Malaysia – A Blend of Curious Cultures
You might have noticed that the last couple of blogs have been about places further afield like Canada, New York, India, etc. And whilst it’s great to think about the holiday trips of a lifetime that you might consider when you’ve a longer period of time, this blog we thought you might also like something a little closer to home; something that you could easily do for a shorter 1-2 week break – Malaysia.
Malaysia is best described as a feast for the eyes, no matter you’re looking for in your next trip. There’s the potential hiking, diving, caving, shopping, wildlife, nature treks – through the world’s oldest rainforest, culture, theme parks, architecture – a bit of everything perhaps. Or, maybe, you’re after the ultimate in just relaxing by the pool or playing in some of the most glorious water there is. Malaysia offers it all.
Populated by a mix of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and indigenous groups, Malaysia boasts a rich cultural heritage, that offers a variety of annual festivals, wonderful traditional architecture, and rural arts and crafts.
There’s a religious mix too that delivers surprising juxtapositions of mosques, temples, and churches. And when you add the majesty of the temples with the colour and intrigue of street lounges, Indian holiday festivals and everyday life in the Malaysian kampungs as well as the indigenous traditions of Borneo* and it is easy to see why visitors are attracted to this celebration of ethnic diversity.
There’s a lot to Malaysia, so we’ve just picked a couple of places to whet your travel appetite. Starting with…
Kuala Lumpur (KL)
Found at the head of the Klang Valley in the mid-19th century, Kuala Lumpur – widely known as KL – combines architecture, in and around Merdeka Square, dating back to the 1890s, with eccentric combinations of British Empire influences that have now been eclipsed by the rise of the modern, especially the Petronas Towers, that would fit nicely in Hong Kong or New York.
Petronas Towers are the worlds tallest twin towers at 88 storeys. And boy do they offer an amazing views from both the Skybridge (41st floor) and the Observation Deck (86th floor).
From there you’ll be able to get an idea of some of the other spots to visit whilst you’re in KL.
- The colonial district – particularly pretty to visit at night when it’s decked out in fairy lights.
- Chinatown – a vibrant narrow street experience filled with wonderful Chinese (and Indian) spots to both shop and chow down like a local.
- The golden triangle – home to many of KLs better hotels and restaurants, galleries
- The Lake Gardens precinct – perfect if you’re up for a moment of nature in an otherwise city focussed visit. Walk through the beautiful gardens, visit the Butterfly Park, bird sanctuary and maybe walk back in time through Malaysia’s National Museum which is not far from the Gardens. And if museums are your thing, there’s also the super modern Islamic Arts Museum to visit as well.
The west coast & Langkawi:
If you’re after a more authentic Malaysian experience, then the West Coast (from KL to the northern border of Thailand) might be for you. Lakes, forest, paddy fields, plantations combined with expanding urban development.
And in between there are some spectacular beaches on offer – especially Langkawi – which is the largest island of the 99 island archipelago. In addition to magnificent diving and/or snorkelling, white sand and a warm azure sea, you can indulge (or develop) your love of island legends whilst you explore some of nature’s best caves and rock formations. Whilst you’re there relaxing, you’ll also want to make sure you take a trip on the Sky Cab (cable car) and gaze at what could only be described as some of the most magnificent views you’re ever likely to witness.
The East Coast Islands:
The 400-kilometer stretch from the northeast corner of the peninsula to Kuantan, halfway to the east coast, attracts visitors for two main reasons: island beaches and traditional Malay culture. The islands of Pulau Perhentian, Pulau Redang, and Pulau Kapas offer tremendous opportunities for diving and snorkelling. The water is the most amazing colour and so, so clear (you don’t even have to dive or snorkel to watch the fish!).
The south of the Malay Peninsula, below Kuala Lumpur contains one of the most historically and culturally important cities in Malaysia – the city of world heritage city of Melaka. A 2.5hr trip from KL, means you can spend most of the day exploring the city’s rich history built on the back of bloody battles relating to the spice and textile trades. Almost every seafaring nation’s history is represented in some way in this small city. The Persians, Tamils, Thais, Burmese, Khmers, Sulus, Chinese – there’s history galore. Wander the maze of ancient, narrow streets and visit the remains of the ancient 16th century fort and battlements.
Sarawak seems to capture what the island of Borneo is all about, with its seductive tribal cultures and rainforests. By far, Malaysia’s largest state, heralds a number of national parks that showcase everything from coastal marshes to extensive cave systems and help preserve some of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the world. If you’re looking for adventure with wildlife (especially orangutans – there are several wildlife rescue parks), hidden beaches, pristine rainforests and old-fashioned exploration Sarawak delivers. And if you’re after an authentic indigenous experience, you’ll want to stay in an Iban longhouse – which is just about as removed from city/tourist life as you can get.
For help designing your own amazing mix of experiences, give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, we’d be delighted to help you create something that perfectly suits you or your family. You can call us, visit the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment with one of our expert travel agents via the form below.
* Just in case you’re wondering Borneo is part Malaysia, part Indonesia and also contains the small independent nation of Brunei.
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