The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held at the Shah Alam circuit in 1991 and saw a debut win in the premier class for John Kocinski riding a Yamaha. Shah Alam hosted the event for seven years before the Malaysian GP went to Johor for a single year in 1998.In 1999 the brilliant Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur, designed by respected racetrack architect Hermann Tilke, hosted its first Grand Prix, with the 500cc race won by Kenny Roberts, Jr on a Suzuki. Since then Sepang has been a consistent fixture on the calendar and the circuit has also been extensively used for MotoGP™ preseason testing over the years.
The Southeast Asian country of Malaysia comprises 13 states and three federal territories stretching across a 330,800km2 landmass in two regions - Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo) - which are separated by the South China Sea.
Peninsular Malaysia borders Thailand, East Malaysia borders Brunei and Indonesia. In this culturally diverse and exotic part of the world, the country is also a maritime neighbour of Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam .
The country is a former British colony and has existed in its present form since 1963, with the population including Malays, Chinese, Indians and further indigenous groups. Malaysia’s rich cultural history means it boasts a wonderful range of cuisines, traditions, architecture and local festivals.
There are superb beaches, rainforests, beautiful national parks and a stunning array of fauna and flora to explore. Go hiking, caving or rafting and then wind down on a tropical island.
Perhaps you are looking for a taste of life in the fast lane? Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur has something for everyone - within its bustling streets are fantastic restaurants, the sparkling Petronas Towers and grand colonial buildings around Merdeka Square, the busy markets and state-of-the-art shopping malls.
Many large hotel chains have properties in the area nearby the circuit, with prices ranging from as little as US$25 per night in locally owned hotels to US$250 plus per night for five star hotel accommodation within a few kilometres of the track. Advance reservations are essential to assure a good priced hotel near the circuit on race weekends.
Malaysia’s superb capital city of Kuala Lumpur offers a vast array of guesthouses, hostels, B&Bs, backpackers or lodges at the cheaper end of the scale but some of these places are pretty basic. Like in many other parts of the world these days it is easy to rent an apartment for a weekend in the city.
Hotels in Kuala Lumpur vary from the very basic, to mid-range en-suite air conditioned rooms for RM100 (US$32) per night including breakfast, to luxury hotels offering a level of style ranking alongside the best hotels in the world.
One of the best things about visiting Malaysia is the country’s superb food - with local Malay origins, plus the fine, fresh products fused principally with Indian and Chinese cookery.
Try some Malaysian staples such as Nasi lemak (steamed rice, coconut milk, pandan leaves, ikan bilis, peanuts, cucumber, hard boiled eggs and sambal), Mee goreng mamak (yellow noodles, beef or chicken, shrimp, soy sauce, vegetables, eggs and chili) or Laksa (spicy noodle soup in curry form, with fish or prawns) and then go with the flow from there.
When it comes to general etiquette and dress code the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities have different ground rules, yet they are all tolerant of each other and of respectful visitors from elsewhere in the world.
Malaysia’s climate is hot and humid all year round and it is common to experience torrential rainfall preceded and followed by hours of sunshine, so get used to feeling the humidity and warmth. Be prepared to carry layers and a change of clothes in order to stay comfortable.
Kuala Lumpur is a Malay phrase meaning ‘muddy confluence’ and this huge metropolis is located at the meeting point of the Gombak and Klang rivers, which are known to flood the city. The short name for the city is KL and its inhabitants are nicknamed as KLites.