Malaysia

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Malaysia (Food paradise of South East Asia)

Truly Asia, Malaysia. The catch line from their promotional campaign really represents what the country stands for. Whether its food, people, vibrant culture or geography, the diversity of Asia is in full bloom in the country and holidays in Malaysia would become a tour of the whole continent.

The tropical islands of Malaysia are considered among the most beautiful in the world and some of them include Langkawi, Redang, Tengol and Labuan. Labuan is also known for its scuba diving and other water sports. Malaysia has fame for its tropical rainforests and Taman Negara, Lambir Hills National Park and Ampang Forest Reserve must always be included in the itinerary while visiting the nation. Besides natural beauty the country is also considered as the symbol of development in the region and its Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur adorn the sky line with aplomb. Opt for Malaysia tour packages from Cinnamon and you will know how our expertise on the country can help you customized your itinerary that best suits you

History of Malaysia

Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia at one of the world's major crossroads, Malaysia has always been pivotal to trade routes from Europe, the Orient, India and China. Its warm tropical climate and abundant natural blessings made it a congenial destination for immigrants as early as 5,000 years ago when the ancestors of the Orang Asli, the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, settle here, probably the pioneers of a general movement from China and Tibet. They were followed by the Malays, who brought with them skills in farming and the use of metals. Around the first century BC, strong trading links were established with China and India, and these had a major impact on the culture, language and social customs of the country. Evidence of a Hindu-Buddhist period in the history of Malaysia can today be found in the temple sites of the Bujang Valley and Merbok Estuary in Kedah in the north west of Peninsular Malaysia, near the Thai border. The spread of Islam, introduced by Arab and Indian traders, brought the Hindu-Buddhist era to an end by the 13th century. With the conversion of the Malay-Hindu rulers of the Melaka Sultanate (the Malay kingdom which ruled both side of the Straits of Malaka for over a hundred years),, Islam was established as the religion of the Malays, and had profound effect on Malay society.

The arrival of Europeans in Malaysia brought a dramatic change to the country. In 1511, the Portuguese captured Malaka and the rulers of the Melaka Sultanate fled south to Johor where they tried to establish a new kingdom. They were resisted not only by the Europeans but by the Acehnese, Minangkabau and the Bugis, resulting in the sovereign units of the present-day states of Peninsular Malaysia. The Portuguese were in turn defeated in 1641 by the Dutch, who colonized Melaka until the advent of the British in the Dutch exerted any profound influence on Malay society. The British acquired Melaka from the Dutch in 1824 in exchange for Bencoolen in Sumatra. From their new bases in Malaka, Penang and Singapore, collectively known as the Straits settlements, the British, through their influence and power, began the process of political intergration of the Malay states of Peninsular Malaysia.

After World War II and the Japanese occupation from 1941-45, the British created the Malayan Union 1946.This was abandoned in 1948 and the Federation of Malaya emerged in its place. The Federation gained its independence from Britain on 31 August 1957.In September 1963, Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah, and initially Singapore united to form Malaysia, a country whose potpourri of society and customs derives from its rich heritage from four of the world's major cultures - Chinese, Indian, Islamic and Western.

Culture of Malaysia

Having had an interesting past and being a part of the international spice route many hundreds of years ago, Malaysia has turned into a mosaic of cultures. Everything from its people to its architecture reflect a colourful heritage and an amalgamated culture. To understand Malaysian culture, you must first get to know its people.

Discover a Land of Intriguing Diversity


Malays, Chinese, Indians and many other ethnic groups have lived together in Malaysia for generations. All these cultures have influenced each other, creating a truly Malaysian culture.

The largest ethnic groups in Malaysia are the Malays, Chinese and Indians. In Sabah and Sarawak, there are a myriad of indigenous ethnic groups with their own unique culture and heritage.

Malay

Today, the Malays, Malaysia's largest ethnic group, make up more than 50% of the population, although this drops to less than 25% in East Malaysia. In Malaysia, the term Malay refers to a person who practices Islam and Malay traditions, speaks the Malay language and whose ancestors are Malays. Their conversion to Islam from Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism began in the 1400s, largely influenced by the decision of the royal court of Melaka. The Malays are known for their gentle mannerisms and rich arts heritage.

Chinese

The second largest ethnic group, the Malaysian Chinese form about 25% of the population. Mostly descendants of Chinese immigrants during the 19th century, the Chinese are known for their diligence and keen business sense. The three sub-groups who speak a different dialect of the Chinese language are the Hokkien who live predominantly on the northern island of Penang; the Cantonese who live predominantly in the capital city Kuala Lumpur; and the Mandarin-speaking group who live predominantly in the southern state of Johor.

In Sarawak this 25% is made up of a mix of dialect groups including Foochow, Hakka, Hokkien, Teochew, Hainanese and Puxian Min while in Sabah the population of Chinese drops to around 10% who predominantly speak the Hakka language.

Indian

The smallest of three main ethnic groups, the Malaysian Indians form about 10% of the population. Most are descendants of Tamil-speaking South Indian immigrants who came to the country during the British colonial rule. Lured by the prospect of breaking out of the Indian caste system, they came to Malaysia to build a better life. Predominantly Hindus, they brought with them their colourful culture such as ornate temples, spicy cuisine and exquisite sarees.

Indigenous Ethnic Groups


Peninsula Malaysia

The general term used for any of the indigenous groups that are found in Peninsular Malaysia is ‘Orang Asli’ which literally translates as the ‘original people’. They are divided into three main tribal groups: Negrito, Senoi and Proto-Malay. The Negrito usually live in the north, the Senoi in the middle and the Proto-Malay in the south. Each group or sub-group has its own language and culture. Some are fishermen, some farmers and some are semi-nomadic.

Sabah


The largest indigenous ethnic groups of Sabah's population are the Kadazan Dusun, the Bajau and the Murut.

Kadazan Dusun

The largest ethnic group of Sabah, the Kadazan Dusuns form about 30% of the state's population. Actually consisting of two tribes; the Kadazan and the Dusun, they were grouped together as they both share the same language and culture. However, the Kadazan are mainly inhabitants of flat valley deltas, which are conducive to paddy field farming, while the Dusun traditionally lived in the hilly and mountainous regions of interior Sabah.

Bajau

The second largest ethnic group in Sabah, the Bajaus make up about 15% of the state's population. Historically a nomadic sea-faring people that worshipped the Omboh Dilaut or God of the Sea, they are sometimes referred to as the Sea Gypsies. Those who chose to leave their sea-faring ways became farmers and cattle-breeders. These land Bajaus are nicknamed 'Cowboys of the East' in tribute to their impressive equestrian skills, which are publicly displayed in the annual Tamu Besar festival at Kota Belud.

Murut

The third largest ethnic group in Sabah the Muruts make up about 3% of the state's population. Traditionally inhabiting the northern inland regions of Borneo, they were the last of Sabah's ethnic groups to renounce headhunting. Now, they are mostly shifting cultivators of hill paddy and tapioca, supplementing their diet with blowpipe hunting and fishing. Like most indigenous tribes in Sabah, their traditional clothing is decorated with distinctive beadwork.

Sarawak


Collectively known as Dayaks, the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu are the major ethnic groups in the state of Sarawak. Typically, they live in longhouses, traditional community homes that can house 20 to 100 families.

Iban

The largest of Sarawak's ethnic groups, the Ibans form 30% of the State's population of 2.5 million. Sometimes erroneously referred to as the Sea Dayaks because of their skill with boats, they are actually an upriver tribe from the heart of Kalimantan. In the past, they were a fearsome warrior race renowned for headhunting and piracy. Traditionally, they worship a triumvirate of gods under the authority of Singalang Burung, the bird-god of war. Although now mostly Christians, many traditional customs are still practised.

Bidayuh

Peace-loving and easy-going, the gentle Bidayuh are famous for their hospitality and tuak or rice wine. Making their homes in Sarawak's southern regions, they are mostly farmers and hunters. In their past headhunting days their prized skulls were stored in a 'baruk‘, a roundhouse that rises about 1.5 metres above the ground. Originally animists, now most of the 200,000 strong population have converted to Christianity.

Melanau

Some 130,000 or 6% of the population of Sarawak are Melanau, believed to be among the original people to settle in Sarawak. Their language has different origins to the other ethnic groups of the state and today they are found mainly along the rivers and coastal plains of central Sarawak. Originally animists most have converted to Islam although some of the inland communities are Christian.

Orang Ulu

27 of the inland tribal groups of Sarawak are collectively called Orang Ulu or upriver people. A total estimated population of around 100,000 people belong to tribes varied in size from 300 to 25,000 individuals.

Arguably Borneo's most artistic people, their large longhouses are ornately decorated with murals and superb woodcarvings; their utensils are embellished with intricate beadwork. Traditional tattoos are a very important part of their culture; aristocratic Orang Ulu ladies also cover their arms and legs with finely detailed tattoos.

The aboriginal Penan people are also included as Orang Ulu by government census but the Penan are traditionally nomadic people living in small family groups constantly moving from place to place within the rainforest. Today most of the estimated 16,000 Penan people have settled in longhouse communities where their children have the chance to go to school. Like the Iban and Bidayuh, most of the Orang Ulu have converted from animism to Christianity or Islam.

Cuisine of Malaysia

Malaysian cuisine consists of cooking traditions and practices found in Malaysia, and reflects the multiethnic makeup of its population.[1] The vast majority of Malaysia's population can roughly be divided among three major ethnic groups: Malays, Chinese and Indians. The remainder consists of the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia, the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia, the Peranakan and Eurasian creole communities, as well as a significant number of foreign workers and expatriates.

As a result of historical migrations, colonisation by foreign powers, and its geographical position within its wider home region, Malaysia's culinary style in the present day is primarily a melange of traditions from its Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and ethnic Bornean citizens, with heavy to light influences from Thai, Portuguese, Dutch, and British cuisines, to name a few. This resulted in a symphony of flavours, making Malaysian cuisine highly complex and diverse.

Because Peninsular Malaysia shares a common history with Singapore, it is common to find versions of the same dish across both sides of the border regardless of place of origin, such as laksa and chicken rice. Also because of their proximity, historic migrations and close ethnic and cultural kinship, Malaysia shares culinary ties with Indonesia,[2] as both nations often share certain dishes, such as satay, rendang and sambal.

Chilli peppers are indispensable to Malaysian kitchens, and both fresh and dried chilies are used. Chillies come in several sizes, shapes and even colours. As a general rule, two type of chilli cultivars are the most commonly available: the bird's eye chili (cili padi), although small in size are extremely pungent and very hot, and longer varieties which tend to be a lot milder. Green chillies are more peppery in taste while red chillies, green chillies which have been left to ripen, have a slightly sweeter heat. If a milder flavour is preferred, the seeds and membranes would be removed from the chili pods before it is cut, or the chillies would be left whole and removed prior to serving. Some common uses include but are not limited to grinding the chillies into a paste or sambal, chopping fresh chillies as a condiment or garnish, and pickling whole or cut chillies

Malaysia Tour Packages