Malaysia is consists of thirteen (13) states and three (3) federal territories, separated by the South China Sea with eleven (11) states and two (2) federal territories (Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya) in Peninsular Malaysia and two states and 1 federal territory (Labuan) in East Malaysia (Borneo). A bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Chinese , Indians and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government.
Malaysia is the 67th largest country by total land area, with a land area of 329,847 square kilometres. Situated between 2º and 7º to the North of the Equator line, Peninsular Malaysia is separated from Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. In the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia lies Thailand, and in the south, neighbouring Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are bounded by Indonesia while Sarawak also shares borders with Brunei.
The population of Malaysia was 29.2 million, making it the 43rd most populated country. The population of Malaysia consists of many ethnic groups. Malays comprise 57% of the population, while the Chinese, Indian, Indigenous and other races make up the rest of the country's population.
Bahasa Malaysia is the national and official language in use, but English is widely spoken by many Malaysians as well. Being a multiracial society, the ethnic groups also communicate in other languages such as Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil as well as various ethnic dialects.
Islam is the official religion but all other religions are freely practiced.
Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. The largest ethnic groups in Malaysia are the Malays, Chinese and Indians. In Sabah and Sarawak, there are a myriad of indigenous ethnic groups with their own unique culture and heritage. All these cultures have influenced each other, creating a truly Malaysian culture.
Malaysia weather benefits from a tropical climate with high temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. Daytime temperatures rise above 30°C (86°F) year-round and night-time temperatures rarely drop below 20°C (68°F). Annual rainfall varies from 2000mm to 2500mm.
Manufacturing constitutes the largest single component of Malaysia's economy. Tourism and primary commodities such as petroleum, palm oil, natural rubber and timber are other major contributors to the economy.
The unit of currency is Malaysian Ringgit indicated as RM. Notes are in denominations of RM100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10 and 5 sen. The import and export of local currency is limited to RM1,000 cash. There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign currency, subject to declarations for amounts of US$10,000 or higher. Foreign currency can be converted at banks, money changers and hotels.
Malaysia Standard Time or MST is GMT +8. Eight hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
Voltage is 220-240 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Square three-pin plugs are generally used.
Local calls can be made from public phones using coins or pre-paid cards. International calls can be made from public phones with card phone facilities or at any office of Malaysia Telekom Berhad, the national phone company.
Tipping is not a way of life in Malaysia but is always welcomed when the service rendered is appreciated. It is usually unnecessary to tip in hotels and restaurants where there is already a 10% service charge imposed.
Visitors to Malaysia must hold a valid passport or travel documents with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits.