As a result of years of trade from surrounding countries, Malaysia is a cultural cocktail. From the fusion flavours found in its street food to the ultramodern city skyline of Kuala Lumpur and the age old rainforests of Borneo, Malaysia is a fascinating contradiction. Explore the country yourself on a Malaysian vacation.
Prior to British Colonial rule, Malaysia was lead by various empires including the Majapahit, the Srivijaya and the Melaka Sultanate. In the 16th century, the Portuguese established a European colony in Malaysia, the first in Southeast Asia. Later on the colony was overthrown by the Dutch and neighbored by a British colony established on the Malay Peninsula. Under different rules, the Malay Peninsula was split to what today is now the border between Malaysia and Indonesia. Following World War II, in 1957 Malay gained independence from the British and in 1963 Malaysia was established. At this time the country also included Singapore yet after much civil unrest during the sixties, Singapore eventually became separate from Malaysia.
Malaysia has a tropical climate that is susceptible to monsoons and rain is a common occurrence. The north-east experiences monsoonal weather from October to February, while the south-west receives a deluge of rain during April to October. No matter what the season, temperatures in Malaysia hang around the late twenties and early thirties, with humidity measuring quite high. In the highlands however, temperatures are often a lot cooler.
Malaysia’s multi-cultural population has resulted in the country having one of the busiest calendars in the world. Some of Malaysia’s most notable celebrations include Chinese New Year and the Muslim event of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, a celebration that marks the end of the Ramadan fast. The Festival of Lights is another popular event. Also known as Deepavali, the Hindu light festival commemorates the day when Lord Rama, a Hindu deity, returned from a 14 year exile, vanquishing the evil king Ravana. The joyous celebration features feasts and a deluge of colored lights, lamps and candles, particularly throughout the larger cities.