Where tropical jungles and beaches meet fast-paced cityscapes, Malaysia is one of the most multicultural and colourful countries in Asia. Over the centuries Hindu, Chinese, Malay and indigenous communities have settled on the peninsula, raising their own unique neighbourhoods in some of the main cities.
With coastlines on the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, a holiday to Malaysia is sure to be filled with unique experiences, from meeting endangered orangutans to trekking the rainforest of Sarawak or finding a slice of bliss on the remote beaches of Sipadan Island. Kuala Lumpur is the capital city and the perfect starting point for Malaysia tour package. Here, great Hindu temples coexist side by side with mosques and Chinese sanctuaries.
Known for the famous Petronas Towers, these twin skyscrapers were once the highest in the world. Since the days of colonisation, Kuala Lumpur has managed to build its own identity mixing the best of the diversity of its citizens. The same is true of Malacca, one of the oldest cities in Malaysia, whose port has served as an important centre of maritime trade for centuries, bringing in products from India, China and the West.
Today, this small city receives attention for its architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The beauty of Malaysia's beaches and its unspoilt nature can be found in the islands of Langkawi, or in its many national parks such as Taman Negara or Baku National Park, in Borneo, the huge island known for its population of orangutans. Characterised as one of the best regions in the world for scuba diving, the capital, Kuching is a melting-pot metropolis. From here, many excursions depart to explore the dense tropical jungles or to enjoy the rugged beauty of the coastline.
History of Malaysia
Much of the appeal of a trip to Malaysia lies in its amazing diversity, a product of its complex and rich history. Before the arrival of European powers on the Malay Peninsula, Malaysia was home to a number of kingdoms. Hinduism and Buddhism were adopted from neighbouring countries and through contact with merchants and migrants who travelled to the peninsula. The Kingdom of Langkasuka was one of the earliest and most powerful of the Malay kingdoms and endured from the 2th-century to the 15th-century. By the time of the decline of Langkasuka, Islam had arrived in the region and the teachings spread quickly amongst Malays, resulting in the creation of the Malacca Sultanate, centred in the popular city of modern-day Malacca, a must-visit on a Malaysia holiday package. In 1511 Portuguese powers began asserting their dominance in the region, conquering Malacca following news of its wealth. Later, Dutch forces would do the same due to the importance of the city as a centre of trade.
The British Empire followed colonising large parts of Malaysia during the 18th and 19th-centuries. During World War II many major cities and regions were occupied by the Japanese Army which ignited calls for independence and increasing nationalist ideas among Malay people. Peninsula Malaysia unified in 1946 and became known as Malaya, and over the next decade extended its territory to include North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore, although Singapore was expelled shortly after due to political differences. Full independence from the British was declared in 1957 through peaceful diplomacy. Since its independence, Malaysia has grown steadily to become an Asian and global giant.
Nature in Malaysia
World-renowned for its ancient equatorial rainforest, Malaysia is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Aside from rainbow-coloured birdlife and amazing flora, such as the largest flower in the world, the rafflesia, a holiday to Malaysia is likely to focus on the countries most unique inhabitants, such as Proboscis monkeys and orangutans. Malaysia is categorised as a megadiverse county, due to its high number of endemic species. The oldest national park in the country is the huge Taman Negara National Park, situated in the centre of the Malaysian Peninsula.
This rich rainforest environment is one of the best places in the country to get in touch with nature and soak up the amazing biodiversity of the jungle landscapes. On a visit Taman Negara, you can look out for leopards, enjoy scenic canopy walks or cruise along the Tahan River. Another verdant oasis is the leafy Cameron Highlands, located in the hills just outside of bustling Kuala Lumpur.
This is a favourite summer retreat for Malaysian due to its cooler high-altitude climate and visitors can enjoy scenic hiking trails and tours of the abundant tea and strawberry plantations. The Cameron Highlands is also the perfect destination to see the iconic rafflesia flowers, which grows there year-round. Malaysian Borneo is another must-visit for both beach-lovers and animal fans alike. Here you can watch orangutans in the wild, scuba dive in some of the most abundant waters in the world or find your own personal slice of bliss on a pristine white-sand beach.
Culture in Malaysia
Famed for its multi-cultural society, Malaysia is one of the few places on earth where you can smell the sweet aroma of flower garlands placed at Hindu shrines whilst simultaneously listening to the call of prayer emanating from a neighbourhood mosque. A Malaysia package holiday is a unique experience, to say the least. A melting pot of Asian cultures, Malaysia is also known for the indigenous groups of Borneo, such as the Dayak tribes whose unique traditions and practices have captivated the imaginations of travellers and explorers for centuries.
The official language is Malay, although, like all areas of Malaysian culture, language is equally as diverse, with hundreds of languages being spoken in the country, ranging from Mandarin to Tamil, various indigenous languages and English. Traditional Malay arts and music date back to the days of the sultanates, including crafts such as carving and silversmithing. Traditional Malaysian performing arts include intricate shadow puppetry and the traditional joget dance. You cannot pass up the opportunity to watch a joget show when you visit Malaysia.
Experience a whole continent of cultures in one beautiful and abundant country on a tour of Malaysia. From the treetops of the equatorial rainforest, home to endangered orangutans, to the twinkling lights of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline, Malaysia is a cornucopia of unique travel experiences.