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AIRPORT/EXIT FEES: Malaysia international departure fee is $40. KEY GIFT: A bubu (traditional bamboo fish trap). DON'T FORGET: A sweater. In this tropcal region, some restaurants and theaters keep the air conditioning at seemingly arctic levels. THE VIBE: Exotic, Asian and culturally diverse.

TOPSIDE: Butterfly-filled rainforests. Borneo longhouses where the entire village lives under a single roof. Bargain shopping for tourists with dollars. Different ethnic groups, including the indigenous bumiputera, whose name for themselves translates as "princes of the soil." Amazing Chinese/Malay food. And a universal appreciation of the sea.

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