Laterally Malaysia

Because I’ve always wanted to…

Issue 16 / September 2014

Greetings All,

Having just returned from Brazil, it is over to Steve this month for a lateral review of Malaysia, one of South East Asia’s most diverse and fascinating countries.  You will hear more from me and my travels later in the year and in the meantime, here’s hoping for an Indian summer as we approach Autumn.

Laterally yours,

As the saying goes, Malaysia really is ‘truly Asia’. Chinese, South-East Asian and Indian influences (with a little colonial charm thrown in for historical measure) blend harmoniously to offer visitors a wonderful blend of architecture, cuisine and culture. Our recent visit took us all over the peninsula and over to Sabah and Sarawak – the two states in Malaysian Borneo. The climate is tropical with temperatures varying little and rain falling throughout the year. Travel is best during the summer months of May-September. During this time, the West Coast receives short afternoon downpours and the East Coast and Borneo will experience less rainfall. Kuala Lumpur is a shoppers paradise with nearby Malacca offering some of the best Peranakan or Nyonya cuisine – a combination of Malay and Chinese. Little visited Ipoh and Taiping take you off the beaten path for some cultural & historical enrichment and Langkawi provides an easily accessible beach retreat. In Borneo you’ll find tribal villages, ancient railways, hidden island resorts and incredible wildlife with orang-utans, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and sun bears, to name a few. Our sample Malaysia itinerary takes you all over the country ending with a few days on the beautiful East Coast. Click here for a detailed itinerary showing some of the highlights of Malaysia.

Majestic Hotel, Malacca.

Malacca is an ideal starting point and introduction to Malaysia with the Majestic hotel located on the banks of the river which in yesteryear teemed with Chinese junks and spice-laden vessels from all over the world. From here you can walk around the historic city centre, take a boat trip along the river, walk the famous Jonker’s Walk street-food stalls and dine on Peranakan cuisine whilst learning about the colonial empire and Malacca’s colourful history. The original serene mansion dating back to the 1920s, remains at the heart of the hotel, whilst a new building has been created, mirroring the original style and traditional feel to house 54 spacious rooms and suites. Click here to view the website.

The Banjaran, Ipoh.

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is nestled in a 16 acre valley, cradled by 260 million year old limestone hills, lush rainforest, rejuvenating geothermal hot springs, natural caves and cascading waterfalls. Sumptuous Garden and Water villas, a lavish Spa and Wellness Centre and a host of retreat experiences combine for ultimate seclusion. Also of note is Jeff’s Cellar, the owner’s wine collection and bar set within a limestone cave. Banajaran is a luxurious base for exploring Ipoh & Taiping which were prominent cities under British rule due to the boom in tin mining. Take a hair-raising drive by post-war Land Rover up to the cooler climes of Bukit Larut, formerly called Maxwell Hill. Click here to view the website.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley.

Nestled on the riverbank, in Sabah’s largest protected lowland rainforest in the Danum Valley, Borneo Rainforest Lodge is the most exclusive accommodation in Malaysian Borneo. This pristine rainforest is home to more than 340 bird species, 124 different mammals, 72 types of reptile, 56 species of Amphibians and a staggering 200 species of plants per hectare. Stays of 3 nights or more are suggested to take full advantage of experiencing the canopy walkways, rainforest and nature trails and waterfall viewpoints, bird-watching, safari night-drives, swimming in natural Jacuzzi pools and river tubing. Click here to view the website.

Japamala Resort, Tioman Island.

Japamala is located in a private setting on Tioman Island which is only accessible by speedboat. The 15 ‘Sarangs’ (rooms) create a small, intimate atmosphere, ideal for couples and honeymooners but also for families who prefer a more low-key beach retreat with lodging in the two bedroom Penghulu House. By day, relax on the beach or by the pool or head out on a snorkelling or diving trip or a jungle hike. At night, dine over the water at Mandi Mandi which stands on stilts built 100 metres from the beach. Click here to view the website.

Tsara Komba.

You will find this gem of a hotel 20 minutes by boat from Ankify on the North-West coast of Madagascar. It is an 8 lodge hotel tucked away on the slopes of Nosy Komba Island. Each lodge has a seaview from their terraces.

The surroundings are a private nature reserve home to lemurs, chameleons, hummingbirds, parrots, vanilla, cocoa and wild pepper.

No roads here – just walking, canoeing or travelling by boat – a must stay!

Click here to view the website.

Up Periscope

With Brazil remaining in the media limelight following the success of the World Cup and Olympic Games in 2016, we have ventured further down the lateral track to explore little visited beaches along the Bahian coast south of Salvador – more details to follow on this before the end of the year.

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