Are you planning on travelling to Malaysia anytime soon? Or are you even thinking about moving there on a permanent basis? If so, then you should probably brush up on your general knowledge of this Southeast Asian country. Luckily, we’ve got you covered on this front. Here’s everything you need to know about Malaysia:
Malaysia can be found in Southeast Asia. The country is actually made up of two separate regions: Peninsula Malaysia and the island of Borneo. The latter is known for its sprawling rainforest which is over 140 million years old and home to endangered species like the orangutan. Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia. Currently, over 1.73 million people live in the skyscraping metropolis. In 2019, Kuala Lumpur was rated the 6th most visited city in the world. The geography of the country is interesting; with the region spanning across mountain ranges, cave networks, and dense rainforests. Unfortunately, Malaysia is vulnerable to flooding and tsunamis because of its wet climate and position on the tectonic plates.
The economy of Malaysia is classified as the 4th largest in all Southeast Asia. In 2019, the country’s GDP was 364.7 billion USD. Malaysia currently has one of the most ‘open’ economies in the world. It readily accepts trade and investment opportunities, which has resulted in around 40% of the country’s jobs being linked to export activities. Malaysia has also significantly decreased the amount of poverty that used to be prevalent throughout the region. Some of its biggest industries include electronics, pharmaceuticals, petroleum production, and rubber and palm oil processing. The property market in Malaysia is also becoming increasingly attractive. From luxury apartments in Kuala Lumpur to plush Rumah kondo properties, newcomers to the country have plenty to choose from.
Malaysia has a tropical climate. The weather stays consistent all year round, so residents can enjoy warm temperatures that range from 20 degrees to 30 degrees. However, things quite literally aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. The climate in Malaysia is incredibly muggy, so if you don’t cope well with humidity, then this definitely isn’t the country for you. Rainfall is prolific and thunderstorms are common. The air feels thick and balmy. Though you might get soaking wet on a regular basis, at least you’ll never feel cold.
The history of Malaysia is rich and interesting. It was previously under British rule, before establishing itself as an independent nation in September 1963. In the region, evidence of human inhabitation dates back 40,000 years. Settlers from China and India arrived in the country around the first century AD, resulting in the country largely practicing Hinduism and Buddhism. One of the most significant historic events was the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, which was caused by Indonesia’s opposition to Malaysia becoming its own entity. The bulk of the fighting took place in the Bornean jungle until a peace treaty was officially settled in 1966.
We couldn’t talk about Malaysia without mentioning its bountiful and beautiful wildlife. Malaysia is classified as a megadiverse country because it is home to a massive number of endemic species. This is mainly thanks to its tropical climate. Biodiversity experts have estimated that there are around 361 mammal species, 694 bird species, 150 frog species, and 250 reptile species in the country. Some of these are endangered creatures. Most notably, Malaysia is inhabited by Bornean orangutans. As a result of its biodiversity, the country is a popular location for tourists – with its infamous caves, lush rainforests, and tropical waters being hotspots for flora, fauna, and visitors alike. Unfortunately, environmental issues are a significant point of concern in the country. The government is interested in preserving its biodiversity, but much of the economy also relies on logging and palm oil plantations. Illegal hunting and fishing have become major problems, too – threatening the country’s endemic species. Though countermeasures have been put in place by the government and residents are making a concerted effort, this remains one of the largest issues in Malaysia.
Malaysia is well-known for being one of the most multicultural countries in Southeast Asia. The population is a blend of Chinese, Indian, and native Malay people. This is reflected in the country’s architecture, which is an eclectic mix of different styles and influences. The most practiced religions in the country include Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Weaving, carving, and silversmithing are considered the traditional Malaysian arts. Once again, the country’s cuisine has been massively influenced by its diverse population. Its traditional dishes take inspiration from each culture within Malaysia. For example, Malay cooks may incorporate culinary styles from Chinese practice when recreating their own native dishes.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about Malaysia. This country is truly wonderful, boasting a multicultural population and megadiverse environment. If you are thinking about visiting or moving there any time soon, just make sure to prepare yourself for the humid climate!