#Classified and protected sites
No less than thirty national parks have been identified throughout the country, but also four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Kinabalu Park, Gunung Mulu Park, Lenggong Valley and the historic cities of Malacca Strait, Melaka and Georgetown. So many sites open, at least partially, to the public that it would be a pity not to visit! While deforestation is a reality that should not be overlooked, it is also necessary to recognize the means implemented to protect local natural and cultural heritage.
A mosaic of cultures :
There is a tendency to think that Malaysia is the result of a melting pot. But if Malaysia has been a land of immigration for many centuries, the populations, with rare exceptions, have never mixed. The law is thus made: a non-Malaysian, if he wants to marry a Malaise, must first convert to Islam. Although the majority of the inhabitants remain of Malaysian origin, the mosaic has gradually opened up to Malaysians of Chinese and Indian origin, not to mention the first inhabitants of the region: the Orang Asli on the peninsula, the various indigenous tribes on the Borneo side and finally the Métis populations (Eurasians, Peranakan, etc.). A salad composed more than a melting pot, with a real national pride, which in the end is a richness for the country.
An exceptional gastronomy
With such a variety of crops, it goes without saying that the available kitchens are also exceptionally varied. In Malaysia, one thing is certain: you will always eat with great pleasure! We eat here at any time of the day or night, and local specialities cover both Malaysian cuisine classics and Chinese and Indian cuisine, as well as creations from Malaysia's mixed communities, such as the superb and tasty Nyonya cuisine. In Singapore, you will also have the chance to eat in exceptional restaurants, run by starred chefs such as Joël Robuchon in Sentosa.
A favourable climate
Malaysia can be visited all year round, despite its location at the crossroads of monsoons. The temperature remains approximately the same all year round, between 26 and 30°C, unless it rises in the altitude stations. The rain intensifies in violence and frequency during the monsoon season, but this should not discourage you: the east coast of the peninsula remains the most affected from November to February, but for the other regions, it is enough to be prepared and to be patient during a heavy rainfall. For the west coast, most of the rainfall is expected from May to September, but falls mostly intermittently.
With such a wealth of landscapes, Malaysia could only be a paradise for lovers of outdoor activities. From simple hiking to multi-day trekking, from summit climbing to scuba diving, from heavenly golf courses to simple idleness on a fine sandy beach, there is something for every taste and budget. Budding birdwatchers can test their knowledge during a jungle excursion, while the laziest can be pampered at the spa. In Singapore, the concentration of activities, particularly on the island of Sentosa, may even be unique in the world.
Festivities all year round
Malaysians are fortunate: they are granted days off for all the festivities specific to the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali... as many celebrations as you will be able to live from the inside in Malaysia, with their lots of prayers, processions and petarades. In addition to all these celebrations, there are also those of indigenous communities, such as the Gawai of the Dayak of Sarawak, but also important cultural festivals, such as the Borneo Rainforest Music Festival or the Georgetown Festival.
Borneo, a mythical island
Third largest island in the world after Greenland and New Guinea, Borneo is an island that has always aroused the imagination of adventurers at heart. Whether through the stories of Redmond O'Hanlon, the saga of the White Rajahs of Sarawak or anthropological studies on the island's indigenous peoples, there is much to discover about a world at the other end of the spectrum and to open our eyes to an exceptional... and threatened natural heritage. Borneo is one of the green lungs of our planet, we must protect it.
A crossroads of Southeast Asia
Malaysia is truly one of the crossroads of Asia, a strategic position long exploited on the spice route. Now that the era of global tourism and low-cost airlines has begun, it makes it possible to discover the surrounding countries without breaking the bank. At the end of the Malaysian peninsula, Singapore is an almost unavoidable stopover for those wishing to discover modern and globalised Asia. Between Sabah and Sarawak, the Sultanate of Brunei is a more relaxing stopover, but also more rooted in its traditions and endowed with a superb natural heritage. Two easily accessible destinations, not to be missed.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette