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. Ancient Rainforests For many people this region is defined by its equatorial rainforest.
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.
Bangkok to Singapore on a Shoestring
Bliss out on world-class beaches in exotic southern Thailand before cooling off in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. This 2-week tour will introduce you to three diverse nations—and three of the region’s most vibrant cities. Sample street food or hit Bangkok’s clubs with other travellers your own age—so you can be sure to get down with those that’ll keep up.
Explore a mystical land of incredible natural beauty and rare wildlife on this Sabah Adventure tour. With its collection of exotic animals, ancient traditions, hot springs, tribal villages, loveable orangutans and incredible views, Sabah has something for everyone.
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 - Perak (Chapter)
Ipoh, Perak’s largest city, is home to top regional Chinese cuisine, and some great Malay food. Kuala Kangsar is a royal Disneyland of mosques and palaces, while Ipoh and the surrounding Kinta Valley are virtual time warps into colonial era...