Parang is a collective term for swords, big knives and machetes hailing from all over the Malay archipelago. Typical vegetation in South East Asia is more woody than in South America and the parang is therefore optimized for a stronger chopping action with a heavier blade and a "sweet spot" further forward of the handle; the blade is also beveled more obtusely to prevent it from binding in the cut. This is the same rationale and (in practical terms) the same design as the Indonesiangolok and very similar to the Filipinobolo. A parang blade is usually 10–24 inches (25–61 cm) long; a blade that is 10 inches and shorter is called a pisau (knife) and a blade 24 inches and longer is called a pedang (sword). A parang has a mass up to 2 lb and the edge of a parang usually uses a convex grind. The Parang has three different edges: the front is very sharp and used for skinning, the middle is wider and used for chopping, and the back end (near the handle) is very fine and used for carving. A parang handle is normally made out of wood or horn, with a wide end to prevent slips in wet conditions. The tang of parangs usually are of rat tail tang design, and full tang designs are also available.
Like the machete, the parang is frequently used in the jungle as well as being a tool for making housing, furniture, and tools. The parang has been noted in John "Lofty" Wiseman's SAS Survival Handbook for this use.
In Alistair MacLean's South by Java Head, parangs are used as weapons against the Japanese.
Parangs are typically carried by gang members and robbers, as weapons, in Malaysia, Singapore, India and Sri Lanka.