Facts at Your Finger Tips
Malaysia is a federation of 13 states, 11 of which are found in Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia); and two are on the northern end of Borneo (East Malaysia).
Sarawak is the largest of Malaysia’s 13 states and covers 124,450 sq km (slightly smaller than Greece or Mississippi; and slightly larger than South Korea). It stretches over 750km of the northeast Bornean coastline and makes up 37.5% of land area in the country.
124,450 km2 (48,050 sq mi)
Sarawak is home to over 2.4 million people. Kuching has the highest population density (681,901), followed by Miri (358,020), Mukah (293,514) and Samarahan (246,782). The annual population growth rate is 1.8 per cent.
Compared to Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak is almost its own country, with its own administration, unique melting pot of cultures and way of life. There are about 27 main ethnic groups still in existence in Sarawak, each with its own language, traditions and cultures. The largest of these groups is the Iban people, who make up 31% of the population, followed by ethnic Chinese (28%), Malay (20%), Bidayuh (8%), Melanau (6%), Orang Ulu (5%), Indian, Eurasian and smaller indigenous groups (total of 2%).
Sarawak was under British rule up till its independence in 1963. So the Queen’s English is widely spoken throughout the state, though Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) is the official language. Other local languages include Mandarin, Hokkien and other major Chinese and ethnic dialects. There is also a Sarawak version of Malay, called “Bahasa Sarawak”.
Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are widely practised.
The Equator cuts through Borneo less than 100 km south of Sarawak. The climate is pleasant with frequent tropical showers throughout the year. There are two recognised seasons: November to March is rainy whilst April to October is drier. However, global climate change in recent decades has made this less distinct. Comfortable clothing of natural fibres is the best option all year long.
The unit of currency is Malaysian Ringgit, indicated as ‘RM’. Visit www.xe.com for the latest exchange rates.
Foreign Exchange Booths are common and do clearly state the exchange rate for all major currencies.
ATMs are located at major bank branches, most shopping malls, airports, bus terminals, etc. ATMs in Malaysia require a 6-digit PIN.
Most banks open on Monday – Friday: 9.30 am to 3.30 pm
* Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Some banks and their branches do open on Saturdays.
Open from Monday – Friday: 8.30 am to 4.30 pm and some selected outlets open on Saturday, 8.30 – 12.30pm.
Eight hours ahead (+8) of GMT and 16 hours ahead (+16) of U.S. Pacific Standard Time Click here for the Malaysian Standard Time
220V AC, 50Hz; all plugs are primarily. “Type G ” British BS-1363 type.
Weights and Measures
Malaysia follows the metric system in weights and measures.
Local mobile phone service providers are easily available: Celcom, DiGi, Maxis, and Tune Talk. WIFI is also available free of charge in many parts of the main cities.
High Speed Broadband is easily accessible at hotels, internet cafés and shopping malls, among other places.