A few Cultural Malaysian facts that may help you make new friends

As the small country is one of the most multicultural nations in Southeast Asia, it’s important for vacationers to brush up on some cultural Malaysian facts before boarding that plane to Kuala Lumpur.

For starters, the general population is largely made up of people of Indian, Chinese and native Malay ancestry. As a relatively young country, many of these peoples have yet to establish a firm national identity, instead clinging to the religions, customs and ways of life of their ancestors. This may seem like a challenge for the culturally aware traveler, yet common courtesy and proper decorum should please individuals from all ethnic groups.

Western travelers will be happy to know that the handshake is one of the most common greetings across the country, though there are nuances depending on the gender and culture of individuals involved in the action. For one, Malay women will not shake hands with a man. This applies towards Malaysia’s Indian residents too, though men can shake a Chinese woman’s hand if she extends it first.

Names are similarly unique, Malay and Indian men and women will be addressed by their first names, while Chinese individuals will be addressed by their family names. Titles are similarly important so including a “Mr” or “Mrs” is considered polite.