A riot of colour, spice and culture, Malaysia has moved assuredly into the sophisticated luxury market, providing added comfort and style to the immersive touring options steeped with local interactions. From islands housing single resorts and surrounded by turquoise waters, to deep explorations of the rich and recent cultural heritage, Malaysia is a truly engaging destination delivering enormous diversity in a compact scale.
Borneo is one of those rare destinations that evokes images of times past. Deep unexplored million year old jungles, winding rivers teeming with endemic species and a host of ancient ethnic groups. Visiting Borneo is a bucket list trip straight out of the Discovery channel, coupled with accommodation that integrates perfectly with its environment and a plethora of jewel like islands to unearth.
Peninsula Malaysia abounds in rich cultural heritage, cuisine boasting a wide array of tantalizing flavours, and truly astonishing landscapes teeming with native wildlife. UNESCO-listed Melaka state provides an outstanding window back into colonial times, while the Cameron Highlands showcases the countries Indian influences and some of Malaysia’s best tea direct from the source.
Penang is truly the place to appreciate the gastronomic show-stoppers of the region, and is home to the countries broadest cultural crossroads. The Islands of Peninsula Malaysia offer the perfect getaway from the crowds and provide emerald waters to rival Asia’s best. Kota Baru, the cradle of Malay culture is also a fascinating place to visit, while regions such as Taman Negara, the oldest rainforest in the world and the Royal Belum State Forest are equally deserving of their own discovery.
Borneo’s sheer density is no more apparent than in Sabah. Here, visitors can one moment be reclined in the luxury trappings of 5* hotels only to be whisked off, and a couple of hours later find themselves in the depths of the jungle with Orangutans for company. From Danum Valley to the Maliau Plateau (The Lost World) and the Kinabatangan River, Sabah has plenty on offer to whet even the most demanding appetite. Borneo’s other major destination, the state of Sarawak, does not let off this pace. From the Bario Highlands to the mangroves of Santubong, Sarawak is ever more appealing to those seeking truly immersive, interactive opportunities including homestays with local communities.
Enjoying a fairly consistent average temperature of around 30ËšC throughout daytime hours, the tropical climate varies little throughout a typical Malaysian year. High levels of humidity peak between November and March, with drier, yet less-breezy conditions, found from April/May to October.
When is the best time to visit Malaysia?
Covering such a wide expanse of territory, certain regions of Malaysia are best visited at their own particular times. The eastern coast of Peninsula Malaysia is generally subject to higher rainfall between November and March. Whereas the likes of Sabah and Sarawak encounter their heaviest rains in January. For the most encompassing journeys, May to October is the prime season across most of the country, offering calmer waters and a higher chance of clear blue skies. Late afternoon downpours should be expected year round but, although heavy, will generally clear up just as quickly as they arrive, and make for the perfect excuse to take cover in a local restaurant to sample some typical Malaysian delights.
MONEY : Currency is Malaysian Ringgit (MYR); ATMs and money exchanges are available throughout the country. For a current exchange rate visit http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
VISAS: Malaysia offers most countries FREE Visa on arrival for 30+ days. Please check your specific country before departing. All travellers must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after their planned exit from the country.
ELECTRICITY : Malaysia typically supplies 220/240 Volts AC, using British Standard BS 1363 domestic AC power plugs and sockets. For electrical appliances that require 110/120 volts, a transformer/converter may be required.
DIALING CODE : +60
TIME ZONE : GMT/UTC +8
GETTING THERE & AWAY : Malaysia has 5 international airports: Kota Kinabalu International Airport (Kota Kinabalu), Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Sepang), Kuching International Airport (Kuching), Langkawi International Airport (Kedah) and Penang International Airport (Bayan Lepas). These airports are well connected to a number of major international cities.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS : Malaysia celebrates many holidays; however, many retail stores, shopping malls, and even public services usually remain open. Holidays falling on weekdays will usually be taken as a day-off by students and many employees, the exception being in the states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, where the working week begins on Sunday. National Day, representing Malaysia’s independence from British rule, is observed on August 31, and during this time it is common to see the Malaysian flag decorating businesses, homes and along the streets. The celebration typically builds up until Malaysia Day, acknowledged on the 16 September.
LANGUAGE : The national language of Malaysia is Malay, however there are 10 dialects of Malaysian spoken across the country, and with the diversity of ethnic culture there are actually over 130 languages spoken in Malaysia! English or Bahasa is still the uniting language, with English being widely understood as it is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary school.
- Good morning: Selamat pagi
- Good afternoon: Selamat petang
- Good evening: Selamat malam
- Thank you: Terima kasih
- I don’t understand: Saya tidak faham
- Yes: Ya
- No: Tidak
Private guides are more costly in Japan when compared to our other destinations, and the self-guiding app provides an innovative solution to avoid these rising costs and allowing clients to travel in a more independent way.
The application is available in 20 cities across Japan already, and it covers 6 main categories; attractions, shopping, restaurants, bars and nightlife, hotels, and other, which are clearly displayed on the home-page.
There are more than 500 points of interest, providing pictures, addresses, distance from current location, the website, opening hours and costs. Everything works offline, and the map in particular proves to be incredibly useful. Furthermore, there's the option of sharing everything on-line, through platforms such as facebook.
The app is available in both English and French.
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