Located in the heart of the Southeast Asia, Malaysia is divided into two main regions – Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. The former lies just south of Thailand while the latter consists of the island of Borneo which lies to the north of Indonesia. Although East Malaysia does occupy the larger portion of the country’s total land area, about 80% of the country’s population live in the peninsular region as the east region is made up mainly of undeveloped land and jungles. In fact, about sixty per cent of the entire country consists of rainforest, some of which is up to sixty million years old. And, as if the rainforest wasn’t reason enough to visit Malaysia, the country is also home to some of the world’s most impressive coral reefs, beaches, mountains, limestone formations and white-water rivers.
Another reason for the country’s popularity as a tourist destination is the extent of the cultural diversity within each of Malaysia’s thirteen states. The latest census carried out in the country revealed that the population currently stands at just under twenty million and is made up of over sixty different ethnic groups. And, the effects which the mass of different communities which reside in Malaysia have on the country can be seen throughout all regions of Malaysia in the language, cuisine, architecture, music, dance, religion and anything else which you care to think off that represents ethnic contrast.
Finally, the long and varied history which it has to contend with has also added greatly to its appeal. The region now known as Malaysia was first mentioned in Chinese records of the seventh and eighth centuries and between then and the fifteenth century it was under the influence of various Thai and Indonesian empires. At the beginning of the 16th century it became a centre of Islamic influence and culture, and one which the native Malays continue to take pride in. But, it wasn’t until 1511 that the first European settlers arrived in the form of the Portuguese, then the Dutch and the British finally made it in 1795. Malaysia didn’t actually achieve independence until 1957 and in the decades which have elapsed since this the country has developed considerably making it the perfect location for so many different types of holiday.