BEST TIME TO GO
Although Malaysia and Borneo are hot and humid all year round, with intermittent tropical showers that pass quickly, March to October is generally the best time with day time temperatures around 30C
Wet season on east coast runs from November to February. September and October are the wettest months on the west coast, which is drier November to February
Direct flights from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur, 12hrs 50mins
Malaysia lies just north of the equator surrounded by the South China Sea. It is sandwiched between Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south. It is a country in two halves, part occupying the Malay Peninsula and the other part the northern part of Borneo. It’s known for its beautiful white sand beaches on some of its 900 scattered islands, lush rainforests that are home to some unique creatures, and a heady mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences.
Nowhere more is this cultural melting pot apparent than in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. KL (as it gets referred to) is home to a wonderful melange of colonial buildings, busy shopping districts such as Bukit Bintang (Malaysians love shopping), and achingly modern skyscrapers, such as the iconic, 451m-tall Petronas Twin Towers. The street food in KL is delicious and well worth sampling – get a guide to show you round for a few hours, but make sure you’re hungry.
Multicultural “Cooking Pot”
Malaysia is a bustling gathering of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony. This multiculturalism has made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise where different cultures have brought their own accents to the local food – although so much passion surrounds food, that debates about a dish’s particular origins can turn quite heated! Why not sample some nasi lemak, rice cooked in coconut milk, Malaysia’s unofficial national dish, or nasi kerabu with its intriguing blue rice, or perhaps some laksa, a delicious bowl of noodles and slurp-worthy soup with endless variations.
Malaysia is home to hundreds of colourful festivals celebrating significant religious, national and cultural dates throughout the year and across the country. It seems as though every religion has its own festival and with each celebration there is always good food. This multi-ethnic and multi-religious tolerance is reflected in the population; as a people, Malaysians are very relaxed, warm and friendly, who love celebrating and socialising.
Some of the Many Highlights
As a country, Malaysia is relatively undiscovered, which is surprising given that it has some of the world’s best beaches, some unique wildlife, and diverse natural environments. You can spend two weeks, simply relaxing on the beaches of one of its archipelago islands in the Andaman Sea, or opt for something a little more challenging such as climbing Mount Kinabalu, hiking through the lush rainforests, experiencing the wildlife (like the amazing orangutan) or diving in the beautiful ocean waters off it coasts. Or perhaps combine a bit of both. Broadly speaking, the Malay Peninsula is more for culture, beaches and rainforest, while Borneo is more for outdoor pursuits and wildlife. Travel is relatively easy, so why not do a bit of both?
Why Not Break Your Journey Down Under in Malaysia and Borneo?
Many flights to Australia and New Zealand stop over in Kuala Lumpur to refuel, so why not break your journey, lessen you jetlag, and enjoy a few days in Malaysia, before continuing on?