Malaysia is like two countries in one, cleaved in half by the South China Sea. The multicultural peninsula ﬂaunts Malay, Chinese and Indian inﬂuences, while Borneo hosts a wild jungle of orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes. Throughout these two regions is an impressive variety of microcosms ranging from the space-age high-rises of Kuala Lumpur to the smiling longhouse villages of Sarawak.
To know Malaysia is to love Malaysia – a bubbling, bustling melting-pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony. Their multiculturalism has made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise, and home to hundreds of colourful festivals. Malaysia (particularly along the peninsular west coast) has one of the best assortments of cuisines in the world. Start with Chinese-Malay ‘Nonya’ fare, move on to Indian curries, Chinese buﬀets, Malay food stalls and even impressive Western food. Yet despite all the pockets of ethnicities, religions, landscapes and the sometimes-great distances between them, the beauty of Malaysia lies in the fusion of it all, into a country that is one of the safest, most stable and manageable in Southeast Asia.
One of Malaysia’s key attractions is its extreme contrasts which further add to this theme of ‘diversity’. Towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts, while five-star hotels sit just metres away from ancient reefs.
Seeing that the nation’s climate is primarily tropical, it remains hot and humid throughout the year. The months from May to September are considered as the ideal time to visit Malaysia.
Since it rains heavily during October-November and April-May on the West coast, and from November to January on the East coast and in Sabah and Sarawak, this time is avoided by beach lovers. However, rainy season is the best time to spot turtles which come out to lay their eggs.