Travel in Malaysia: An introduction

Malaysia is one of those countries that many backpackers don’t make it to. Unlike Thailand with its infamous beach parties or Bali with its relaxing yoga retreats, Malaysia has no claim to fame. Most people only know of the country through its commercial, which proclaims, “Malaysia Truly Asia.” The video leaves you with vague conceptions of a country full of fireworks, chopsticks and Chinese people. Subsequently, not many backpackers put Malaysia on the list.

However, the truth is, Malaysia is one of the coolest countries in South East Asia if not the World. They do have fireworks, chopsticks and a bunch of Chinese people, but they also have beaches and islands just as spectacular as Thailand. They have a notorious nightlife in Kuala Lumpur, and an incredibly delicious diversity of culture, people and food. Not to mention, Malaysia is pretty darn cheap and clean, and as the people go, they couldn’t be friendlier. Whether you’re a budget backpacker or just plain holidaymaker, this is a country I highly recommend.

During the 16th century the Europeans decided that they also wanted in and so Malaysia was soon to accommodate further change. First, the Portuguese captured Malacca which by this time was the most sought after trading port in Asia. They were soon followed by the Dutch and then in the 19th century the British took control. After a short occupation by the Japanese during World War II, Malaysia gained independence from the British on the 31st August 1957.
The country is now split into two regions; Peninsula Malaysia (or West Malaysia) and Malay Borneo (East Malaysia). It is made up of 13 states with Kuala Lumpur being the federal capital and the largest city in the country.
Nowadays Malaysia is best known for its beautiful tropical islands, a jungle-clad interior, its diverse wildlife, a fascinating colonial heritage and an eclectic cuisine. These ‘ingredients’ combined with the warmth of the Malaysian people ensure a very rewarding holiday in Malaysia.

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