Malaysia , located in Southeast Asia , consists of the Malaysian Peninsula and the States of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo . ( Borneo is shared with Brunei and Indonesia ). The Peninsula is bordered by Thailand in the north; the island of Singapore lies to the south. Singapore is linked to Johor, in Malaysia , by a causeway.

Kuala Lumpur , known as KL, is the capital of Malaysia .

Much of Malaysia is still heavily forested, despite its major timber industry. A mountain range running down the centre of the peninsula divides east from west. The rubber plantations which make Malaysia the world’s largest rubber producer cover much of the coastal plains and hills of the west.

The climate is hot and humid, although it is cooler in the highlands.

The jungles of Malaysia are said to be the oldest in the world. They cover more than two thirds of the country and play a vital role in both its economic life and its climate.

The best known traditional architectural style of Malaysia is the long-house, found particularly along the rivers of Sarawak . Families live together (though they have their own private space) in one long building, raised on stilts, sharing the open verandah which runs the whole length of the building.

The language of Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu. Chinese dialects and Tamil are spoken by the respective ethnic groups. English is the language of business.

Malaysia’ s multicultural society is reflected in its religious communities: Buddhists/Taoists/Confucianists, Hindus, Muslims, a minority of Sikhs and some Christians. The aborigines retain their Animist religion, believing that there is a spirit in everything.

Rice is the staple food in Malaysian cuisine. It is often eaten at breakfast with coconut milk, anchovies and boiled egg. Noodles are also popular.

Malaysian recipes often include coconut, shrimp paste, satay, fish or meat. Nonya food is a combination of Chinese ingredients with Malaysian herbs and spices.

The regional variations of Chinese cooking are available, as well as the food of the other ethnic and religious groups.

In Malaysia a popular way of eating is to buy food from the hawker stalls in the street which offer a wide variety of different foods.

Fresh fruits include durian, mangoes, jack fruit, star fruit, papaya, pineapple and pomelo.

Malaysia has the world’s oldest rainforests. The forests of Sabah are the home of trees towering over one hundred meters high.

Underground rivers and caverns below the Clearwater Cave were formed millions of years ago. The water is said to restore youth.

The logo for the XVI Commonwealth Games, held in KL, was derived from Malaysia’ s national flower, the hibiscus.