Most part of Malaysia falls within the Malay Peninsula and the rest on the Island of Borneo. The two parts are divided by the South China Sea. Its neighbours are Thailand, Borneo, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. The official language is Bahasa Melayu but other Asian languages like Chinese, Tamil and Punjabi are also spoken. English is used as the medium for education, commerce and tourism.
Melaka, the early trading centre boomed as European countries fought for a stronghold. Singapore was a part of Malaysia until 1965.
The climate ranges from 21 C to 32 C and falls in the west coast between September to December and between October to February on the eastern coast. Summers can be quite humid and hot, but that’s good for sun tanning in the beaches!
Around 60 per cent of Malaysia is covered by Evergreen Tropical forests. There are a lot of rubber plantations too. There are caves, waterfalls and trekking trails for nature lovers. The longest cave in South East Asia is the Clearwater Cave at Mulu and is over 100 km long. Malaysian sea side towns have spotless beaches that have facilities for surfing and scuba diving.
The Malaysian population consists of missed races. The major ethic groups are Malays, the largest group, then those descended from the Chinese, Indians, mainly Tamilians and Malayalis. There are a few groups of indigenous tribes too like the Bidayuh, Orang Asli, Iban etc. There are sub groups like the Straits-Chinese or Baba-Nyonya who are a mix between Chinese settlers and original Malays. The Chittys are people who are early Indian migrants mixed with the indigenous population.
In order to appreciate Malaysia you have to delve into the routines of the people, visiting festivals and fairs, attending their functions and rituals. The trekking routes in the forests, exquisite and varied cuisines and the beautiful beaches have to be explored in order to understand the real taste of Malaysia.
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