Lonely Planet guide to Malaysia

Published: 24 October 2007

Malaysia is one of the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to visit in south-east Asia.

It's buoyant and wealthy, and has moved towards a pluralist culture based on a vibrant and interesting fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous cultures and customs.

Malaysia's love of Western-style industrialisation is abundantly clear in its big cities.

Aside from the gleaming glass towers of the 21st Century, though, Malaysia boasts some of the most superb beaches, mountains and national parks in Asia.

When To Go:

You're going to have sunshine and sweat pretty much whenever you visit.

It's best to avoid the November to January rainy season on peninsular Malaysia's east coast if you want to enjoy the beaches.

Malaysia - fast facts:

  • Full Name: Federation of Malaysia
  • Capital City: Kuala Lumpur
  • Area: 329,750 sq km / 127,316 sq miles
  • Population: 23,000,000
  • Time Zone: GMT/UTC +8 ()
  • Daylight Saving Start: not in use
  • Daylight Saving End: not in use
  • Languages: Malay (official) - known as Bahasa Malaysia; English (other); Tamil (other); Chinese (other)
  • Religion: 52% Muslim, 17% Buddhist, 12% Taoist, 8% Christian, 8% Hindu, 2% tribal
  • Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (RM)
  • Electricity: 240V 50HzHz
  • Electric Plug Details: British-style plug with two flat blades and one flat grounding blade
  • Country Dialing Code: 60