Malaysia’s ancient heritage, in common with many of the countries of Southeast Asia, shows the influence of the mighty Khmer empire, whose centre of gravity was at Angkor in modern day Cambodia.

Though none of the sites discovered on the Malay Peninsula are of the same architectural magnitude as those found in Thailand and Cambodia, many significant Hindu sites have been discovered, the most prominent of which is the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Bujang Valley, Kedah, home to some 50 structures, many of which sadly exhibit deliberate damage from the early period of the country’s gradual Islamisation.

The Portuguese takeover of the country in 1511 would initiate the arrival of the European styles, particularly evident at Malacca, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, in the A’ Famosa Fortress, while later Dutch and British structures still characterise the city's historic heart, such as the Stadthuys, St. Pauls Church and St. John’s Fort. Malacca’s Cheng Hoon Teng temple also shows the Chinese influence of the period.

The main focus of British attention however became Penang. Another UNESCO site, Georgetown, features many British buildings, such as Fort Cornwallis and City hall, nestled together with several Chinese Clan houses, the most famous of which is the remarkable and ornate Khoo Kongsi.


 

The Cameron Highlands were developed by the British as a tea growing region, and its temperate climate at 1,500m evoked a nostalgia for home, exemplified by the many English country houses and cottages that still remain. 

In the Capital, Kuala Lumpur, the old Railway Station, and Sultan Abdul Samad Building are splendid examples of British designed buildings that also reflect the harmonic absorption of indigenous Islamic architecture.

The oldest surviving mosque is the eighteenth century Kampung Laut, at Tumpat in Kelatan, built around 1730 on an older site dating to the 15th century. Ubadiah Mosque, built in 1913 at Kuala Kangsor and designed by a British architect is regarded as the finest of the early mosques.

Since achieving independence in 1957, Malaysia has embarked upon many ambitious constructions and stunning ultra-modernist mosques inspired by the new Arabic styles which now abound throughout the land.

Country: Malaysia
Type of holiday: Classic, Heritage
Destinations: Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands, Pulau Penang, Kuala Terengganu, Malacca
Duration: 12
Guideline price: US$ 2090     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This 12 day tour of Malaysia’s Peninsula visits the bright modern capital of Kuala Lumpur before heading to the serenity of the Cameron highlands and its rarefied colonial and local charms. The tour continues with a visit to meet the Orang Utans, followed by a stay in Penang, once the centre of British colonial operations in the east, before enjoying the delights of the beaches of Malaysia’s east coast. The tour concludes with a visit to historic Malacca. 
Country: Malaysia
Type of holiday: Classic, Heritage
Destinations: Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands, Pulau Penang
Duration: 9
Guideline price: US$ 0     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This 9 day tour of the Malay Peninsula focusses on the history and development of the colonial infrastructure from which modern Malaysia has emerged, exploring Malacca’s turbulent early years, passing through the hands of several colonial powers, together with a foray into both early and modern Kuala Lumpur, and culminating in visits to the gentle climes of the former colonial tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands and the British Empire’s earliest settlement in Malaysia on the island of Penang.
Country: Malaysia
Type of holiday: Classic, Heritage, Wildlife
Destinations: Kuching, Sarawak's interior, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah's interior
Duration: 8
Guideline price: US$ 0     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This 8 day discovery tour of Malaysian Borneo explores the natural landscapes and rainforest cultures of Borneo, and includes a first-hand encounter with an overnight stay at an Iban Longhouse in Sarawak as the guest of the Headman, enjoying tribal life and testing your skill with the blowpipe.
  
Another highlight is meeting the Orang Utans in their forest reserve at Semenggoh. The journey then takes you to Sabah, exploring the rainforest beneath the looming presence of Gunung Kinabalu, hunting for Rafflesia and visiting the beautiful orchid gardens. The tour culminates with a thrilling white water rafting experience down the Padas Gorge.


Country: Malaysia
Type of holiday: Adventure, Heritage
Destinations: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah's east coast, Sabah's interior
Duration: 13
Guideline price: US$ 4059     (per person for Superior accommodation)
Highlight: Sample travel plan only: for a ‘no obligation’ comprehensive itinerary within 24 hours, click here.

This 13 day tour of Sabah begins with a stay in a traditional longhouse among the fascinating Rungus people, before a visit to Kinabalu Park and the Miki Jungle Survival Camp. The tour then travels to Sepilok Nature Resort, to explore the forest and enjoy the company of Orang Utan and Proboscis Monkeys, before a relaxing island spell on Pulau Tiga. This tour can also be modified or extended to include an ascent of Mount Kinabalu.
Click here for all sample tours!

 

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