Malaysia’s whale shark season  

Swimming with dolphins has become a fairly ubiquitous pursuit for western tourists. But this activity, thrilling as it may be, is surely eclipsed by one of Malaysia's aquatic activities: swimming with whale sharks.
First of all, let's be quick specific about the creatures we are talking about. Whale sharks are record breakers. They are to be found in tropical oceans throughout the world and are easily the world's largest species of fish (their name refers to their size rather than their classification amongst animal species). The sight of one of their gargantuan dorsal fins bearing towards you is nothing to be afraid of either. The only other creatures in the ocean under threat when a hungry whale shark is on the prowl are plankton (microscopic sea animals and plants) and, very occasionally, tiny fish. Individual whale sharks measuring 14 metres long have been sighted.
Tioman Island
When visiting Malaysia, if you would like to get up close and personal with a whale shark, it is recommended that you visit Tioman Island. This is the largest island on the Malay Peninsula's east coast, and aside from the likelihood of spotting and swimming with one of these ocean leviathans, there are plenty of other activities to whet any adventurer's appetite. Underneath the surface of the Pacific there are shipwrecks dating back centuries, sheltered bays to enjoy sightseeing and picnics, and rocky pinnacles to explore.
Tioman Island is covered in dense forests, so before you take to the seas it would be worth exploring the hinterland. The trees are alive with land animals, such as exotic birds, brightly-coloured butterflies and many species of monkeys. But it is certainly aquatic pursuits that draw visitors here. Tioman, and the smaller islands offshore, are surrounded by coral reefs. As well as being home to vast populations of diverse marine life, the area is a designated Marine Park. Is that all the flora and fauna of the area, not to mention the brittle reefs themselves, are protected by any damage from human activities, such as fishing, or over-enthusiastic scuba-divers seeking trophies of their undersea exploration.
Tioman and its neighbouring islands enjoy a tropical climate, with fairly uniform high temperatures all-year round. By the end of November the region is entering the monsoon season, and this will last right through to the following February. During this time, when the weather can become very unpredictable and stormy, a great deal of tourist activities close down. Consequently, accommodation can become much harder to find.
When it comes to spotting whale sharks, the best visibility is available at the beginning and at the end of the season from February to March, and from September to November. Visiting Tioman must be done by ferry, as the Malaysian government have banned speedboats. These ferry tickets can be booked online. The frequency of the crossing is subject to local weather, tides, and the condition of the sea; on unfavourable days crossings are limited to one-only.
Once on Tioman, little speedboat taxis are available for buzzing around between villages, although these can prove to be costly.
It goes without saying that if you intend exploring uncharted waters, it is recommended to do so under the guidance of experts. With a suitably experienced guide advising you the location of reefs, wrecks, and more importantly, whales, you can proceed with confidence.
Another tip is to make sure you back plenty of sun cream, as away from the cool waters, the Pacific sun can be pretty merciless.


Malaysian golf attractions  

For a long time, Malaysia has been one of South-East Asia's most-renowned destinations in terms of landscapes and attractions. It is also beginning to gain an excellent reputation for its golfing facilities.
There are upwards of 200 golf courses spread across Malaysia's peninsular and island regions, offering a vast array of conditions. Whether you are a serious golfer, or someone who just prefers whacking some golf balls while enjoying a pleasant walk, there will be a course to suit all tastes.
Malaysia possesses a fantastic range of beautiful backgrounds for its nine or eighteen hole courses. Some of them are situated high up in the country's Highlands, set amongst verdant greenery. Here the cool breezes wafting from the Pacific Ocean offer the perfect antidote to all that strolling between holes. On the other hand there are some excellently-designed golf courses by the shore of the South China Sea. These are uniformly built to international standard. In fact, you will often find that the course itself is much more than an expanse of grass with a variety of holes and flags set on it. The courses themselves are built to highlight the natural surroundings, blending in to the tropical backdrop.
Golf in Malaysia therefore serves various purposes. It provides excellent exercise. It allows you to test your technique as the courses vary, from those ideal for beginners to those aimed at sportsmen or sportswomen who already boast a number of trophies in the cabinet. But perhaps most of all, they allow you to indulge your sporting passion while immersed in Malaysia's natural beauty.
This course is spread over a magnificent 1,100 acres. It contains a variety of artificial lakes and makes the most of the countryside's natural undulations. Designed by Ross C Watson, it also boasts a light aircraft landing strip and a helipad.
Tiara Melaka Golf and Country Club
The club is built to international standard, and covers 400 acres. It is known for its picturesque lakes that reflect the treeline of mature trees that fringe the course.
Thuis unusually designed course will test the skills of all budding golfers. Each hole is star-shaped and the fairways are lined with hazards, including bunkers, old trees and dog-legs. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
This is designed to the impeccable standards of Ted Parslow of E & G Parslow Associates. Suitable for golfers of all levels of expertise, it provides an interesting layout, making full use of the countryside's natural rises and dips. There is a golf academy on the property that will offer expertise on any subtle improvements your game might need. There is also a clubhouse possessing a wide range of facilities. This it 18-hole course is approximately 6,500 metres in length, and offers a par 72.
The Els Club Desaru Coast will comprise two clubs known as “The Ocean” and “The Valley”. The Ocean is a 27-hole championship golf designed by Ernie Els. Situated along the Desaru Coast in the southern state of Johor, it comprises 3 nine-hole Courses, each playing to a Par 36 providing a challenge for all skill levels. The Valley offers 18-hole championship golf designed by Vijay Singh. Destined to become one of the greatest golf courses in the region, it provides a challenge that will test even the best players in the world. A well-appointed plaza style clubhouse is the ideal venue for relaxing and enjoying great food and drinks with family and friends. Opening early 2017.


Meeting Malaysia's orang utans  
There's one thing you should know about orang utans before going any further. It is estimated that there are, in all likelihood, fewer than 20,000 left in the wild throughout Asia. Therefore, embarking on an orang utan-spotting trip in Malaysia is more than just an excuse to indulge in some wildlife photography. It is a privilege.
One terrific holiday experience that will appeal to the whole family is the opportunity to mingle with orang utans. These two-week trips are arranged by the Malaysian National Zoo. Not only do they give the chance to actually meet these majestic creatures in person, but they will allow you to actually do some proper work with them.
There are many reasons why the numbers of these rainforest mammals have declined so drastically, but you can be sure that living so close to Homo Sapiens has not done their cause much good. Activities like logging have had a detrimental effect on their habitat. Another aspect of their lives that these trips seek to address is helping to balance their fragile position within Malaysia. So helping indigenous tribes to make orang utans an important aspect of the local economy is also touched on during the two-week course.
As well as giving visitors to Malaysia some hands-on experience with the orang utans, these trips provide a rare opportunity to explore the country's impenetrable rainforests in the hands of experienced guides and wildlife experts. As well as the magnificent primates themselves, the forests are the natural habitat of an incredible biodiversity. There are other primates, many species of monkeys, fabulous birds, colourful amphibians and a dazzling array of insects, not to mention spiders.
No visit to the orang utan conservation region is complete without popping in to the rehabilitation centre. Many orphaned orang utans are brought to this sanctuary – a sort of drop in rehab centre for the creatures – so they can be looked after, nurtured and taught how to survive in the wild. This is a crucial part of their development, as well as a key aspect of their conservation.
At the centre experienced staff will demonstrate the various techniques they use to feed and strengthen their young charges prior to re-introduction to their native rainforests.
Details of the conservation work
The oran utan conservation trips run from February 2014 right through to December, lasting for 28 days. On the first day you are met at the airport, then taken to your accommodation. After a welcome dinner and briefing, you spend the first night in Kuala Lumpur.
Day 2 sees you enjoying complimentary breakfast before your transfer to Zoo Negara. The remainder of the day will be taken up with orientation and health and safety information, as well as an extensive tour of the zoo.
Days 3 to 16 are effectively the project days, when you commence your work as a volunteer. Starting at around 8am, you will finish at 5am, all the time rolling up your sleeves to pitch in working with orang utans. You will receive first-hand experience of cleaning, feeding and maintenance, all of which will give you a valuable insight into how these fantastic creatures live. A crucial aspect of the work undertaken at the facility is to keep the animals stimulated and happy. This is where you might well get the chance to get to know individual animals.
Weekends are generally given as off-days. How you choose to spend your spare time is entirely up to yourself.
Recommended restaurants in Kuching  
Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak state on Malaysian Borneo, is a vibrant metropolitan centre of some 330,000 people. There is an incredible ethnic diversity about this part of Borneo Island, and for this reason visitors really are spoiled for choice when it comes to sampling the best of the cuisine on offer.
Bla Bla Bla
Into this restaurant you are immediately struck by its unique style and innovative atmosphere. Everything from its décor and koi ponds to a Balinese Buddha pays homage to its distinctly Chinese-inspired dishes. The chef specialities in Bla Bla Bla include midin salad (a prime constituent of which is succulent jungle ferns), mouth-watering cashew nut prawns, and ostrich steaks stuffed with mozzarella. You can indulge yourself in home-made cheesecake. The portions served in Bla Bla Bla are always generous, because the tasty dishes are designed to be shared amongst friends.
Little Lebanon
Only Arab restaurant that you'll find on the entire island of Borneo is here in Kuching. As belly-dancing music drifts through the air, customers are served fragrant and deliciously muddy Turkish coffee. Pita pillows are passed around to be dipped into mashed hummus, providing a tempting aperitif prior to the main courses. As the sun melts into the South China Sea, sheesha pipes are provided for a truly authentic taste of North Africa and the Middle East.
21 Bistro
This Sarawak restaurant is actually more of a sophisticated eating place-cum-bar. Since opening in 2012 it has proved to be very popular with young professionals, mainly due to its eclectic offering of Asian and Western dishes. Fusion dishes, including pasta, are especially popular, with particular approval for the grilled meats and fish (of which snapper is a speciality at 21 Bistro). As diners enthusiastically tuck into their dishes, the PA system provides an effortlessly cool soundtrack of chic jazz, making way for serious chill-out sounds as the evening progresses.
Lok Lok
Popular with courting couples and business associates alike, Lok Lok is known as a nocturnal eating place. The subdued, candlelit atmosphere makes for the perfect backdrop for the variety of speciality dishes. Amongst the most requested are skewers with prawn, cuttlefish or bean curd). These can be deep-fried or boiled, before being served with sweet and sour or satay sauces. Lok Lok also provides its hungry customers with rojak and curried chicken – traditional fare that is always given a unique twist.
Benson Seafood
If urban vicinities tend to evolve over the years, the somewhat downcast riverfront overlooked by Benson Seafood shows every sign of becoming one of Kuching's trendy areas. Laid out as an open-air pavilion, this restaurant boasts large round tables that are adorned with red tablecloths, and surrounded by matching plastic chairs. Naturally, being so close to the sea it serves fresh fish, cooked Chinese-style. Also on offer are local Sarawak classics, such as stir-fried midin, served with belacan (a kind of shrimp paste with a delicate but unmistakeable flavor).
The indigenous Dyak cuisine of Borneo has often been unfairly overlooked by local restaurants. However this situation has been remedied by the opening of its first dedicated Dyak restaurant. Consistently highly-regarded by critics and customers alike, this is the first in Kuching to treat the Dyak menu as the true home cooking.
The Petronas Towers  

Surely one of the architectural wonders of the modern world, Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers have been attracting droves of visitors to Malaysia since opening on August 28 1999.
Owned by Kuala Lumpur City Centre Holdings, Sendirian Berhad, the twin towers rise to a heady height of 452 metres above the capital city's bustling streets far below (that's the equivalent of 1,480 feet).
For a while the Petronas Towers were regarded as the world's tallest structure, surpassing Chicago's Sears Tower. Apparently it was never the original attention of the national oil company Petronas to set out to build something that would surpass the tall American building. When the original plans were blueprinted, the executives, architects and private investors where certainly in agreement over one aspect; they wished this new architectural feat to be more of a monument to the Malaysian capital's status. The Petronas Towers were intended to announce to the world that Kuala Lumpur had become one of Asia, and indeed, the globe's, most vibrant commercial and cultural metropolises.
When they were embarking on this ambitious project, one of the designs they considered was by the American architect and designer Cesar Pelli. His revolutionary method of creating a vast structure that would rise countless stories, while remaining firmly anchored, was audacious, yet simple. His ideas was to construct not one but two towers. The ratio of height to width (sometimes referred to as the slenderness ratio) would be 9.4.
The original remit of the building was that it should deliberately express, not only the degree of ambition in Malaysia, but also its proud history and cultural heritage. So when the architect set about planning his twin towers, from the outset he had a specific vision. The construction should be far much more than towers of metal and glass, similar to those that rise above city centres right across the world. He wanted to incorporate the arabesques and repetitive geometrical patterns that are so prevalent in Muslim architecture.
One of his most obvious reference points alluding to Malaysia's Islamic background was to create an eight-point star, formed by intersecting squares. In designing the towers themselves he envisaged a series of pointed and curved bays that would form a traditional ‘scalloped' outer surface. The intention here was to recreate the appearance of an Islamic temple. (Perhaps an alternative colloquial term for his architectural masterpiece should really have been the ‘twin minarets'!)
While the overall structure consists of two separate towers, the singular most important aspect of the building is the fact that they are twin sections of a single entity. That two towers were constructed was perhaps more of a practical design consideration. Nevertheless, the towers are also physically linked – by a bridge running across the 41st floor. What this does is create a magical gateway effect, giving the impression that the Petronas Tower is truly opening up Kuala Lumpur to its visitors.
One question asked by nervous visitors gazing down over Kuala Lumpur from the dizzying heights is exactly how safe is such a tall structure in the face of the elements? They can rest assured that the building is constructed from a particularly high-strength concrete, in order to reduce the effects of ‘sway'. There are massive concrete cores built into the towers – measuring 75 feet x 75 feet. Despite the slender appearance of the twins, their sophisticated design allows for upwards of 22,000 square feet of office space per floor (with no internal columns either).
The building even boasts glass and stainless steel sun shades. A building with its own sun-screening – how cool is that?
As well as offices, the building accommodates a shopping centre, a concert venue, plazas and a public park. The twin towers don't just sell the city of Kuala Lumpur to the rest of the world, they are virtually a city in their own right!

Top historic sites in Malaysia  
As well as an incredibly rich natural landscape, Malaysia boasts a wealth of man-made attractions. Civilization in this part of the world goes back tens of thousands of years, with successive settlers leaving their mark behind. So when it comes to tracking down evidence of historic development, here are some of the country's most renowned historic sites.
Gua Niah, Miri Sarawak
This is not just one of the foremost archaeological sites in Malaysia, it happens to be one of the most important anywhere in the world. It contains evidence of human habitation from at least 40,000 years ago. A visit here is truly humbling, as it places our own existence in the perspective of an ongoing human story that has been evolving for such an incredible length of time.
Lembah Bujang, Kedah
Civilization here can be dated anything between the 4th and 14th centuries. Throughout these periods Malaysia was a focal point where many disparate ethnic groups collided. Sometimes the nature of their contact was benign – for instance, successive Chinese Emperors sought to reach out and embrace their Far Eastern neighbours as trading partners. At other times the only way these different peoples seemed to be able to communicate was by waging war on one another. The most fascinating aspect of Lembah Bujang is the way it tells this story of Malaysia's earliest experience of becoming a melting pot for peoples and tribes from a vast array of differing backgrounds.
St Paul Historical Complex, Melacca
While this part of the Far East has seen many Asian civilizations interacting, it has also been a fertile stomping ground for European travellers. Trade between the continents has been going on for centuries. Britain, France, Holland, Germany and Portugal have all reached out to the east at various times. The Portuguese, at one point, had many settlements in this neck of the woods. While Portugal's influence as a colonial power waned some time ago, their part in Malaysia's rich back story can be witnessed here. Much of the architecture in this complex reflects that small European power's once large influence.
Kuala Pak Amat
While much of the turbulent history that has affected Malaysia occurred centuries ago, there is ample evidence of more recent traumas. Here is evidence of what was, in the 1940s, a large landing point for the Japanese Army. This marks the point where the war in the Pacific got under way. There are expert guides who can explain how Malaysia was affected during the Japanese campaign of expansion, and the subsequent attempts by the American, British and Australian allies in liberating Borneo and mainland Malaysia.
Datran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia's capital is a perfect place to catch up on the country's vast historical heritage. In this location you can see some stunning examples of art, covering a wide variety of influences. If you happen to be visiting at the right time of year, you can witness one of the most fundamental examples of Malaysian history unfolding before your eyes – the annual parade and celebrations that commemorate Malaysian Independence Day.
What to expect with Borneo boat trips  
The northern portion of the island of Borneo, sitting in the Pacific Ocean, is home to a large section of Malaysia. Naturally, surrounded by miles and miles of beautiful deep blue ocean, this part of the country is a magnet for those wishing to embark on boat trips.
So what should you expect from a boat trip around Malaysian Borneo? Firstly, there is so much more to do in the way of activities than simply sitting on the deck of a boat and watching the waves float by. You might have opportunities to do some game fishing. Or, if your idea of fishing doesn't quite stretch to battling a large Marlin, then you can just as easily choose to drop your line over the side and see what bites you attract, with a cocktail at your side while you wait.
Another popular activity is snorkeling. You don't have to go through the rigmarole of time-consuming training sessions to learn how to scuba-dive. All you need is a mask and snorkel and then you can plunge into the Pacific Ocean and enter an entirely new and exciting dimension.
Tour boats will also provide light meals. This is an excellent way to appreciate local cuisine, especially if you appreciate sea food – the platter you end up being served with will be so fresh, some of the main catch's relatives will still be gliding around the seas while you eat! Depending on which part of the world you have arrived in Malaysia from, there will undoubtedly be a variety of delicacies that are completely new to you.
Well some people prefer a boat trip to be a way of immersing themselves in calm, with the only sound the gently chugging engine and the lapping of waves, others prefer to bring a party with them. Therefore some vessels have extremely capable surround-sound music systems to create an up-tempo atmosphere as you head out from port, embarking on your Pacific adventure.
This part of the Pacific – the South China Sea – is a particularly fertile marine environment. You will be entering a habitat that is home to some of the world's most exotic and exciting creatures. During particular times of the year you might well be lucky enough to catch sight of the occasional group of whale sharks. The sight of one of these ocean-going Leviathans is often enough to cause some trepidation amongst tourists. They do have an intimidating look – they are dark in colour, peppered with white spots – and are exactly the same shape as tiger sharks or, worse still, great white sharks. As their dorsal fins scythe through the water, you could be forgiven for automatically thinking of the theme tune to ‘Jaws'.
However, rest assured, whale sharks are about as dangerous to human beings as sparrows. Perhaps less so! Their main sustenance is microscopic sea creatures known as plankton. So any animal whose staple diet consists of something that only shows up on a microscope will not have very dangerous jaws! On the contrary, these giant creatures glide through the oceans majestically. Over the years they have become acquainted with the human who like to swim alongside getting to know them.
Top 3 boat trips around Malaysia  
Malaysia is a wonderful holiday location, offering a diverse range of tourist attractions on both sides of the South China Sea. If you want to take full advantage of its proximity to the beautiful Pacific Ocean, here are some excellent boat trips you can choose to embark on.
Dinner Cruises
While some travellers are drawn to cruises because they wish to watch the world flow by, others are content to just use a boat trip as an excuse to put their feet up and indulge in some serious relaxation. Some people prefer to take on-board both options with equal fervor.
When visiting Langkawi, why not book yourself onto an afternoon and sunset dinner cruise? Because Langwaki consists of no fewer than 99 gorgeous tropical islands, it makes for the ideal backdrop to your island-hopping cruise. As your background of endless white beaches, towering limestone cliffs and turquoise seas drift by, relax and enjoy the delicacies on offer from the varied menu. As well as taking a sightseeing cruise around the region's southern islands and inviting bays, you can chill-out while you are served dinner prepared on board. An added bonus is that there is an open bar on the vessel, with a free flow of drinks. File that is swimming kayaking snorkeling on offer, it is best to get those activities out the way before getting too acquainted with the open bar! Thereafter why not sink a few choice aperitifs while watching the majesty of the sun setting into the western mountains.
Serious angling
Fishing in the Pacific is another immensely popular pastime for visitors to Malaysia. Excellent sports fishing opportunities are available when you head out from Langwaki. The motor yacht that will transport you to the fishing grounds is fast, comfortable and professionally-equipped. You can head for the islands in the Butang group or Pulau Peras, both of which offer excellent fishing, as well as snorkeling or diving.
Amongst the species you may hook are sea bass, grouper, tuna, marlin, marlin or barracuda (in the case of the latter, be vary wary of their snapping jaws after you've wheeled one aboard!) Departure times can be individually arranged, and you have the option of a half-day's trip lasting four hours or full day's fishing lasting eight. An experienced local fisherman will accompany you to ensure you make the most out of your angling opportunity.
Flying fox spotting
One particular aquatic pursuit that will be something to write home about is the flying Fox and wetlands cruise. Departing from Langwaki at sunset and lasting for three hours, this will take you along Kilim's beautiful forest-lined mangrove swamps en route to Pulau Dangli. As well as feeding tropical fish, you'll be able to witness the amazing spectacle of one of Malaysia's most fantastic and unique natural sights. At sunset the flying foxes – the world's largest species of fruit bats – emerge from their daily roosting positions, to begin encircling the island as they start their evening feed. These magnificent creatures sped the night feasting, before heading back to the island by sunrise. After you've captured some memorable snaps of the feeding frenzy, your private boat tour and experienced nature guide will return you to the island, then your hotel.
Top 5 Malaysian Landmarks  

Mulu Caves
These caves offer spectacular natural landscapes for visitors to explore in Malaysia. Situated in mountainous rainforests, this beautiful subterranean realm includes the Sarawak Chamber – one of the world's largest caves. Another of these vast caverns, Deer Cave, contains vast numbers of wrinkle-lipped bats. There can be few spectacles in nature as jaw-dropping as the sight of thousands of these chirruping creatures swarming from the caves every sunset, hunting for their supper!
Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation
Opening in 1964, this rehabilitation centre has been opening its doors to orphaned baby orangutans for 50 years. Unfortunately, illegal hunting and the effects of extensive logging have created significant numbers of young orangutans in need of nurturing and care. Once the centre has trained these beautiful and sensitive creatures, they are released into the wild again. The reserve contains up to 80 orangutans, and is extremely popular with tourists. As well as obtaining spectacular photographic mementoes of these wonderful primates, they can learn all about current conservation plans.
Mount Kinabalu
Borneo's highest summit rises 4,095 metres above the forest floor. Renowned across the world for its biodiversity, the region boasts over 300 birds species, over 100 mammal species, and some 600 species of ferns. Kinabulu's main peak is easily climbed, and the good news is no mountaineering equipment is required (although an experienced guide is a necessity).
Petronas Twin Towers
Until 1994, these magnificent towering edifices were the tallest in the world. They remain a jaw-dropping sight for visitors to Kuala Lumpur, and are still the highest ‘architectural twins' anywhere on the planet. Consisting of 88 floors, they are mostly built from reinforced concrete, their glass exteriors made to resemble Islamic motifs (reflecting the art of the region's Muslim religion). A world-famous sky bridge connects the towers a dizzying 42 floors above Kuala Lumpur.
The view from here is simply unforgettable. From this vantage point Kuala Lumour will stretch before you. Use your guide book to reference all the different points of interest, either close at hand, amongst the capital's hustle and bustle, or further out towards the city's verdant, palm tree-clogged suburbs.
Originally opened in 1999, this magnificent structure was intended to stake Kuala Lumpur's claim as the globe's newest, vibrant, commercial capital. It is so much more than just a towering building. As well as containing floor and floors of office space, there is a park, and a vast shopping mall. You can relax here, or embark on some serious retail therapy in the array of shops and plazas.


Why Malaysia is the perfect winter holiday retreat  
For westerners considering a holiday to escape the winter cold, heading east is often a popular option. But many still consider those countries with the strongest European association – Singapore, Hong Kong, or onwards to Australia or New Zealand. They are missing out on are some of the Far East's most fabulous locations.
Whether they are looking to soak up the rays on a beach, or a family-friendly destination with scope to keep youngsters fully occupied, Malaysia offer more than most. This location is becoming increasingly popular towards the end of December as western tourists shake off the post-Christmas blues, not to mention their over-indulgence in turkey and all the trimmings.
Malaysia's island retreats
Of course, Malaysia is far from one country. Its two main portions are split by the South China Sea into Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia, the latter sharing the island of Borneo with Brunei and parts of Indonesia. There are many island sanctuaries where travellers can bask in the idyllic palm-fringed surrounds. In fact, Travel and Leisure Magazine named Malaysia as the source of the world's most romantic island getaways for 2013.
The holiday accommodation ranges from fabulous five-star hotels, catering for everything you could possibly require during your Far Eastern break, to beautiful bungalows built on stilts, poised above the turquoise seas. Easing into sleep against a backdrop of gently lapping waves is considered the epitome of luxury by city dwellers more used to urban noise and traffic!
The Malaysian Experience
While snorkeling or while snorkeling or diving in crystal clear, or sunning on golden beaches, may be the holiday of choice for some, others may prefer a bit more activity. Malaysia is such a melting pot of people and cultures there is never a dull moment for those wishing to savour the atmosphere in its more built-up regions.
Its capital, Kuala Lumpur, is a cosmopolitan metropolis that can offer visitors diverse attractions. No matter what your tastes for cuisine are you will find a range of sumptuous restaurants and cafes, offering you an incredibly diverse taste of the Far-East. The bustling city might seem slightly intimidating for first-time tourists, but the locals will quickly make you feel at home. There is a good transport infrastructure for getting around the various attractions and places of interest, whether your preferred mode is rail, tram or taxi.
Galleries as well as museums that trace the evolution of the region's many cultures. Wherever you are in Malaysia, whether it's a large city or a smaller town, you are never too far from lush countryside. After a day spent transferring from various trains or taxis to places on your Kuala Lumpur ‘to do' list, a great idea is to take some time out exploring the hinterland. There are forest trails that can be booked, where experienced guides will introduce you to the wilder side of the nation. Climbing through the rugged landscapes, surrounded by tall trees, beautifully-coloured tropical plants, against the backdrop of chattering monkeys and exotic birds, will be an unforgettable experience. You might even be lucky enough to spot one of Malaysia's most famous residents, its furtive orangutans.
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