Malaysia is like two countries in one, cleaved in half by the South China Sea. The multicultural peninsula ﬂaunts Malay, Chinese and Indian inﬂuences, while Borneo hosts a wild jungle of orang-utans, granite peaks and remote tribes. Throughout these two regions is an impressive variety of microcosms ranging from the space-age high-rises of Kuala Lumpur to the smiling longhouse villages of Sarawak.
Peninsular Malaysia is the long finger of land extending south from Asia as if pointing towards Indonesia and Australia. Much of the peninsula is covered by dense jungle, particularly its mountainous, thinly populated northern half. On the western side of the peninsula there is a long, fertile plain running down to the sea, while on the eastern side the mountains descend more steeply and the coast is fringed with sandy beaches. The other part of the country, comprising more than 50% of its area, is Malaysian Borneo – the northern part of the island of Borneo (the larger, southern part is the Indonesian state of Kalimantan). Malaysian Borneo is divided into the states of Sarawak and Sabah, with Brunei a small enclave between them. Both states are covered by dense jungle, with many large river systems, particularly in Sarawak. Mt Kinabalu (4101m) in Sabah is Malaysia’s highest mountain.
And then there’s the food. Malaysia (particularly along the peninsular west coast) has one of the best assortments of cuisines in the world. Start with Chinese-Malay ‘Nonya’ fare, move on to Indian curries, Chinese buﬀets, Malay food stalls and even impressive Western food. Yet despite all the pockets of ethnicities, religions, landscapes and the sometimes-great distances between them, the beauty of Malaysia lies in the fusion of it all, into a country that is one of the safest, most stable and manageable in Southeast Asia.
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Best places to stay in Malaysia
Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei travel guide
Southeast Asia’s terrific trio offer steamy jungles packed with wildlife, beautiful beaches, idyllic islands, culinary sensations and multiethnic culture.
Diving Sipadan: strong currents, steep walls and sea life in abundance
The name Sipadan is uttered with reverence by divers, and with good reason. The underwater topography of this tiny 40-acre island, 36km south of the Malaysian port of Semporna in the Celebes Sea, is immense...
Malaysia's top islands
Fabulous food in Malaysia
Discover Malaysia & Singapore travel guide
Southeast Asia’s dynamic duo offer wildlife-rich jungles, beautiful beaches, idyllic islands, culinary sensations, andmultiethnic culture in 21st-century metropolises.
Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei
Entwined by shared history, Southeast Asia's terrific trio offer steamy jungles packed with wildlife, beautiful beaches, idyllic islands, culinary sensations and multi-ethnic culture.
Off the beaten track in Borneo
From steaming jungle to the cloud-capped summit of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo’s natural wonders are undeniable. But the island is no longer the deserted paradise it once was...
Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei starts here. You'll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go, how much to budget, plus in-depth illustrated features on the region’s cuisine.
Travel to Borneo and leave urban life behind. Head into Borneo's lush jungles, down scenic rivers and through the vibrant villages of beautiful Borneo. On the way, soak up stunning mountain vistas, meet local indigenous people, relax in hot springs and have an encounter with some pretty special orangutans.
Wonders of Borneo
Bored of simply watching wildlife on your TV? Why not take a trip to Borneo to get up close and personal with the animals yourself? This trip is the perfect introduction to Borneo for those who have never been, and even those who have experienced Borneo before will surely spot some new sights.
Five reasons to wake a traveller at dawn
You snooze, you lose – if you’re a traveller, that is. Set your alarm clock for one of these unforgettable early-morning experiences...
Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei - Melaka (Chapter)
You can learn about Melaka’s history, culture and architecture at the city’s many museums, or just experience it wandering past Chinese shophouses, Dutch colonial architecture, Chinese and Hindu temples, mosques and churches. The famed...