Faces of

Cherating is the only real backpacker hub at the east coast of the peninsula on the mainland. Offering plenty of affordable chalets and a relaxed atmosphere, it is good place to stop for a night or two on the way up or down the east coast. The beach itself is not that spectacular and misses the palm directly at the beach. But it has a good vibe and few things you can do like taking a tour or renting a kayak up the river into the mangroves. There is also an active surfer scene when the waves are right. Cherating is located about 30km or 1h by local bus north of Kuantan.

Alor Setar

Alor Setar is the capital of the state of Kedah. It is a transit point for trips to Thailand and to Pulau Langkawi. The ferry to Langkawi departs from Kuala Kedah, just few minutes outside of Alor Setar. The city is a center of Malay culture and is surrounded by paddie fields .


Crossroads by Jim Baker

A popular history of Malaysia and Singapore

Jim Baker

Crossroads - a popular history of Malaysia and Singapore

First Edition  (1999)
Second Edition (2008)
Third Edition (2014)


Selected snippets from the book:

defining the terms Malays, Malaya, Malayans, Malaysia and Malaysians:

The Malays are a racial group, and Malay is their language. The Malays make up the majority of the population of the present-day Federation of Malaysia and a minority in the Republic of Singapore. Generally, the term includes a race of people who make up a significant portion of the population of southern Thailand and most of the populations of Indonesia and Brunei, as well as a minority in the southern Philippines. Collectively, they are the Malay people but only referred to in that way by the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand. The Malay language is spoken throughout the area but with significant differences in dialect. For example, Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia are quite similar. Malaya was a British creation and refers to the states formerly controlled by the British on the Malay Peninsula. The formal use of the term came into being after World War II, when the Federation of Malaya was Created and became an independent country in 1957. Prior to this, the area  was often referred to as British Malaya and included Singapore for most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this book, Malaya refers to the Malay Peninsula that eventually became British Malaya. "Malayans" refers to the inhabitants of the peninsula and later on the federation, whether they be Malay, Chinese, Indian or Eurasian. Malaysla was created in 1963 with the merger of the Federation of Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah (formerly known as British North Borneo). Singapore left the federation in 1965.