Getting Arround Malaysia

BUSES - Fares depending on the h destination and whether the bus is air conditioned or not. Always flag for buses and carry small change. Keep your ticket in case the Ticket Inspector asks for it. Buses may not always adhere to the schedule but most of them run frequently between 9am to 6pm. The last run is between 11pm and midnight. RAILWAY In Malaysia, all tracks lead to Lumpur. Two main railway lines operate for passenger service. One runs along the west coast from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth and meets The Thai railways at the border¬ the other lines travel up to the northeast part of the peninsular near Kota Bahru, also meeting up with the Thai Railway. The Malayan Railway or Kereta api Tanah Melayu (KTM) offers two types of passenger services: Express ( air conditioned first and second class; luxury coaches and nigh berths) and economy class ( non-air-conditioned). The KTM visit Malaysia Rail pass for tourist (excluding Singaporeans) offers unlimited travel on any passenger train by KTM (not valid for travel on the state railway of Thailand). Passports are required when purchasing the Rail pass or making reservations. CAR RENTAL - Several car rental agencies offer self drive cars for hire if you possess a valid international driving licence. Keep a Kuala Lumpur road map on hand and fasten your seat bed (which is compulsory for passengers). One word of caution the speed limit in town is 50km per hour always keep to the left side of the road if you are going slowly.

GETTING TO MALAYSIA

BY AIR

Most visitors arrive by air at one of the six international airports in Malaysia. The main gateway is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang in the state of Selangor. The rest of the country, including Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan in East Malaysia, is well serviced by 14 domestic airports and airstrips.

KUALA LUMPUR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Incorporated into the airport's design is an automated shuttle system which links the satellite building, where passengers disembark, to the airport terminal building, where immigration and customs clearances take place. With a connection time of a mere two minutes, this fully automated baggage and passenger clearance system is especially efficient. Within the airport terminal building, there are rest, recreation, dining, and duty-free shopping facilities. The fitness centre at the Hotel Airside Transit even comes with a well-equipped gym, steam room and sauna. Just a mere 5-minute walk from the airport is the luxurious 5-star Pan Pacific Hotel. From KLIA, KL is a short 28-minute journey away on the comfortable KLIA Express, a high-speed rail service. By road, visitors may travel via the ELITE highway or the North-South Expressway. The North-South Expressway also links the main towns on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Car rental, bus, coach, taxi, limousine and rail services into Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring towns are widely available at the airport.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO AND FROM KUALA LUMPUR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KLIA)

Various modes of public transportation are available to and from KLIA , they are:
  • Express coach City (KL City)
    • Route: KLIA to / from Hotels in KL via Hentian Duta Bus Terminal and vice-versa
    • Frequency: 30 minutes interval
    • Traveling time: 1 hour
    • First Service: 5.30 am
    • Last Service: 22.30pm
    • More detail information please visit http://www.klia.com.my
  • KLIA Express Train
    • Route: Departs KLIA and KL CAT
    • Frequency: The trains depart every 30 minutes
    • Traveling time: 28 minutes - non stop
    • First Service: 5.00 am
    • Last Service: 24.00pm
* There are off-peak periods, during which the trains depart every 20 minutes. The off-peak periods are from 0900 hrs to 1600 hrs and from 2200 hrs until midnight. At all other times, the trains continue to depart every 15 minutes.

LIMOUSINE (Airport Limo)

TWO levels of LIMOUSINE taxi service are provided at KLIA , Premier Service and Budget Service. This is a Pre paid service and coupon can be purchase at the airport limousine counter located after the customs check points in the Arrival Concourse of the Main Terminal Building Fares arid routes are based on a zoning system and vary according to the type of service used. International class hotels are located within walking distance from the terminal building. KLIA is located about 50km from the city of Kuala Lumpur.

BY SEA

Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia are easily accessible via sea ports. Located just outside the capital city of Kuala Lumpur (KL) on the west coast of the Peninsular, Port Klang is Malaysia’s largest modern sea port. With excellent harbourage, it is also a major shipping and cargo terminal. Other major sea ports are located on the islands of Penang and Langkawi, in the north of the Peninsular; at Johor to the south; at Kuantan on the East Coast; and at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

Westport on Pulau Indah

Already serviced by North Port and South Port, Port Klang is now serviced by the new international harbour city – Westport located on the island of Pulau Indah. A free trade zone, Pulau Indah is currently being developed as an industrial, commercial, residential, recreational and tourism hub with a marina and resorts. Stretching over 11km, with a natural depth of 14-18 metres, Westport is designed to be a high-tech regional port. It has a container terminal, large warehouse area and commercial centre. Star Cruise Terminal - the largest cruise ship terminal in the Asia-Pacific region – is also situated here. Star Cruise is a major international leisure cruise line that calls at Penang, Port Klang, Malacca and Langkawi. FerryLink operates a vehicular ferry service from Changi Point in Singapore to Tanjung Belungkor on the southern coastline of the Peninsular. Tanjung Belungkor is the gateway to the popular beach resort of Desaru. There are four daily trips on weekdays and eight daily trips on weekends.

BY ROAD AND RAIL

Located 48km north of Alor Star in the northern state of Kedah, Bukit Kayu Hitam is the main entry point into Malaysia for visitors from Thailand. The North-South Expressway links Bukit Kayu Hitam to Kuala Lumpur – 490km away. Near the Malaysian immigration and customs post are restaurants, shops, car parks and a duty-free shopping complex. Situated on the main rail route with a daily train service from Bangkok, Padang Besar – in Malaysia's northernmost state of Perlis – is another entry point. Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) or Malayan Railway provides an international express from Butterworth to Haadyai in Thailand, and regular services from Padang Besar to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur. The exclusive Eastern and Oriental Express also romances the route from Bangkok to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur. Covering the entire length of the Peninsular – over 2,000 km, this two-day journey has frequent stops at scenic locations. For visitors entering from the Singapore, Johor Bahru is the main southern entry point. The North-South Expressway links Johor Bahru with Kuala Lumpur – 220km to the north. A rail and road causeway connects Johor Bahru to Singapore. Immigration and customs checkpoints are based at the entrance to the Causeway. A second bridge links Tanjung Kupang – 30km south-west of Johor Bahru – to Tuas in Singapore.

Malaysia Fast Fact

Country : The Federation of Malaysia comprises Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Geographical Location : Located between 2º and 7º north of the Equator, Peninsular Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsular Malaysia is Thailand while its southern neighbour is Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are bounded by Indonesia while Sarawak also shares a border with Brunei. Area : 329,758 sq km - Population : 25 million - Capital : Kuala Lumpur People : Malays who make up about 57% of the population are the predominant group with Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups making up the rest. Language : Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language but English is widely spoken. The ethnic groups also speak various languages and dialects. Government : Parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system. The Head of State is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and the Head of Government is the Prime Minister. Climate : Tropical climate with warm weather all year round. Temperatures range from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF). Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.

Places Of Interest

Malaysia is attractions for anyone who appreciates the natural world. Its primal forests, ranging from shoreline mangrove to mountain top, natural trees and forests cover almost three quarters of the land, an area equivalent to almost the entire United Kingdom. One can walk for hundreds of miles in Malaysia under a continuous canopy of green, marveling at an abundance of plant and animal species equaled by no other location in the entire world. A single island like Langkawi for example, contain more than 200 different species of butterflies, a stunning degree of variety that pales, however, in comparison to the profusion and diversity of trees, flowers, birds, and insects. Malaysia's forests are also home to Southeast Asia's highest peak, as well as to the world's most extensive and capacious natural caverns. It has for tens of thousands of years been the home of nomadic forest peoples, and ancient civilizations have flourished as well as disappeared in its vastness. Legends abound, and archaeologists have only just begun their efforts here. Equally exciting discoveries are now being made by genetic biologists, who have begun searching the wealth of life in Malaysia's forests for new medicines with which to combat AIDS, cancer, and many other illnesses. And that is only the forest. Malaysia's offshore islands are of legendary beauty. For millenia, Pulau Langkawi and Pulau Tioman have been sought-after havens of peace from the turbulent outside world, a tradition that is evidenced today by their international status as holiday destinations. A mountainous place with lush tropical rainforests, Visit Mount Kinabalu (4,101 metres), popular with climbers, orchid lovers, bird and butterfly watchers. Near the National Park headquarters is Poring Hot Spring, a refreshing refuge to visitors. Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, is a riverine town with beautifully landscaped parks and gardens, historic buildings, colourful markets and an interesting waterfront. Terengganu has many natural delights. Witness giant leatherback turtles lay their eggs at Rantau Abang between May and September each year. Those who love the sun, sea and sand can visit Tanjung Jam whose resort is designed after an old many palace. Discover adventure unlimited at one of the world's oldest tropical rainforests, Taman Negara in Pahang. For a rejuvenating experience, stay at one of Fraser's Hill's bungalows or hotels and wake up every morning to fresh cool air. Asia's first Club Mad in Cherating, Pahang is also a great draw. Visitors who want both the relaxing surroundings of a hill resort and the excitement of city life will like Genting Highlands, the only place in Malaysia where gambling is legal. There is also an amusement park for a day of fun rides and more. In order to safeguard its precious natural heritage, Malaysia has set aside many areas as parks and wildlife reserves. Together with natural forest management, conservation of wildlife, birds and marine life, nature reserves have been established through a network of protected areas. Almost one and a half million hectares of conservation areas are protected by legislation. Malaysia has much to offer the traveler, Visit Kuala Lumpur the 'Garden City of Lights, and shop till you drop at its many modern shopping complexes or colorful bazaars at Chinatown and Central Market. Malacca is the oldest town in Malaysia. One of its main attractions is the A' Famosa Resort Hotel located along the North South Highway. This holiday getaway offers luxurious bungalows fully equipped with modern amenities and private swimming pool, golf course, water theme park and equestrian club. For food lovers, a trip to Penang is a must! There are many stalls selling local delicacies. You can reach Penang via the Penang Bridge. While there, visit the Snake Temple or take the funicular train up Penang Hill for a panoramic view of the island. Langkawi boasts of beautiful beaches and interesting legends. There is the Mahsuri's Tomb which has a tragic tale behind it, the Beach of Black Sand, The Lake of the Pregnant Maiden and more.

About Malaysia

Even the most jaded visitors will appreciate something from all that we have to offer – from the most luxurious to the most rustic, from the most modern to the most traditional. These characteristics make up Malaysia and its people who are proud to be called Malaysians. Welcome, or Selamat Datang!

States in Malaysia

Malaysia is divided into 13 states: 11 in Peninsular/West Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia. The Peninsula is sandwiched between Thailand up north and Singapore in the south, and is a close neighbor to Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei. Malaysia’s capital city is the hip and happening Kuala Lumpur. A far cry from its muddy estuary history, KL (as it is commonly known) is a picture of modernity intertwined with a colourful past – the latter frozen in time mainly through many colonial-era architectural structures. A classic example is the gleaming and soaring Petronas Twin Towers – the world’s tallest towers – against perhaps the city’s second most recognisable structures, the Moorish inspired Sultan Abdul Samad courthouse buildings and the old railway station. South of KL is the country’s administrative capital Putrajaya with buildings that boast modern architectural designs infused with distinct Malaysian and Islamic cultural nuances. It plays host to government ministries, public housing, gardens, lakes and a host of other attractions. It is also a neighbour of the intelligent Cyberjaya, Malaysia’s very own Silicon Valley and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) – locales that form the propeller of Malaysia’s 21st century evolution, the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC).

Geography

Malaysia lies seven degrees north of the Equator. Peninsular Malaysia is flanked by South China Sea in the east and the historic Straits of Malacca in the west, while East Malaysia is surrounded by South China Sea to the west and north and Sulu Sea in the northeast. Geographically, the east is made up of narrow coastal plains that rise up to hills and mountains, while the west is wide and fertile. West Malaysia is also suffused with mountain ranges such as Banjaran Titiwangsa, which runs along the north-south spine of Peninsular Malaysia. Undulating landscapes comprising mountains, rough terrain and rain forest mark East Malaysia’s Sabah and Sarawak, approximately 650km from the Peninsula. As part of the ecologically rich Borneo, these two states are home to some of the world’s most indigenous human, animal and plant groups. Indeed, no visit to Malaysia would be complete without exploring and learning about these groups and indulging in activities such as cave exploring, visiting Orang Utan primate sanctuaries and bird watching.

Climate: Fun, Rain or Shine!

Spanning approximately 330,000 sq km, the country is the epitome of the tropics. Temperatures average between 21° and 27°C. Strongly influenced by the Northeast and Southwest monsoons, the period between late April and late September is usually the driest. The rainy season usually arrives around October and November and can last till February, especially on the east coast and East Malaysia. However, rain or shine, these weather conditions are relatively docile and would hardly spoil the fun to be had. Nonetheless, just have an umbrella handy. Otherwise, all you need is lots of suntan lotion if you intend to spend most of your time outdoors. Happy trails!

History: A Page from the Past

Malaysia’s historical highlight is the establishment of the Melaka Sultanate in the 13th century. A major port-of-call for traders from the east and west, the state’s strategic location along the bustling Straits of Malacca so intrigued the Chinese, Arabs and Indians that they soon made the port their new point of trade. Even then, the channel was the most ideal location because it was sheltered from strong monsoon winds and could be used all-year round. In retrospect, the strong trading links with China and India hark back to the first century, BC. Although the earliest known pioneers were the indigenous Orang Asli, early Hindu and Buddhist influences is evident through historical and archaeological findings that are now housed in various museums around the country. They can also be traced to temple sites like Bujang Valley and the Merbok Estuary in northern Malaysia. Like many Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia had its fair share of conquerors and occupiers throughout its history up to the late 1950s. As early as 1511, the Portuguese – acutely aware of the potential of the Straits of Malacca – sailed into its harbour and were the first to forcibly conquer the land. Their strong influence is evident to this day, as is the Dutch and English effect almost throughout the country. As the longest rulers, the British consolidated the Malay states in the Peninsula as well as Sabah and Sarawak as the Straits Settlement. After World War II and at the end of the Japanese Occupation in the 1940s, there was a resurgence of Malayan nationalism, and this eventually led to the declaration of Independence from the British Empire in 1957.

The People: The Intricate Malaysian Fabric

Malaysia’s peaceful multi-racial and multi-cultural society is not a dream but a living reality. Malaysians truly live together with acceptance and deference toward each other’s religious background and cultural composition. The Malays, who form the majority of the population, lead this unique makeup. The second and third largest groups are the Chinese and South Indians respectively. Malaysia also comprises numerous other minority groups such as the Eurasians, North Indians, Sikhs, Peranakans (Straits Chinese) and the Portuguese in West Malaysia, and indigenous groups like the Bidayuh, Iban, Kadazan, Dayak and Melanau in East Malaysia. Indeed, Malaysians are not only renowned for their hospitality towards tourists but also towards one another. The major religious and cultural celebrations continue to bring about a closeness no other multi-racial country has been able to emulate successfully. Major festivals celebrated are Hari Raya among the Muslims; Chinese New Year by the Chinese; Deepavali or the Festival of Lights by the Hindus and Christmas by the Christians. What makes these celebrations all the more unique are traditions like ‘open houses’ where friends and neighbours of different ethnicities are invited to each other’s homes to make the celebration all the more meaningful.

Religion and Language: A Unique Spectrum

Islamisation took place in the country as early as the 1400s, thanks in part to the influence of the Arabs and Indian Muslims during the periods they made their way here. Notwithstanding Islam as Malaysia’s official religion, the Constitution guarantees the free practice of religion. The myriad places of worship bear testament to this and it is not uncommon to come across a grand mosque, a Buddhist temple, an Indian temple or a church in the same vicinity. Although the official language is Bahasa Malaysia (the Malay language), English is widely taught, spoken and written in Malaysia. You need not worry about reading signs or instructions, ordering something from a menu or simply communicating with a local. In addition, many Malaysians are either bi- or tri-lingual. The most common tongues are the Malay language, Cantonese, Mandarin, Foochow, Hakka, Hokkien or Teochew among the Chinese and Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi or Hindi among the Indians.

The Government: Democracy in Action

Malaysia practices a constitutional monarchy system, which is headed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (His Majesty the King). The King is selected among nine hereditary Malay rulers who each head their own royal state in Peninsular Malaysia. A new King is selected every five years during the Conference of Rulers, and he symbolically rules over the country during his tenure. Malaysia practices a parliamentary democracy headed by a Prime Minister and his cabinet, currently led by the country’s fifth premier, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The Prime Minister is traditionally elected from among members of the House of Representatives, and is essentially the leader of the political party that wins the majority of seats in the general election. Like the selection process for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a general election is held every four to five years. The Prime Minister and his cabinet of ministers, made up of individuals representing the ruling coalition called Barisan Nasional, or the National Front, governs the country. .

The Economy: Bright and Buoyant

Although still a major player in the agricultural sector with rubber and palm oil cultivation, Malaysia has made considerable strides in the manufacturing and services sectors as well – mainly through the production and export of electronic products and tourism. The country’s major trading partners are Singapore, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. Malaysia weathered its worst economic recession in the late 1990s only to recover stronger than any other Southeast Asian nation, thanks in part to the efficient policies that were put into motion by the government almost as soon as the downturn hit the region. One controversial but effective policy was the pegging of the Malaysian currency Ringgit Malaysia (RM) against the greenback. Fixed at RM3.80 against US$1, the government intends to maintain the peg indefinitely.

Education: A Proficient Population

Malaysia’s education system is divided into six years of primary, five or six years of secondary and tertiary levels. Children enrol in Primary One at the age of seven and join secondary school at 13. The medium of instruction is mostly in Bahasa Malaysia except for mathematics and science, which are taught in English. Indeed, proficiency in English has been given greater emphasis in recent years. Other than their mother tongue and the national language, Malaysians are actively encouraged to read, write and speak English from a very young age. Tertiary education is important to Malaysia’s future growth and there is no shortage of local and foreign colleges and universities scattered across the country. From pre-university to diploma to degree courses, Malaysia has carved a name for itself as a formidable education destination among foreign students as well. A number of these prestigious foreign institutions offer full-time local and twinning programmes. Among the most established local institutes of higher learning are University Malaya (UM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia).