Petite and enormously versatile, Peninsular Malaysia packs a lot of temptation into its 50,400 square miles. Here, some of the world’s most biodiverse rainforest sits alongside a bustling capital city, where you can sample authentic dishes inherited from places as distant as China and Arabia.
Off the coast, you'll find beautiful tropical islands to suit just about any beach holiday style you might fancy, from excellent diving and secluded honeymoons, to tranquil low-key bays, and pristine sand just metres from some of Malaysia’s finest spas.
What else? Ah yes - the tea. When you’re tired of the tropical temperatures, head up into the Cameron Highlands tea-growing region, following the footsteps of heat-weary Victorian British Colonials, who retreated here a century before you. You’ll find their gorgeous stately buildings converted into tranquil modern accommodation, in a landscape lush and green with tea plants and mountain vegetation.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city, is a thriving modern metropolis where it’s fun to be out after dark, whether you’re exploring the streetfood markets, or surveying the skyline from a cocktail bar atop one of the city’s impressive towers.
KL's modern bustle is balanced by a couple of historic counterpoints. A couple of hours south sits beautiful old Malacca - once the greatest trading port in South-East Asia, and responsible for importing many of the country’s diverse influences in centuries gone by. To the north, you’ll find Colonial Penang, the oldest British settlement in the country, part of which is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Langkawi is probably the best-known of Malaysia’s islands, with its long sandy beaches, smart hotels and effort-free infrastructure, but there are many others, notably the laid back Perhentian Islands, with their picture-perfect beaches, the idyllic and versatile Tioman Islands, which are as good for families as they are for diving, and the height-of-luxury Pangkor Laut.
Things to love in Malaysia
What to do in Malaysia: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
The next best thing to eating in Penang is learning to create its signature dishes yourself. You’ll spend this experience in Penang’s Tropical Spice Garden for a few hours of food-fuelled bliss. Hidden away amongst the fragrant spice plantations, the cooking school sits in a beautiful spot with views of the Andaman Sea in the distance.
The Cameron Highlands grew to prominence during the 1920s, when its refreshing mountain climate and scenic, fertile landscapes first seduced Malaysia’s British Colonists. Tea grows beautifully here, and temperatures rarely stray outside 18-25 degrees C - very tempting to a suit-wearing Brit. Along with the tea interests, the region now also offers beautiful trails and forested walks.
The Banjaran is the perfect hideaway for tired bodies and busy minds. A natural healing playground of thermal caves, healing hot springs, underground ice baths and geothermal pools, it’s somewhere to take a deeply relaxing breather. Nestled in a jungle valley flanked by towering limestone hills, amidst waterfalls and meandering rivers, it feels like an enchanted forest.
Discover your Malaysia
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Perfect straight ‘off the peg’ or as a source of inspiration allowing us to start with blank canvas. You decide.
The Selective difference
With us, you are taken care of from enquiry until your reluctant homecoming. Your holiday is designed by a specialist who knows your destination first-hand. Throughout your travels, you'll have expert personal guides where requested & our full logistical support. And, it goes without saying, we'll be waiting to hear all about it once you're home.
Our Brighton-based Destination Specialists spend each day working closely with colleagues and partners across Asia. This ensures we stay several steps ahead when designing inspiring holidays, staying up to date and overcoming obstacles, which means your holiday will be crafted using both local and international expertise.
The welfare of our destinations and their communities is incredibly important to us. We are focused on ensuring that your money makes a positive impact, as often as possible, by supporting communities and wildlife conservation through dedicated initiatives and by very carefully choosing our partners in Asia.
We may be partial to the occasional bad pun, but we don’t joke around when it comes to designing first class travel experiences. Over 90% of our clients rate us 5/5 after their holiday, and we're not ashamed to crack a proud grin on behalf of our award-winning teams in the UK and Asia.
We know your time is precious, before and during your trip. We want you to have a smooth and relaxing experience so that your main concern on holiday will be whether to order noodles or rice. There will be no hidden extras, and your holiday will be orchestrated seamlessly by your Destination Specialist plus our local guides and behind-the-scenes crews in your destination.
Explore Malaysia's highlights
The Cameron Highlands are a vast area of rolling green hills, tea plantations, and forest located about four hours drive north of Kuala Lumpur. Sitting at between 1,300m and 1,829m in altitude, the relaxing hill station offers visitors a cooler climate than they experience during lowland travels, and provides the perfect conditions for growing tea, flowers and all manner of fruit and vegetables.
Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara is one of the oldest rainforests in the world - more ancient than both the Amazon and the Congo. Its primary forest is a haven for endangered species such as the Asian elephant, rhinoceros, clouded leopard and tiger to name a few, although you are more likely to see some of the 350 species of bird, a wide variety of primates, lizards, snakes, and the perhaps the odd leech.
Located in the Andaman Sea just off the north west coastline of the Malay Peninsula, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands, the largest of which is Langkawi Island. Perhaps Malaysia’s best-known holiday destination, Langkawi is a tropical paradise of long sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, stunning sunsets and a jungle clad interior.
Georgetown in Penang is one of the street food capitals of Asia – try the delicious Asam Laksa soup.
A fruit which divides the masses – loved by many, and detested by just as many. It’s so smelly that it’s banned from many hotels, and on public transport.
Taman Negara National Park protects a 130 million year old rainforest, along with its many furry, feathered & scaly inhabitants.
Malaysia's islands boast some of the finest diving in Asia - speak to one of our diving specialists to learn more.
You may hear four languages used in one sentence – guess the translation of ‘Wei macha, you want makan here or tapau?’
Penang’s walls are adorned with artwork, including murals by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic - ask us for a map.
At various points in the last century, the local time has been changed to lengthen or shorten the day.
The world’s tallest twin towers, linked by a bridge at level 41.
New Malaysian babies referred to as ‘ulat’ - which translates as ‘worm’ - until they are given their official name.
This annual Hindu festival takes place at the Batu Caves. Here you can witness the truly devoted use skewers to pierce their skin, tongue or cheeks, as well as other parts of their bodies.