Facts and Figures
If you were to ask a group of marine biologists where to go to see the most diverse mix of marine life anywhere in the world, the reefs of Malaysia would likely top their list. Filled with opportunities for encounters with a staggering variety of eye-popping reef creatures and pelagics, the warm, clear waters of Malaysia are regarded as some of the most bio-diverse in the world.
Formal Name of Country: Federation of Malaysia.
Location: Two distinct parts separated by the 403-mile- (645-km-) wide South China Sea. Peninsular Malaysia (40 percent of landmass) shares its borders with Thailand and Singapore. East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak occupy northern one-third of the island of Borneo, and border the Indonesian part of Borneo. Sarawak also surrounds Brunei.
Size: 125,000 square miles (325,000 sq km), which is slightly larger than New Mexico.
Population: Nearly 30 million.
People: 50 percent Malay; 33 percent Chinese; 9 percent Indian and indigenous tribes such as Iban and Orang Asli.
Time Zone: 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Capital City: Kuala Lumpur; population 2 million.
Climate: Tropical heat with high humidity. Temperatures typically range from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 30 degrees Celsius) with 70-90 percent humidity. Annual rainfall varies from 79 to 99 inches (201 to 251 cm) with rainy seasons varying depending upon the location.
Entry Requirements: Valid passport; Visa not required for visits of less than three months.
Internal Travel Requirements: A passport is necessary for travel to and from Peninsular Malaysia and the East Malaysia states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Currency: Ringgit (RM) (about 4 Ringgit to 1 U.S. dollar). Traveler’s checks and major credit cards are accepted by most businesses.
Language: Malay, English, Tamil and local dialects.
Government/Political System: Constitutional Monarchy.
Electricity: 220-240V, 50Hz; personal adapters are advisable for 110V-60Hz camera equipment, dive lights, batteries and appliances. Plugs are British three-prong design.
Weights and Measures: Metric.
Water Conditions: Tropical, warm with good visibility. Some current is commonly encountered.
Getting There: Malaysia Airlines, www.malaysiaairlines.com.
Tourism Board Web site: www.tourism.gov.my
Medical Assistance for Divers: DAN (Divers Alert Network) in Malaysia; phone: 05-930 4114