Kuala Lumpur at night
Kuala Lumpur at night © judhi

Malaysia is home to an enchanting fusion of cultures, whose cuisines, languages and religions have made it the toast of Southeast Asia. Visitors relish the country's lush landscape and variety of festivals, which celebrate its Malay, Chinese and Indian heritage, as well as the mark of its indigenous tribes.

The destination is divided into two distinct parts. Peninsula Malaysia comprises the long fringe of land that extends down from Asia, and borders Thailand and Singapore. The South China Sea separates the mainland from the less-populated East Malaysian provinces of Sabah and Sarawak. Their dense jungles support an abundance of exotic plant and wildlife.

Tourists generally head to the peninsula, largely because of its different peoples, climates and activities. The highland regions offer cool relief from the mainland's clinging humidity, while Langkawi is popular among surfers. Culture lovers enjoy exploring traditional Malay life on the east coast, particularly in the northern Kelantan Province. The city of Kota Bharu and its surrounds may well be the most fascinating part of the peninsula. Travellers who appreciate rich culture and remote beauty should head there.

The capital city, Kuala Lumpur, is on the west coast, and is an icon of Asian prosperity. It's also a wonderful mix of tradition and technology.