Among the countries of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is one of the most pleasant and easy to visit. Several decades of continuous economic growth and political stability have led it to become one of the places in the region where wealth and prosperity reign, despite the political power in the hands of the Malays, and economic power in the hands of the Chinese.
Malaysia is gradually developing a pluralist culture based on a dynamic and completely original marriage between the Malay, Chinese, Indian people and traditional and cultural elements of other indigenous ethnic groups. Many of the tourists who travel to Malaysia not just visit the peninsular region, where the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur can be interrupted by a trip to the Cameron Highlands, or the relaxed atmosphere of Langkawi.
Few come to Sarawak or Sabah in eastern Malaysia, states that boast an incredible wildlife, tribal life in the huts and the imposing peak of Mount Kinabalu. This is a a little practical information post to give a hand to anyone organizing a trip to Malaysia. Below you can find the itinerary me and my friends have done in two weeks in Malaysia. We went during the last two weeks of August.
I recommend in particular the Petronas Tower at night. Try to stay until midnight while sipping a cocktail at the Bar. You can then visit the Chow Kit Market, for those with a strong stomach where you can see phosphorescent cow and chickens heads. You can then visit the market in Little India, China Town, the Gurdwara Tatt Khalsa Sikh Temple, Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple, Tean Hou Buddhist Temple, Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur and an evening in the Bukit Bintang neighborhood. After the days spent in Kuala Lumpur we took a bus to Malacca.
Day 2. Malacca
Once in Malacca, we settled into a very nice hostel. We do a bike tour of the city that we rented from our hostel for a few ringgit) and then visit Villa Sentosa. In the evening we stroll along Jonker Walk (Hang Jebat). If you have a way to go on Friday or Saturday from 6:30 to 9 pm do not miss the exhibition of the great master Ho Eng Hui. I recommend to spend the night here, as evening in Malacca really deserves it. Again by bus, we left to get to Singapore which is about 5 hours of travel.
Day 3. Singapore
I recommend in particular to stay at an Inn. You can then visit Little India, Clarke Quay. Climbing to the top is worth in the Marina Bay Sands. The spectacle of the fountains at the foot of Marina Bay Sands, from 8 and 9:30 pm is one thing to be amazed. The boat ride along the river gives an idea of the different souls of the city.The Gardens by the Bay, a garden behind the Marina Bay Sands is very special. Visit at least one strip mall on the Orchard Road, at your choice. If you have time visit the Botanic Gardens. From there we took the bus to the airport of Johor Bahru.
Day 4. Johor Bahru
After a 2 hours and half flight we reach Borneo.
Day 5. Kuching - Sarawak, Borneo
Kuching is a great base for exploring the area of Sarawak. The city is nice, I recommend an evening walk and a boat ride along the river at sunset. We have an excursion to the longhouse by former headhunters and have a day at the Iban longhouse in Borneo. Visit the Semeggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, to see the orangutans up close. We were also caught in a crazy Buddhist parade throughout Kuching that happen once a year in August.
From Kuching we took a plane to Kota Bahru, with a stopover in Kuala Lumpur.
Day 6. Kota Bahru
Here is a truly insignificant town. From there we got on a bus that took us up to Kuala Besut to take a boat to the Perhentian Islands.
Day 7. Pulau Perhentian Besar
The Pulau Perhentian are two, Besar and Kecil, Large and Small. We were in Besar, at a resort, in the wildest part of the island. We enjoyed it a lot, because next to us was the fishermen, who alone were worth the trip to Malaysia. Between one beach and the other one can only moves with the water taxi that are quite expensive for Malaysian standards. I recommend in particular snorkelling trips around the island and also to the nearby islands. Here we had dinner from fishermen grilling freshly caught fish.
From here with so much sadness we took small boat, bus, plane and we returned to Kuala Lumpur. After another day in the capital we returned home.