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A cultural fusion marrying the best of three cultures, Malaysia's native Malay, South Indian, and Chinese influences combine like a delicious Penang soup.
Destinations > Malaysia & Borneo > Highlights of Malaysia
7 nights accommodation, some meals, sightseeing, transport and domestic flights as per itinerary and services of local English speaking guides.
Daily; 01 Mar 17 - 31 Mar 18
Discover the natural beauty, vibrant culture and flavoursome cuisine of Malaysia. Explore Kuala Lumpur on foot, be in awe at Malacca’s stunning architecture, and discover forests and tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands, ending in Penang.
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The Cameron Highlands is Malaysia’s most extensive hill station, an alpine-scape of blue peaks and fuzzy tea plantations.
Penang - Malaysia's prized island - has a beautiful coastline, wonderful cuisine and colonial buildings.
Observe Chinese, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese and British influences in the ancient trade town of Malacca.
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On arrival in Kuala Lumpur, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. This evening, venture over to one of the busiest areas of Kuala Lumpur and enjoy a range of freshly prepared dishes from the street vendors (meal on own account). The guide will be on hand to talk guests through the range and diversity of options available. This really is a great introduction to the city and the start of a cultural culinary experience. Return to the hotel via a photo stop at the PETRONAS towers – best viewed at night.
Exploring Kuala Lumpur by foot is a great way to interact with this vibrant, multiethnic city. Today’s half day walking tour will take you through the progression of Kuala Lumpur – in its architecture, food and people.
Visit Masjid Jamek, or Friday Mosque, is one of the oldest buildings in KL (1909). This graceful structure sits on the banks of two rivers, and was formally the site of KL’s first cemetery. As you wander the mosque grounds, learn more about Islam in Malaysia and the arabesque influences in design. Like any place of worship, dress standard needs to be adhered to, with robes and headscarves provided (not available for visit on a Friday).
Continue to the bustling, colourful laneways surrounding the mosque for a contrasting experience to the serene mosque. The area surrounding India Mosque (Masjid India) is a vibrant assault of heady incense, flowing embroidered saris, the lull of the sitar and of course, a treasure trove of spices, breads and curries. Take a Teh Tarik, so named due to the elaborate action in producing this sweet tea, best accompanied by Indian snacks.
Winding around the laneways to the architectural colonial heart of old KL to learn about the influences, past and present uses of these iconic buildings ranging from the late 1800’s to the mid 1930’s.
Take a photo stop looking back on Masjid Jamek for a great view of the old and new, flanked by palm trees. Delve into the Arts and Crafts of the Central Market, built in 1888 and once operating as a Wet Market – integral to the emerging KL life. Nowadays it is a hub of local designers and unique craft items.
Head back out onto the streets and walk towards the Chinatown area to taste a range of dishes that have put KL on the map. Enjoy authentic Hokkein Mee at a local restaurant using the same recipe for over 100 years and learn about the benefits of Chinese tea from engaging merchants – operating since the early 1940’s.
Afternoon, free at own leisure for the rest of the day.
Malacca is steeped in trading history, not surprising given its unique location along the vital Malacca Strait. The melting pot of a variety of cultures culminates in a history different to other parts of Malaysia, the most noteworthy being the Portuguese and Dutch influences in this area. Just like other cities in Malaysia, Malacca‘s history is best explored on foot (a trishaw can be used for this tour at an additional cost).
Meander through the centuries of history starting at the oldest remaining example of European architecture in South East Asia, A Famosa, before climbing St Paul’s Hill to visit St Paul’s Church and descending to one of the best examples of Dutch colonial architecture, the Stadthuys - the former Dutch City Hall which is flanked by flamboyantly decorated trishaws.
Why not try one the renowned ‘Teochew’ style restaurants in Malacca, which are influenced by the Cantonese and often favored for their light, healthy ingredients and little spice. Follow this with a delicious warm Portuguese tart from one of the many nearby vendors.
Visit one of the best examples in the area of the harmony of the area’s ethnic groups, Temple Street, so named because of the multicultural range of temples and mosques that have stood since the early 18th Century. Continue to view restored Peranakan buildings (a cultural mix of Han Chinese and Malay that forged its own style, known as the Baba-Nyonya, from the 15thCentury).
Visit one of the excellent Baba-Nyonya museums along the way to learn more about the culture before enjoying the antiques and cafes of the famous Jonkers Street. End of the tour with an interesting river cruise along the straits of Melaka River before returning back to Kuala Lumpur and drop off to your hotel.
After breakfast, morning at leisure before departing the hotel to travel to Batu Caves, a limestone outcrop just outside of the city. Hindu worshippers from across the world come to pay their respects at this unique site which features three main caves. Ascend the 272 stairs to view the icons and paintings dedicated to Lord Rama. Two smaller caves can be visited at the base of the stairs.
TakeaTali (Indian-style) lunch at one of the local restaurants (own expenses) before continuing another three hours to the largest tea plantation area in Malaysia, in the Cameron Highlands. Guests will arrive in the mid-afternoon and check in to their hotel before spending the afternoon at leisure.
Visit one of the original organic farms in the area and meet the gregarious Mr Lee who will be happy to share his experiences. This evening, sample produce from the Mr Lee’s farm with a “steamboat” -A must-have meal when in the highlands
Distances and journey time
Kuala Lumpur to Batu Caves (16km) 40 mins
Batu Caves to Cameron Highlands (210km) 3 hours
Start early to enjoy the crisp morning air and light streaming across the Mossy Forest. Guests will access this area via boardwalks which can be slippery in the rain. There are longer treks available, and guests can speak to their travel consultant if they wish to organize one. This is a stunning location for photography and is set at the highest point in Cameron Highlands, creating an ecosystem of pitcher plants, lizards, creeping vines and deep green mossy trees. After around an hour, depart the forest to visit the BOH tea plantation, which was established in 1929 by a British merchant. Here, guests will enjoy a tour of the plantation, learning about the processes of tea production before sampling the produce from an outdoor café with extensive views across the plantation.
Travel down the winding range and onwards to Penang, a journey of around 4-4.5 hours, stopping enroute at the historical mining town of Ipoh. Take a local lunch (own expenses) beforetravelling to the Perak Tong Cave Temple. Created in 1926 by a local Chinese couple, this beautiful temple features brightly coloured murals as well as a large standing Buddha - a serene experience.
Travel a further two hours to Georgetown, Penang. Arrive to Penang mid-afternoon and check in to the hotel. Penang has long been recorded on traders’ maps as a place of refuge to rest and restock when traversing the long route from India to China. Blessed with a natural harbor and bountiful fresh water, it came under British control in the mid-1700s. Today, UNESCO-listed Penang is still calling visitors to its shores, promising a distinctive cuisine and colonial charm.
After freshening up at their hotel, guests head out to Little India to enjoy a sensory explosion of flavorsome curries, burning incense, Bollywood beats and akaleidoscope of colour. The aptly named “Street of Harmony” meanders from Hindu and Muslim to Chinese and Christian influences in a short but vibrant walk, and provides a great introduction to Penang.
There is a range of local choices for dinner tonight and the guide will be able to offer many suggestions depending on guests’ requirements.
Distances and journey time
Cameron Highlands to Ipoh (85km) 2 hours
Ipoh to Penang (175km) 2.5 hours
Penang is renowned for its food and the variety and specialties of this island seem never-ending. Join this Half day early morning tour to get amongst the locals whilst enjoying the best Dim Sum Penang has to offer. The crowds of Penangites are a testament to the quality of the Dim Sum. The clunking of chopsticks, din of conversation and the swirling of Chinese Green tea make for a tasty start to the day.
After your fill of Dim Sum in this frenetic environment visit Chow Rasta morning Wet Market with the housewives who are haggling to get their fresh food for the day. This market has been in operation since the early 1800’s and provides a unique view of morning life in Malaysia.
Since Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic's first Solo exhibition of Murals at the Hin Bus Depot Art Space, Penang has commissioned 16 international Artists to further enhance the UNESCO landscape with a series of interactive murals inspired by daily life.
Important Heritage & religious sites such as the Street of Harmony are fused with street art discovery as you delve deeper into the personality of Georgetown. After the tour, return to the hotel and the rest of yuor day is free at own leisure.
Today is free at your own leisure.
After breakfast, day at leisure until your departure transfer to the airport for your onwards flight to next destination.
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