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  Manila , Philippines
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Multiculturalism has not only made Malaysia a gastronomical
paradise, it has also made
Malaysia home to hundreds of colourful a
people, Malaysians are very laid back, warm and friendly.

Malaysia is as diverse as its culture. There are two
states on the northern part of Borneo. Cool hideaways are found in
the highlands that roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid

One of Malaysia's key attractions is its extreme contrasts. Towering
skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts, and
five-star hotels sit several metres away from ancient reefs.

For the perfect holiday full of surprises, eclectic cultures and natural
wonders, the time is now, the place is Malaysia.
Cultural and Heritage

Having had an interesting past and being a part of the
international spice route many hundreds of years ago,
Malaysia has turned into a mosaic of cultures.
Everything from its people to its architecture reflect a
colourful heritage and an amalgamated culture. To
understand Malaysian culture, you must first get to
know its people.

Malays, Chinese, Indians and many other ethnic groups
have lived together in Malaysia for generations. All these
cultures have influenced each other, creating a truly
Malaysian culture.
The largest ethnic groups in Malaysia are the Malays,
Chinese and Indians. In Sabah and Sarawak, there are a
myriad of indigenous ethnic groups with their own
unique culture and heritage.

Today, the Malays,
Malaysia's largest ethnic group,
make up more than 50% of the population. In Malaysia,
the term Malay refers to a person who practices Islam
and Malay traditions, speaks the Malay language and
whose ancestors are Malays. Their conversion to Islam
from Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism began in the
1400s, largely influenced by the decision of the royal
court of Melaka. The Malays are known for their gentle
mannerisms and rich arts heritage.

The second largest ethnic group, the Malaysian Chinese
form about 25% of the population. Mostly descendents
of Chinese immigrants during the 19th century, the
Chinese are known for their diligence and keen business
sense. The three sub-groups who speak a different
dialect of the Chinese language are the Hokkien who live
predominantly on the northern island of Penang; the
Cantonese who live predominantly in the capital city
Kuala Lumpur; and the Mandarin-speaking group who
live predominantly in the southern state of Johor.

The smallest of three main ethnic groups, the Malaysian
Indians form about 10% of the population. Most are
descendants of Tamil-speaking South Indian immigrants
who came to the country during the British colonial rule.
Lured by the prospect of breaking out of the Indian caste
system, they came to Malaysia to build a better life.
Predominantly Hindus, they brought with them their
colourful culture such as ornate temples, spicy cuisine
and exquisite sarees.

Orang Asli
Orang Asli is a general term used for any indigenous
groups that are found in Peninsular Malaysia. They are
divided into three main tribal groups: Negrito, Senoi and
Proto-Malay. The Negrito usually live in the north, the
Senoi in the middle and the Proto-Malay in the south.
Each group or sub-group has its own language and
culture. Some are fishermen, some farmers and some are

Collectively known as the Dayaks, the Iban, Bidayuh
and Orang Ulu are the major ethnic groups in the state of
Sarawak. Dayak, which means upstream or inland, is
used as a blanket term by the Islamic coastal population
for over 200 tribal groups. Typically, they live in
longhouses, traditional community homes that can house
20 to 100 families.

The largest of Sarawak's ethnic groups, the Ibans form
30% of the state's population. Sometimes erroneously
referred to as the Sea Dayaks because of their skill with
boats, they are actually an upriver tribe from the heart of
Kalimantan. In the past, they were a fearsome warrior
race renowned for headhunting and piracy. Traditionally,
they worship a triumvirate of gods under the authority
of Singalang Burung, the bird-god of war. Although now
mostly Christians, many traditional customs are still
Peace-loving and easy-going, the gentle Bidayuh of Sarawak are
famous for their hospitality and tuak or rice wine. Making their
homes in Sarawak's mountainous regions, they are mostly farmers
and hunters. In their past headhunting days, their prized skulls
were stored in a 'baruk' a roundhouse that rises about 1.5 metres
above the ground. Originally animists, now most of them have
converted to Christianity.

Orang Ulu
Also known as upriver tribes of Sarawak. Forming roughly 5.5%
of Sarawak's population, there are over 100,000 different Orang
Ulu tribes. Arguably Borneo's most artistic people, their large
longhouses are ornately decorated with murals and superb
woodcarvings; their utensils are embellished with intricate
beadwork; and aristocratic ladies cover their bodies with finely
detailed tattoos.

The largest indigenous ethnic groups of Sabah's population are the
Kadazan Dusun, the Bajau and the Murut.

Kadazan Dusun
The largest ethnic group of Sabah, the Kadazan Dusuns form about
30% of the state's population. Actually consisting of two tribes;
the Kadazan and the Dusun, they were grouped together as they
both share the same language and culture. However, the Kadazan
are mainly inhabitants of flat valley deltas, which are conducive to
paddy field farming, while the Dusun traditionally lived in the hilly
and mountainous regions of interior Sabah.
The second largest ethnic group in Sabah, the Bajaus make up
about 15% of the state's population. Historically a nomadic
sea-faring people that worshipped the Omboh Dilaut or God of
the Sea, they are sometimes referred to as the Sea Gypsies. Those
who chose to leave their sea-faring ways became farmers and
cattle-breeders. These land Bajaus are nicknamed 'Cowboys of the
East' in tribute to their impressive equestrian skills, which are
publicly displayed in the annual Tamu Besar festival at Kota