Malaysia, A flavoursome culture fusion - from high-tech to no-tech.
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Known as Bahasa Malaysia
52% Muslim, 17% Buddhist, 12% Taoist, 8% Christian, 8% Hindu, 2% tribal
Malaysia is one of the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to visit in southeast 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.
Malaysia's love of Western-style industrialisation is abundantly clear in its big cities.
just north of Kuala Lumpur a towering limestone outcrop is home to the impressive Batu Caves. The caves were 'officially' discovered around 120 years ago by American naturalist William Hornaday. A short time later a small Hindu shrine was built in the vast open space, later known as Temple Cave.
A flight of 272 steps leads up to Temple Cave. Beyond the towering main cavern, the space opens to an atrium-like cave at the rear. Many visitors are more spellbound by the monkeys that scale the vertical cliff faces than by the shrines which are dwarfed by the scale of the cave. The whole spectacle has been enhanced of late by an enormous golden statue of Muruga, also known as Lord Subramaniam, to whom the caves are dedicated.
Each year in late January or early February up to a million pilgrims visit here during the three days of Thaipusam. Lord Muruga's silver chariot takes pride of place as it makes its way from the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in KL's Chinatown to the caves.
It's hot and humid year-round in Malaysia with temperatures rarely dropping below 20°C (68°F), even at night, and usually climbing to 30°C (86°F) or more during the day.
The region has a monsoonal climate, but only the east coast of peninsular Malaysia has a real rainy season. The wettest season on the west coast of the peninsula is between September and December; on the east coast and in Sabah and Sarawak it's between October and February. Rain, when it comes, generally interrupts the sunshine only briefly; most of it falls in short, strong bursts. It rarely rains all day.
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Malaysia is divided into two distinct parts: Peninsular Malaysia and the East Malaysian provinces of Sabah and Sarawak in North Borneo.
Peninsular Malaysia accounts for 40% of the country's land mass. Several mountain ranges run north-south along the spine of the peninsula. There is a wide, fertile plain on the west coast, and a narrow coastal plain on the east. Sabah and Sarawak are covered by dense jungles and have large river systems. Mt Kinabalu (4101m/13,450ft), in Sabah, is one of the highest peaks in southeast Asia
Set like a glittering jewel amidst the South China Sea, Tioman Island, the largest of a group of 64 volcanic islands, beckons the visitor with its white beaches and crystal clear azure seas. A sense of excitement and mystery pervades the island and the visitor will be enchanted by the picturesque beauty of this tropical paradise.
By Air : Pelangi Air and Berjaya Air operate daily flights into Tioman from Kuala Lumpur.
By Sea : Tioman is accessible by passenger boat services from Mersing in Johor. Mersing is a pleasant town for its large bustling fishing fleet. It is also the setting-off point for a large number of islands in the South China Sea. The trip takes one and a half hours. There is also direct ferry services from Singapore to the island.
Situated 21km off the coast of Terengganu, Perhentian Islands consist of two islands: Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil, which are revered by sunbathers.
Langkawi, part of yet situated just off the coast of Kedah, is actually made up of 99 islands. The largest of which is Pulau Langkawi, while some of the others appear to be mere dots in the emerald green ocean when viewed from the air.
Local folklore has it that Langkawi derived its name from the eagle or "helang" as it is known in the Malay language. "Lang" for short and in old Malay, "kawi" denotes reddish brown; hence, Langkawi simply means reddish brown eagle. Where once, a group of 99 islands lay under a curse of a wrongly accused princess, there is today a new beginning, a new light, and as result a new budding and thriving holiday hideaway. The Langkawi you see today has been transformed almost beyond recognition. This is the legendary island where now major international businessmen meet to form new ventures and conclude deals whilst relaxing. The curse that lasted for seven generations can surely be said to have been lifted.
By Air : Langkawi International Airport is serviced by Malaysia Airlines on a daily basis, and by Air Asia five times a week from Kuala Lumpur.
By Rail : Malayan Railway provides comfortable and economical rail services from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar and Arau. From these places, one has to take a taxi or bus to either Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis and then proceed by express ferry to the main island.
By Road : Driving has been much facilitated by the North-South Expressway. Make your way to Kuala Perlis or Kuala Kedah and then proceed by ferry to the island. There are also express buses offering comfortable rides to the ferry terminals from Kuala Lumpur.
By Sea : Other than cruises that leave from various ports like Malacca and Port Klang, express ferries provide daily regular services to Langkawi from both Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah. The journey takes 45 minutes and 1 hour and 15 minutes respectively.
|Pulau Sipadan (Island)|
Acknowledged as one of the best diving and unique spots in Southeast Asia, Pulau Sipadan is located off the small coastal town of Semporna on Sabah's eastern coast.
The sea is overflowing with marine life. The main attraction for divers is the rich and unique variety of corals both soft and hard. Reef fish of every shape and hue can be found in these waters. Colorful butterfly fishes, angel fishes, damsel fishes of electric blue and bright orange colors inhabit the coral reefs, thus adding to the splendor of the underwater havens.
Between April and September, the Green and Hawksbill turtles will come ashore in droves to nest in the soft golden sands of Sipadan. When you dive during this time, you are bound to encounter these harmless denizens of the deep.
A beautiful white-sand beach fringes Sipadan but the real beauty of this island is in its waters. The season for diving is from mid-February to mid-December. Visibility ranges from 60 feet to over 200 feet. Several dive spots have even been identified and given exotic names after the variety of corals and marine life that are unique to these spots.
Professional diving companies operate on the island, complete with water, electricity, food, drinks, and comfortable accommodation for an unforgettable experience. To get there, one can take the 45-minute boat ride from Semporna.