10 Fascinating Facts about Malaysia
Did you know that Malaysia has 3 main ethnic groups? Or that the stunning city of Kuala Lumpur has 560 different shopping malls? Deepen your knowledge on this beautiful country with 10 fascinating facts about Malaysia that will be sure to surprise you.
Local Food in Malaysia
Celebrations in Malaysia
City Life in Malaysia
Nightlife in Malaysia
Nature in Malaysia
Interesting things to know before you visit Malaysia
1. Bagged drinks
Who needs cups? If you grab a drink to-go, don’t be surprised if they come packed up in a trademark Malaysia 'take-out' style! In Malaysia, it is common practice for street food stalls and streetside restaurants, known to locals as 'mamaks', to throw your iced drink in a plastic bag, tie it up on one end and add a straw to poke out the other.
If you were wondering what kind of drinks these takeaway bags hold, some Malaysian favourites include:
- Milo ais (an iced chocolate drink)
- Lime water
- Teh tarik (Malaysian milk tea)
- Iced coffee
All great options to cool down from the all year long summer heat and a convenient option for a cooling refreshment on-the-go.
2. Mamak Street Food
Hawker food, commonly reffered to as 'mamaks', are a defining attribute of Malaysian street food culture. Nasi lemak, roti canai, char koay teow, mee goreng, beef rendang- these are only some of the must-try foods when you visit. Mamaks can be extremely hectic and local favourites are often continuously packed, especially on weekends; it could be that you have to wait long in the queue before it’s your turn to eat.
Jalan Alor is a very popular street in the KL food-scene. Just a stone throw away from the KL Petronas Towers, there is a whole street of Mamaks that sell seafood and hawker stalls. There are many fun things to see on this street, including a man selling Turkish ice cream doing prank tricks on passersby.
For local Indian food, go for lunch at a classic Indian Banana leaf, where your food is served on a big banana leaf instead of a plate. A banana lead rice meal includes an assortment of rice, curry, vegetables and side dishes. Feel free to eat with your hands!
Good to know: It is commmon etiquette to eat with the right hand. The left hand is considered unclean and should therefore be kept under the table during a meal.
3. National Holidays
Malaysia is famous for its multiracial population which consists of 3 main ethnic groups:
The greatest thing about a multicultural country is that everyone living in Malaysia needs to celebrate their own holiday! And boy do they celebrate. From Hari Raya to Diwali, to Christmas, Chinese New Year, Thaipusam, Easter and so on. You name it, and there is almost certainly have a public holiday for it. Not to mention, additional national holidays are thrown into the year like Malaysia Day, Sultan of Selangor’s birthday, Sultan of Perak’s birthday, Sultan of Kelantan’s birthday.
4. Hari Raya Buka Puasa
On the topic of celebrations, the most important celebration of all in Malaysia is Hari Raya, which is the day that signals the end of the Ramadan Holy month of fasting. On Hari Raya, there is Buka Puasa which has the literal translation of 'to break the fast'. Many Malaysians either host or go to open houses, which are events where families open their houses to relatives, friends and neighbors for a massive feast.
‘Massive’ doesn’t even begin to cover the spread of traditional Malay dishes and delicacies laid out on the table during this celebration.
5. Large-Scale Shopping Malls
Malaysia is known very well for its abundance of upscale shopping malls- in fact there are a total of 560 of them in the country! Big shopping malls may be the norm for countries in Asia or the Middle East, but the shopping experience in Malaysia is definitely unlike any European city.
These shopping malls are not only for buying clothes but also huge entertainment venues, many of which have...
6. Sky-Rise Everything
Kuala Lumpur is arguably one of the best cities to look at from above. The city takes advantage of its drop-dead gorgeous skyline with the many elevated viewpoints: rooftop bars, sky lounges and restaurants that can be up to 57 floors up. There’s even ‘Dinner in the Sky’, a dinner concept where you are strapped into seats on a dinner table, and hoisted up in the air by a crane. This city isn’t made for those who are weak hearted when it comes to heights. If you are lucky enough to be in Kuala Lumpur during new years eve, you can watch the entire sky light up with a magnificent firework display.
And for those who prefer nature over skyscrapers...
7. Pasar Malam Night Markets
The direct translation of Pasar Malam is 'night market'. Pasar Malams are a different kind of nightlife experience, especially for those who want to move away from the commercialized areas of the city and instead experience Malaysia from a truly local perspective.
As one would expect, this includes a long street of lined up stalls selling food and locally made products, such as textiles, handicrafts and a whole array of other items at a relatively cheap price… that is, if you’ve polished up on your skills for bargaining.
Speakeasy’s have been a big craze in the Kuala Lumpur nightlife scene in the last 10 years. For those who don’t know what a Speakeasy is, it is a type of bar that originated in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920-1933), when alcohol wasn’t allowed to be manufactured and sold. At the time, illegal drinking establishments, known as ‘speakeasies’, began to come on the rise, where people could enjoy their illegal beverages.
In Kuala Lumpur, there are plenty of these hidden bars tucked away in the most unexpected nooks, corners and crannies of the city.
9. Taman Negara Rainforest
At some point the bustle of city life gets too much and it isn’t uncommon to yearn for a retreat in nature. Thanks to the tropical climate, Malaysia is full of natural wondering, seeing as it is home to some of the most beautiful rainforests in the world.
Taman Negara National Park has one of the oldest rainforests in the world, dating back to 130 million years when dinosaurs were still alive. The thriving ecosystem of this natural reserve makes this the most popular walking trail in Malaysia. Hiking through the rainforest is very hot and wet, so bring a good pair of comfortable, waterproof hiking shoes, and don’t forget your mosquito repellent as you’ll need lots of it.
10. Mount Kinabalu
In the state of Sabah, near the city Kota Kinabalu, stands Mount Kinabalu: the highest mountain in South East Asia, a staggering 4,095 metres tall.
If you dare to take on the challenge of climbing this giant, you'll be surprised at the stunning views from above: a land-mass covered in dense Malaysian rainforest. Better yet, if you start hiking at the early hours of the morning, you'll be able to reach the summit just in time for sunrise.
Did these facts inspire you to plan a trip to see the exquisite culture that Malaysia offers?
If you want to discover this fascinating country, check and compare our great flight deals to Malaysia on CheapTickets.sg!
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