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Best of Malaysia
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Transfer by local bus to the old port town of Melaka. Once the most important trading port of Malaysia, Melaka attracted Chinese, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese and British traders, all seeking wealth or an opportunity to control the Straits of Malacca, a vital trading route between the Indian and Pacific oceans. Today, Melaka's wealth of historical sites remind visitors of times gone by and its multicultural past is revealed in its distinctive cuisine. Take a quaint trishaw tour along the narrow winding streets to get a taste of old Melaka and learn about the ancient spice trade. Take in sites such as Harmony Street, a mosque, Chinese Buddhist Temples and a traditional Muslim house-museum.
Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara (National Park) is home to what's considered to be the oldest rainforest in the world.
Experience the jungle from a monkey's point of view on a canopy walk high up in the trees. Following the walk, those seeking additional challenges can take the time to explore Bukit Teresek. Head upstream in longtail boats to brave the low level rapids. There's time for a swim surrounded by rainforest jungles before returning to our accommodation. Meet our local guide and head off into the jungle for a short trek. We hope to see some of Malaysia's extraordinary wildlife, including many exotic birds, and perhaps learn about some of the traditional uses of endemic plants and flowers. Arrive at the crystal-clear waters of the Tahan River where there's time for a refreshing swim.
A long drive by private bus to Kuala Besut where we take a boat over crystal-clear waters to the sun-kissed beaches of the Perhentian Islands. Located off the east coast of Malaysia, the Perhentians are some of the most beautiful islands in the world, with unspoilt reefs and pure white sand. Time can be spent snorkelling, swimming, trekking into the inland jungle, exploring the nearby islands or just lying in a hammock. And don't miss the seafood BBQ on offer! Take a half day snorkelling trip in the turquoise waters, with beautiful coral and an array of fish. Keep an eye open for the majestic green turtles and, if we're lucky, maybe even a reef shark or two.
A speed boat to Kuala Besut and then a minibus takes us on to Kota Bharu. Epitomising traditional Malay culture at its best, Kota Bharu is home to several cultural and historical museums. Take time to learn about the art of batik, shadow puppets, silversmithing and kite making. This is a good chance to do some souvenir shopping. The night market of Kota Bharu is renowned around the country as an epicurean wonderland so don't miss this chance to sample various northern Malay delicacies not found elsewhere.
A long bus journey and a short minibus ride takes us to the west coast and our home away from home - a small homestay run by our long-term friends, Aziz and Asiah, located on a picturesque lake just outside of Kuala Kangsar. Enjoy a traditional banquet of regional delicacies - eating with our hands, wearing sarongs - and also get plenty of opportunities to delve further into Malay culture. Stay in basic bungalows with twin-share beds and cold showers. Listen to the morning call of gibbons and take a walk through a traditional kampung (village) and rubber plantations while our local guide explains the intricacies of Malay village life. Along the way, pass by jackfruit, pineapples, longans, rambutans and other tropical fruits growing wild on the roadside. When you get back, go kayaking or simply relax.
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