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Discover Malaysia, a bewitching land of beautiful beaches, captivating cities and idyllic islands, on a Newmarket Holidays escorted tour. Explore colonial hill-stations, wildlife-packed national parks and savour some delicious local dishes.
Boasting 2,905 miles of idyllic coastline and nearly 900 islands, the Southeast Asian country of Malaysia is a tropical paradise. Occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula, to the south of Thailand, and the island of Borneo, Malaysia is a unique fusion of traditional and colonial cultures, ranging from British and Indian to Arabic and Chinese.
Malaysia is home to 30 national parks, with around two-thirds of the country carpeted in dense, wildlife-packed rainforest, roamed by tigers, elephants, rhinoceroses and many other species, including orangutans, which are only found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Kinabalu National Park, clustered around the eponymous mountain peak in Malaysian Borneo, is one of the best places to see wildlife in Malaysia, along with Taman Negara, on the Malay Peninsula. You can see orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, near Sandakan in Malaysian Borneo. Capital city Kuala Lumpur is a magnificent metropolis of towers – including the iconic twin Petronas Towers – and trees, surrounded by picturesque dense jungle. The city itself reflects the country’s eclectic cultural make-up and is home to architectural styles, including Victorian, Moorish, Mogul and Malay.
Malaysia’s diverse cultural heritage is also reflected in its glittering collection of temples and shrines, including the large golden Hindu statue at the Batu Caves Temple and the Buddhist temple at Kek Si Lok.
Malaysia’s unique and diverse wildlife attracts many visitors to the country, and with good reason too: Malaysia is one of only three countries on earth inhabited by orangutans, the other two being Indonesia and Brunei. The popular UNESCO-listed Kinabalu National Park is a forest paradise, home to several unique species of orchid and the famous Poring Hot Springs. Nearby Sandakan is home to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
Kuala Lumpur is a very popular Malaysian destination, along with George Town, the colonial capital of Penang, and Malacca (also known as Melaka), with its Dutch, Portuguese and British influences.
Malaysian food is renowned for its variety, with influences from Thailand, Indonesia, China, India, Portugal, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Due to its close proximity to the city state, Malaysian food is also similar to Singaporean cuisine. Popular Malaysian dishes include mee goreng, an Indian-influenced dish made of yellow noodles, beef or chicken, chili and soy sauce, along with nasi lemak, a dish cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaf, served with rice. Rendang, a rich stew of beef, chicken or lamb, cooked in coconut milk and spices, is also very popular in Malaysia, as is Hainanese chicken (Chinese-style chicken and rice).
First trip to Malaysia? Here are a few questions you might have.
British passport holders can visit Malaysia for up to three months without a visa. You should ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you enter the country.
Between October and March is widely considered the best time to visit Malaysia, when the skies are clear and the rainfall is minimal. That being said, Kuala Lumpur and the west of the country, on the Malay Peninsula, are hot all year round, albeit with varying levels of rainfall.
Prices do vary depending on which part of the country you visit. By Southeast Asian standards, Malaysia is a relatively expensive country to visit; however, by Western standards, Malaysia is considered a cheap destination.