Malaysia, a country in Southeast Asia, has many options available for the adventure traveler. Depending on what activities you enjoy, Malaysia adventure holidays can include diving, exploring caves, hiking and rock climbing. The county of Malaysia is divided by the South China Sea, so it is important to decide where you want to spend your time, Peninsular Malaysia or Malaysian Borneo, so that your entire vacation is not spend traveling between the two areas. It occupies the southern end of the Malay Peninsula, which it shares with Thailand to the north, and the northern one-third of the island of Borneo, which it shares with Brunei and Indonesia. Its territory also includes hundreds of small, mostly uninhabited islands.
The country is very ethnically and racially diverse but Malays constitute the majority. Many other Malaysians are either ethnic Chinese or Indians while a small percentage are of mixed ancestry.
About 60 percent of the population are Muslims. The remaining 40 percent are about evenly split between Buddhists and Hindus. Although Muslims control the most of the politics Malaysia has long prided itself as a religious-tolerant society.
Malaysia has one of Asia’s most powerful economies. It is a leading manufacturer and producer of electronics, rubber, tin and many other goods. Farmers also raise crops such bananas, coconuts and pineapples.
Europeans first began gaining control of the region in the early 1500’s. The United Kingdom took control of the Malay Peninsula from the Netherlands in 1824 and gained control of the northern area of Borneo 1888. During World War II Japan seized control of the entire region and kept control until the end of the war. The British then began slowly granting more self-rule and in 1957, the Federation of Malaysia declared independence. In 1963, the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo and Singapore joined the federation. In 1965, Singapore, impatient with the exclusion of non-Muslims from political positions, withdrew from the federation and became independent.