What is the unique product of Malaysia
Malaysia travel guide
In our Malaysia travel guide you will learn everything about the country's history, culture and cuisine.
Imagine the mesmerizing confluence of ancient Chinese, Indian and South Asian Islamic cultures combined with a touch of colonial influences. Our experts have traveled across Malaysia in search of unique experiences to bring you the history and cultural heritage of the country on your private tour.
Strategically located in the heart of the ancient Spice Route, the archipelago has magically attracted thousands of sailors, adventurers, conquerors and immigrants over the centuries - you could be next!
The history of Malaysia began nearly a million years ago when hunters and gatherers roamed the rainforests of Borneo and settled near ramified cave systems. Visit the heart of the tropical jungle where the famous skull of the “teenage girl” was discovered -the oldest found skull of a modern human.
The people of the Bronze and Iron Ages settled near the coast and are considered the ancestors of the Malaysian Malays. In the centuries that followed, the region's trading strength grew steadily, and the Srivijaya Empire controlled most of the coast.Hinduism and Buddhismstrongly influenced everyday life and culture. An Enchanting Travels trip to Kedah and Langkawi offers unique insights into the still traditional way of life in the region through visits to historical monuments, museums and religious shrines.
In the 14th century, the Sultanate of Malacca became the most important Islamic empire. Shortly afterwards, the Portuguese annexed the wealthy Malacca, but later lost it to the Netherlands. Our historical trips to Malacca offer incredible insights into thatUNESCO World Heritage Site: Visit medieval monuments, baroque architectural wonders, bustling night markets and colorful Chinatown.
In 1824 Malaysia was officially declared a British colonial area and accepted thousands of Indians and Chinese.
Make aprivate city tour of historic Penangto tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, where Cornwallis - the largest surviving stronghold owned by the British East India Company - tells stories of British colonialism and the military influences of that time. Explore this on a culture walkDiversity of Kuching, another UK trading port. Buildings from the era of the White Rajas line up next to golden mosques and Chinese temples. Also visit theRubber plantations of Malaysia. They were established during the colonial era and today account for around 46 percent of global rubber production.
After the Second World War and the nationalist movement, the Malaysia Federation was established in 1948. Today, Kuala Lumpur is an ideal example of thatharmonious connection of past and present. On your city tour, our knowledgeable local guides will lead you through the capital's lively streets, where different ethnic communities live side by side and colonial buildings stand next to old mosques and gigantic skyscrapers.
We tailor your vacation in Malaysia to your wishes in order to offer you fascinating insights into the beating heart of a rising nation that is rich in history, culture and natural wonders.
The best way to get to know the Malaysian culture as part of a tailor-made private trip with Enchanting Travels, which offers plenty of space for personal encounters. Thanks to the diverse influences of neighboring Asian countries and colonial powers, Malaysia offers an incredible variety of cultural impressions - from architecture to religion to cultural traditions. Thanks to our experienced local tour guides, we can tailor your Malaysia trip to perfectly suit your personal cultural interests.
People & Language in Malaysia
The inhabitants of Malaysia are like a mosaic of Chinese, Indian and ancient Malay influences. TheMalays make up the largest ethnic group. They maintain both Islamic and Malay traditions, their mother tongue being the original Milanese. TheMalaysian Chinesemake up about 25 percent of the population, with three main dialects of the Chinese language spoken: Hokkien, Cantonese, and Mandarin. TheMalaysian Indians, around ten percent of the population, are mostly descendants of the Tamil-speaking population of southern India who came to Malaysia during British colonial rule.
The traditional Malay residents speakBahasa Malaysia, a language with roots in Austronesian. Theindigenous people of Malay, also known as orang asli, is still found on the peninsula of Malaysia. It is divided into several different groups with their own languages and cultural traditions. Most of the major ethnic groups live in Sabah. This also includes the Kadazan Dusuns, who typically live as farmers in the hilly regions, the Bajaus, a seafaring community, and the Murut, who earn their living by hunting, fishing and agriculture.
Various ethnic groups live in Sarawak, such as the Dayaks, the Iban, the Bidayuh and the Orang Ulu. Penang residents traditionally live as nomads who move through the region's rainforest.
Religion & festivals
All major religious communities can be found in Malaysia, including Islam, Christianity, Hinudism and Buddhism. Most of the people belong to Islam. The Penang people long practiced animism, today many have converted to Islam or Christianity.
All major festivals like Ramadan, Eid, Chinese New Year, Diwali and Christmas are celebrated in Malaysia. There are also some Malay festivals such as Hari Raya Aidilfitr and Awal Muharram, as well as state festivals such as the Kaamatan Festival in Sabah and the Gawai Festival in Sarawak.
Town and the Sultan Abdul Samad building in Kuala Lumpur to be excellent examples ofBritish architecture to visit. In Melaka you can get thePortuguese influences of the 16th century and theDutch influences of the 17th century. You can find Chinese architecture in both Melaka and Penang: visit the manychinese temple and other traditional buildings that date back to the 17th century.
Because of the Islamic influence there are manymodern buildings decorated with wonderful Moorish design elements. There are beautiful mosques all over the country waiting to be explored by you. The indigenous communities in Sabah and Sarawak also have wonderful, traditional Malay architecture: the houses there were built on stilts to keep them cool and to protect them from flooding as well as possible. Some of the traditional buildings were built from wood without any nails, such as the old palace of Seri Menanti in Negeri Sembilan.
In some communities, people still live intraditional longhousesthat can accommodate 20 to 100 families. There are also water villages in Malaysia that are built along the banks and connected by bridges. Canoe and sampan are the most popular local modes of transport there.
Malaysia's booming handicraft industry is influenced by nature. In most regions you will find a huge selection ofCrafts made from ceramics, wood, bronze and brass. From traditional silver jewelry to headdresses from local indigenous groups, there is a wide selection available. The Orang Ulu group is particularly known for their artistic skills.Wood carvings, wall paintings, pearl jewelry and sculptures are among their specialties. In addition, hand-woven fabrics made from the fibers of local plants and traditional textiles such as batik (dyed) and songket (woven with gold thread) are offered - the products are processed in a variety of ways, from colorful household goods to designer clothing.
Music & dance
Our private Malaysia tours give you endless possibilities thatdiverse music and the dances of the country to get to know. We particularly recommend the two traditional orchestras Gamelan and Nobat. Malaysia also has some exciting instruments: listen to the sounds of Rebana Uni, Kompang (similar to a tambourine) and Sape, a traditional flute.
Well-known music and dances from Malaysia:
- Datun Julud: Hornbill dance danced by women from the Kenyah community in Sarawak.
- Joget: Traditional, lively dance at a fast pace.
- Kuda Kepang: Traditional dance from Indonesia.
- Lion dance / dragon dance: energetic dance to greet the Chinese New Year.
- Bharata Natyam / Bhangra: Traditional Indian classical and folk dances.
- Mak Yong: Theatrical dance influenced by Thailand, intended to entertain the ladies at court.
- Silat: Malay Martial Arts.
- Sumazau: Traditional dance of the Kadazan community from Sabah.
- Tarian Lilin: Delicate dance by women balancing candles.
- Zapin: Devout Islamic chant.
Top Travel Tips for Malaysia - Culture:
- Greeting: Malaysian women do not shake hands with men, only other women. Malaysian Chinese, on the other hand, gently shake hands for a long time in greeting. It is generally considered polite to greet the elderly in a family first.
- Gifts: If you have an invitation home, bring chocolates or pastries. On the other hand, avoid alcohol, flowers, leather products, and toy dogs or pigs for children. Always use your right hand or both hands to give gifts and do not expect the gift to be opened in front of you. The Malaysian Chinese may refuse gifts before accepting them.
- Communication: Non-verbal communication is an important part of Malaysian culture. You should always look for non-verbal gestures, which can be very subtle at times. Silence is important, so always take breaks before answering questions. If your host is laughing in an inappropriate place, it may be because they are restless. Always stay calm and polite. Avoid direct confrontation, which is considered very unkind.
- Dress code: Western clothing is accepted and very popular in Malaysian culture. There are no rules that you have to follow. In order to behave respectfully, however, it is advisable to refrain from revealing clothing in rural and traditional regions.
- Tip: Tipping is not a mandatory gesture in Malaysia. But if you want to say thank you for a good service, it is very welcome. Most restaurants, cafes, and bars add a ten percent service charge to your bill, but extra tips are appropriate for excellent service.
Malaysia is an ideal travel destination for lovers of good food. From seafood in the coastal regions including Kota Kinabalu, Penang and Langkawi, to a street food paradise in Kuala Lumpur and Kuching, you will be amazed by the breathtaking culinary variety the country has to offer. Enjoy culinary adventures according to your personal wishes on your private Malaysia tour!
Thanks to Malaysia's cultural diversity, you can count on onevaried cuisine looking forward. Enjoy the unique mixture of the cuisines of Indonesia and Malaysia up to the colonial powers Portugal, Holland and Great Britain. Malaysia has a similar history to Singapore, which is why the cuisines of the two regions are similar.
One of the staples of most Malaysian meals is oneShrimp paste (known as balacan), which contains garlic and ginger.Chili peppers, including the hot Bird's Eye chilli, add a lot of flavor to dishes. Alsococonut is used in a wide variety of forms - from coconut oil to refreshing coconut milk. Enjoy the wonderful taste ofSoy sauce, lemongrass, tamarind, turmeric and pandan leaves (Asia's answer to vanilla). Fish and dried seafood provide additional taste experiences, while candle nuts (similar to macadamia nuts) are responsible for the crisp factor.
Most meat in Malaysia is prepared according to Halal standards because of the widespread and official religion of Islam. In addition, tofu can be found in many dishes.However, the focus of every meal is ricewhich is paired and fried with a huge variety of vegetables grown across the country.
fruit are especially popular as a dessert. Enjoy fresh strawberries that grow in the Cameron Highlands and other parts of Sabah, or try the remarkable durian fruit, which comes in a variety of colors. Are equally widespreadpickled fruitsto try in Kuala Lumpur or Penang during your private street food tour with Enchanting Travels.
In the east of the otherwise predominantly Muslim country istraditional liqueur made from rice very popular.
Why not try a few in Malaysiatypical and popular dishes?
- Air bandung: Chilled, rose-colored milk drink, made with rose syrup and very refreshing.
- Ambuyat / linut: sago starch dipped in soup, sampal or other sauces, especially by the communities in eastern Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak).
- Ayam goreng: Deliciously marinated and fried chicken.
- Bao / pau: Chinese-influenced bun made from stapled wheat, served with a sweet or savory filling such as lotus seed paste, custard, chicken, and pork. Especially found on the night markets.
- Congee / bubur: Rich porridge that comes from the indigenous communities of Malaysia and is even on the menu of McDonalds restaurants in the country!
- Edible seaweed: Part of many dishes in eastern Malaysia.
- Fish head curry: Thick and spicy curry influenced by South India with a braised fish head and vegetables.
- Gulai: Typical Malay curry meat with vegetable stew.
- Ikan bakr: Translated as “burnt fish”, it is usually grilled fish, marinated in a chilli sauce, served with a becalan dip and a large platter to share.
- Ketupat: Delicious Malaysian dumplings made by placing palm leaves around rice. Can be dipped in curry or rendang and is often served with satay. Popular at festivals.
- Kuih: Chinese-inspired appetizers that come close to pastries or sweets and are particularly popular at afternoon teas and festive occasions.
- Laksa Laksam / Lasang: Thick flat rice noodle rolls, served with rich white fish in mint, coconut milk and an aromatic sauce. Asam Laksa is the traditional dish in Penang.
- Mee rebus: A dish with egg noodles inspired by China and Java. Seasoned with a spicy and aromatic sauce made from lemongrass and ginger, and often served with shrimp, mutton or dried anchovies as well as sprouts and boiled eggs.
- Nasi Lemak: The national dish of Malaysia. Rice steamed with coconut milk and pandan leaves, often served as a breakfast dish with sembal (a type of chilli sauce).
- Rendang: Indonesian influenced, spicy meat stew (often buffalo, beef or chicken) with coconut milk.
- Rojak: Salad made from fruits and vegetables with Belacan (shrimp paste) and roasted peanuts. Especially popular in Penang.
- Roti canai / roti kosong: Indian-influenced, flaky, thin and unleavened bread, served with egg (Telur), onions (Bawang) or banana (Pisang).
- Satay / sate: Marinated meat (chicken or beef), skewered on wooden sticks and cooked on the charcoal grill. Served with a spicy peanut sauce.
Top travel tips Malaysia - cuisine:
- MostStarters and main courses are served at the same time. Also are Buffets Widely used in Malaysia at a fixed price. Enjoy the famous Nasi Campur or Nasi Ambang (shared plate), especially at one of the mamak stands that are open around the clock.
- If adventure is your thing, try one of themwild edible ferns such as Pucuk paku pakis. The indigenous peoples of Sarawak have complemented their meals with the ferns for centuries!
- Visit oneKopitiam, a traditional cafe, and try the tarki, a frothy tea sweetened with condensed milk. A unique, authentic Malay taste experience!
We look forward to designing your luxury individual trip to Malaysia according to your wishes!
Your free Malaysia travel guide
The charming difference: when you book a trip with us, you will receive a Malaysia travel guide with lots of exclusive information for free. You will find many exciting videos on the subject of travel on our YouTube page.
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