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Peninsular Malaysia

Travel Guide Asia Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia

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Introduction

Twin Buildings

Twin Buildings

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Peninsular Malaysia is home to the bulk of the Malaysian population, and is also the centre of the country's economic activity. It is separated from Malaysian Borneo by the South China Sea.

Peninsular Malaysia tends to be the landing spot for most travellers. Kuala Lumpur, the nation's capital, is located on the west side of the peninsula.

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Geography

Peninsular Malaysia is located on the Malay Peninsula. It shares borders with Thailand in the north and is bounded by the Strait of Malacca to the west and the South China Sea to the east. Singapore lies at the southern tip of the peninsula.

Peninsular Malaysia is also known as West Malaysia, while Malaysian Borneo is alternatively known as East Malaysia.

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States and Territories

Peninsular Malaysia is divided into 11 states and two federal territories (FT):

NorthernPerlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak
CentralKuala Lumpur (FT), Putrajaya (FT), Selangor, Negeri Sembilan
SouthernMalacca, Johor
East coastPahang, Kelantan, Terengganu

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Cities

  • Kuala Lumpur - The nation's capital and largest city
  • Putrajaya - The federal administrative centre
  • Kangar - The capital of Perlis
  • Alor Star - The capital of Kedah
  • Georgetown - The capital of Penang
  • Ipoh - The capital of Perak
  • Shah Alam - The capital of Selangor
  • Seremban - The capital of Negeri Sembilan
  • Malacca - The capital of the state of Malacca and is an example of British, Portuguese and Dutch influences.
  • Johor Bahru - The capital of Johore
  • Kuantan - The capital of Pahang
  • Kuala Terengganu - The capital of Terengganu
  • Kota Bharu - The capital of Kelantan

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Sights and Activities

Islands

  • Langkawi (Kedah) - an archipelago in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of northwest Malaysia. Pristine beaches, beautiful clear waters, great for diving and many attractions, to keep everyone in the family busy this island has it all.
  • Pangkor Island (Perak) - an island off the coast of northwest Malaysia, known for great beaches. This is where the Malaysian locals tend to go for their holidays. It is a small island perfect for spending sometime relaxing.
  • Perhentian Islands (Terengganu) - Pulau Besar and Pulau Kecil make up both of the Perhentian Islands off the coast of northeast Malaysia. These islands are very popular for their beaches and diving.
  • Redang Island (Terengganu) - a large island off the east coast. A popular destination with many resorts. Ideal for snorkelling excursions to one of the most beautiful coral reefs which surround the island.
  • Tioman Island (Pahang) - an island off the east coast of Malaysia, considered one of the world's most beautiful islands. Also referred to as turtle island of Malaysia as turtles tend to come ashore from May to September to nest and lay their eggs.
  • Penang Island - an island of the west coast of Malaysia, this historical island is known as the food capital for Malaysia. This island is rich in culture and architectural beauty.

Cultural and Religious

Sunset

Sunset

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  • Batu Caves (outskirts of Kuala Lumpur) - make your way up the 272 steps to the enormous gold statue of Muruga at the opening of the Batu Caves. Make your way through the main cavern to the 'Temple Cave' and discover the small Hindu shrine at the top. Every year pilgrims gather here to celebrate during the three days of Thaipusam.
  • Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Malacca) - This 17th century Chinese temple, the oldest in Malaysia, was awarded a UNESCO award in 2003 for outstanding architectural restoration.
  • Kek Lok Si Temple (Penang)
  • Masjid Jamek (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Putrajaya Mosque
  • Thean Hou Temple (Kuala Lumpur)

Nature and Wildlife

  • Cameron Highlands (Pahang) - Jungle trekking and also famous for its tea plantations. One of the most known is the Boh tea plantations. You can even take a trip around the local tea factory which will give you a better understanding about the process of growing and picking tea.
  • Taman Negara (literally National Park) - the "unnamed" national park on the peninsula, formerly known as King George V National Park. There are many excursions that you can do during a visit here from a Canopy Walk to a night Safari.
  • Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) - Being an institute dedicated to forest, it is located in a forest reserve just outside the capital Kuala Lumpur and 10 minutes' drive from Batu Caves.
  • Endau Rompin National Park is a 870 km² big park in the central south of Peninsular Malaysia. It is a rather mountainous area with tropical rainforest and the largest population of Sumatran rhinoceros in Western Malaysia. Note that the park is closed during the monsoon season from November to March.
  • Gunung Ledang National Park
  • Krau Wildlife Reserve
  • Penang National Park

Others

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Weather

Peninsular Malaysia has a hot and humid climate with temperatures at sea level between 30 °C and 35 °C almost on a daily basis throughout the year. Temperatures at night are generally between 22 °C and 26 °C and it rarely gets cooler than this. Apart from the fairly stable temperatures, also the humidity is very high during the year, especially during the early morning and late afternoon/early evening.
The northeast monsoon affects the eastcoast from November to February, with heavy rains during this period of time. The southwest monsoon affects mainly the westcoast of the peninsula from May to September but rainfall is far less, because much of the rain hits Sumatra first.
That said, there really isn't a real dry season on the peninsula, just some drier intervals when the chances of days of rain on end are very small, but later afternoon downpours stay common most of the year in all parts.
The interior of the peninsula has the most rain in October and November with Kuala Lumpur hitting an average 300 mm of rain a month. April is almost as wet.
Apart from the heaviest rainfall in the months of November to January during the northeast monsoon at the eastcoast (when many of the hotels and resorts on the coast and islands are closed), it rarely affects travellers in other places or during other times.

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Getting There

Main article: Malaysia

The most common way to get to Peninsular Malaysia is by air, unless you're coming from Singapore or Thailand.

There are 4 international airports on Peninsular Malaysia:

Refer to the main Malaysia article for details on how to get to Peninsular Malaysia by train, car, bus, boat or on foot.

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Getting Around

By Plane

Domestic air travel is currently dominated by AirAsia because of its low fares. Malaysia Airlines also serves domestic routes, and regularly offers promotional fares on a limited seats in its domestic and regional flights.

Firefly, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, flies to Subang (15 km from Kuala Lumpur), Penang, Langkawi, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan on turbo propeller Fokker 50 aircrafts. Each plane has a maximum capacity of 50 passangers only.

By Train

The Malayan Railway [Malay: Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM)] is the operator of the rail services in the peninsula. Its network runs through most states in the peninsula except Malacca and Terengganu. The main line runs from the north of the peninsula in the state of Perlis (connecting from Thailand) along the west coast states passing through Kuala Lumpur right until the south end before it terminates in Singapore. The east coast line runs from the state of Kelantan (connecting from Thailand) through the jungle in the middle of the peninsula (hence the name jungle train) and connecting to the west coast line at Gemas in the state of Negeri Sembilan. Almost all intercity train services terminate in Kuala Lumpur.

By Car

Travelling by road is very convenient in the peninsula. There is a vast network of express ways spanning from north to south, east to west, along the east coast, and within the Kuala Lumpur metropolitan area.

The main backbone in the peninsula is the North-South Expressway (NSE) running from the Malaysian-Thai border passing through Kuala Lumpur until the Malaysian-Singapore border. The East Coast Expressway (ECE) links the east coast states with the west coast at the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway. ECE starts from Karak in inner Pahang, to the east in coastal Kuantan, continuing along the coast to the north in the state of Terengganu.

By Bus

Intercity express bus services are available in major cities and towns in Malaysia, with the majority of them heading towards the capital city Kuala Lumpur. Check the Expressbus website for details about companies, routes and schedules and prices.

By Boat

Passenger ferry and boat services are available for travelling from the mainland to islands like Penang, Langkawi, Pangkor, Tioman, Redang, Perhentian, and Labuan. The Penang Ferry Service (Butterworth-Georgetown) even carries vehicles from one side to another and was the main access route before the Penang Bridge was built in 1985, linking the island and mainland.

Langkawi Ferry operates fast services from Penang to Langkawi daily in the morning, leaving at 8:00am and taking less than 2 hours. They leave Langkawi at 5:00pm.
Other destinations to and from Langkawi include Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah and from Tioman to Tanjung Gemok.

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Eat

Malaysia is a paradise for good food, particularly Malacca and Penang Island. Locals know it as the paradise for good food. Malacca offers a conglomeration of Portugese, Malaysian and Chinese food while Penang is offer more localized and eccentric fare. The food in Kuala Lumpur, the heart of Malaysia, caters for just about everyone and if you're particular about food, you can't go wrong when you hit a food court. Food courts in Malaysia usually have lots of stalls offering a variety of food - so all you have to do is to enter it, make your choices and hit the bowl.

Shopping centers also offer many different types of food. Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, local or other Western and fast food fares are available everwhere. Eating in Malaysia is not at all expensive when compared to neighboring countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. The better-looking the restaurant, the more you can expect to pay.

Most foreigners are advised to try their luck at Jalan Alor where the food is dubious as to cleanliness but scrumptious down to the last bit.

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Sleep

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This is version 20. Last edited at 18:20 on Jan 6, 14 by Hien. 18 articles link to this page.

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