60 Interesting Facts About Malaysia

Last updated on August 10th, 2022

45. Majority of people living in Malaysia practice Islam, followed by Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Confucianism, and Taoism. The rest of the population practice traditional Chinese religions and philosophies, while others belong to other religious groups.

46. “Face” holds an important cultural and traditional meaning among Malaysians, particularly among the Malays, Indians, and Chinese. Face can mean anything that maintains and upholds respect. To ‘lose face’ means to become embarrassed or shamed. To ‘save face’ refers to any act or strategy that avoids humiliation and preserve reputation.

47. The kind of gifts you may give to a Malaysian will depend on their background. To a Malay, the safest bet is to offer chocolates or pastries but not alcohol. Avoid giving toys that depict pigs or dogs. To a Chinese, it is best to offer pastry or cake, or any souvenir from your country. To an Indian, offer cakes, pastries, or flowers. Never give leather especially to a Hindu.

nasi lemak
Nasi lemak. Interesting facts about Malaysia. Image credit – stu_spivack

48. Malaysia’s unofficial national dish is nasi lemak. It is made of fluffy rice cooked in pandan leaf and coconut milk, served with with different delicious accompaniments such as boiled egg, fried chicken, peanuts, omelette, or cucumber, among others. It is sometimes referred to as the food of the nation and is typically served on a bed of banana leaf.

49. Malaysia’s national bird title goes to the hornbill. This bird does not only have an impressive appearance but it also has a number of wonderful characteristics. For one, hornbills are family-oriented and have a good relationship with monkeys. Hornbills know when to listen to monkeys who sound out warnings when humans are around.

50. The Malaysian hornbill holds a special place in the hearts of the indigenous Dayak (Dyak) tribe. The Dayak people believe that a hornbill represents the spirit of God. It is considered good luck when a hornbill flies over a house.

Kuala Lumpur Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Interesting facts about Malaysia. Image credit – Ramon Boersbroek

51. The Petronas Twin Towers are a famous Malaysian landmark. The structure was completed in 1996 and remained the tallest building in the world until 2004. The Petronas Towers were named after Malaysia’s national oil company. It is 88 stories high and has 32,000 windows.

52. The bridge that connects the Twin Towers are the world’s highest Skybridge. It sits on the 41st and 42nd floors.

53. Although she began her career in Hong Kong opposite Jackie Chan, famous international actress and Bond girl Michelle Yeoh (formerly Michelle Khan) is proudly Malaysian.

54. Any “It” girl, celebrity, or influencer will tell you that when it comes to shoes, very few can hold a candle to Jimmy Choo. The designer/shoemaker is also Malaysian, hailing from Penang.

55. The Malaysian batik is dyed cloth that is famous for its geometric patterns. To create the cloth, a length of fabric undergoes a wax-resist dyeing technique that is done by hand.

56. Malaysians actually do not consider themselves ‘Malaysian’. They likely will refer to themselves as Malay, Indian, Chinese or Dan Lain Lain, which means “other”.

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Batu caves in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
Batu caves in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Photo © Rynreq | Dreamstime.com

57. Batu Caves is a famous landmark in Malaysia. The caves are found within a limestone hill just 11 km. from Kuala Lumpur. A century-old Hindu temple can be found in these caves, featuring a number of statues and idols. The caves are named after the Batu River.

58. The 140-ft. tall Sri Murugan statue can be found at the entrance of Batu Caves. It is the tallest Hindu deity statue in the country and also the 3rd tallest in the world.

59. Sabah is one of Malaysia’s shining jewels. Sabah, which sits on the northern point of Borneo, is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, rivers, limestone caves, and fertile plains.

60. Sabah is sometimes referred to as “the land below the wind”. It sits below the region that frequently experiences typhoons, which makes Sabah a relatively safe area where weather is concerned. Sabah is the subject of a relatively quiet dispute between Malaysia and the Philippines. The latter also lays claim on the area.

Malaysia – country at a glance

Independence31 August 1957 (from the UK)
Capital CityPutrajaya (administrative)
2°56′N 101°42′E
Kuala Lumpur (executive and legislative)
3°8′N 101°41′E
Largest CityKuala Lumpur
Areatotal: 329,847 sq km

land: 328,657 sq km

water: 1,190 sq km

(slightly larger than New Mexico)
Population33,519,406 (July 2021 est.)
Official LanguageMalaysian
BordersCambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar.
CurrencyRinggit (RM) (MYR)
Literacy rate95% (2019)
ReligionsMuslim (official) 61.3%, Buddhist 19.8%, Christian 9.2%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 1.3%, other 0.4%, none 0.8%, unspecified 1% (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth75.87 years (2021)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatetropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons
Terraincoastal plains rising to hills and mountains
Mean elevation419 m
Lowest pointIndian Ocean 0 m
Highest pointGunung Kinabalu 4,095 m
Agricultural land23.2% (2018 est.)
Birth rate14.72 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate5.66 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Sex ratio1.03 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Literacy rate96.7%
National symbolstiger, hibiscus
National colorsgold, black
National anthem"Negaraku" (My Country)
Government typeFederal parliamentary elective constitutional monarchy
Prime MinisterIsmail Sabri Yaakob
IndustriesPeninsular Malaysia - rubber and oil palm processing and manufacturing, petroleum and natural gas, light manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, electronics and semiconductors, timber processing;
Sabah - logging, petroleum and natural gas production;
Sarawak - agriculture processing, petroleum and natural gas production, logging
Exports$207.37 billion (2020 est.)
integrated circuits, refined petroleum, natural gas, semiconductors, palm oil (2019)
Imports$185.59 billion (2020 est.)
integrated circuits, refined petroleum, crude petroleum, broadcasting equipment, coal (2019)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$26,400 (2020 est.)
Time ZoneUTC+8 (MST)
Internet country code.my
Calling Code+60
Drives on theLeft
Table last updatedJanuary 22, 2022