Kuala Lumpur. Population: 1.8 million (2007 estimate).
Constitutional monarchy since 1963. Gained independence from the UK in 1957.
Head of state:
Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin since 2006.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak since 2009.
220-240 volts AC, 50Hz. Square three-pin plugs are generally used.
Reefs and rainforests, mountains and minarets, skycrapers and sampans; Malaysia more than lives up to its official slogan ‘truly Asia’.
One of the great cultural melting pots, Malaysia is a nation where Chinese joss-houses, Hindu temples and gold-domed Malay mosques jostle for space with bustling markets and towering skyscrapers. Away from the cities, untamed nature awaits, in the form of jungles dripping with rare and exotic species and coral reefs teeming with turtles, sharks and rainbow-coloured tropical fish.
Malaysia offers two countries for the price of one – Peninsular Malaysia, bordering Thailand at the southern end of the Malay peninsula, and East Malaysia, the northern half of the island of Borneo, which pushes up against Indonesia and Brunei. The peninsula is where people come for bustling cities and colonial history, but the states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo are the gateway to a mysterious world of coral islands and lush rainforests inhabited by isolated indigenous tribes.