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Take a trip to Malaysia

Take a trip to Malaysia

Holidaymakers planning a trip to Malaysia will find it is home to a rich multi-ethnic population which gives its culture and attractions a diverse influence.

Bordering Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei, the country is split into two distinct regions – the Malaysia peninsular and Borneo.

Its multicultural makeup has not only made Malaysia a gastronomic paradise, it has also given rise to a calendar filled to the brim with colourful festivals and events.

It is also a land of contrast - from the bustling metropolitan hub of the capital Kuala Lumpur to the pristine beaches of the nation's coast, a trip to Malaysia offers something to suit most tastes.

Multicultural Malaysia

Malaysia has a population of around 27 million, just over half of which are descended from the native Malay race.

Individuals of Chinese and Indian origin make up the remaining population, along with some other smaller ethnic groups, all of whom have lived together in the region for generations.

The Sabah and Sarawak regions of Borneo are also home to many traditional tribal groups, such as the Iban, the Kadazan Dusun and the Bajau.

Malay is the national language used in the country, but English is widely spoken making it easy for holidaymakers to communicate with the local people.

Malaysia gained independence from the UK in 1957 and the annual Merdeka Day festivities bring people from all the country's populations in celebration.

Cosmopolitan capital

Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, affectionately known as KL by the locals, is also the country's largest metropolitan hub.

Its luxurious hotels, world-class shopping arcades and buzzing nightlife equal any large cosmopolitan city and it is also home to the enormous Petronas Twin Towers – the tallest twin buildings on the planet.

Another of the city's monster skyscrapers – the Kuala Lumpur International Tower – is also home an adrenaline-fuelled base jumping festival each October that is strictly not for the feint-hearted.

Shopaholics will also feel as if they have landed in paradise when they visit the city's Suria KLCC shopping mall, featuring big brands from Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co, to Prada and Armani.

Beautiful mosques such as the Sri Mahamariamman Temple also provide a breathtaking view into the country's religious history, while events such as the Kuala Lumpur Festival celebrate Malaysia's rich culture.

Penang – the Pearl of the Orient

No holiday to Malaysia would be complete without a trip to the tropical island of Penang, otherwise known as the Pearl of the Orient.

This romantic state lies just off the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the Indian Ocean and it took its name from the Pinang, or Betel Nut tree, once commonly found on the island.

The island's capital Georgetown is a city steeped in history and tradition yet sparkling with progress and modern development.

Its rich cultural tradition helped earn it a place as a United Nations UNESCO World Heritage Site last year.

In August, Penang hosts its annual flower festival at the city's Botanical Gardens, which is one of the most popular events in the cultural calendar.

Georgetown is also home to some of the best food in Malaysia's, influenced by Chinese, Malay and Nyonya cuisines.

Aromatic street foodstalls also sell favourites dishes such as nasi kandar, char kway teow and penang laksa, all of which are cooked in a uniquely Penang way.

Orangutan spotting in Borneo

Many people associate the Borneo region of Malaysia with the beautiful yet endangered orangutans.

The island is now one of the only places in the world these magnificent creatures exist in the wild and travellers visiting Borneo can see them first-hand at the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary in Sabah.

This rehabilitation centre trains orangutans that have been orphaned or displaced so they can be released back into the wild.

Aside from the orangutan, over 200 species of birds and a variety of wild plants can also be found within the six hectares of forest reserve.

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