Sepang Circuit in Malaysia

A look at Sepang and Malaysia

A Little About Sepang And The Area Around It In Malaysia

The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held at the Shah Alam circuit in 1991 and saw a debut win in the MotoGP 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 Hermann Tilke, hosted its first Grand Prix, with the 500cc race won by Kenny Roberts, Jnr 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.

More about Malaysia

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. People go hiking, caving or rafting and then wind down on a tropical island.

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.

Exploring Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is one of the key cultural, commercial and financial centres of this area of the world. It has a population of around 1.5 million people (7.2 million in the wider metropolitan area), and aspirations to rival Singapore in terms of regional importance.

Widely referred to as simply 'KL', this is an enchanting city to discover as you soak up the intriguingly diverse Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, and sense the former influence of the British Empire on this striking capital. Also popular is to visit Little India and Chinatown, the old colonial centre around Merdeka Square and the area nicknamed the Golden Triangle in the heart of the downtown district.

In the countryside surrounding KL there is easy access for a rainforest experience amongst the elevated treetop walkway of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, whilst a beautiful Hindu shrine can be found at Batu Caves.

A two hour drive south from KL takes you to Melaka, where the origins of Malay culture can be retraced. On the west coast you will find the interesting city of Georgetown - the original British settlement in Malaysia on Penang Island.

Over the South China Sea are the East Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. More great beaches, old colonial settlements, the Iban, Kayan and Kenyah longhouses, the Gunung Mulu National Park and the Kelabit Highlands offer additional tropical adventures.

When visiting Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia

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.

Interesting to know

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.

- Roland Potter