Malaysia is a fascinating and incredibly diverse country, spread out across the Malay Archipelago, made up of the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and numerous smaller islands scattered throughout the South China Sea. With a deep and rich history, a multi-cultural population, and an extraordinarily diverse collection of wildlife and flora, there are endless interesting things to discover in this delightful South East Asian country. To start with, here are five fascinating facts about Malaysia.
Photo by mkjr
Malaysians are obsessed with food
Food is a massive part of Malaysian culture, and there are actually five official meal times – breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, and supper. Malaysian cuisine is fantastic, with influences from across the region, and the street food is some of the best in the world. From laksa and roti canai to nasi lemak, the national dish, being adventurous with your food choices is an incredibly rewarding experience!
You can see orangutans in the wild
Literally translated as ‘man of the forest’, the chance to see orang-utans in the wild is one of the most amazing things about Malaysia. They are native to the island of Borneo and can be seen at places like the Kinabatangan River across the island, as well as at rehabilitation centers set up to counter the devastating damage caused by deforestation.
Kuala Lumpur boasts the tallest twin buildings in the world
Once the tallest building in the world, the Petronas Towers were overtaken by the skyscraper boom of the new millennium and now sit in a paltry 19th place. However, they remain the tallest twin buildings in the world at 1,483 feet and are an iconic and instantly recognizable sight.
Photo by Izuddin Helmi Adnan
The country is ruled by rotating kings
The country is governed in a unique style, with a variety of kings taking turns to be in charge! Each of the nine ethnic Malay states of Malaysia is ruled by a raja or sultan, and they assume the kingship of the entire country on a rotating basis for five-year terms.
You can take a taxi to Singapore
The island of Singapore sits at the Malay Peninsula’s southernmost tip, cut off from Malaysia by the Johor Strait. But suppose you want to move on from Malaysia and continue your journey on a cruise from Singapore. In that case, it couldn’t be simpler, thanks to two connecting bridges that link the city with Johor Bahru, Malaysia’s southernmost city.
You can see the Malayan Tiger only in Malaysia
Malaysia is home to some unique species, and one of them is a giant orange cat with stripes. Well famous as the Malayan Tiger, these cats are sighted in Kelantan, Pahang, and Johor. However, it is getting increasingly difficult to spot them as the species is now critically endangered, and there are only a few hundred left on the planet.
Find the smelliest fruit in the world here
Durian, which is infamous for its fouls smell, grows in Malaysia. When ripe, you can smell the fruit from several hundred meters. There are many varieties of Durian fruit grown in Malaysia. There are hundreds of varieties of edible fruit grown here and sold in the local regions. You can recognize the fruit because of its strong odor and the thorn-covered rind. The fruit is widely used to flavor traditional Malay foods and sweet edibles.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Malaysia
Malaysia boasts of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and while two of them are cultural heritage sites, two are natural heritage sites. Gunung Mulu National Park covers caves and karst formations in the equatorial rainforest setting in the mountainous region. Kinabalu Park is well famous for a very wide range of habitats and has been designated for its immersive plant diversity. It is dominated by Mount Kinabalu. Melaka and George Town are the two historical cities that developed over centuries of trading and cultural exchanges. These cities boast of specific multicultural heritage because of the influences of Asia and Europe. The Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley in Hulu Perak is an important area for archaeology and excavations.
Photo by Gaddafi Rusli
Malaysia’s highway is the longest
Did you know that the Malaysian highway is even longer than the circumference of Earth? It connects the major cities and stretches 40,934 miles across the country. The network of national expressways forms the backbone of the country’s transportation and is supervised by the government highway authority. The North-South highway runs through the west coast of Malaysia and runs through seven states. It even connects to Thailand and Singapore border, and the northern route and southern route are considered to be very important for local and interstate traffic.
World’s largest and heaviest flower Rafflesia, grows here
Rafflesia, a parasitic flowering species, boasts of the largest flowers in the world. It is named after the leader of the expedition that was searching the Malaysian and Indonesia rainforests, Stamford Raffles. So, if you want to see the largest and heaviest flower in the world, you can certainly see it here in Malaysia. Also known as the Monster Flower’, the huge red flower with five petals can weigh around 10 kg and has a foul odor.
Learn a bit of Malaysian or Chinese when visiting Malaysia
Malaysia’s national language is Bahasa Melayu, and many people also speak the Chinese language. Although people do speak and understand English, it is used widely only in some parts of the country. There are more than a hundred indigenous languages spoken here, and the Iban is the most common indigenous language used. Mandarin or Simplified Chinese, Malay, and English are compulsory in schools.
Find the largest cave chambers in Malaysia
Malaysia is blessed with the world’s largest cave spaces, and some of the most popular among locals and tourists include The Pinnacles, Sarawak Chamber, and Deer cave. These caves simply thrill the tourists and fill them with wonder and enthusiasm. Sarawak Chamber is believed to be the bigeest underground cave chamber in the world and boasts of an estimated height of 100m. It is located in the Melinau Paku Valley, and one must cross an active stream passage to reach the chamber.
George Town part of Penang for street-food
Malaysians are passionate about food, and if you are looking for authentic street-food, all you need to do is head for the historic George Town in Penang. The island is well famous as the world’s best food destination and is located on the northwest coast of Malaysia. The street food culture is very prominent here, and this is the place to be if you want to enjoy food from different cultures and ethnicities. Penang is indeed a haven for foodies as you can enjoy Indian, Malay, Mamak, Chinese, and Nyonya foods.
Jimmy Choo was born in Malaysia
Most customers are not aware that the famous shoe designer Jimmy Choo was born in Malaysia. The world-famous brand had celebrity customers such as Princess Diana. Jimmy Choo was born in Penang into a Hakka family of shoemakers. He learned the art of shoemaking from his father, who made all his shoes by hand. Choo created his first pair of shoes when he was just eleven. He went to study the craft and worked at a design firm after graduation. Instead of going back to Malaysia, he remained in London and was later presented with the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.