A COUNTRY OF AMAZING CONTRASTS, CULTURES, FOOD AND WILDLIFE
Geographically, Malaysia is situated in South East Asia and consists of the Malaysian West Peninsula and East Malaysia (North Borneo). Separating East and West Malaysia is the South China Sea, whilst the the Straits of Melaka run between the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Malaysian West Peninsula. Eleven different states and two federal territories (Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya) form the West Malaysian Peninsular, whilst East Malaysia comprises of two states on the island of Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak, and a third federal territory in the the island of Labuan.
One of Malaysia’s key attractions is its extreme contrasts: towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts, while five-star hotels sit just metres away from ancient reefs. Rugged mountains reach dramatically for the sky, while their rainforest-clad slopes sweep down to floodplains teeming with forest life. Cool highland hideaways roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.
Peninsular Malaysia stretches south from Thailand to Singapore and Indonesia, and showcases the best of all three: superb beaches and idyllic islands (try the Perhentians for diving and clean sand or Langkawi and Tioman for excellent resorts); diverse cultures; the wonderful historic port city-state of Melaka with its Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese influences; colonial Georgetown and the tea plantations of Cameron Highlands; the richly Muslim Kota Bharu; bustling Kuala Lumpur; and superb food.
Over the South China Sea, Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) boast mountains, rainforest, orang-utans, top-notch diving and fascinating tribal longhouse villages swathed in dense jungle, making up over half of Malaysia’s land mass.
Malaysia is literally a medley of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony. This rich multi-cultural environment has created a diversity of cuisines like no other place on earth, particularly along the peninsular west coast. Start with Chinese-Malay ‘Nonya’ fayre, 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 South East Asia.
Malaysia is a year-round destination characterised by a hot, humid tropical climate with two monsoon seasons: one from October to February and the other between April and October. The country has high temperatures and high humidty throughout the year with the average temperature being above 30°C year-round and at night the temperature rarely drops below 20°C. Rain falls fairly evenly throughout the year and the difference between the main October to April rainy season and the rest of the year is not that marked. The exception is the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, which receives heavy rain from November to mid-February. During these months many east-coast resorts close and boat services dwindle or stop altogether. Travel along the west coast is not affected. The states of Sabah and Sarawak receive high rainfall throughout the year, but it is heaviest from October to March.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
Malaysia is a year-round destination as the east and west coasts experience rainfall at different times of the year. It has a tropical climate and is a hot and humid throughout the year with average temperatures over 30°C. The best time to travel is between May to September. The period between November to February is the wettest time and should be avoided.
Health & Vaccinations
We recommend that you are up to date with the usual vaccinations – Typhoid, Polio, Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus and Rabies. In addition there is a malaria risk in Sabah and Sarawak and Temara Negara National Park in Penisular Malaysia. There is low to no risk in Kuala Lumpur, other urban/suburban areas and the coastal areas. Therefore a malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Please contact your local GP for full advice at least 3-4 weeks before travel.
Passport & Visa
British passport holders must be in possession of a full 10-year passport and must have at least 6 months validity beyond the date of the return journey. British passport holders do not need a visa to enter into Malaysia for stays of up to 90 days.
WHERE TO STAY BY REGION