Malaysians look like Chinese

Malaysia

Malaysia is a multifaceted holiday destination that has something to offer for every taste: culturally a cocktail from several Asian high cultures, culinary a gourmet paradise that is second to none, a scenic Eldorado for adventurers and active people, but also a paradise for beach fans and those in need of relaxation. Decades of progress and political stability have left their mark on this country. Malaysia is now one of the richest and most dynamic countries in the region. This fact brings travelers not only safety and comfort, but above all insights into an impressive cultural balancing act between the Middle Ages and the modern age - garnished with an open-minded and self-confident population. In short: an exotic, stimulating mixture of everything you could want for a carefree, eventful holiday. And much more.

A little tip: on a Malaysia vacation you can practically "take" the dazzling boomtown Singapore and the exotic Sultanate of Brunei with you in passing. Both are easily accessible and definitely worth the trip. If you feel like it - we will be happy to advise you!

Travel to Malaysia

Malaysia has around 5,000 kilometers of coastline and more than 200 islands. Although Islam is the state religion, almost half of the population is of another faith. This fact manifests itself everywhere in a fascinating architectural and cultural potpourri. Chinatowns are in close proximity to Buddhist and Hindu temples while the reputation of the muezzin is in the air. Diversity is practically part of the agenda in this country. The diverse geography with many national parks, fairytale palm islands with crystal clear water and many of the most exciting diving and snorkeling areas in Southeast Asia make a decisive contribution to this. Then there is the capital Kuala Lumpur, shimmering with vitality, and many historically interesting sites. Basically one can say that the west coast is more modern and culturally and culinary more interesting, whereas the attraction of the east coast lies in the originality and the dream beaches. Regardless of this, when it comes to the hotel industry, you can almost always rely on sophistication. There is little of faceless castles here; instead, pride in one's own traditions and a touch of colonial magic shape the picture. The result is a wonderful mix of air-conditioned skyscrapers, historic colonial buildings and places of worship that have centuries-old stories to tell. You can enjoy all of this carefree, because Malaysia is comparatively peaceful, comfortable to travel to and, in terms of price, more expensive than Vietnam or Thailand, but still very attractive for Europeans.

Outside the metropolitan areas, vacationers can discover untouched tropical jungle areas, long sandy beaches and coral reefs. Some of the greatest national parks with species-rich rainforests and mysterious waters can be found in the vicinity of the central mountain range, which bisects the peninsula lengthways. Even on the islands of Penang and Langkawi on the west coast, which are well developed for tourism, countless tropical forests, mangroves and protected areas, and tea plantations elsewhere, invite you to go on trekking adventures. Elongated lonely sandy beaches, countless and picturesque villages can be found on the east coast - which has a lot of treasures to offer in terms of flora and fauna even under water. The most spectacular natural highlights of Malyasia are in Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo. These include the world's largest cave systems, fantastic coral reefs and the 4095 meter high Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia.

Interested parties can find all the important travel information about Malaysia below.

The geography of Malaysia

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia between the 7th and 1st latitude north, about 130 km north of the equator. It shares borders with Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei. The country consists of two parts of the country separated by the South China Sea: The western part is located on the Southeast Asian mainland and is only slightly smaller than Germany with an area of ​​around 330,000 square meters. The so-called Malay Peninsula with the capital Kuala Lumpur borders Thailand in the north and the city-state Singapore in the south. To the west lies the island of Sumatra - separated by the Strait of Malacca. The eastern part of Malaysia on the north side of the island of Borneo is much smaller and less developed with an area of ​​just under 124,000 square meters. It borders the South China Sea and the Philippines in the north and completely encloses the independent sultanate of Brunei. Malaysia is a total of 329,758 square meters and has around 28 million inhabitants, of which. 1.6 million people live in Kuala Lumpur. The country is divided into 13 states - eleven in western and two in eastern Malaysia.

Malaysia is almost on the equator and is characterized by a tropical climate. Around 60 percent of the country is mountainous, there are also extensive swamp and river plains. 55 percent of the country is still covered by jungle and rainforest, which is, however, increasingly threatened by industrial clear cutting. In the east Malay state of Sabah is the 4095 m high Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. Here, the country with its mangrove swamps, dense rainforests and rivers is still largely inaccessible. The longest rivers in the country are the Rajang in the east and the Sungai Pahang in the west.

The largest and most famous cities and attractions in West Malaysia are:
The vacation island Langkawi with dream beaches, mangrove forests, scenic inland, many caves and the cable car to Mat Cincang and the diving paradise Pulau Payar Marine Park. Penang with its multicultural UNESCO World Heritage Site Georgetown, rack railway to the Penang Hil and excellent gastronomy. Taiping, one of the oldest cities in the country with an interesting museum. Gerik, the colonial architecture of Ipoh, the Cameron Highlands with their tea plantations, rainforests and places of cultural interest such as Tanah Rata or Binchang, the hiking and bird paradise Fraser Hillswho have favourited Boomtown Kuala Lumpur and the historically significant port city Malaka with its UNESCO-protected old town. On the east coast of West Malaysia are the tourist islands of Tioman, Mersing, Pakan, Kuantan, the Taman Negara National Park with starting point Kuala Tahan, the Kenong Rimba Park, the lakes Tasik Kenyir and Tasik Temengor, Kuala Terengganu, Merang, and of course the well-known diving and Snorkeling paradises Pulau Tioman, Perhantian and Redang.

The largest and most famous cities and attractions in East Malaysia are:
Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, the Kubah National Park and the Matang Wildlife Center, the Gunung Gading National Park for trekking, plant and animal lovers with its seven-tier waterfall and many caves, Batang Ai, Sibu, Captain, Belaga, the Similajau National Park with 230 species of birds and gibbons, Sumatran langurs, long-tailed macaques and saltwater crocodiles, the Nia caves at Batu Niahwho have favourited trekking hotspot Miri, Starting point for visiting the UNESCO-protected Gunung Mulu National Park with its incredible biodiversity and the largest cave systems in the world, the Lambir Hills National Park with impressive waterfalls, sun bears and macaques, the Loagan Bunut National Park, the Kelabit highlands, Limbang, the Kota Kinabalu, the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Sandakan, Turtle Island and Kenningau.

The history of Malaysia

Malaysia is an electoral parliamentary monarchy with British characteristics, which is unique in the world in this form. It is shaped by the Westminster two-chamber parliament, which is used in many Commonwealth countries, the Senate "Dewan Negara" and the lower house "Dewan Rakyat". The state is federally structured and consists of thirteen states, including nine hereditary monarchies with a sultan as head of state and four states ruled by governors (Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak). In addition, there are the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur (capital), Putrajaya (seat of government) and the islands of Labuan. The head of state of Malaysia is the king, who is elected every five years from the circle of the nine sultans. The head of government is the prime minister. The party alliance of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), which has ruled since independence, was expanded in 1974 to form the comprehensive "National Front" (Barisan Nasional, BN) Belong to parties. The UMNO plays the dominant role within the governing coalition. It traditionally provides the prime minister and his deputy as well as the heads of the most important departments. In practice, the system has quite authoritarian features. In terms of content, Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed, who was in office from 1981 to 2003, initiated systematic modernizations that fueled the rapid economic development of the 1990s, significantly restricted the rights of the sultans and the king and initiated various costly large-scale projects and prestigious buildings. The reform policy of his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, failed, which poses major economic and social challenges for the incumbent Prime Minister today. Nevertheless, the country is economically very well positioned and the goal of the National Development Policy (NDP) announced in 1991 to make Malaysia a fully industrialized state by 2020 is by no means unrealistic.

The Political System of Malaysia

Malaysia is an electoral parliamentary monarchy with British characteristics, which is unique in the world in this form. It is shaped by the Westminster two-chamber parliament, which is used in many Commonwealth countries, the Senate "Dewan Negara" and the lower house "Dewan Rakyat". The state is federally structured and consists of thirteen states, including nine hereditary monarchies with a sultan as head of state and four states ruled by governors (Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak). In addition, there are the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur (capital), Putrajaya (seat of government) and the islands of Labuan. The head of state of Malaysia is the king, who is elected every five years from the circle of the nine sultans. The head of government is the prime minister. The party alliance of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), which has ruled since independence, was expanded in 1974 to form the comprehensive "National Front" (Barisan Nasional, BN) Belong to parties. The UMNO plays the dominant role within the governing coalition. It traditionally provides the prime minister and his deputy as well as the heads of the most important departments. In practice, the system has quite authoritarian features. In terms of content, Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed, who was in office from 1981 to 2003, initiated systematic modernizations that fueled the rapid economic development of the 1990s, significantly restricted the rights of the sultans and the king and initiated various costly large-scale projects and prestigious buildings. The reform policy of his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, failed, which poses major economic and social challenges for the incumbent Prime Minister today. Nevertheless, the country is economically very well positioned and the goal of the National Development Policy (NDP) announced in 1991 to make Malaysia a fully industrialized state by 2020 is by no means unrealistic.

The economy of Malaysia

After decades of economic growth and political stability, Malaysia has now become one of the most dynamic and richest countries in the region. The country has long been a diversified industrial location, but the rich natural resources and raw material sources such as crude oil and natural gas, palm oil, rubber and tin are still of great importance for the country's economy. According to the "BP Statistical Review of World Energy" (2015), Malaysia produces around 0.7 percent of the world's crude oil and 1.9 percent of natural gas. The country is one of the largest palm oil and rubber producers in the world. While the palm oil market has an export focus in the areas of bio-fuel, cosmetics and food, a large part of the Malaysian rubber production for the domestic market is sold in the area of ​​tires and medical products. Apart from that, electronic goods such as microchips and solar cells play a key role. The largest companies include the automobile manufacturers Perodua and Proton as well as the oil company Petronas. Since the rapid industrial development in the 1990s, the country has been one of the up-and-coming emerging countries (panther states) and is politically and economically one of the most stable countries in Southeast Asia, successfully combining tradition and modernity or Islam and capitalism.

Maylaysia is a member of ASEAN, D-8 and G-15, which is impressive evidence of the transformation from an agricultural state to a potent industrial location with high development potential. The economic dip caused by the Asian crisis in 1997 has now been overcome and growth rates of up to 6% have become standard. The unemployment rate is zero and the average income is medium. Agriculture and forestry now account for only 13 percent of employment. 17 percent of the workforce is employed in the manufacturing industry and 9 percent in the construction industry. The majority (approx. 60 percent) work in the service sector, where over 80 percent of the net employment growth was created in 2014. Malaysia was ranked 62nd in the United Nations Human Development Index 2015, making it one of the "highly developed countries". According to the government, Malaysia should rise to the ranks of the "high income countries" by 2020.

The Society of Malaysia

Malaysia is a pluralistic country with a colorful and interesting mix of different cultures, customs and traditions. Around 50% of the residents are Malays whose ancestors come from different regions of the world. Just under a quarter of the population are Chinese, who mainly live in the Malay metropolitan areas. Indigenous peoples make up a good 10% of the country's population. They increasingly live in East Malaysia in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. They are summarized under the name Dayak their West Malay brothers are called Orang Asli. Another 7% are In the, the rest is spread over various other nationalities. The political and economic balance of power, on the other hand, is much more polarized: Malays dominate politics, Chinese dominate economy. Malay and smaller ethnic groups - also under the collective term Bumiputra known - preferential treatment since 1971. 80% of public service positions are to be filled with Bumiputras. "Non-Bumis", for example in the army and police, have almost no chance of advancement. The situation is similar with places at universities.

Religion & Culture in Malaysia

In Malaysia, Sunni Islam is the official religion; otherwise, according to the constitution, there is extensive freedom of religion. 60% of the population are Muslims, 20% Buddhists, 7% Hindus, 6% Christians, other minorities are Taoists, Sikhs and followers of natural religions. Islam established itself in the course of the 14th and 15th centuries after a wave of Arab immigration in the 13th century. Until the second half of the 20th century, Muslim Malays were considered liberal, but today there are clearly more conservative tendencies. This is evidenced, among other things, by the state promotion of Islamic traditions, commandments and prohibitions, which equates to a progressive Islamization of society, the state and the judiciary, which actively persecutes against currents deviating from Sunnism. Overall, eastern West Malaysia is considered to be particularly strictly Muslim, while the west coast is somewhat more liberal, followed by the even more relaxed East Malaysia with its multicultural population. The following applies to all: Malays are Muslims by birth and are not allowed to marry non-Muslims. A turning away from Islam is theoretically possible, but practically hardly feasible. Within the Muslim population, violations of Islamic law and Islamic laws and judgments of the Sharia law are punished, for example by flogging. About 70% of Muslim women wear a headscarf. Basically, other religions are still tolerated in Malaysia and as a holiday guest you hardly notice conservative Islam, because the majority stay in the more liberal cities or on the cosmopolitan holiday islands of the west coast. The majority of the Chinese living in Malaysia are Buddhists, sometimes Taoism and Confucianists, the inhabitants of Indian origin are usually Hindu. The 9% Malaysian Christians are found in all ethnic groups.

Travelers benefit from the cultural diversity, because all religions can be experienced up close thanks to numerous festivals and religious buildings. However, Islam particularly shapes the picture. Some important days and celebrations therefore revolve around the Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.For 30 days between sunrise and sunset, Muslim Malaysians don't say anything except words; they don't eat, drink or smoke. During this time they are up early to have a meal (sahur) before dusk. The next meal (buka puasa) is only allowed after dusk. The most important festival follows at the end of the month of fasting Hari Raya Aidilfitrithat is celebrated in the family circle.

Flora & Fauna of Malaysia

Malaysia has a fantastically diverse flora and fauna to offer, including many exotic microorganisms, countless species of birds, rare species of monkeys such as proboscis monkeys and orangutans, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Indochina tiger. There are also many rare tree species and the rafflesia, the largest flower in the world, to be discovered. There is also a wide range of flowers from Chinese hibiscus, lotus and magnolia to jasmine and strelitzia. Some of the most beautiful coral reefs and one of the most extensive rainforests in Southeast Asia, which are increasingly being decimated by deforestation and the expansion of the oil palm plantations, can also be found here.

The infrastructure of Malaysia

Malaysia has an excellent infrastructure. The country has four international airports: Kuala Lumpur International (KLIA) (Sepang), Kota Kinabalu (BKI), Penang (PEN) (Bayan Lepas) and Kuching (KCH), there are also ship and train connections mainly in West Malaysia and Singapore a comfortable alternative to the airplane. The Malaysian road network is one of the best in Southeast Asia, although the roads in metropolitan areas are chronically congested and the highways between the cities are mostly toll roads. The prevailing left-hand traffic and the unorthodox driving behavior of Malaysians can also be a challenge for many tourists. Buses, taxis and rental cars are available in all major cities. Otherwise, domestic flights are cheap and reliable.

Malay cuisine

A big plus point of Malaysia is the variety and high quality of the food. Thanks to the multiethnic population structure, there is a whole range of Asian specialties to choose from in every major town: Whether Malay, South or North Indian, Cantonese, Hainanese, Szechuan or Hokkien cuisine, all local population groups have preserved their culinary traditions. Nyonya cuisine, which combines Chinese cooking traditions with Malay spices, is particularly tasty. In big cities and upscale hotels, European, Japanese or Vietnamese dishes are also standard - apart from the widespread fast food chains and coffee shops.

The most important food is rice - regardless of the nationality of the cuisine. Malaysia is also known for its wide selection of rice specialties, which are either savory or sweet. Much of the food is very spicy, meat and fish are often served fried. The exquisite vegetable and meat curries are also an integral part of Malaysian cuisine. Unlike in other Islamic countries, there are hardly any dietary regulations in Malaysia. So you don't have to do without pork, as this is traditionally prepared and eaten by the ethnic Chinese. Muslim Malays only eat meat that is "halal", especially chicken and beef. Malaysian Indians often have "Mutton" on the menu, under which travelers have to imagine goat meat rather than mutton. The Malaysian cookshops, known as "Hawker Stalls", are a must for those interested in culinary delights, because nowhere can you enjoy Malaysian cuisine as unadulterated as in these fast food outlets. Praltisch as a side dish is experienced by the locals in everyday life and can practically look over the shoulder of the cooks. You don't have to accept major health risks: Hygiene standards are adhered to and a bad stomach is rather a rarity.

The Malaysian national dishes include "Laska", a noodle stew with coconut milk, tamarind, crab, fish, chicken and bean sprouts. The soup "Yung Tau Foo" with vegetables and tofu is often served for breakfast. Better known are "Mee Goreng" with fried rice noodles, vegetables, meat or seafood and the rice variant "Nasi Goreng", which is usually garnished with a fried egg and cucumber. The "satay" skewers with the tasty peanut sauce, cucumber and onions are also well known to Europeans. But the Indonesian national dish "Gado-Gado" with cucumber and bean sprouts, fried tofu, boiled eggs and a spicy peanut sauce is very popular here. The Indian naan bread has also become common under the name "Roti Chanai". It is best served with curry, which is often eaten in a banana leaf and always with fingers. "Bak Kut Teh", the Malaysian interpretation of spare ribs with herbs, garlic and soy sauce, which is enjoyed here for breakfast, are also delicious. The "Sambal Belacan" sauce made from crab paste, chilli and garlic is indispensable and is often served with the national dish "Nasi Lemak" (coconut rice, peanuts, anchovies, hard-boiled egg). "Loh Bak" - fried pork or chicken with chili - has Chinese roots. For dessert you should try "Ais Kacang" with ice cream, coconut milk and palm sugar or pastries like "Cek Mekolek" and "Len Chee Kang" as well as sweets like Buah Melaka, Kuih Lapis and Cendol.

We are passionate about drinking coffee, which is available on every corner here. This also applies to the popular iced tea. For religious reasons, Malays hardly drink alcohol. Nevertheless, you can order spirits and beer everywhere - but at comparatively high prices. There is bottled water on every corner. Fruit juices can usually be enjoyed freshly squeezed - although this is not entirely harmless due to the inadequate water quality.

Malay and Indians traditionally eat with their right hand without cutlery. The Chinese use chopsticks and a spoon for rice and "difficult" ingredients. "Western" cutlery is always available, with Asian cuisine usually served with a fork and spoon. The spoon is used for eating and the fork as an aid.