Travel, Teach, Live in Asia

Malaysia, A Contrast Between the Old and New
By:Thom Sanders

Most Asian countries feature stark contrasts with regards to culture and industry, from beautiful modern cities to natural wonders, old culture mixing with new age. Malaysia is one of these high contrast countries and if you're on one of many holidays to Malaysia then you have a fantastic opportunity to see this for yourself. This article looks at a couple of these contrasting sites all of which are well worth a visit.

First up is the beautiful Petronas Twin Towers. These towers, designed by Cesar Pelli back in 1997, are one of the tallest structures in the world today. The 88 stories make the towers soar to a height of 452 metres and the buildings themselves are constructed mainly of glass and steel giving them a sleek modern look. A trip to the top of theses towers, in the fast elevators, affords fantastic views of the surrounding towns and countryside.

In contrast to this wonder of modern engineering we have the Kota Kinabalu National Park. This park is the Malaysia's first natural wonder to be awarded a mark as a World Heritage site. The park features the soaring heights of Mount Kota Kinabalu situated in the 754 square kilometres that make up the site. It contains many species of beautiful plants and animals including a plant with the largest single flower in the world the "Rafflesia" plant, and makes for an excellent place for hiking.

On the more cultural side of things there's a stark contrast between the old and the new too. The old is best represented by the Sarawak Cultural Village, the site of this village is now an experimental 'living museum' working to preserve the Sarawak culture. If you visit the village you can experience a whole history of Sarawak culture with the site featuring 7 tribes and their various ways of living all set in 17 acres. There's also a small theatre you can visit in the village that regularly shows multi-ethnic performances based on the tribes living here.

Finally in contrast to the old culture there are the more modern western influences. This is best represented by Heeren Street & Jonker Street in Malacca. These streets known as 'First Class Gentlemen Street' and 'Second Class Gentleman Street' or the 'Millionaires Row' are formed of rows of richly detailed double storey houses. They represent the more western influences and used to be the houses of rich traders and merchants. These days the buildings house modern galleries, cafes and hotels.

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