Let Malaysia be the gateway to modern Asia – culturally rich, diverse and rewarding. Dense jungle meets diving paradises, whilst white shores aren’t far from the soaring skyscrapers of the nation’s capital.
Malaysia Airlines (website: www.malaysiaairlines.com) fly direct to Kuala Lumpur from London Heathrow and Emirates (website: www.emirates.com) fly from London Gatwick or Newcastle, via Dubai.
Malaysia celebrated 50 years of independence in August 2007, and events will continue throughout the year.
Visitors can grab one last dose of sunshine before the winter really draws in. Average temperatures in Kuala Lumpur during November can reach 32°C (89°F).
Fashion and food lovers will be delighted to discover that November plays host to Malaysia’s International Fashion Week (website: www.m-ifw.com) and the month-long Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (website: www.migf.com).
Admire Kuala Lumpur‘s architectural gems. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Independence Square blends Victorian and Moorish architectural styles, whilst the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station resembles a Moorish palace. Striking mosques can be found all over the city.
In Gunung Mulu National Park (website: www.mulupark.com), a World Heritage Site, visit the most extensive cave system in the world, including the Deer Cave, Clearwater Cave and The Cave of the Winds.
Visit the twin islands of Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, which boast pristine white beaches, crystal clear waters and still relatively unexploited territory.
Take a river cruise back through time in Malacca. Founded in the early 15th century, the state remains predominantly a Chinese community, though there are reminders of Portuguese, Dutch and British rule.
Ride the train along Malaysia’s central railway, which travels through dense jungle. It commences near Kota Bahru and continues via Kuala Krai and Jerantut to meet the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur railway line at Gemas.
Scuba-dive in the tropical waters off Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. Prime sites include Layang Layang, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Labuan Island.
Malay cuisine concentrates on subtleties of taste using a blend of spices, ginger, coconut milk and peanuts. The famous satay (meat barbecued on skewers and served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce) is a national speciality, as are ikan bilis (dried anchovies) which are eaten with drinks. Gula malacca is a firm sago pudding in palm sugar sauce. All of these can be washed down with a Singapore Sling, or sugar cane juice.
Did you know?
Sabah is home to the world’s largest flower, the rafflesia. It can grow to over 1m (3.3 feet) in diameter and weigh over 10kg (22lb) and is said to resemble rotting meat in both appearance and aroma.