Overland Journeys: Malay Peninsula

MelakaKuala LumpurSemenggoh Orangutan CentreBatang AiKota KinabaluMount KinabaluSepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

There are two distinct parts to Malaysia. The peninsula offers historical colonial towns, Taman Negara National Park and the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur. But it's the island of Borneo that is Malaysia's prime destination. Although depleted by the advance of palm oil plantations, Borneo's rainforest offers some fascinating wildlife viewing opportunities, in particular orangutans, the only great ape found outside Africa, though you're more likely to see them in the rehabilitation centres of Sepilok and Semenggoh. Trips into the deep pristine Borneo rainforest are some of the most remote travelling experiences in the world, with fascinating cultural interactions with tribal groups like the Iban. Borneo also offers a demanding but accessible trekking challenge in climbing Mount Kinabalu, at 4,095 metres the highest mountain in southeast Asia. Explore in depth highlights of Malaysia.

Travel Information for Malaysia
Time zone:GMT +8 (Malaysia standard time) Daylight savings:    None
Main languages:Malay
Other languages:Iban, Thai, Panjabi, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Mandarin Chinese, English, Kadazan
Currency: ringgits (MYR)

1 = RM4.56, $1 = RM0.00, £1 = RM5.44

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.myInternational Dialling Code:    60

For help planning your trip to Malaysia including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Malaysia trip planning page.

Further information on Malaysia

Discover more about Malaysia - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of malaysia

Total area: 329,750 sq km (1,200 sq km under water)

Coastline: 4,675 km (South China Sea)

Neighbours (border lengths): Brunei (381km), Indonesia (1,782km), Thailand (506km)

Climate: Tropical climate with annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons. Rainy season on Borneo is between May and December.

Highest mountain: Gunung Kinabalu (4,100m) - Climb this mountain!

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Malaysia from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldPartly Free -
Democracy IndexFlawed democracy 65/167
Economic FreedomMostly Free 31/179
Press FreedomDifficult situation 145/179
ILGA LGBT rightsNo rights -
Corruption PerceptionsLow corruption 50/174
Overall Ranking:    108/195

Other Data & Links

Status: Independent Country

Population: 30,073,353 (rank: 43/196)     Density: 91.2 people/sq km (rank: 89/196)

Ethnic groups: Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8% (2004 est.)

Religions: Muslim 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%, other or unknown 1.5%, none 0.8% (2000 census)

GDP (PPP): $525 billion       GDP per capita: $17,500 (rank: 61/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.