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Welcome to Malaysia, a tropical paradise endowed with breathtaking natural beauty, exotic cultures and friendly people. Made up of Peninsular Malaysia and the two states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo, it's a destination that offers so much to see, do and experience. Malaysia is easily accessible from the major cities in the region and the rest of the world. The new state-of-the-art KL International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang serves over 40 international airlines and several domestic airlines, while Port Klang, situated about 41 km from Kuala Lumpur, the country's capital, is the main port of call for cruise liners. Malaysia is also accessible by road and rail from Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south. As a visitor to Malaysia, you will have the opportunity to experience and appreciate its rich historic and cultural heritage, exotic culinary delights, shopping splendours, nature-based adventures, and fun-filled activities. The warm and hospitable nature of its people will make your stay in Malaysia both pleasant and enjoyable.


Malaysia was formed in 1963 through a federation of the former British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, including the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo. The first several years of the country's history were marred by Indonesian efforts to control Malaysia, Philippine claims to Sabah, and Singapore's secession from the federation in 1965.

The Federation of Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Located between 2 and 7 degrees north of the Equator, Peninsula Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsula Malaysia is Thailand while its southern neighbour is Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are bounded by Indonesia while Sarawak also shares a border with Brunei.

329,758 sq km. POPULATION 22 million. CAPITAL Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia has a combined population of over 18 million people. Because of its central location, between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Malaysia has traditionally been a meeting point for traders and travelers from both the East and West. As a result, Malaysia has a multicultural and multiracial population consisting of Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous indigenous peoples. Although Malay is the official language, English is widely spoken, especially in business, and the English language is a compulsory subject in all schools. With such a varying ethnic composition, it is no surprise that a great diversity of religions is prevalent throughout Malaysia. Although the official religion is Islam, freedom of worship is practiced. As a result, it is a common to see temples, mosques and churches within the same area.

Ethnic Groups: 59% Malay and other indigenous, 32% Chinese and 9% Indian.

Languages: Malay (official), English, Chinese dialects, Mandarin, Hakka dialects, Cantonese, Tamil and numerous tribal languages.

Religion: Muslim (primarily Malays), Buddhism (Chinese), Hindu (Indian), Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism and tribal religions.

Such a diversity of ethnic groups inevitably features a large number of spoken languages. The official local language is Bahasa Melayu, but then English is widely spoken as are a number of Chinese dialects. Various other languages are spoken and East Malaysia features several other indigenous languages.

With such obvious diversity it is remarkable that racial tension is not a constant problem but clearly the gentleness and tolerance of the local population contributes to a real spirit of peace and harmony.

Islam is the official religion but all other religions are practised freely.

Parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system. The Head of State is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister.

Tropical climate with warm weather all year round. Temperatures range from 21 C to 32C. Annual rainfall varies from 2000mm to 2500mm.

There is a strong interlink between the country's multi-racial and multicultural make-up and its history. Besides the local Malays and the native groups, immigrants from China, India, Indonesia and other parts of the world have all contributed to the multiracial composition of its population. Its interesting cultural diversity can be largely attributed to the country's long and on-going interaction with the outside world and colonial rule by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. Consequently the evolution of the country into a cultural melting pot is evident in the unique blend of religions, socio-cultural activities and traditions, dressing, languages and food.

The country achieved independence on August 31, 1957 as the Federation of Malaya and subsequently with the entry of Sabah and Sarawak in 1963, Malaysia was formed.

New Year's Day (lanuary 1)*
Chinese New Year (January 24 & 25)*
Federal Territory Day (February 1)**
Labour Day (May 1)*
Wesak Day (May)*
King's Birthday (June 2)
National Day (August 31)*
Deepavali (November 14)#
Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (December 16 & 17)*
Christmas* (December 25)*.
Note: (*) - National holidays
         (**) KL & Labuan only
         (#) - Except Sarawak & Labuan.

Manufacturing constitutes the largest single component of Malaysia's economy. Tourism and primary commodities such as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber are major contributors to its economy.

Visitors to Malaysia must be in possession of a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits.

For further information, please check with the nearest Malaysian diplomatic mission or Tourism Malaysia office.

The unit of currency is the Malaysian Ringgit indicated as RM. Foreign currencies can be converted at banks and money changers.

All travellers, both residents and non-residents, are required to complete the Traveller's Declaration Form (TDF). The revised TDF has two separate sections and columns for residents and non-residents to declare their currencies;  the blue section for residents and the white section for non-residents;

Residents are only required to declare in detail the exact amount of ringgit carried when they enter or leave the country only if the amount is in excess of RM1.000. They are also required to declare in detail the exact amount in foreign currency, including traveller's cheques carried, when they leave the country only if the amount exceeds the equivalent of RM10.000. Residents do not have to declare any amount of foreign currency, including traveller's cheques, carried with them when they re-enter the country. Non-residents are required to declare the exact amount of foreign currency carried when they enter or leave the country only if the amount exceeds the equivalent of USD 2,500.00.

Residents are required to keep the TDF in their passport when they leave the country and surrender the TDF on their return journey instead of the current practice of filling two separate TDFs when they leave and re-enter the country. Likewise, non-residents will continue with the current practice which requires them to keep the TDF with their passport and surrender the TDF on leaving their country.

Most states: Mon-Fri: 9.30am-4.00pm Sat: 9.30am-11.30am Sun: closed Kedah, Kelantan &Terengganu: Sat-Wed: 9.30am-4.00pm Thur: 9.30am 11.30am Fri: closed.

Open from 8.00am to 5.00pm daily except Sundays and public holidays. In Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu post offices are closed on Fridays and public holidays.
TIME Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.

Voltage is 220 - 240 volts A C at 50 cycles per second.

Malaysia follows the metric system in weights and measures.

Local calls can be made from public phones using coins or pre-paid cards. International calls can be made from public phones with card phone facilities or at any Telekom offices.

The main gateway to Malaysia is through the new K.L. International Airport at Sepang located approximately 50km south of Kuala Lumpur. The Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang serves a few domestic and regional airlines. Other major international airports which serve as entry points are Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.

The main entry point by sea to KL is Port Klang, about 50km away from KL. Malaysia is also accessible by rail and road from Singapore and Thailand.

Malaysia has excellent domestic air links and a well developed and effective public transportation system served by buses, taxis and trains.

Malaysia has a wide range of accommodation at competitive rates. International standard hotels, medium and budget hotels, youth hostels and timeshare apartments are just some of the types of accommodation available. Privately operated motor-homes are also available for rental.

When visiting Malaysia, the visitor should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:-

It is polite to call before visiting a home.
Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.
Drinks are generally offered to guests. It would be polite to accept.
The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand or when giving and receiving objects.
The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with the four fingers, folded under is the preferred usage.
Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask for permission first.
Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country's large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.

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