THE CULTURAL KALEIDOSCOPE
Malaysia is an assault on the senses – a cultural fusion of colours, flavours and dialects combined with sticky tropical heat. It boasts superb beaches, mountains and national parks, and a heady mix of people. Historical influences loom large in the stately colonial architecture and the prosperous nation` s love of progress is proclaimed in its gleaming, futuristic buildings.
Indeed, Malaysia is a country of staggering diversity. A single government rules both the ultramodern skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur and the wooden longhouses of remotest Borneo, and its jungles masking the daunting headhunters.
The land of Malaysia is home to Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnics who live along with various indigenous tribal communities. Even though the dominating Muslim cultural force is quite evident the countries diverse population has spawned a fabulous juxtaposition of mosques, temples, churches and panoply of festivals.
Nevertheless, the wonderful blend of cultures is best reflected in the cuisine. Malay food is considered to combine the best flavours and dishes of the surrounding countries, such Indonesia, India and Thailand, and after tasting a few meals from a sizzling street stall, you would like to agree..
Yet, Malaysia is a destination not only for food lovers and fans of history and architecture. The extensive tropical forests of the peninsular Malaysia and the rolling hills with their endless lush tea plantations are fringed by some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. Borneo hides an immense wilderness, rugged mountains, swirling rivers and an Amazon-like landscape. Here, were beaches, mangroves, peat swamps, heath and rain forest, containing more species of tree in a single acre than are found in the whole Europe. To the naturalist, this is an earthly paradise.
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Political system: Federal parliamentary democracy under an elective constitutional monarchy
Capital: Kuala Lumpur
Land area: 330,803 km2
Religion: Sunni Islam
Official language: Bahasa Malaysia
Currency: Ringgit (MYR)
Drives on: Left side
Climate: Tropical equatorial
Plug type: C,G,M
Teh Tarik: sweet milk tea
Frehly squeezed tropical fruit juices (sweet)
Fruit milkshakes (tend to be sweetened with condensed milk)
Nasi Campur: various signature dishes put together on a tray
Nasi Lemak: triangle-shaped sticky rice pieces wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf
Laksa: rich tofu or seafood curry cooked in coconut milk
Roti Canai: a local flatbread
Satay: marinated and grilled meat on a skewer
Char Kway Teow: fried rice noodles with seafood in soy sauce
Bubur: rice porridge
Ketupat: dumpling wrapped in a leaf