Malaysia Country Guide

Kuala Lumpur skyline

Kuala Lumpur skyline

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia, located partly on a peninsula of the Asian mainland and partly on the northern third of the island of Borneo. West (Peninsular) Malaysia shares a border with Thailand, connected by a causeway and a bridge to the island nation of Singapore and has coastlines on the South China Sea and the Straits of Melaka. East Malaysia (Borneo) shares borders with Brunei and Indonesia.

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Malaysia in the region from (CIA) World Factbook

Peninsular Malaysia occupies all of the Malay Peninsula between Thailand and Singapore and is also known as West Malaysia or the slightly archaic Malaya. It is home to the bulk of Malaysia's population and generally more economically developed. Within Peninsular Malaysia, the West Coast is more developed and urbanised and separated from the more rural East Coast by a mountain range - the Titiwangsa.

Some 800 km to the east is East Malaysia, occupying the northern third of the island of Borneo, shared with Indonesia and tiny Brunei. Partly covered in impenetrable jungle where headhunters once roamed, East Malaysia is rich in natural resources but very much Malaysia's hinterland for industry and tourism.

Modern Kuala Lumpur

Modern Kuala Lumpur

Developing Nation
Malaysia is a mix of the modern world and a developing nation. With its investment in the high technology industries and moderate oil wealth, it has become a rich nation in Southeast Asia. Malaysia, for most visitors, presents a happy mix: there is high-tech infrastructure and things generally work well and more or less on schedule but prices remain more reasonable than Singapore.

Malaysia is a multicultural society. While Malays make up a 54% majority, there are the Chinese accounting for 25% (especially visible in the cities), Indians (7.5%), various 
indigenous groups (12%) and the remaining comprising of a miscellaneous grouping of "others" such as the Portuguese descendants in Melaka. There is hence also a profusion of faiths and religions including Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism and even shamanism.

Penang Esplanade

At the Penang Esplanade

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