Despite having such a rich, far-reaching history, it seems most people still don’t know very much about Malaysia. Malaysia remains an undiscovered gem in Southeast Asia that definitely merits a visit for its beauty and culture. Here are some fun things to learn about this amazing and diverse country!
Malaysia is an incredibly diverse country both ethnically and religiously. The largest ethnic groups are Malay, Chinese, and Indian. The country’s most prominent religions are Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism.
Malaysia’s geography consists of Peninsular Malaysia in the west and the northern part of Borneo to the east. Borneo is shared with Indonesia and Brunei. The country also includes 878 islands in total, the most popular ones being Langkawi, Penang and the Perhentian Islands.
The history of Malaysia stretches back to prehistoric times, as the oldest trace of hominid life in Southeast Asia was discovered in Peninsular Malaysia.
In April, 2018 Malaysia shocked the world when the Alliance of Hope party democratically ousted the Barisan National party, the former ruling party of the government for the past 13 terms. This unprecedented election signaled Malaysian citizens’ widespread desire to remove corruption and install a fair, transparent government in its place.
Crazy Rich Asian stars Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding are both of Malaysian descent. Michelle Yeoh, one of the most famous Asian film stars in the world, is Malaysian Chinese and Henry Golding is British Malaysian.
The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the tallest towers in the world from 1998 to 2004 and now stand as the sixteenth tallest. They still remain the tallest twin towers in the world.
The Malay Peninsula along with Singapore was a British colony between the 18th and 20th centuries. During the Second World War, the Japan invaded British Malaya and occupied Malaysia until the end of the war.
Malaysia’s main agricultural exports are rubber, palm oil, and cocoa.
Malaysia’s national dish is Nasi Lemak: rice cooked in delicious coconut milk inside a pandan leaf that’s usually eaten for breakfast. It’s often served with a side of cucumber, boiled egg, crisp anchovies and spicy sambal.
World-renowned shoe designer, Jimmy Choo, is Malaysian. He was born in Penang to an entire family of shoemakers.
Photos: Nadia Cho