Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Malaysia Retains British Influence Malaysia Is a Cultural Delight; Generous, Endearing Locals Set This Country Apart from Other Destinations, Writes Mike Garry

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Malaysia Retains British Influence Malaysia Is a Cultural Delight; Generous, Endearing Locals Set This Country Apart from Other Destinations, Writes Mike Garry

Article excerpt

MALAYSIA

Population: About 28 million

Ethnic Groups: Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%

Religions: Muslim 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%

Malaysia was formed in 1963 when the former British colonies of Singapore and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo joined a federation. Singapore was expelled from the federation in 1965.

More information at tourismmalaysia.com.au and visit www.ytlhotels.com.

a Source: www.cia.gov

APART from a Kuala Lumpur stopover en route to Europe, I had never really considered Malaysia a travel destination.

But that was before I received an invitation to take part in a week-long, self-drive holiday with a group of travel writers from Australia and New Zealand.

I met my travelling companions for the first time over evening drinks and canapA[c]s at the amazing Sky Bar on the 33rd floor of the Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

The cocktail and chill bar boasts dazzling views of KL's iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

Viewed through open windows, the gleaming towers looked close enough to touch.

We picked up our cars the next morning and headed for the hills a the tea plantations and tea houses of the Cameron Highlands, about four hours north of Kuala Lumpur. Along the way, we visited ramshackle indigenous villages where the Senoi, athe dream peoplea, still live. The undulating, winding road is dotted with stalls selling their fruit and vegetables.

It was at one of these stalls I sampled durian. Known in South-East Asia as the king of fruits, durian smells so bad a even before it has been cut open a it is banned on public transport and in hotels.

I found the taste was okay, something akin to a custard apple, but my nose is too close to my mouth for me to ever build a long-term relationship with durian. …

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