Welcome to Malaysia
Malaysia is situated partly on the Asian mainland peninsula and partly on the northern third of the island of Borneo, making it what some refer to as ‘two countries in one, cleaved in half by the South China Sea’. While peninsular Malaysia contains the bustling cities, colonial architecture, misty tea plantations and laid-back islands, Malaysian Borneo offers wild jungles complete with orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes, as well as some spectacular diving.
Throughout these two regions are the extremes of space-age high-rises in Kuala Lumpur and traditional longhouse villages in Sarawak. While East Malaysia – Borneo – borders Brunei and Indonesia, West – peninsular – Malaysia borders Thailand.
Malaysia is a happy mix of developed and developing nation. With its investment in high-tech and moderate oil wealth, it has become one of the richer countries in Southeast Asia. Travelers are always pleased to find that the country has a solid infrastructure and most things work well and on schedule. Despite this, prices here remain more reasonable than countries like Singapore.
Be sure to devote some time to experiencing the one thing that unites all of the various ethnicities, religions and landscapes of Malaysia: the food. With the Chinese-Malay ‘Nonya’ delights, Indian curries, Chinese buﬀets, Malay food stalls and Dayak specialties, as well as plenty of world-class Western food, you will never go hungry here.
Kuala Lumpur (called KL by the locals) is the capital and largest city in Malaysia, and has grown from a small sleepy Chinese tin-mining village to a bustling metropolis of about 6.5 million in just 150 years. A cultural melting pot with great shopping, even better food and some natural wonders in just an hour away, this dynamic city has plenty to offer the visitor.
With a skyline punctuated by minarets, Mughal-style domes and skyscrapers, colorful food stalls, abundance of monuments, skyscrapers, parks, mega-malls, street markets and cool nightspots, Kuala Lumpur is more that an impressive Asian Cybercity. Added to the mix are the incense-wreathed, colorfully decorated mosques and temples of the country’s Malay, Chinese and Indian communities.
It is the reverence for these ancient cultures, balanced with a drive to be plugged into the high-tech world, that has led to the city’s exciting contemporary art and design scene and buzzing digital economy.
We do recommend taking a couple of days before or after the congress to explore some of the attractions the city has to offer, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, Menara KL Tower, the Batu Caves, Chinatown, the landmark Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, and Jalan Alor – ‘the cultural heart of the city’s local cuisine’. Right here in the KL Convention Centre, you will find the fascinating Aquaria KLCC – and before flying home, be sure to stop at Pasar Seni, built in 1928 as a fresh market and transformed in the 1980s into a very artistic handicrafts center packed with one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts.