This Southeast Asian nation, situated between Thailand and Indonesia, has become one of our favorite countries in the world. It’s divided into two halves: the long Malay Peninsula that extends south from Thailand, and the northern part of the island of Borneo. So far, we’ve only visited the western side of the Malay Peninsula. It’s an area of fantastic cultural diversity—a mix of ethnic Malay, Chinese, and Indian populations. People are generally friendly and open, English is widely spoken, and food is a national obsession.

When we visited

December 2014 to January 2015, June to August 2016, February to April 2024

Major stops

Penang Island, Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands, Melaka

Memorable Moment

Watching a colorful performance of traditional Chinese opera staged not for human spectators but for ghosts

Did you know?

The office of king of Malaysia changes hands every five years. It rotates among the nine Malay states that have hereditary sultans.

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