Malaysia

OVERVIEW

EVIVA TOUR VIETNAM will bring a stunning and diverse Malaysia to you with many highlights. There are many different regions in Malaysia, and each has great characteristic features of their own. When visiting this wonderful country, you will notice the hints of Malaysia’s rapid development in the past 50 years. Especially in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, where numerous modern buildings, a modern light rail transit system, many luxurious shopping malls, and countless expensive cars on the roads can be seen. The life outside of the capital is often less developed, but the times of people only being able to afford a motorbike are long gone.

To know Malaysia is to love this country – a bustling, bubbling melting-pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in harmony and peace. The multi-ethnicism and multiculturalism have made Malaysia a gastronomical heaven and the home to hundreds of vivid and exciting festivals. Moreover, Malaysians are very relaxed, warm, friendly, and love socializing.

Malaysia is located in the heart Southeast Asia, bordering Indonesia to the south and west, with Thailand in the north and Singapore to the south. Malaysia is composed of Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the north coast of the island of Borneo. More precisely, Peninsular Malaysia is an area of forested mountain ranges running north-south, on both sides of which are low-lying coastal plains. The west coast consists of mangrove mudflats and swamps which separate into inlets and bays. In the western side, the plains have been cleared and cultivated, while the unsheltered east coast comprises of tranquil beaches backed by dense forest. This area is located just above the equator and the large island Borneo, beneath it. In Malaysian Borneo, Sarawak has alluvial and, in places, swampy coastal plains with rivers, hills along with mountains of the interior. The capital city is of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur, a metropolis with more than 1.6 million inhabitants in the city center.

Malaysia is truly a tropical holiday destination, where temperatures fluctuate between 25 to 35 degrees during the year. Especially in the major cities, it is frequently very hot and humid due to the trapped haze warm air inside the cities. However, the weather here is less hot in the ‘highlands’ of Malaysia and many islands surrounding this beautiful country. Thanks to the cool breezes, here you can enjoy cooler temperatures that never exceed 25 degrees.

SITES & PLACES

The Petronas Towers

The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Standing 451.9 metres tall, the 88-storey twin structure is the crown jewel of this capital city. Magnificent by day and alluring at night, the Petronas Twin Towers is inspired by the vision of Tun Mahathir Mohamad for Malaysia to be an international player. Visit and experience the Petronas Twin Towers, you will understand the nation’s aspirations and ambitions that this global icon powerfully conveys.

Moreover, the towers were ranked the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 until 2004, and remain the tallest twin towers in the world. Visitors of Petronas Towers also love to see the Skybridge – the world’s highest 2-storey bridge, which connects between the two towers. Ascending even higher to the top levels of the building, you could enjoy the breathtaking panorama of Kuala Lumpur while listening to the story of Malaysia’s vision unfolds.

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

The Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is a 20.9-acre public aviary situated adjacent to the serene Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is a well-known tourist attraction in the country, receiving around 200,000 visitors annually. This Bird Park accommodates more than 3000 birds representing, in which over 200 species are confined in an enclosed aviary. 90% here are local birds and 10% were imported from overseas. In most parts of the aviary, birds are let free, which nearly resembles their natural habitat. Therefore, visitors will have an exciting experience of watching colorful, harmonious birds perching as well as winging about freely while soothing in a natural and magnificently landscaped surrounding. Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is also known to be the biggest walk-in free-flight aviary in this planet.

National mosque of Malaysia

The National Mosque of Malaysia – the nationwide symbol of Islam, is located in Kuala Lumpur. Surrounded by lavish greenery which expands to a 13-acre land, the National Mosque can accommodate up to 15,000 people and it features geometric lattice and abstract shapes incorporated into its ironworks and roofing. The most sophisticated part of the mosque is undoubtedly The Grand Hall, where the walls are beautifully decorated with verses from the Koran. When the mosque underwent extensive renovations in 1987, the pink roof was replaced with a blue-green tiled ones. Moreover, the mosque’s most distinguishable feature is easily the 73m-high minaret, which is also a remarkable feature of the Kuala Lumpur horizon. The beautiful outdoor gardens of the mosque with fountains and white marble pools would also impress you. And a fun fact is the National Mosque is connected to the old railway station via an underground passage.

Thus, this outstandingly designed mosque represents contemporary expressions of traditional Islamic art, ornamentation and calligraphy. Its most remarkable feature is the multi-fold umbrella-shaped dome which symbolizes the aspirations of Malaysia – a then newly independent nation.

A Famosa

A Famosa, which can be translated to “The Famous”, is a Portuguese fortress can be found in Malacca, Malaysia. It is one of the oldest existing European architectures in South East Asia which remains. The Porta de Santiago, or a small gatehouse, is the only piece of the fortress that still stands until today. Go for a stroll up St. Paul’s Hill after a cool dusk and wander around the historical remnants and majestic trees. Here you can imagine all the glories and despairs of the besieged lives the Portuguese would have led right here all those years ago.

Gunung Mulu National Park

Located in Malaysian Borneo in the Sarawak State, Gunung Mulu National Park is the “Jewels in the Crown” of this state’s expanding network of national park, and also one of the most awe-inspiring natural attractions in all of Southeast Asia. This national park famous for its extraordinary limestone karst formations and phenomenal cave systems, which are hidden beneath the forested slopes of mountains. In addition, the park features some of the biggest and longest cave systems in the world. Included in these is largest cave chamber founded in the world, the Sarawak Chamber, which is estimated huge enough to fit 40 Boeing 747 without overlapping their wings.

Even though Mulu is known for its majestic caves, there are plenty things for visitors to explore and a whole range of nature-based activities to join on the ground. There are also some splendid mountain hikes and jungle treks, including the challenging trek to view a 45-meter high razor sharp limestone spikes Pinnacles. With its world-famous caves as well as the rich and diverse ecosystem, Gunung Mulu Nation Park offers adventurous travelers an exhilarating rainforest and cave experience, probably unmatched anywhere else on Earth.

Cameron Highlands

Offering a cool getaway from the lowlands’ heat, the Cameron Highlands in the Titiwangsa Mountains is one of the first tourist destinations in Malaysia. Cameron Highlands situated in the north-western corner of Pahang and is the smallest district in the state. Designed with a British village charm, this breathtaking tableland offers lush landscapes, forests, and lakes, as well as wildlife and outdoor recreation. Being the top tea and flower producing region of Malaysia, the Cameron Highlands also flourishes in colorful flower farms and sprawling tea plantations. Plenty of these vibrant areas are open to the public. Moreover, several pictorial golf courses are available for golfers in Cameron Highlands. Although considerable development has changed the scenery of the highlands since the last decade, it is still a famous destination for those who fancy an amazing escape from the hot weather of the lowlands.

Kota Kinabalu

The capital city of the Sabah State, Kota Kinabalu is a fast-growing tourist attraction because it is near to the tropical islands, wildlife refuge system, national parks and the tallest peak in Malaysia, Mount Kinabalu. This coastal city is partially surrounded by exotic rainforest, and known for its bustling markets, modern boardwalk and waterfront Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. Usually called KK by locals, Kota Kinabalu has a small city center, boasting a number of memorials, landmarks, and an observatory, which offers a superb panorama of the city.

Just minutes from the urban area, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is ideal for people who loves snorkeling, diving, and swimming. Besides, you could lie sun bathing along the many public beaches that can be found on all of the five islands that make up the marine park. If you visit the park and interested, you could also try other activities such as sailing, kayaking, picnicking, or barbecuing.

Langkawi

Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands, located off Malaysia’s northwestern coast in the Andaman Sea. The archipelago has gorgeous turquoise sea, mangroves, rainforest and forest-clad mountains. There is no shortage of things to do in Langkawi! The tourist attractions here are the Field of Hot Springs, Burnt Rice, the Beach of Black Sand and Telaga Tujuh (The Seven Wells). Recently, many resorts, hotels, and restaurants along with other tourist facilities have established in Langkawi, offering visitors various opportunities to experience the archipelago’s outstanding beauty.

However, you could enjoy the charming countryside and peaceful scenery of paddy fields by taking a leisurely drive around the island. Then you could pass by small villages with wooden houses surrounded by palm trees, and watch children pedaling their rustic bikes along the road that circles the island. Besides, visitors can choose to go trekking through the pristine rainforest that covers most of Langkawi, to go on a boat tour of the mangroves, or to watch of the entire main island and beyond from a cable car. Thus, nature-lovers would find the archipelago just as pleasant, as the coastline is fringed by powder-fine white sand and swinging coconut trees.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Fact

• Country: The Federation of Malaysia, includes Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.
• Area: 329,758 km2
• Population: 29.72 million (2013)
• Capital: Kuala Lumpur
• People: Malays are the predominant group, make up around 57% of the population. The rest are Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups.
• Language: Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the official national language, but English is spoken widely. The ethnic groups also speak various languages and dialects.
• Religion: Islam is the official religion, but all other religious rituals are freely practiced.
• Government: Malaysia is governed by a Parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system. The Head of State is Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, a position that is awarded to a different State Monarch each five years and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister.
• Climate: Tropical climate with warm and humid year-round weather. In the lowlands, the temperatures range from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF). It is typically cooler in the highlands, where it ranges between 15°C (59° F) to 25°C (77°F). The annual rainfall fluctuates from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.
• Major Holidays: New Year’s Day Hari Raya Aidiladha, Federal Territory Day, Chinese New Year, Awal Muharam, Birthday of Prophet Muhammad, Labour Day, Wesak Day, King’s Birthday, National Day, Deepavali Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Christmas
• Economic Profile: Manufacturing constitutes a major section of Malaysia’s economy. Tourism and primary commodities such as petroleum, natural rubber, palm oil and timber are other key contributors to the national economy.
• Distance to Malaysia:
o London, the United Kingdom to Kuala Lumpur : 6,557 miles (10,552 km)
o Paris, France to Kuala Lumpur 6,483 miles (10,432 km)
o Rome, Italy to Kuala Lumpur : 6,038 miles (9,716 km)
o Madrid, Spain to Kuala Lumpur : 6,885 miles (11,079 km)
o Berlin, Germany to Kuala Lumpur : 5,979 miles (9,622 km)
o Stockholm, Sweden to Kuala Lumpur : 5,812 miles (9,353 km)
o Los Angeles, USA to Kuala Lumpur : 8,790 miles (14,144 km)
o New York, USA to Kuala Lumpur : 9,400 miles (15,126 km)
o Vancouver, Canada to Kuala Lumpur : 7,944 miles (12,783 km)
• Currency: The unit of currency is Malaysian Ringgit (Symbol: RM). 1 US dollar is roughly equal to 3.20 RM. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks and money changers.
• Banking Hours:
o In most states: Mon – Fri: 9.30am to 4.30pm. Sat & Sun: Closed (Selected banks and branches are open on Saturday).
o In Kelantan and Terengganu: Sun – Wed: 9.30am to 4.30pm. Thurs: 9.30am to 4.00pm. Banks here are closed on Friday, Saturday and Public Holidays.
• Post Offices: Open from 8.30am to 6.00pm daily except the first Saturday of every month, Sundays and public holidays. In Kelantan and Terengganu, post offices work the same hours, but they are closed on Fridays and public holidays.
• Time: Eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +8) and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
• Electricity: Voltage is 220 – 240 volts AC at 50 cycles/sec. Standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets.
• Weights and Measures: Malaysia uses the metric system of weights and measures.
• Telephones: Domestic calls can be made from public phones using coins or pre-paid cards. International dialing can be made at any Telekom office or from public phones with card phone facilities.
• Accommodation: Malaysia offers a wide range of accommodation at competitive rates. For instance, six-star, medium range, youth hostels, budget hotels, beach chalets and timeshare apartments are just some types of lodging available. Privately operated motor-homes are also available for rent.

Tips

1. Typical costs
a. Accommodation – Dorms start at 30-55 RM per night, with larger cities being on the high end of that spectrum. Private rooms’ rate is around 75 RM for a single room, and around 100 RM for a double. Budget hotels start at 80 RM.

b. Food – A street meal will start under 4 RM and rarely cost more than 11 RM. Expect to pay 7-20 RM in restaurants. Western food will always cost more. Also, tipping is not expected in Malaysia but would not be refused.

c. Transportation – Expect to pay around 5-11 RM per hour on a bus trip. Taxis can be expensive as the fare is charged per person, and if you can’t find anyone to share with, you would be charged four fares! Within Kuala Lumpur, fares start at 3 RM for the first 0.6 miles, though many taxis do not have taximeters. In this situation, make an agreement on a price before you set off.

d. Activities – Most tourist attractions in Malaysia are fairly cheap. Trekking costs 35-75 RM for each day. Diving costs 245-300 RM for two-day dives or 830-1,325 RM for a full PADI course.

2. Money saving tips

a. Taxis – Taxis aren’t usually metered in Malaysia, so make sure to agree on the fare up-front.

b. Camp – It’s possible to camp in Taman Negara to save the accommodation costs – expect to pay around 5 RM.

c. Local street food – Street stalls and stands are the places to go for hawker food, which is delicious and costs only a few bucks. In my opinion, it’s the best food and also the cheapest in the country!

d. Do not drink – As Malaysia is a Muslim country, drinking is frowned upon, but it still happens. However, the authorities have made drinking extremely expensive to restrict the use of alcohol. Save your drinking for other countries like Thailand, where the alcohol use is less restricted and is nicer on your budget.

3. Muslim does not mean Islamist

Malaysia may be governed for and by Muslim Malays, but that doesn‘t imply that other religions and cultures cannot thrive here. Chinese, Indian, and indigenous ethnicities, all contribute greatly to the nation‘s prosperity and cultural diversities. The result is that Malaysia is frequently lauded as a good working example of multi-culturalism.

4. English is widely spoken

Nelson Mandela once said “Speak to me in a language I understand and you speak to my head. Speak to me in my language and you speak to my heart”. Thus, English is spoken widely; much more than in most of other Asian countries, so reasonable English is enough to get you around. Especially, if you’re heading out from the big cities, learn a few words of Bahasa and you will be greeted with broad smiles from the local.

5. Everyone can fly

Air Asia – a low-cost airline based in Malaysia – has made air travel easy and affordable. This airline operates flies all over Asia and beyond from its two main hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. The carrier‘s slogan ‘Now everyone can fly‘ is shown to be true by the village folks who board the plane wide-eyed, fiddle confusedly with their seatbelt and are amazed at a mini tray table popping down from the seat in front. It is a budget airline so beware of baggage limits, so do not expect much empathy if you miss your flight for any reason.

6. The stomach is at the nation’s heart

Malay cuisine is often mentioned as one of the country’s finest points. From cheap roadside food stalls to gourmet fusion restaurants, there is something for everybody. In Malaysia, pork is often not on the menu, but just about everything else is. Penang is considered the gastronomic capital of Malaysia and it is influenced by Thailand, China, India, and beyond with an intoxicating combination of traditions and ethnicities that reflects the nation itself. Moreover, the health standards in Malaysia are higher than some other Asian neighbors, even for street food.

7. Don’t miss Borneo

While peninsular Malaysia is home to popular destinations, Sabah, and Sarawak – the 2 states of Malaysian Borneo, have a huge amount to offer and the atmosphere is very unlike. Nature-lovers will fall in love with Sabah as it features the country‘s best diving like Sipadan or Layang Layang, the highest mountain Kinabalu, as well as natural highlights such as Orangutan rehabilitation center and Kinabatangan Rainforest. All these attractions are geographically close to each other and the atmosphere in Sabah is more tranquil and liberal than other parts of the peninsula.

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