The outstanding characteristic of Malaysia's population today is its highly varied ethnic mix, making it one of the prime examples of multiculturalism. Malaysia today is an interesting fusion of indigenous, Chinese & Indian people, cultures and customs. Malaysia is a nation of friendly, warm hearted people, which makes is a pure pleasure to travel there.
Malaysia consists of separated land masses, West Malaysia with the capital Kuala Lumpur and East Malaysia on the island of Borneo with the states of Sabah and Sarawak. Borneo is the third largest island on the planet; only about one quarter belongs to Malaysia. The other three quarters belong to the small Sultanate of Brunei and Indonesia.
Sabah, with its capital Kota Kinabalu and the islands of Sipadan, Mabul and Layang Layang is located in the far north of Borneo.
Malaysia has a mountainous centre with spectacular limestone outcrops. East Malaysia comprises the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah. In recent years, it is this wonderful environment that is driving the Malaysian tourism industry. To divers, it is the idyllic pearl-like drops of coral islands in the South China Sea off Sabah & Sarawak that are the great attractions.
Although Islam is the national religion, the Malaysian Constitution guarantees freedom of worship. Islam, Christianity, Hiduism, Buddhism, Taoism and Sikhism are the main religions in Malaysia, and there are many mosques, temples and churches throughout the country.
Perhaps the easiest way to begin to understand the highly complex cultural interaction of Malaysia is to look at the open door policy maintained during religious festivals. Although Malaysia's different cultural traditions are frequently maintained by seemingly self-contained ethnic communities, all of Malaysia's communities open their doors to members of other cultures during a religious festival--to tourists, as well as neighbours. Such inclusiveness is more than just a way to break down cultural barriers and foster understanding. It is a positive celebration of Malaysia's tradition of tolerance.
Things to do
Sabah offers diving and some other very interesting outdoor activities, in Kota Kinabalu, you can visit Mt Kinabalu the highest mountain in Southeast Asia and its national park.. In the Sandakan Sepilok River, with its intact rainforest jungle is worth a visit. The highlight is for sure the world's largest orang utan natonal park is highly recommended and is a must if you are in the area.