Begin your adventure in the lively capital of Kuala Lumpur. With so many cultural influences and many things to do and see, consider the option of extending your trip beforehand to see what this city has to offer.. Adventure through the lush Taman Negara National Park, where your local guide will explain traditional medicines sourced straight from the rainforest.. Snorkel the turquoise seas of the Perhentian Islands – a paradise of unspoiled forests and white sands.. Spend time with a local family at a homestay in Kota Aur – pedal out to the surrounding rice fields and have an authentic local experience that gives a real insight into village culture.
Experience the very best of Malaysia on a 13-day cultural adventure. Since its emergence from colonial rule, Malaysia has developed a reputation as a land of diverse cultures, sensational cuisine and natural beauty. On this trip, we take you where the action is – past outstanding architecture, to a rural village homestay, close to exotic marine life and into ancient rainforests. Amble along forest trails, haggle in some of Asia’s best markets, discover perfect beachside paradise and make friends along the way. This trip introduces the best of Malaysia and gives an inside glimpse to this fascinating country.
Breakfast Included: 12 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 1
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you do happen to arrive early, go out and get a taste for Kuala Lumpur, the cosmopolitan capital of Malaysia. Grab a map and talk to the hotel staff about things to do. The markets of Chinatown, exceptional Indian food and traditional Malay arts make up a large part of the city's essence. Your evening is best spent at the night market sampling the many different cuisines on offer and bargain hunting at the many stalls.
This morning, walk to your train station (approximately 10 mins), and transfer to the local bus station (approximately 30 mins). Board a local bus to the old port town of Melaka (approximately 2.5 hours). On arrival into Melaka take a minibus to your hotel in downtown Melaka (20 mins). A former colonial outpost, this town retains a distinctive old-world charm. Travelling by trishaw in the local style, you will take a tour of the town, cruising through the narrow, winding streets to get a taste of old Melaka and learn about the ancient spice trade the town is known for. Along the way you will pay a visit to Harmony Street – an aptly named strip of mosques and temples that has a tranquil vibe. You’ll also check out a mosque, a variety of Chinese Buddhist temples and a traditional Muslim house-museum.
Taman Negara National Park
Early this morning, embark on a full day's travel by private minibus to the ancient rainforest of Taman Negara National Park (approximately 6 hours). This vast natural beauty is believed to be the oldest rainforest in the world, dating back some 130 million years. It's home to an incredible variety of wildlife, from elephants and monkeys to exotic birds such as the elusive Malaysian rail-babbler and the easily recognisable hornbill. The park also boasts one of the highest diversities of trees on the planet. You’ll arrive later in the afternoon, so once checked in to your accommodation, take some time to relax with your group.
Taman Negara National Park
Start the day with a rigorous but rewarding trek to Bukit Teresek. This is a hill that offers some amazing panoramic views from the top and world-class birdwatching. Afterwards you will head upstream (approximately 1 hour) on a longtail boat on the low-level rapids. There will be plenty of time to relax by the river amid the lush jungle surrounds before returning to the accommodation for the evening.
Taman Negara National Park
Meet your local guide and head off into the jungle for a morning trek (approximately 4-5 hours). This is the ultimate way to experience this pristine rainforest – as well as spotting wildlife, you'll be able to learn more about the plants and flowers and some of their traditional medicinal uses. While your journey only lasts a few hours, you'll be walking through primary and secondary jungle, so be prepared to sweat! The walk can be challenging, with some time spent on boardwalks and some time spent on trails that can get quite slippery and muddy. At the end of your trek you will arrive at the Tahan River where there's plenty of time to relax by the river. After lunch, the adventurous can continue walking 30 minutes to the cascades further upstream before it's time to head back down the Tahan River in a small dugout canoe.
Take a private bus to Kuala Besut (approximately 6–7 hours). Here you will take a fun boat ride over crystal-clear waters of the South China Sea to the sun-kissed beaches of the Perhentian Islands (approximately 45 minutes). Located off the east coast of Malaysia, the Perhentians are some of the most beautiful islands in the world, with vibrant reefs and pure white sand. This will be well worth the long drive today!
Enjoy a leisurely half-day snorkelling trip in the surrounding turquoise waters. You'll be among beautiful coral and an impressive array of tropical fish. See how many different varieties you can spot. It's worth keeping an eye open for the rarer beauties too – green turtles and, if you are lucky, maybe even a reef shark or two.
Indulge in this divine coastal spot in your free time today. You can do some more snorkelling, laze and swim in the water near the shore, trek into the inland jungle, explore the nearby islands or simply lie in a hammock with a good book. And don't miss one of the delicious feasts of barbequed seafood on offer. You’re on island time now, so chill out today, and be as busy (or relaxed) as you want to be.
This morning, take a speed boat back Kuala Besut and then hop in a minibus for a 6-hour drive to Kota Aur. In this small traditional Malay village set amongst the rice paddies, you'll have the opportunity to experience a homestay with a local family. You will meet your hosts and be taken out to one of the various home lodgings found throughout the village. Relax and make yourself at home; the local families will be thrilled to have you. Tonight enjoy a home cooked dinner at your homestay.
Malay Homestay - Penang
Awake to the sounds of village life. This morning you will take a tour of the village and rice fields by bike. This is a great opportunity to see how the locals live, and you’ll make a few stops along the way to learn about the rice production. Cycling past the rice fields and breathing in the fresh country air, with beautiful mountains in the distance, makes this morning a picture-postcard experience. Enjoy a cooking demonstration, as well as a home-cooked lunch together with the group and one of our hosts. You will have the opportunity to learn about the Malay game of congkak – a traditional board game. Continue to Penang this afternoon (approximately 1 hour) – Malaysia's prized island. Discover an exotic blend of cultures, and of course, its signature foods, which you can sample at one of the many street-side stalls. Try a sweet ice kacang (crushed ice, syrup and a mixture of jellies, nuts and sweet beans), or a hearty nasi kandar (steamed rice with curry, fried chicken, seafood or vegetables).
This morning, take an orientation walk with your leader around your hotel and the Georgetown area of Penang, best explored on foot. Take in the historic shophouses, narrow streets, and street art that give Georgetown its unique atmosphere. Pass the Goddess of Mercy Chinese temple, Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple, Kapitan Kling Mosque and Cheong Fatt Tze Museum. The rest of the day is free to explore the many different sides of Penang at your leisure, and Georgetown is a particularly great area to delve deeper into. You will have discovered by now some of its impressive architecture, but this eclectic cultural arena seems to offer a new surprise at every turn. In the evening, perhaps head to a street food hot spot. Here you can indulge in an Assam Laksa, char kway teow or maybe some spicy fish curry for dinner – your group leader will know of some great places to eat.
Today, venture out to explore some city sites by private vehicle. Visit the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia – Kek Lok Si. Enjoy a photo stop at Fort Cornwallis – the largest fort in Malaysia, visit the Clan Jetty and spot some more of Penang's famous street artworks. In the afternoon, enjoy some more time at leisure to explore the island. Perhaps venture on to Penang Hill and take the funicular to the top, taking in the views around the island. Those looking to relax and cool off might like to venture further afield to one of the superb local beaches. Perhaps even go for a short trek in Penang National Park on the North West tip of the island or explore a tropical spice garden.