Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country that occupies parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It is known for its beaches, rainforests, and a mix of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and European cultural influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, is home to colonial buildings, bustling business districts like Bukit Bintang, and skyscrapers like the iconic 451-meter-high Petronas Twin Towers.
One of Malaysia’s oldest names, Aurea Chersonesus, means “peninsula of gold.”
Malaysia follows a unique rotating monarchy system, according to which nine ethnic Malay state rulers take turns to become the king for a term of five years.
The name Malaysia may derive from the word Melayu, or Malay, that could come from the Sungai Melayu (Melayu River) in Sumatra.
The national currency of Malaysia, Ringgit means ‘jagged’ in the Malay language; and refers to the serrated edges of the Spanish silver dollars that were used in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Malaysia is the only country that includes territory both on the mainland of Southeast Asia and in the islands that stretch between the Asian continental mass and Oceania.
Till 2004, the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur, standing 1,483 feet high with 88 storeys, was the tallest building in the world. Till date, the Petronas Towers are the tallest twin buildings in the world and are joined by a sky bridge at levels 41 and 42, which are 558 feet off the ground.
Malaysia’s Kuala Kangsar district office is the home of the last surviving rubber tree from the original batch brought by Englishman H.N. Ridley from London’s Kew Gardens in 1877.
The highest point in Malaysia is Mount Kinabulu, on Borneo Island, at the height of 13,435 feet. UNESCO has even recognized this peak to be a World Heritage Site.
Malaysia has 40,934 miles (65,877 km) of highway. This is more than Earth’s circumference of 24,901 miles (40,075 km).
Malaysia is home to four UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites, including the Gunung Mulu National Park, the Kinabalu Park, the significant cities of Melaka and George Town, and the Lenggong Valley, which is an important archaeological heritage site.
The biggest roundabout in the world is located at Putrajaya in Malaysia. It is 2.2 miles (3.5 km) in diameter.
The largest cave chamber in the world, the Sarawak Cave Chamber, is located in Gunung Mulu National Park on the Borneo Island.
The largest undivided leaf in the world, Alocasia macrorrhiza, comes from the Malaysian state of Sabah. A specimen found in 1966 measured 9.9 feet (3.02 m) long by 6.3 (1.92 m) wide.
In terms of land area, Malaysia covers roughly the same size as New Mexico.
The Japanese invaded Malaysia on December 6, 1941, the same day they bombed Pearl Harbor.
Malaysia is the only country in the world to include territory on the mainland of Southeast Asia as well as on the islands that stretch between Asia and Oceania.
Found in 1991, Perak Man is the oldest (about 11,000 years old) and the only complete human skeleton to be found in Peninsular Malaysia.
Borneo is the third-largest island in the whole world, after Greenland and New Guinea. The island is shared by three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia and the Independent Sultanate of Brunei.
Seventeen-year-old Kok Shoo Yin became the first Malaysia citizen certificate holder when he received his official documentation on November 14, 1957.
Penang, or Georgetown as it is often called, is the food capital of the country.
One of the indigenous fruits found in Malaysia is the pomelo (Citrus maxima), which is the largest citrus fruit in the world.
The Malaysian state of Kelantan ordered in 1997 that lights would no longer be switched off in movie cinemas, to prevent people from cuddling and kissing.
Malaysia is reported to have more than 1,000 species of plants that have medicinal properties that are used for treating ailments from headaches to malaria and cholera.
The Bingator trees, which are found only on Sarawak, are believed to have properties that can actually cure AIDS.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has recorded 200 rainy days in a year. The city of Kuching in Sarawak holds the unenviable record of rainy days in a year with 253.
Malaysia is the third-largest natural rubber producer in the world and the world’s largest supplier of rubber gloves.
In August 1997, a model of the Malaysian flag was completed out of 10,430 floppy disks.
Malaysia is home to one of the world’s largest populations of king cobras.
Caning is a common punishment under Malaysian law. The maximum number of strokes that can be ordered is 24. Women can never be caned, nor can boys under the age of 10 or men over 50, except for rape.
Malaysia is home to one of the tallest tropical trees of the world, the Tualang, which has a base diameter of over 10 feet and grows up to 262 feet in height.
Malaysia’s national dish is Nasi lemak, a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk, often served wrapped in a banana leaf, and usually eaten for breakfast.
Pomelo, the most abundant citrus fruit in the world, is an indigenous fruit from Malaysia.
Malaysia is the only place in the world where the war against Communism was won. The 12-year guerrilla warfare conducted by Communist forces was finally put down in 1960. This period was known as the Malayan Emergency.
In 2009, Malaysia was the ninth most visited country in the world, with over 23.6 million visitors; according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO).
According to a survey in 2010, Malaysians had the highest number of Facebook friends, with an average of 233. The Japanese were the pickiest with only 29 friends.
Since the states of Sabah and Sarawak have their own immigration laws, even Malaysians need a passport when travelling between East and Peninsular Malaysia.
The Sultanate of Kedah on the Malay Peninsula is one of the oldest in the world, established in A.D. 1136.
Chinese Malays are known for visiting graveyards in the dead of night, bearing offerings for the dead in the hope of receiving lucky lottery numbers from them.
Some buildings in Malaysia do not have a fourth floor. They are replaced by “3A” as the sound of four (sì) is similar to the sound of death in Chinese.
Teh tarik, which means pulled tea, is Malaysia’s national drink. Tea is thrown from a height of about 1 meter from one cup to another without any spillages by trained Mamak men.
Bario, in Sarawak’s Kelabit Highlands, is the most isolated settlement in Malaysia, There are no roads available in this remote corner and everything has to be transported by airplane.