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East Malaysia

Luxury beach holidays in Malaysia

Imagine staring at the ocean, lying on a deck chair or sitting by the infinity pool while sipping on your fresh juice? If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. Malaysia offers great options for a wonderful luxury holiday by the sea.

 

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Pangkor Laut Resort, Pangkor Island 
Pangkor Laut presents the perfect weekend getaway, far from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. This private island is next to the bigger and busier Pangkor Island, just three hours from the capital. The luxurious resort includes 140 villas and suites and has 300 acres of rainforest as a playground. If you feel like splurging, you can stay in the huge Pavarotti Suite. The tenor sang at the launch of the resort in 1994 and said the island was “paradise”. Other celebrities who have stayed here include Michael Schumacher, Eric Cantona and Michelle Yeoh.

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Westin Langkawi Resort Spa
Tucked away from the duty-free shops and tourist areas of down town Langkawi, Westin is an oasis of high living. For a relaxed stay, take a stroll along the private beach or just lay on a chaise lounge by one of the swimming pools. The more adventurous can go on an excursion around the Langkawi geopark. The waterfalls and dense vegetation will delight nature lovers. At the water sport centre, you can try your hand at kayaking or windsurfing on the Andaman Sea. Families will also love the kids club, with daily activities for children.

More information: Website • Image source

 

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Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu
From the morning coffee to the evening dinner, indulge yourself with striking views of the ocean. This sumptuous complex on the coast of Sabah in East Malaysia is a luxurious dreamy village. You can dive in the South China Sea or discover the National Park of Mount Kinabalu, before relaxing at the spa and wellness centre. Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort also has its own golf club, which has been moulded to match its beautiful surrounds.

More information: Website • Image source

 

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Sea Home Boutique, Penang
Staying at Sea Home Boutique is like travelling back in time. The furniture and antiques are a blend of Victorian and Peranakan styles, a reminder of the rich history of this place. Sea Home is in Tanjung Bungah, a former fishing village on Penang Island. It is the base of the Penang Water Sports Centre and close to Batu Ferringhi, a popular beach destination with one of the most iconic night markets in Malaysia. The capital George Town is just 20 minutes away.

More information: Website • Image source

 

batu-batu

Batu Batu – Johor Bahru
This luxury resort is on the private island of Tengah on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. Nestled within the rainforest and surrounded by pristine waters, the resort is the only development on the island. They have a turtle conservation camp plus a dive centre. They also programme activities for kids. After diving, you can enjoy a meal with your family and watch the sunset by the ocean or spoil yourself at the spa. Batu Batu is great for a family getaway. It’s also ideal for those across the border in Singapore.

More information: Website • Image source

 

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13 Things You May Or May Not Know About Malaysia’s Independence

Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1957

August 31 is Hari Merdeka or Malaysia’s Independence Day. Here’s a brief look at Merdeka Day celebrations over the last 59 years and other events that have shaped the nation.

1. Malaysia gained her independence from Great Britain in 1957. Over 20,000 people gathered in Merdeka Square to mark the occasion, including the Duke of Gloucester, the King and Queen of Thailand and the Prime Minister of India. The first prime minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, chanted some of the most iconic words in Malaysian history, “Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka”.

2. From 1957 onwards, Merdeka celebrations have been held every year in all its grandeur. Dignitaries wear traditional uniforms and costumes, fighter jets fly overhead in a blaze of smoke and military personnel and Kadazan tribal people march through the streets.

3. Inaugural celebrations featured dancing formations that depicted the emblem of the ruling party, Barisan Nasional — or the National Front Coalition Party. Barisan Nasional has ruled Malaysia since 1957, making it one of the longest ruling, democratically installed governments in the world.

4. Up until September 16, 1963, Malaysia was still known as the Federation of Malaya. Two years after Singapore left the federation in 1961, the Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak merged with Peninsula Malaya to form the new Malaysia.

5. Merdeka Day celebrations in 1963 were nothing short of extravagant with traditional dancers from East Malaysia appearing for the first time in full ceremonial regalia, armed with spears and other tribal items.

6. Malaysia Day, not to be confused with Merdeka Day, is held every September 16 to mark the formation of Malaysia.

7. In 1967, Merdeka celebrations saw perhaps the biggest crowd in Malaysian history. An estimated 50,000 people attended the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence. Thousands of law enforcement and military personnel marched through Merdeka Square.

Merdeka 3Military procession passes dignitaries at inaugural Merdeka celebration in 1957

8. Merdeka Football Festival has run concurrently with Merdeka celebrations from 1957. The festival is the oldest football event in Asia and has seen teams from all over the world compete for the prestigious trophy. Hong Kong were the inaugural winners in 1957.

9. Malacca City hosted the first Merdeka celebration outside of Stadium Merdeka and Dataran Merdeka in 1985. The decision was the brainchild of Malaysia’s “Father of Development” Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad. The Malacca Club was turned into a Merdeka memorial called the Merdeka Declaration Memorial to archive all past and future Merdeka celebrations.

10. In the same year, one of Malaysia’s most iconic acts, the Alleycats, released their chart-topping album Suara Kekasih. Founded in 1978, the Alleycats went on to have a profound impact on Malaysian people and the Malaysian music industry.

AlleycatsMusic icons the Alleycats

11. Following 1963, there was a push for Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines to form a confederation called Maphilindo. However, there were too many controversies and disputes over territory with then Indonesian president Sukarno putting an end to discussions.

12. Shortly after, Indonesia provided Malaysia with the greatest threat to her independence. They declared war on the Kalimantan-East Malaysia border, laying claims to territories north of Kalimantan. Indonesia only came to officially acknowledge the formation of Malaysia three years later in 1966.

13. Malaysia and her states have been ruled by many invaders over the years from Srivijayan Buddhists and Majapahit Hindus to Portuguese, Dutch and British settlers as well as the Japanese in World War II. Many of these cultures are still present in current day Merdeka celebrations.

 

Merdeka 150th anniversary Merdeka celebrations in 2007

So, if you are keen to observe a bit of Malaysian history, be sure to join in the fun this August 31. There will be festivities across the nation with performances, parades and fireworks in most cities. Head to Tourism Malaysia Official Site for more information.

 

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A budget guide to travelling Malaysia

By Lloyd Green

Okay, if you’re coming to Malaysia to spend two weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands, you’re probably not going to do it on the cheap. But there’s also plenty of people who pass through Malaysia on their way north from Singapore en route to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

For these people, every dime is important and in a city like KL where extravagance is flashed in your face on every corner, finding things suited to your budget can be difficult. This also applies to travelling across Malaysia, with knowledge of how and when to travel, important to your attempts at saving money.

So let’s start with your arrival.

If, like most people, you arrive in Malaysia by air at either KLIA or KLIA2 terminals and have booked accommodation in Kuala Lumpur, you will have a few options of varying cost and duration to reach your destination. Often backpackers fly blind during this process and can waste money without even knowing it. The KLIA Express train is the fastest way to and from the KLIA airports from KL Sentral, but it is not the cheapest.

shutterstock_209459323 (Picture by Sorbis / Shutterstock.com)

The cheapest route to Kuala Lumpur is by bus with a one-way ticket for adults from KLIA or KLIA2 terminals to KL Sentral priced at 10 Ringgit. Peak hour traffic in Kuala Lumpur can cause lengthy delays, so if you are on a tight schedule and want to get to the city as soon as possible, KLIA Express train is the best option. It takes 28 minutes and is RM55. If you want to save five Ringgit make sure you pay with your credit card at the kiosk and not at the counter. It will be RM50.

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(Picture by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com)

In terms of accommodation, there are two main places to stay for backpackers; Changkat in Bukit Bintang and Chinatown not far from Pasar Seni LRT station. There’s a host of backpacker accommodation in both areas with single rooms as cheap as RM40-50 and dorms beds priced at around 20 Ringgit. Of course, the quality of your hostel will vary with price. Changkat is closer to KL’s nightlife, KLCC and the Petronas Twin Towers, but Chinatown is more conveniently located near the city’s main transportation hub — KL Sentral. Many coaches to Malacca, Johor Bahru, Penang and Ipoh now leave from TBS bus station, which is approximately 20 minutes from KL Sentral.

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Jalan Alor off Changkat is foodie-central with Chinese seafood restaurants and hawker stalls selling an array of local delicacies and international cuisines until the wee hours of the morning. Petaling Street in Chinatown is also famous for food with its night market chock-full of shops and stalls selling goods and street food. Be aware, both of these areas are aimed at tourists and as such prices can be inflated.

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(Picture by Calvin Chan / Shutterstock.com)

Most of KL’s main attractions are aimed at families, couples and those who are dazzled by the bright lights, so if you prefer a bit of adventure but want to stay within in the perimeters of the city I suggest you check out Petaling Jaya and in particular areas such as Subang where an urban youth culture has evolved. If you are able to make friends with locals, that’s even better and ask them to take you out of KL City. The food in areas such as Klang, Petaling Jaya, Ampang and Cheras is just as good (and cheaper) and is where most of the locals eat. Also keep an eye out for local night markets known as Pasar Malam. They offer amazing delicacies and fresh produce and are more authentic than the ones in the city. If you want a quiet night at the cinema, Wednesday is the cheapest evening with tickets as cheap as 10 to 12 Ringgit.

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Just a stones throw away from KL are a places such as Chilling Falls and Broga Hill. These are quite popular amongst locals and provide a nice respite from the concrete jungle of the city. They are free and relatively easy to get to by car. Check out the best places for hiking, camping and waterfalls in and around Kuala Lumpur here.

Budget guide 3(Picture by Travelblog.com)

The bus and train are the cheapest options for making your way around Peninsular Malaysia. For Ipoh, catch the rain as Ipoh Railway Station is located in the centre of town, whereas the coach terminal is some 15 minutes away. You will only save five Ringgit if you catch the bus. The bus from KL to Penang is the best option as it takes you directly to the island and within five minutes of George Town. If you want relax on Malaysia’s famed beaches like Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands, the bus and ferry is the way to go.

shutterstock_115589299For those interested in checking out Borneo’s wildlife, make sure you book your flights to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in advance as flights to East Malaysia can be expensive.

Strangely, food prices also vary between Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia with Indian food slightly more pricier in Borneo. Popular music festivals such the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak and the Penang Jazz Festival on the mainland are relatively cheap compared to other international events, but again book in advance to save yourself some cash.

A great, inexpensive way to see Malaysia is to volunteer. Malaysia offers volunteering opportunities for every taste and interest: from wildlife projects in the untamed jungle of Borneo to teaching English to children in urban and rural environments. Most places provide free accommodation and sometimes food and you’ll have access to remote communities you probably never knew existed. Read more here.

When exiting Malaysia, consider the bus trip north to Hat Yai in Thailand. It is less than 60 Ringgit and you can split the journey up by stopping over in Penang for the night. Cheap flights from KL to popular tourist destinations in Asia such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines can be found via Air Asia, but any additional items such as luggage over 20 kilograms can increase the price.

In summary, Malaysia is a wonderful place to explore and the more adventurous you are, the better your experience will be. Doing it on the cheap is possible but having a friend to show you around or give you advice definitely helps with your budget.

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Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow

‘Char Kway Teow’ or ‘stir-fried ricecake strips’ is arguably one of a many renouned dishes among Malaysians of all races. The name is subsequent from a Hokkien tenure for ‘fried’ that is ‘char, while ‘kway teow’ refers to a ‘flat rice noodles’, that is a categorical ingredient. The latter is stir-fried over really high feverishness with light or dim soy sauce, chili, while prawns, deshelled cockles, bean sprouts, chinese chives and eggs. Among a chinese community, a burn kway teow is traditionally stir-fried in pig fat with frail croutons of pig lard and offer on a square of banana root or plate. In some instances, slices of chinese sausage and fishcake are combined to intensify a taste.

Originally recognised as a bad man’s food, mostly consumed by laborers, farmers, fishermen and cockle-pickers, a plate has currently developed into one of a most-loved dishes among Malaysians – though with certain mixture wanting to belong to ‘halal’ discipline of muslim community. As a plate became some-more widespread, many cooks have come adult with their possess versions of ‘char kway teow’ though with a same essential mixture ‘Char kway teow’ was pronounced to have a origins in S.E.Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei) though a common accord is that ‘Penang burn kway teow’ tops a list when it comes to ambience and originality. In Kampar, Perak, a plate is baked with cockles though no prawns, unless on request. In East Malaysia, other mixture are used in a cooking eg beef, onions, honeyed soya salsa etc. There are also supposed ‘gourmet versions’ of burn kway teow, generally in Ipoh, Penang, Taiping and even a Klang Valley, where seafood, crab beef and even steep eggs are combined to fit perceptive tastes.

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Travel To Malaysia

Travel To Malaysia – Truly Asia

If you are planning to take a trip to the Asian region then make sure that you include Malaysia in your travel plans. In fact the country is one of the most pleasant and hassle-free countries compared to the other nations in this region. The centuries of vibrant mix between the Malays, Chinese, and Indians well as the indigenous cultures have created a truly unique and exciting experience not to be missed.

The country is divided into two distinct parts, namely Peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsula Malaysia is basically the long fringe of land that extends down from Asia and is located between the neighbouring countries of Singapore and Thailand. East Malaysia on the other hand is separated from Peninsula Malaysia by the South China Sea and is less populated. However the dense jungle of Sabah and Sarawak supports a variety of flora and fauna. Here you will be able to find the world’s largest flower as well as Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah which is the highest peak in the South East Asian region.

This interesting mix of cultures have also turned Malaysia into a paradise for food lovers as you will be able to try dishes not just from the respective races but also a fusion of flavours, truly a gastronomically experience for all to enjoy. From fine dining at world class restaurants to the local mamak stalls there is definitely something for everybody.

The nation without a doubt is moving towards the future but at the same time Malaysia still embraces its past. Throughout the year, the calendar is marked by various festivals and celebrations from the vast culture that make up this beautiful country. So make sure that you plan your visit well if you want to witness first hand some of the most festive and colourful celebrations ever.

While most of the visitors tend to visit the peninsular, east Malaysia is no slouch when it comes to the travel industry. There are variety of activities each unique to that particular destination, so if you want to truly experience Malaysia as it is then make it a point to visit the whole nation. For example if you want to escape the humidity of the mainland then you can visit the highlands, two of the most popular ones are Genting Highlands and Cameron Highlands. Genting Highlands is not only where you can get fresh and cool air but it is also the only legal casino in Malaysia, while in Cameron Highlands you can see how farming is done on the highlands.

If you are here for the sun and beach then do not worry as Malaysia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, in fact some of them are located on islands such as Pulau Redang, Pulau Pangkor and many more. For those that want to experience the lifestyles of the traditional Malays then make a stop at the northern Kelantan province where you can witness the culture and enjoy the dishes unique to that area. The point is you will not get bored no matter where you visit in Malaysia.

Travel To Malaysia and Stay At Malaysia Hotels

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