1948, became the Federation of Malaya. In 1963, the Federation of Malaya merged with Singapore and the former British colonies of Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo) to form Malaysia. Singapore seceded to become an independent state in its own right in 1965, leaving Malaysia in its present form.

Such history highlights why Malaysia is so ethnically and culturally diverse. Even better, the magnificent landscape is no less diverse - dense jungles, soaring peaks and lush tropical rainforests harbour an abundant flora and fauna.

General Information 
329,758 sq km (127,320 sq miles).
26 million (2006 estimate).
Population Density
78.8 per sq km.
Kuala Lumpur. Population: 1.5 million (2006 estimate).
Constitutional monarchy since 1963. Gained independence from the UK in 1957.
Bahasa Melayu is the national and official language, but English is widely spoken. Other languages such as Chinese (Cantonese and Hokkien), Iban and Tamil are spoken by minorities.
Malaysia’s official religion is Islam. The country also has a large Buddhist community. Other religions, including Christian, Taoist, Confucianist, Hindu and animist, are also practised.
GMT + 8.

Tropical without extremely high temperatures. Days are very warm, while nights are fairly cool. The main rainy season in the east runs between November and February, while August is the wettest period on the west coast. East Malaysia has heavy rains (November to February) in Sabah and in Sarawak. However, it is difficult to generalise about the country’s climate, as rainfall differs on the east and west coasts according to the prevailing monsoon winds (northeast or southwest). Average daytime temperatures in Kuala Lumpur are around 27°C (82°F) year round.

 Required Clothing:   Lightweight clothes are worn throughout the year. Waterproofing is advisable all year.

Social Conventions 
Malaysia’s population is ethnically and culturally diverse. Malays account for more than half the population and lead a calm life governed by the authority of elders and a strong sense of respect and etiquette. The Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan members of the population originally came to Malaysia to take up positions in the civil service, police and local government departments, as well as in the new rubber plantations, but many are now among the professional classes. European influences (British, Dutch and Portuguese in particular) are also very marked in Malaysia, although the European section of the population is now small. The Malaysian equivalent of ‘hello’ is the Muslim ‘peace be with you’. Malay men are addressed Encik (pronounced Enchik) with or without the name; single Malay women should be called Cik (pronounced Che) and married women Puan. Touching the hand to the chest is a sign of respect and a relaxed wrist and gentle touch should be adopted when shaking hands. Chinese and Indians usually use Western forms of address. Hospitality is always warm, lavish and informal. When eating food by hand, only the right hand should be used. Visitors should respect religious beliefs and follow the Malaysian example, such as wearing appropriate clothing. Footwear should be taken off at the door when entering a house or temple. Dress should be informal, but not over-casual.
220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs are generally used.
Head of Government 
Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi since 2003.
Head of State 
Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin since 2006.
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