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I am totally captivated by Asia. Having lived in Singapore, Nepal, South Korea and Hong Kong, travelled extensively across all of our destinations in Asia, and worked in luxury travel for many years, curating exceptional trips comes naturally to me.
- from $3,081 PP
- 13 Nights
- Nov - Apr
- 12 hrs from London / 21 hrs from NYC
A classic, comprehensive itinerary which covers the very best of the Malay peninsula. Begin in the sci-fi city-state of Singapore: one of the world’s great cities, famed for its multiculturalism, huge array of museums, tours, and wildlife attractions, plus outstanding hotels and incredible food. Then travel by road up the western side of Peninsula Malaysia, calling in at historic and characterful Malacca; energetic capital KL; and the bubbling port city of Penang, arguably the best foodie destination on the planet. In between you’ll sample the interior jungle of Taman Negara, completing several jungle walks in search of tropical wildlife; and head up into cool tea hills of the Cameron Highlands. Round out this privately guided tour with two nights on the pristine beaches of magical Langkawi.
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- 13 nights in 4 or 5-star accommodation
- Daily breakfast throughout; full-board meals in Taman Negara
- Private arrival and departure airport transfers
- Transport and guiding with private English-speaking driver-guide from Singapore to Penang
- Shared jungle activities in Taman Negara
- Shared food tour in Penang
- Domestic flight Penang to Langkawi
- Expert trip planning advice
- 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
- Flexible, personalized itinerary based on your interests
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Singapore: Arrival into Singapore
You’ll be met in the arrivals hall of Singapore Changi Airport by a private driver, who will then lead you to a private vehicle and transfer you to your downtown hotel.
The Lion City’s cityscape is a mix of sci-fi skyscrapers and heritage shophouses, proudly showing the exotic mix of Chinese, British, Tamil, and Malay influences which made the city. Once arrived at the hotel you have the remainder of the day to recuperate after your flight. You might want to relax with a drink in one of the rooftop restaurants overlooking the Singapore River or walk in one of the city’s heritage neighborhoods; when it comes time to dine, the incredible cuisine reflects the melding of cultures, with a wide range of delicious options.
Day 2 Singapore: Day at leisure in Singapore
Singapore is one of the world’s most modern and highly developed cities with a public transport system to rival anywhere in the world. The MRT (subway) and bus systems are cheap and quick, with various apps available to make getting around as easy as possible. Fleets of taxis swarm throughout the city center. English is the island’s first language, spoken fluently by all and seen on all signage.
Part of the fun of any stay here is spending a day or two exploring under your own steam. In Singapore’s downtown neighborhoods you’ll find bustling markets, art galleries, and independent designers. Beyond the city center, you’ll find protected reserves with canopy walkways, scenic nature trails, and abundant flora and fauna, as well as a wealth of public parks and reserves island-wide. The crown jewel of Singapore’s green scene is the Singapore Botanic Gardens – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – with the iconic Gardens by the Bay, and smaller Chinese and Japanese Gardens also warranting a dedicated visit.
The food scene of course needs no introduction. Singapore’s infamous hawker centers can be found in every neighborhood, serving up the world’s best cheap eats 24/7. For a high contrast, enjoy one of the city’s many high-class dining destinations, with some 44 Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from. First-hand food experiences include an array of cooking classes and passionately guided food walks.
Day 3 Malacca: Private transfer to Malacca; Evening food discovery tour
After breakfast, you will check out of your Singapore hotel and be met by a private English-speaking driver guide. You’ll then set off together on a road transfer across the Singapore-Johor Bahru Causeway, into Peninsular Malaysia, and up to the west coast city of Malacca. In steady traffic this will be a journey of around 4 hours, using mostly major highways which are flanked by palm plantations on both sides.
Arrive at your Malacca hotel in the afternoon and have some time to relax. Situated roughly equidistant between KL and Singapore, this historic port has a broad mix of British, Chinese, Portuguese, and Dutch influences, featuring an intriguing mix of architecture, religion, and food.
In the early evening, you’ll meet your guide and head out to discover the delights of Malacca cuisine and get a closer look at the city’s culinary culture. You’ll stop at a variety of local restaurants; some offering traditional Malay dishes, while others showcase influences from a rainbow of overseas traders who have passed through Malacca over the past 2,000 years.
Often run by multiple generations of the same family, these food outlets usually specialize in just one dish. The tour will be conducted mostly on foot, broken up with a rickshaw ride or two to get you between stops. You’ll finish with a stroll through the heritage quarter of Jonker street, ending up at a picturesque cafe along the canal. Lined with street art, colorful lights, and music playing from nearby bars, this is a fantastic spot to relax with a drink and muse upon your favorite dishes of the evening.
Day 4 Kuala Lumpur: Private transfer to Malaysian capital KL; Afternoon city tour
After breakfast you’ll depart Malacca with your driver guide, continuing your journey up the western coast to Malaysia’s sprawling capital city, Kuala Lumpur. This will be a journey of around two hours. KL is defined by its colorful culture and friendly locals. It’s home to colonial architecture, towering skyscrapers, minarets, Mughal domes, and a wealth of cultural attractions. While there is a reverence for ancient culture, it’s balanced with a plugged-in modern world and a contemporary art scene.
Embark on a fabulous half-day walking tour of Kuala Lumpur to experience the city’s history and ethnic heritage. Led by your private guide, you’ll begin with a visit to Masjid Jamek, also known as Friday Mosque, one of the oldest buildings in the city, set gracefully on the banks of two rivers. Wander around the mosque grounds, learning about Islam in Malaysia and the Arabesque influences in its design. Around the mosque, you’ll find a network of vibrant streets, home to garland makers, chai cafes, and textile stalls. Stop for a cup of traditional tea and Indian snacks, savoring the sweet flavors while discovering more about the Indian-Malay community and their beliefs.
Continue to the colonial heart of old Kuala Lumpur, where your guide will point out a variety of architectural treasures, each of which tells a story of the city from the late 1800s to the mid-1930s. Nearby there is a great viewpoint looking back at the Masjid Jamek, where you’ll get a great photo shot capturing the blend of the old and new architecture of Kuala Lumpur. Wander into the Central Market, a vital hub of commerce for the city’s artisan community. Browse the stalls of local designers and craftsmen while enjoying the buzz of the marketplace. Learn about the history of this market and how it has transitioned over the years from a wet market into its modern-day commerce center.
Your final destination will be KL’s Chinatown, where you’ll explore the vibrant market, ancestral shrines, and heritage shophouses of the city’s Chinese-Malay residents. This area is also the birthplace of many of Malaysia’s signature culinary dishes, thus making it the perfect place to refuel. Pull up a chair at a popular restaurant and savor a plate of Hokkien mee noodles alongside the locals. After this snack, return to the hotel for a chance to freshen up or continue exploring the capital independently.
Day 5 Kuala Lumpur: Day at leisure in KL
You have a full day to explore the capital under your own steam. This modern city is well-connected by public transport and taxis, so having had a good orientation the previous day you should feel confident in getting around.
In the heart of the city center, you’ll find the iconic Petronas Towers, when you can take in fabulous views from the skyway which connects the two spires. Just around the corner is the Golden Triangle shopping and entertainment hub, the place to go for fashions and accessories, designer brands, and electronic goods.
At night, Bukit Bintang Street turns into a walk where you can enjoy wining and dining al fresco in restaurants and cafes. Head west to enjoy the delights of Little India and Chinatown. There’s also a range of gardens, nature walks, museums, and galleries on offer – please speak to your consultant for ideas on how best to use this day.
Day 6 Taman Negara: Private transfer to Taman Negara, via Batu Caves; Night jungle walk
Check out after breakfast and set off on your overland transfer to Taman Negara, a lush rainforest area in the heart of central Malaysia. Before leaving KL proper you’ll stop to visit the Batu Caves, situated in the suburb of Gombak, around 45 minutes from KL city center. The 400million year-old cave complex is cut into an imposing limestone cliff, reached by a 272-step staircase. At the top of the stairs, within the caves, you’ll find a colorful Hindu temple which is of huge significance to Malaysia’s large Tamil Indian population. The base of the climb is guarded by an enormous statue of Lord Murugan, the Hindu God of War.
From the Caves, you’ll head inland by road up to Kuala Tahan. This journey will take around 3hr30m, with lunch taken at a local restaurant en route. At Kuala Tahan jetty you’ll then take a 10-minute longtail boat transfer (shared with other guests at the lodge) upriver into the Taman Negara National Park. You’ll check in to the lodge early afternoon, and then have a couple of hours to relax before your evening activities.
Later in the evening, you will take your first adventure into the 130 million-year-old rainforest. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle on this guided night walk, seeing how it comes alive after dark with nocturnal plants and insects. The walk will take will be on established paths and boardwalks, with a stop at an observation hide along the way. If you are exceptionally fortunate you may catch sight of larger mammals such as mouse deer, sambar, and porcupine.
Day 7 Taman Negara: A day of jungle exploration in Taman Negara
After breakfast this morning you’ll join a morning trek from Taman Negara HQ up to Bukik Teresek. This trek is under the high-density canopy and covering a distance of 1.7km in around 45 minutes. At the summit, you’ll enjoy fine views of the forest, with the peak of nearby Gunung Tahan visible in good weather.
Continue to Taman Negara’s biggest attraction: a canopy walkway that holds the title as the longest ropewalk in the world, stretching 1,640 feet and soaring 148 feet above the forest floor. From this height you can enjoy unparalleled views of the forest below, catching sight of monkeys scurrying through the trees, tropical birds taking flight, and if luck is on your side, larger mammals such as elephants or jungle cats.
After lunch back at the resort, this afternoon’s activity will be a cruise up the Tahan river, with more fantastic wildlife spotting available on all sides of the boat. Arrive at Lata Berkoh where you’ll take a short walk to a cascading waterfall and have the opportunity for a dip in the pristine waters. Return to your accommodation in the late afternoon and have the remainder of the day to relax.
Day 8 Cameron Highlands: Private transfer to the Cameron Highlands
After breakfast, you’ll join a boat transfer back down to Kuala Tahan, where you’ll be reunited with your driver guide. You’ll then set off on the long winding drive through scenery of jungle, palm plantations, and isolated villages across to the Cameron Highlands. Once checked into your upcountry hotel you’ll have the rest of the day to relax.
Malaysia’s most popular highland retreat, the Cameron Highlands sit at nearly 6562 feet at their highest point, enjoying a climate that’s cooler than the rest of the country, boasting a stunning landscape blanketed in emerald green.
Travelers come to walk through charming villages and forests, visit waterfalls, sprawling emerald tea plantations, strawberry, butterfly, and honeybee farms while escaping the sweltering heat of the lowlands. Both wildflowers and vegetables thrive here, with vendors selling organic onions, carrots, and cauliflower grown by local farmers along the main road in the eight loosely connected villages.
Day 9 Cameron Highlands: 4WD Tour of the Cameron Highlands
After an early breakfast, you’ll be met at the hotel by a local nature guide for a tour of the Cameron Highlands. Traveling by 4WD, you’ll first visit a local tea plantation for a short tour of the estate, then continue up to the Mossy Forest of Gunung Brinchang.
Here your guide will take you on a short hike through the forest where you’ll learn about some of the most exotic flora on earth, such as pitcher plants, orchids, primitive ferns, spices, and medicinal plants.
Come back down the mountain and round the morning out with a visit to the Sungai Palas BOH Tea Factory where you’ll enjoy some light refreshments. Return to the hotel and then have the rest of the free to continue exploring the region independently.
Day 10 Penang: Private transfer to Penang; Evening Georgetown food walk
Leave the Highlands this morning, descending out of the hills and back down to the west coast expressway which speeds you onto Penang. The final section of this 4-hour road journey takes you across the Penang bridge and into the island’s historic capital Georgetown, where you’ll be dropped at your hotel.
The ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Penang is a tropical city that offers it all: home to gastronomic delights, a mix of historic and modern architecture, soft white sandy beaches, and numerous excellent hotels. It has a diverse mix of cultures, with modern developments juxtaposed with mosques, temples, and historic buildings, while the coast is lined with sleepy fishing villages and luxury resorts. The colonial city of George Town is its multicultural capital with historic British buildings, magnificent mosques, and crumbling shophouses in its oldest section. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s also one of the top spots in all of Southeast Asia for mouth-watering street food.
This evening you’ll join a walking tour of Georgetown, sampling the best of Penang’s street food. This expert-led tour takes you through the historic alleys and lanes of the city, searching out the best hawkers and dishes. Learn about the stories of these street hawkers while also hearing stories about how Penang has been shaped by its rich cultural heritage, and how this feeds into its unique and delicious food. In between the food stops you will stroll by and listen to stories of Penang’s famous street murals, important clan houses, and boardwalks of the Clan Jetties. The tour ends with a specialty cocktail, designed exclusively to cleanse your palate using local ingredients and spices, tailored and shaken by one of Penang’s famous mixologists.
Day 11 Penang: Guided tour of Penang
Today you’ll join a local guide for a full-day walking tour to discover everything that diverse Penang has to offer: Chinese clan houses, Bollywood soundtracks, Malay fishing villages, and more. Start in Georgetown, an area rich in history, culture, and food. The guide will give a short introduction to the town’s past, learning how merchants from around the world used Penang as a refuge between two regional monsoon weather systems and thus absorbing a variety of international influences into the local culture. Stop for a cup of local coffee at a bakehouse and sample Bengali bread, while the guide explains the origins of this popular Penang breakfast.
Continue the Penang walking tour through the old town, stopping to admire some of the architectural wonders that earned the town UNESCO World Heritage status. Admire the streets’ mix of old and new, hearing the fascinating tales behind some of the historic structures and seeing modern, whimsical street art. Keep an eye out for small workshops where craftsmen may be making items such as joss sticks or weaving rattan items.
Next up is a visit to Khoo Kongsi to learn about the practice of ancestor worship that is so embedded in the local culture. Continue down the so-called ‘Street of Harmony’ where various spiritual shrines and houses of worship can be found then step into vibrant Little India. Mingle with the locals as they shop for colorful flower garland offerings and enjoy the smells emanating from the street hawker stalls. Finish with a visit to a 150-year-old wet market, still abuzz with local life today, before returning to your hotel to relax.
Day 12 Langkawi: Short flight from Penang to Langkawi
This morning your driver will transfer you from your hotel to Penang International Airport, from where you’ll take a short domestic flight up the coast to Langkawi. On arrival in Langkawi you’ll be met again and transferred privately to your beach hotel. The rest of the day is then free to kick back and relax.
The ‘Jewel of Kedah’, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea, approximately 30 miles off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. Just two are inhabited, Pulau Tuba and Pulau Langkawi, the largest and most populated, synonymous with pristine sandy beaches, wildlife-filled jungles, and fantastic shopping, dining, and entertainment. Its striking rugged beauty can be found in forest parks, hot springs, and magnificent waterfalls. The island is not overly developed – although there are plenty of beach bars, seafood restaurants, and spas, it’s also home to villages that have managed to preserve local traditions.
Day 13 Langkawi: Day at leisure on the beach
Langkawi is an island paradise and an idyllic setting to relax and unwind at the end of your tour. The obvious thing to do is sit back and enjoy the beach or the facilities at your hotel. If you have itchy feet though the island boasts a huge list of activities: visitors can enjoy all sorts of thrilling watersports from all island resorts, including sea kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing, snorkeling, and diving; you’ll also find mangrove boat tours on Kilim River, hikes to waterfalls and look-out points in the interior, various museums, galleries, and an aquarium, and a dramatic cable car ride over Cinang Mountain which offers views as far as Sumatra.
Day 14 Langkawi: Departure day
Sadly your adventures in Malaysia must come to an end. At the appropriate time, you’ll be transferred privately from your beach resort to Langkawi International Airport, arriving in good time to check-in for your onward flight.
What's not Included
- As we have clients from all over the world. Our itineraries do not include flights. If you would like us to include flights in your trip, we are happy to do so. Please speak to your travel specialist at the planning stage to include them.
- Gratuities for local guides
- We strongly advise all guests purchase comprehensive travel insurance
- Visas if required
The Majestic Hotel, Malacca
The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Mutiara Taman Negara Resort
Cameron Highlands Resort
The Danna, Langkawi
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