Malaysia has evidence of human settlement dating back 40,000 years. Various small kingdoms existed until the rise of Srivijayan Kingdom from 7th to 13th century. During this time, Buddhism and Hinduism spread throughout. Islam became prominent in the 1400s.
In the 1500s the Dutch colonized Melaka, and the following centuries through to World War II saw British colonialism over the region as well. Immediately following WWII, Malaysia became an independent, communist country until 1960. Singapore was expelled in 1965 from the federation.
Today, Malaysia is a federal constitution elective monarchy, operating under theocratic rule. Much of the government structure is a holdover from British colonial rule. The nation is one of the founding member of ASEAN.
Malaysia is an English speaking country. Bahsa is the other commonly spoken language. However, 137 languages are spoken across the nation.
Malaysia is a Muslim country, however this means very little to the average tourist. Alcohol and non-Halal foods are still served, just not at Malay establishments.
You do not need dress much differently than you normally would, but, the nation is still conservative and you should dress modestly especially when visiting religious sites.
Malaysia has been a cross roads of trade for millennia and as such has a very diverse selection of food. You should have no problem finding any type of food that you desire. Penang is considered by some to be the food capital of the world. We recommend you try the mango sticky rice.
Malaysia is divided into two main areas: peninsular Malaysia, bordering Singapore and Thailand; and Bornean Malaysia bordering Indonesia and Brunei.
Public transportation can be spotty outside of the immediate city centers. However, Uber is widespread, very efficient, and cheap.