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So much to discover

  • Tour historic George Town in Penang by cycle rickshaw and travel on the Penang Hill funicular railway
  • Discover Kuala Lumpur and marvel at the soaring Petronas Twin Towers, which used to be the world’s tallest buildings
  • Option to visit Malacca, once one of the world’s great trading ports
  • Discover the wonders of Malaysian food culture – a mouth-watering fusion of Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisines
  • Fly to Borneo and visit the renowned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to see the charming orangutans
  • Explore the fascinating history of Sandakan in eastern Borneo
  • Learn about the culture and traditions of Borneo’s indigenous tribes at the fascinating Miri-Miri cultural village near Kota Kinabalu

Relax, it's included in the price
11 nights in 3 to 5-star accommodation
Return flights & transfers
Daily visits & tours
Daily breakfast & 5 lunches
Expert tour manager
A checked luggage allowance is included in the cost of all holidays. Allowances vary by airline and are subject to change. Full details will be provided with your travel documents, or for more information please contact our Reservations Team.

Overview

Although Malaysia is a member of the Commonwealth and was part of the British Empire for many years, it is perhaps less well-known than many other ex-colonies in South East Asia. Yet there’s so much to see and experience between Peninsular Malaysia, its outlying islands and the vastness of Borneo. It may sound like a bit of cliché, but the country really is an incredible ‘cultural melting pot’! Every major city is a fascinating amalgam of Chinese, Indians and Malays, all with their own individual histories, architecture, traditions and cuisines.

In the not too distant past, Malaysia was an assortment of competing states, which only finally became independent as late as 1963. Prior to that, the three main cities – Penang, Malacca and Singapore – were known as the Straits Settlements and were controlled direct from Britain. Before the British came on the scene, Malacca, in particular, was fought over by the Dutch and Portuguese, who first settled there in the 16th century – there’s still a sizeable community here proud of their Portuguese heritage. Add to the mix the intriguing indigenous tribes of Borneo and no other country in the region can boast such a contrasting collection of cultures.
Borneo is Malaysia’s shining verdant jewel in the crown, the third-largest island in the world. Its luxuriant tropical forests teem with thousands of extraordinary endemic plant and animal species. There are long-tailed macaques, proboscis monkeys, gibbons, flying squirrels, sun bears, the world’s largest snake, no fewer than 102 types of bat and, of course, the remarkable red-haired ‘man of the forest’ – the orangutan. Borneo is also known for the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore. Our tour includes a stay in the Borneo state of Sabah, covering the northern tip of the island and dominated by the towering bulk of Mt Kinabalu, which at over 13,400 ft, is the highest peak in Malaysia.

The first stop of our exploration of Peninsular Malaysia is the island of Penang, just off the northwest coast. Its main settlement, George Town, was founded in 1786 by Francis Light of the British East India Company. He built Fort Cornwallis, which still stands to this day, and promoted it as a free port, vastly increasing trade and attracting large numbers of Chinese and Indian settlers. The same successful tactic was followed in Malacca to the south and both cities, along with Singapore, developed their unique mix of cultures which is still evident today. What is particularly fascinating is that despite being bombed by the Japanese in World War II, George Town still has thousands of pre-war buildings, mostly Chinese-owned ‘shophouses’, many fine colonial-era villas and public buildings, which have helped it attain UNESCO World Heritage status. George Town represents a fascinating glimpse into 18th-century colonial life.

In complete contrast, the city of Kuala Lumpur is super-modern, with numerous startling skyscrapers of all shapes and sizes. After our stay in ‘KL’, we fly to Sandakan in Borneo, a lesser-known colonial outpost, which unfortunately was bombed very efficiently by the Allies towards the end of World War II so not many original buildings survived. But it’s here that you can get closest to one of the natural wonders of this amazing island; a few miles outside town you’ll visit the famed Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, where you can see orangutans in their natural forest habitat.

Then it’s off to Kota Kinabalu via a short flight for a relaxing three-night stay at the renowned five-star Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, considered one of the best hotels in the country.

Of course, any trip to the Far East cannot be complete without trying out the delectable flavours of one of the world’s most varied cuisines. The best-known Malaysian dish is satay – meat skewers marinated with turmeric, grilled over charcoal and served with a mildly spicy peanut sauce. But there’s so much more: nasi kandar, steamed rice soaked in a variety of flavourful curries; asam laksa, a tangy fish broth listed on CNN’s ‘world’s 50 most delicious foods’; beef rendang, a rich meat dish seasoned with a mouthwatering mix of spices; chicken rice, a Hainanese-influenced dish of steamed or roasted chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth – the list is almost endless!

The Malaysians themselves are supremely welcoming and keen to share their history, culture and cuisine with all visitors, so come with us to explore this extraordinary country.



Your itinerary


DAY 1 - DEPARTURE

Arrive at the airport for your overnight flight to Penang via Kuala Lumpur.

DAY 2 - ARRIVAL IN PENANG

After our afternoon arrival, we transfer to the four-star superior Parkroyal Penang Resort on Batu Ferringhi beach for three nights with breakfast. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to relax after your flight.

View hotel details
and images

4* superior Parkroyal Resort – Penang

DAY 3 - GEORGE TOWN

DAY 4 - PENANG HILL

DAY 5 - PENANG TO KUALA LUMPUR

DAY 6 - KUALA LUMPUR

DAY 7 - FREE DAY

DAY 8 - SANDAKAN

DAY 9 - SEPILOK ORANGUTAN CENTRE

DAY 10 - FLY TO KOTA KINABALU

DAY 11 & 12 - FREE DAYS

DAY 13 - RETURN FLIGHT

DAY 14 - ARRIVE HOME

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Transfer Times

All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us

Arrival airport First hotel location Transfer time Final hotel location Departure airport Transfer time
Penang International Airport Penang 1 hr 15 mins Koto Kinabalu Kota Kinabalu International Airport 1 hr 30 mins

FAQs

Why should I choose Riviera Travel?

We care deeply about our customers and the holiday experience they have. We’re passionate about travel and we want all aspects to be perfect, with personal service and attention at every step of the way. Our world-class holidays include everything you need, with no detail overlooked. We carefully curate every aspect of your trip based on our own first-hand experience and expertise built up over decades in the travel industry.

What is included in the price?

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a room. 11 nights' accommodation in three-star, four-star and five-star hotels with breakfast and four lunches, scheduled flights to/from Malaysia, airport taxes and charges, all local transport as described, all touring as described, all domestic flights and transfers, hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.

We guarantee there are never any hidden costs or surcharges, inflated prices or artificial discounts.

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Mobility and accessibility

Malaysia essential facts