Sunday, February 01, 2015

Malaysia's Amazing Year of Festivals 2015

Malaysia's Amazing Year of Festivals 2015

Many may already know that Malaysia is a beautiful multi-racial tropical country located in Southeast Asia and the fact that there are many races here equals a myriad of interesting festivals and events which makes this country highly desirable for travelers in seek of something different. 

For those of have been to Malaysia, you would also know that the country is filled with various choices of tourism that range from eco-adventures, culture, heritage, ecotourism, shopping, food, sports and more as the list keeps going on.

However, since Malaysia experienced its fourth Visit Malaysia Year 2014 or VMY2014 just last year, a follow-through campaign was also created in the same year to let tourists continue experiencing the fascinating wonders of our many festivals and events in 2015.

Malaysia Year of Festivals

Malaysia Truly Asia Logo
Malaysia is Truly Asia
This follow-through campaign resulted in the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 or MyFest 2015 in short with a theme of "Endless Celebrations" where the festivals and events throughout the country were highlighted and promoted on a large scale to all visitors to Malaysia.

Overall, there are multiple festivals and events happening every month here in Malaysia which is spread throughout the thirteen states and three federal territories which lets visitors experience the country's endless celebrations of festivals, events, and happenings.

A Malaysian Chinese dancer performs at a festival
First Timers to Malaysia

For first-timers visiting Malaysia, you should take the opportunity to witness some of the unique festivals found around the country where some are modern and most of them are generations old which are still practised till this very day.

Kuala Lumpur or KL is the capital of Malaysia and also the main gateway into the country and here, you can find the more modern festivals, events, and concerts held around the city.

Malaysia Indian Dancers
Malaysian Indian dancers
Apart from the commercial events, expos, and shows, you can still experience the various Malaysian cultures at certain places around KL.

For instance, the prominent Malay culture can be found at the Kampung Baru area, Chinese culture at Petaling Street or Chinatown area and the Indian culture at Little India at Brickfields which is near KL Sentral, the main transportation hub of Kuala Lumpur.

For the other various cultures in Malaysia, one needs to go out of KL to places like Melaka, Penang, Sabah, and Sarawak to witness them first hand.

Culture in Melaka
Tourist riding the trishaws in historical Melaka
One great place for any tourist to get more information is to visit the Malaysia Tourism Information Centre or MaTiC which is a 10-minute walk from the Petronas Twin Towers along Jalan Ampang or you can also visit the many Tourist Information Centres (TIC) located around the country.

Shopping in Malaysia
Malaysia offers fantastic shopping
Shopping in Malaysia

As Malaysia brands itself as a serious shopping destination, there are three main massive sales that take place in March, July and November around the country.

This shopping festival lets tourists enjoy great discounts and bargains from the many participating shopping malls, duty-free shops and also many other participating outlets all over the country.

A complete list and booklet are available from the Tourism Malaysia website or TIC on this.

There are also many Duty-Free Shopping outlets located in the larger cities here where tourist can purchase items which are duty-free.

For the serious shoppers, there are two main places in Malaysia which are duty-free, they are Langkawi Island and Labuan Island off Sabah Borneo Malaysia.

Of course, the international airports all feature interesting duty-free shops, inside and outside the terminal too.

Malaysia Duty Free Products
Various duty-free products in Malaysia
With duty exemptions on a wide range of merchandise, Malaysia offers fantastic value for money and vibrant shopping experience for just about anyone. Popular sought after items include;

• Computers, Notebooks, Tablet Computers
• Mobile Phones, Cameras, Electronic Gadgets
• Jewelry and Gemstones
• Cosmetics and Fragrances
• Gold and Silverware
• Sports Equipment
• Fashion Accessories
• Footwear

Shopping Malaysia
Tourist shopping in Malaysia
Other than shopping, for shoe lovers, there is also the unique Malaysia International Shoe Festival which attracts locals and tourists to this international event.

The highlight is no other than world-renowned shoemaker Jimmy Choo who is a Malaysian and has some of his new creations on display at the festival.

Visitors from around the world attend the show festival to catch up on the latest trends and designs available here and buying them is also on top of the list.

Malaysia Food Tourism
Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur, a popular food street
Food Tourism in Malaysia

Say no more but every tourist needs to eat and what more when you visit a melting pot in Southeast Asia where visitors can savor the best of Asia and also the world in just one place.

There is no doubt that Malaysia is known as the food capital of Southeast Asia where endless choices of food can be found all over the country.

The main staple food is rice and there are over 10 different types of rice dishes available from the various races here.

Noodles are also popular here where you can savor a huge variety of them in the form of dry, soup and fried noodles.

Muhibbah Set Dish
A local mix Malaysian food platter called 'Muhibbah Set' served at most open houses and functions
For those with an appetite to savor local flavors, you can do so almost anywhere in Malaysia.

But be warned that some of the more local places offer a very authentic taste that comes along with a strong flavor of chili and spices.

Local food court in Malaysia
To be safe, first-timers are recommended to try local Malaysian cuisine at restaurants, hotels and food courts in popular shopping malls around the country.

This is a very safe approach to tasting the local foods here without having to worry.

For visitors with an iron stomach, head on out to the many food bazaars, night markets and local coffee shops or stalls where most of the best food in Malaysia is found.

Different states in Malaysia offer different styles of cuisines and that is one of the amazing food cultures of Malaysia. Be sure to ask locals about where are the best places too.

Culture in Malaysia
Various Malaysian cultures being displayed here
Cultural Festivals in Malaysia

Due to Malaysia being a multi-racial and multi-ethnic country, there are amazing choices for visitors to experience the many different cultural festivals being celebrated all over the country.

Depending on which time of the year you are visiting, you are most likely to have an opportunity to witness a local Malaysian cultural festival.

The three main races of Malay, Chinese and Indian have their respective grand festivals which are Hari Raya Aidilfitri in July for Malaysia, Chinese New Year in February for the Chinese, Thaipusam in January for the Hindu's and Deepavali in November for the Indians.

Multi-ethnic culture
Multi-ethnic performers during a festival here in Malaysia
Apart from the main races, there are also the ethnic groups which are found over in Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Malaysia Borneo.

Here you can experience the Kaamatan Festival for the people of Sabah in June and the Gawai Harvest Festival for the Sarawak people in July. These harvest festivals are celebrated on a statewide level and for an entire month here!

There are also many other minority ethnic groups which include the Portuguese in Melaka, the Punjabi's, the Peranakans and many others all over the country who have their own smaller-scale festivals.

Malaysia Girls Photo
A local multi-national parade of Malaysian women
Sporting Events and Festivals in Malaysia

For those into sports and outdoors, you should know Malaysia is now one of the growing destinations for this kind of event and festival with many international festivals and events taking place all over the country.

There are many types of sporting events taking place which include running, motorsports, golf, tennis, and watersports.

Most of them in the big cities while many of them at islands or event at the rainforest around Malaysia.

Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix
The Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix 2015
In motorsports, the world-renowned Formula One Race at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is one of the main sporting tourism events here while there is the Moto GP and also the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race which takes place on Merdeka Day, or Independence Day.

Tennis has also seen a number of world-class events taking place in Malaysia, notably the ATP Malaysia Open (Sept/Oct) with prize monies of USD1 Million and also the BMW Malaysia Open in March with world-class players like Caroline Wozbuacki and many others.

Malaysia Golf
Golf in Malaysia. Image from GolfinMalaysia.com
Golfing is also another international sporting event where the BMW Golf Cup International takes place from May till October.

There is also the CIMB Classic which sees world-class golfers attending the tournament which is held in October 2015.

For the women, there is also the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2015 in October with a USD2 Million purse. And not forgetting the kids, there is the Kids Golf World Championship Malaysia in December.

Other popular and fast-growing genres include running and marathons where there are at least over 50 different Marathons, Half Marathons, Ultra marathons and Extreme Marathons found all over Malaysia.

There is also growing interested in Surfing in Malaysia as many are visiting for the Cherating International Surfing Competition over in Pahang or even the unique Tidal Bore in Sarawak.

There are also many other sports events throughout the year and you can find out more by visiting Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

Concerts Malaysia
Fans at a concert in Malaysia - Image from Hype.my
International Concerts and Shows in Malaysia

Without a doubt, Malaysia has seen many world-class international stars performing here over the years and from many genres of music.

The most recent concerts that happened in Malaysia would be superstars Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey, Metallica just to name a few who had concerts here in Kuala Lumpur since last year.

Rainforest Festival Sarawak Malaysia
Rainforest World Music Festival
For the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015, David Foster and Friends will be performing at Genting Highlands in August while UK superstar Robbie Williams will be performing in September here in KL.

For Asean music lovers, there are also many well known Asian superstars that visit Malaysia for shows which include world-renown stars from Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan.

Malaysia also plays host to the world-famous Rainforest World Music Festival which takes place at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching, Sarawak this August.

For jazz music lovers, you should be pleased to know that there are quite a number of world-class Jazz Festivals in Malaysia that take place all over the country, namely in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, and Sarawak.

Here is an overall list of Music Festivals in Malaysia for anyone who is into music, festivals, and concerts.

Traditional women in Malaysia
Various people in Malaysia, this is just some of the ethnic cultures featured here.
Malaysia's Mission

For more detailed information on visiting Malaysia, you can visit the official website of Tourism Malaysia.

The government and Tourism Ministry has put Malaysia Year of Festivals as a national mission and it is envisaged that government agencies, the private sector, non-government agencies, and industry players will come together and make the national campaign a success for Malaysia's Amazing Year of Festivals 2015.

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