You are looking at our photograph on the right of Jalur Gemilang yacht moored at a harbour in Pulau Langkawi. The yacht is owned by Dato' Azhar Mansor who was the first Malaysian who sailed solo round the world in 1999. He sailed a total distance of approximately 22,000 nautical miles for his bravery to make it into Malaysian records book.
You may visit the following website to read about the achievement of Dato' Azhar Mansor and his yacht Jalur Gemilang and also other Malaysian records:- http://www.malaysiarecords.com.my
You can find most of the indigenous crafts in the city.
Kuala Lumpur has the famous Central Market. The stuff there is mostly well-sourced, though very commercialised and often not original.
For the real stuff, you have to take time and effort to seek them out in the remote places.
Malaysia is hot and humid, so you might want to dress lightly. Don't by flimsy though, as it might offend certain quarters.
You can safely wear your bikini by the hotel pools, but please don't do that in public beaches.
In spite of what the promotional brochures claim, there are many people here who do not welcome tourists, especially the extremists, though they are not obvious to the visitor.
You would definitely be asking for trouble in the Eastern states of Kelantan and Trengganu if you think you can just carry on as usual ( unless you're from the Islamic zone ).
Fondest memory: Places to have FUN FUN FUN ! = Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Melaka, Cameroh Highlands, Pulau Pangkor, Kota Kinabalu ( Sabah ), Kuching ( Sarawak ), Pulau Tioman, Pulau Perhentian = those places are made for tourists.
The bigger towns with mostly Chinese population are more exposed to your way of life, and you can just behave as yourself.
Places to be SERIOUS = East Coast states of Trengganu, Kelantan and all the smaller towns and villages. In those places, it's best to be unassuming, modest and most of all, give way to the locals.
That goes even for Malaysians ! Different races are distinctively different in behaviour, outlook and way of life !
Here's a great resource i have recently found - an online ATM Locater! go to:
to get the nearest ATM machine to you. As a general rule of thumb, most major shopping complexes in KL have ATM machines and currency exchange counters.
If your foreign ATM card has the PLUS logo on it, you will be eligible to directly withdraw $$ in the local currency ~ with a minimal fee charged. Of course, check with your local bank on the exchange rates before you embark on your holiday :)
Favorite thing: If you haven't been to Malaysia, let me tell you the temperature of this tropical land. From 1st of January until 31st of December, a total 365 days average 30-33 Celsius. At night, it may drop down to 26-28. Sometimes 23-25 when rain. Malaysia has no four seasons and no snows. We have 365 days of hot sun, air-conditioning systems are so important to us. Nowadays a new method to cool down the heat has been introduced especially for open air. Look at this big electric fan (photo) with compressor that able to blow not only wind but water cooling as well.
Malaysia has 3 major mobile phone service networks - MAXIS, CELCOM and DIGI - offering mobile prepaid services and IDD calling cards, a great convenience for travellers who need to call home or whose mobile network does not offer roaming services in this country. You can get the IDD cards and prepaid starter kits at any mobile phone stand.
Check out these websites for the latest deals and promotions during your stay here :)
1) Many places are names after trees.
- "Penang" is the name of arecanut palm "pinang".
- "Ipoh", the capital of Perak State, is name of a tree with a poison latex used for blowpipes. -- "Kucing" in Malay means "Cat" but also the fruit "Mata Kucing".
- "Melaka" (Malacaa) is a tree.
2) Many cities and towns use following common Malays words:
- "Kuala" - river mouth, confluence, eg. Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Terengganu, Kuala Selangor
- "Pulau" - island, eg. Pulau Pinang, Pulau Langkawi, Pulau Pangkor, Pulau Redang
- "Kota" - fort town, eg. Kota Tinggi, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Bharu
-"Sungai" (Sungei) - river, eg. Sungai Petani, Sungai Siput, Sungai Bakap
-"Bukit" - hil, eg. Bukit Mertajam, Bukit Merah, Bukit Tinggi -"Gunung" - mountain, "Simpang" - junction, cross-road, "Bandar" - town, "Bandar Raya" - city, "Batu" - rock, "Telok" (Teluk) - bay, "Bayan" - field, "Alor" - river bend, "Tanjong" (Tanjung) - cape
3) Names of Roads
"Jalanraya" - highway, "Jalan" - road, "Lebuh" - street, "Persiaran" - drive
School holidays is when most parents can take family vacations inside or outside Malaysia. So local destinations and hotels may be more busy than usual and the roads may be clogged.
As there are so many public holidays throughout the year, it may be difficult to find a less busy week. Anyway, following information may be useful for your planning.
For 2007, the school term starts on Jan 3 Monday for all States except Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu.
The 4 school holiday breaks are
1) 1st Midterm break - March 10 - March 18 (9 days)
2) Midyear break - May 26 - June 10 (16 days)
3) 2nd Midterm break - August 18 - August 26 (9 days)
4) Year break - November 17 - Jan 1, 2008 (45 days)
For Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu - schools start on Sundays and are closed on Fridays. So all the above schedule is same except that it is one day earlier for these 3 states.
Favorite thing: This is how the water cooling fans work, under hot sun. Most of the open air cafes, restaurants and even gasoline station have it installed. Now you can understand how humid hot the terrain is, you don't have many opportunities to see Malaysians happily enjoying sunbath, just not common in tropical countries.
If you like monkeys, there is no shortage of them in Malaysia.. (In all sizes and shapes...)
Probably the most common are these macaque monkeys, which can be something of a nuisance... Careful with food or with kids around them as they are sometimes known to bite and scratch... (and generally act in a manner not consistent with gentile society..)
When you think you smell gas, feel concerned and tell someone, you must believe them when they say it's only a truck load of DURIAN parked near or passing by.
This favorite fruit of my friends is something I had never smelled or even heard of before. It was summer, so I'm guessing that a few days after my arrival was harvest time because that is when I started smelling the gas. My friends bought on for us to share one night. It's big fruit, bigger than an American football and sort of oval shaped. The kids and adults gathered around as the man of the house cracked it open with a huge knife, like a machete. Inside it looked like a huge egg cooked over easy. Everyone took a share.
To my unsophisticated pallet, Durian tasted like bread dough soaked in vodka and had a suspiciously warm feel going down, like a shot of the latter. It wasn't bad, but felt a bit too slimy for my throat.
Actually there are notices in the Hotels warning that Durian is not allowed—because of the amazingly strong smell.
In Malaysia, we drive on the left - British legacy.
Petrol price has gone up but still relatively cheap at Ringgit 1.92 per liter. It is standardized and so you will not see price variation between petrol (gas) stations except in remote areas.
Seat belt is required by law for the front. Not yet for the back seats. Also cars are required a third brake light.
License plate numbers are fixed from the time you purchase a car. From the first alphabet number, you can know where the car is registered or usually is from.
P - Pulau Pinang (Penang)
R - Perlis
A - Perak
B - Selangor
M - Melaka
J - Johor
W - Kuala Lumpur
Speed limit is 110 km per hour in the highways.
Penang Bridge - 80 km per hour
For accident liability, the vehicle who knocked you from the back is usually at fault. So perhaps that is why most Malaysian drive with "front-only" vision. You knock my back, you pay. OK, this is just my opinion.
Please always drive carefully and following the traffic rules.
In any accident, report to the nearest police station within 24 hours.
Malaysia has an estimated 1200 species of butterflies.
One of the most beautiful is the Rajah Brooke's Birdwing Butterfly. It was "dscovered" by famous British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace during one of his expeditions to Borneo in 1855. He named it after his friend Sir James Brooke, the then "White Rajah" or ruler of Sarawak.
This butterfly is huge (8 inches windspan across) , regal and elegant in flight. Still can be found near waterfalls in the forest and jungles of both Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak/Sabah on Borneo island.
Pulau Pinang also called Pulau Mutiara (Pear of the Orient)
Area: ~1K sq km, Population 1.1 million
Capital: George Town
The mainland of Penang is called Seberang Perai. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and Perak in the South.
Penang Island has the international airport at Bayan Lepas. There is a ferry service between the island and mainland and a 13 km bridge.
Penang is a major electronics manufacturing hub and a major tourist destination on the island. The mainland part is seldom visited by foreign tourists except to Butterworth to catch the train.
Tin mining was one of major economic activities in the Kinta Valley around Ipoh. Malaysia used to the largest exporter of tin where this metal was used for canning and other purposes.
Tin was mined from alluvial deposits by the river. It was manually dug or flushed with water jets and then separated from the alluvial using an elevated wooden inclined structure with running water and with catchment traps for the heavier tin.
Another method was the completely automated system of the tin dredge. Like a floating ship, inside the tin dredge, alluvial deposit were continually scooped by automated buckets and then poured through a series of collectors for the tin ores. It was like a giant tank monster eating tin from the ground.
So it used to be a majestic sight to see this giant tin dredge from a distance in the flat riverside.
Now there are just distant memories.
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