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Travel in Malaysia

An introduction

A dynamic country that will surprise and enthral

We try not to say things like ‘this is a country of contrasts’, because that could be said of anywhere, but in Malaysia it’s hard not to remark on the sudden transitions from ancient to ultra-modern, thriving jungle to hotels dripping with luxury, and cuisines from every port between Mecca and Beijing. It’s certainly interesting to tailor a holiday here - in Malaysia, we can take you from tea plantation to rainforest to tropical coastline, stopping in some top notch towns along the way, in a country that’s barely 200 miles across!

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Most visitors to Malaysia - in fact, many travellers to South-East Asia at large - will arrive at Kuala Lumpur, the country’s buzzing capital, whose international airport is a key gateway to the region. In ‘KL’, the country’s cultural diversity is tangible at every turn, especially in its fantastic street-food scene. Penang is another must-see if it’s your first time - it’s the oldest British settlement in Malaysia, and its historic Georgetown district is a prized UNESCO heritage site.

The Cameron Highlands tea-growing region is an excellent place to relax and refresh yourself, given its cooler climate and lush tea-growing mountainsides, whilst a wilder side of nature can be found in Taman Negara, one of the oldest rainforests in the world with an excellent canopy walk.

Offshore, clusters of tropical islands festoon Malaysia’s coastline, with one to suit every need from family beach holidays to exclusive private honeymoons. Langkawi, in the Andaman Sea, is perhaps best known, with its long picture perfect beaches and upmarket hotels, and Pangkor Laut is certainly the most exclusive, but we also love the little low-key Perhentian Islands, where the diving is world-class and the scenery amongst Malaysia’s finest.

Reasons to love Malaysia

  • Its diversity. Malaysia’s environment is amongst the planet’s most biodiverse, and its human population is made up of hundreds of ethnicities.
  • Road-trips! Malaysians drive on the left, on roads that are well made and sign-posted in English and Malay, so self-drive holidays through its gorgeous landscape are very much on the cards.
  • The gorgeous Colonial architecture, especially in old towns and cities like Malacca.
Population:
31m
Capital:
Kuala Lumpur
Currency:
Ringgit
Language:
Malay, English
Religion:
Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian

Cultural hub

Due to its strategic position, Malaysia became a hotspot for global trade around 2,000 years ago. Traders came first from China and India, introducing concepts that would shape the culture, language and customs of the country. Centuries later, Arab traders brought Islam, which eventually became the official religion of the Malays.

The Europeans piled in too, during the 16th century - first Portuguese, then Dutch and finally British colonists all added to the increasingly diverse blend of architecture and ideals. Finally, after a short Japanese occupation during World War II, Malaysia gained independence on August 31st 1957.