Malaysia is a deluge on the senses – a melting pot of cultures, with Malays, Chinese and Indians forming a majority alongside dozens of indigenous tribes. The landscape is similarly diverse – home to the world's oldest rainforest, its largest cave system, and the tallest mountain peak between New Guinea and the Himalayas. There are the beautiful tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands, the timeless Malay kampungs (villages) of the East Coast, and the indigenous longhouses of Malaysian Borneo. In the cities, a modern panorama of skyscrapers contrasts with a deeply rooted sense of history, with old shophouses, mosques and temples nestled up against the grand architecture of colonial times. Traders and medicine men still barter their wares on street corners, and the sweet stench of tropical fruits and spices hangs thick in the air.
In spite of wide-scale logging, more than half of the Malaysian land-mass remains cloaked in virgin jungle, much within the protective boundaries of national parks. These reserves provide refuge for endangered flora and fauna, including orang-utans, elephants, tigers and Rafflesia – largest flowers in the world. Then there are the idyllic tropical islands, the coral-rich seas, and the world-class dive sites. Foodies, meanwhile, will love Malaysia for the variety and ingenuity of its cuisine, which reflects the full extent of the nation's cultural influences.