Malaysia -Truly Asia
|Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia’s top travel destinations, possessing an endless range of attractions and activities that cater to the cosmopolitan shopper, cultural enthusiast, history buff, and nature-lover. It is a country of extreme yet fascinating contrasts, where ultra modern skyscrapers in its capital city Kuala Lumpur stand in close proximity to quaint heritage structures, and five-star hotels sit several metres away from ancient coral reefs.
Malaysia is a melting pot of Malay, Indian, Chinese, and indigenous tribal cultures, interwoven with European influences. Its multiculturalism has made the country a gastronomical paradise and host to hundreds of colorful festivals.
In 2014, Malaysia will celebrate Visit Malaysia Year with the theme “Celebrating Malaysia - Truly Asia.” The Visit Malaysia Year promotional campaign kicked off this year with a series of year-long special events and activities through 2014.
There is so much to do in Malaysia it is almost impossible to know where to begin. But here for starters is a top 10 things to do:
If you want to focus in on the extreme contrast that is Malaysia, twin a visit to the cosmopolitan, modern capital city of Kuala Lumpur with Sabah in Malaysian Borneo.
Take a bird’s eye view of Kuala Lumpur from the Petronas Twin Towers
Dive in the world class Sipadan Island
Enjoy the tranquil beaches of Langkawi Island
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Melaka
Watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Kinabalu
Shop till you drop in Kuala Lumpur – one of the world’s best shopping cities
Treat your taste buds to the exotic Malaysian Cuisine
Join the celebration of diversity in the “Colours of Malaysia” festival
See the baby orang-utans at the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary in Borneo
Go to Penang – the “Pearl of the Orient”
Kuala Lumpur is delightful mix of cross-cultural influences and traditions, radiating an exciting, enticing charm. Tradition, culture and old world charm meet new world sophistication in this amazing cultural melting pot. Wander through communities of Chinese, Malays, South Indians, East Malaysian ethnic groups, Thais, Indonesians, Sikhs and a huge community of expats. Each community offering its own festivals, food, music, art and fashion while influencing each other's cultures.
The architecture is somewhat unique - from hundred year old mansions to awe-inspiring sky scrapers, and all within metres of each other. Malaysia’s history can been seen around Merdeka Square and you can take a free Heritage Guided Walking Tour. Within this one square you will visit ten heritage buildings from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s with a blend of old colonial, Moorish, Tudor, Neo-gothic and Islamic architectural styles.
Kuala Lumpur has a lively nightlife scene and a fascinating art and performance culture, which blends contemporary and traditional styles from many backgrounds. There is the widest range of sporting activities available with state-of -the-art facilities. Treat your taste buds to Kuala Lumpur's extremely varied cuisine and street food, which is an adventure in itself! Above all else Kuala Lumpur is a shopping heaven, offering everything from street side trinkets to haute couture.
Sabah in the north of the island of Borneo is also part of Malaysia. Often called the 'Land Below the Wind' because it lies below the typhoon belt, Sabah occupies the eastern part of North Borneo and is East Malaysia's second largest state with an area of 74,500 sq.km. Sabah has the South China Sea on the west and the Sulu and Celebes Seas on the east.
Mountainous and largely carpeted by lush tropical rainforests, its population of nearly two million is made up of 32 colourful ethnic communities.
Kota Kinabalu, the capital, lies in a fertile lowland plain on the west coast of Sabah where most commercial and administrative activities are concentrated. But the 'real' Sabah can best be found in its countryside.
At the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, visitors can observe trainers teaching orphaned or displaced orang utan apes to climb in their natural habitat. At this rehabilitation centre you can enjoy a fascinating close-up view of these arboreal creatures as captive animals are retrained for life in the jungle.
The best time to visit is at 10.00 am and again at 2.30 pm when the primates emerge from the forest for their daily ration of bananas and milk. You can see the orang utans being fed from a platform in the centre. Nicknamed the “Wild Man of Borneo” you will feel a definite fellow feeling as you gaze into the eyes of your near relative. The orang utans are returned to the forest when they can fend for themselves.
Kinabalu Park in central Sabah has been listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site, due to its diversity of plant life and wildlife. It provides a challenging climb to the summit of Mount Kinabalu amidst a lush virgin rainforest, where you can find hidden hot springs in cool high altitudes. This is the highest mountain in South East Asia at nearly 14,000ft.
Sipadan island off the south eastern coast of Sabah, has been one of the top five dive sites in the world for years. It has a unique underwater geography with a proliferation of wildlife. Leatherback turtles, barracuda and white tipped sharks are a common sight while diving in Sipadan.
Fly to Malaysia with Malaysia Airlines offering four flights per week from Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur on the luxurious B-777 aircraft. Relax on this 5 star airline with your own personal entertainment monitor, enjoying exceptional meals, served by a globally recognized award winning cabin staff. Recent awards for Malaysia Airlines also include Best Signature Dish.
Malaysia Airlines’ hub is the KLIA airport in Kuala Lumpur - a modern airport that has been recognized with Best Airport Staff and Best Immigration Service awards.
In addition to over 35 fantastic Malaysian destinations, Malaysia Airlines has one of the strongest route networks in the South East Asia region flying to exciting cities in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia.
Malaysia Airlines is also a member of oneworld, offering great opportunities for creative round the world routings together with top class airlines such as Cathay Pacific and British Airways - plus a great frequent flier program that rewards your travel choices.
If you are looking for a packaged vacation then check out these suggestions:
Malaysia Airlines offer a number of value packed Stopover Holidays catering to specific interests, such as Golf, Family Fun, Adventure, Music, Nature, Romantic Getaways and more.
Tourism Malaysia features these packages from Goway, Jade Tours and Canada One Travel.
Stay at the Shangri La hotels in Malaysia. Shangri-La Hotels are Asia Pacific's leading luxury hotel group and renowned worldwide for serenity and service.
The Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur is a hidden paradise in the heart of the metropolis. Perfectly located to explore the city – you are with within sight of the world famous skyscrapers, the Petronas Twin Towers. 5 restaurants offer you exquisite Malaysian and Asian cooking. The Health Club has beautiful pool, sundeck, sauna and steam room, fitness equipment and more.
Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu, is a perfect tropical getaway, a luxurious tranquil retreat just a short drive from the city. Wake to the sound of waves lapping the beach and look out from your balcony over sparkling coral islands and swaying palm trees. Enjoy a pampering session at The Spa CHI on the resort’s private spa island, with treatments based on traditional Asian healing philosophies.
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort is set on Pantai Dalit Beach amidst a nature reserve. At dawn, climb a tower as the majestic new sun rises over Mount Kinabalu in the distance. Your Malaysian-themed room is perched on a verdant hill, with a spectacular beachfront view, surrounded by 400 acres of tropical forest. The resort is home to an eco-friendly championship golf course and the magnificent Spa at Dalit Bay. Unique to the Rasa Ria resort is the Oran Utan Education Centre. Kids have their own fun club and the more adventurous get to help the rangers look after the baby orang utans in the resort’s care.
Photos Courtesy of Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia Tourism