All Albums Malaysia 23

16 days travelling around Malaysia. There is not much signs of old history like in Cambodia or Java. Visible historical sites are mostly influenced by a first wave of colonialization by the Chinese, after they began trade with India in the 10th century and the Strait of Malacca became busy. The Chinese sent men who would marry local women and form the ruling circle of these colonies, their descendents called Baba-Nyonya. This was the birth of Peranakan culture, especially in the dominant Peranakan centres of Malacca, Singapore, Penang, Phuket and Tangerang, and it is characterized by its unique hybridization of ancient Chinese culture with the local cultures of the Nusantara region, the result of a centuries-long history of transculturation and interracial marriage. From around 1400 Islam spread in Malaysia, and is nowadays the dominant religion. The Malacca Sultanate ruled over the Strait of Malacca between 1400 and 1511, then the Portuguese came and took over, later the Dutch, then the British. In 1957, Malaysia became independent, in 1963 Singapore became part of it, but was expelled in 1965 due to its strong Chinese culture.

We took a bus from Singapore to Malacca, stayed two nights, then spent two nights in Kuala Lumpur, then two in Cameron Highlands, mostly for the tea plantation, enjoying the cooler mountain climate. Then Ipoh exposed some impressive Buddhist temples, and many beautiful murals. By nightbus we reached the east coast and took a boat to the smaller Perhentian Island, to chill on the beautiful Keranji beach and snorkel a bit. Last destination was Penang, back on the west coast, for a great variety of food and some culture.