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Travel overland on a discovery of west Malaysia like none other. Learn all about the ethnic Indians and Malays in Malaysia with visits to Little India and homestay experiences. Discover Malaysia’s colonial past and traditional crafts on workshops with artisans of hand crafted lanterns and joss sticks.
Visit Hindu Temples, put on a traditional hindu dress and learn all about the ethnic Indians of Malaysia.
Visit old streets and landmarks that were once colonial outposts and see they have changed over the years.
Learn all about traditional lantern and joss stick making from artisans who have been practising the craft for decades.
Living Heritage And Artisans Of West Malaysia - 10Days/9Nights
Arrive into Kuala Lumpur airport, meet the guide and be transferred to the city hotel.
Check-in and freshen up before an introduction to Kuala Lumpur by night on a walking tour.
Meet the guide in the hotel lobby at 18:30 and walk to the nearest train station to take the train to Chinatown for an evening street food exploration. First stop, sample bak hu (dried meat floss) or bak kwa (salty and sweet meat jerky). The square bak kwa will look unfamiliar to jerky aficionados, but will find fans in anyone who likes their meat honey glazed. Move through Petaling Street and watch and learn from the guide the daily dance between the day and night street food vendors. Explore the vibrant market, ancestral shrines and hidden old shop houses of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinese-Malay residents. Pull up a chair at a popular restaurant and savour a plate of hokkien mee noodles alongside the locals.
Wander into the Central Market, a vital hub of commerce for the city’s artisan community. Browse the stalls of local designers and craftsmen while enjoying the buzz of the marketplace. Learn about the history of this market and how it has transitioned over the years from a wet market into its modern-day commercial centre.
From here, take a short walk to continue to the architectural colonial heart of old Kuala Lumpur to learn about the past and present uses of these iconic buildings ranging from the late 1800’s to the mid 1930’s. Merdeka Square will always be remembered for Malaysia’s independence from the British rule on the 31st of August 1957. Take a leisurely night stroll for an up-close look at the historical buildings, all of which have a unique combination of British and Islamic architecture. Keep the eyes wide open at the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the colourful lights give the structure a more bedazzling look. Head towards the Masjid Jamek and take a walk along the river. Also known as Friday Mosque, this is one of the oldest buildings in Kuala Lumpur and gracefully sits on the banks of two rivers. At 21:15 at night the river of life turns into a spectacular dancing symphony fountain show. Enjoy the light show before returning back to the hotel at 22:30.
Overnight in Kuala Lumpur
Meet the guide at 09:00 for a day to gain a better insight of the Hindu culture of KL.
Vanakkam! Greetings in the Tamil language. The smallest of three main ethnic groups in Malaysia, the Malaysian Indians form about 10% of the population. Most are descendants of Tamil-speaking South Indian immigrants who came to the country during the British colonial rule. Predominantly Hindus, they brought with them their colourful culture such as ornate temples, spicy cuisine and exquisite sarees.
First, be taken to a local shop and get a chance to try on the saree for the ladies or the traditional male attire called the vesti for the gents. Saree is a famous Indian ethnic piece of clothing. It is one fashion trend that has stood the test of time and is still worn by millions of women worldwide.
Next, visit the local Hindu temple to receive a blessing by the local priest. Not to be missed here is an opportunity to break a coconut for the deity. In Hindu mythology, breaking of coconut symbolises the breaking of the ego. The coconut represents the human body and before the Lord it is shattered – breaking the ‘aham’ or ego and symbolically totally surrendering and merging with the supreme soul.
Visit Little India and discover a profusion of authentically Indian items such as assortment of sweetmeats, aromatic spices, exotic fragrances and dazzling adornments. Don’t miss to catch local florist tying garlands at the flower shop. Learn how they make the flower garlands and if desired get hands on. Being teased with a morning of smelling the aromatic spices take a seat and enjoy some Indian banana leaf rice and a cold lassi.
Return to the hotel mid-afternoon for the evening at leisure.
Overnight in KL
This morning, meet the guide at Kuala Lumpur (KL) Sentral station for a day of historical discovery and food trails tour of Ipoh.
In the 1880s, Ipoh was famous for its tin-bearing valley known as the ‘City of Millionaires’ during the Tin rush. It is also the birthplace of Malaysia’s white coffee and some of the best flavoured and textured food in Malaysia.
Trains depart from KL Sentral at 08:30 and arrive at Ipoh at 11:15. Sit back and take a comfortable ride through the countryside and watch as the scenery changes from the bustling city of KL to quaint Ipoh town, set amongst the backdrop of magnificent limestone mountains.
Arrive at Ipoh Railway Station, a superb example of colonial architecture. Start the walking tour on
Ipoh’s Heritage Trail, a leisurely stroll around the compact and historic old town area of Ipoh. The walk is about 6.5km long but there is a choice and option to extend or shorten the trip depending on physical ability.
Take in several notable historical landmarks while also stopping to taste the local delicacies. Continue past the mosque at Ipoh and onto the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, built in 1909 in memory of James WW Birch, Perak’s first British Resident.
Stop for some famous traditional snacks along the way. Ipoh’s biscuits and pastries date back to early 1900s where they were traditionally given during Chinese festivals. Today, they are still handmade.
Stop for a coffee at Old Town coffee shop to try Ipoh’s famed white coffee. It is different from black coffee as the beans are not roasted with sugar. From here, explore freely in the numerous hidden cobblestone alleyways of the old town experiencing its rich culture of old-world colonial era. The walls of the old town have been restored and turned into pieces of art and old shops that are now quaint cafes.
Enjoy the taste of laksa for lunch or one of Ipoh’s many famous dishes such as bean sprouts chicken, Seng Kee curry mee or pork satay.
Finish the walking trail at the vibrant Concubine Lane which is home to the best antiques in Ipoh and fantastic architecture.
Transfer to the hotel for overnight in Ipoh.
Please Note: At the end of the tour today the ESG will return to KL and tomorrow will continue with English Speaking Driver only.
At 09:00 this morning meet with the English-speaking driver and be transferred to Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple. Situated on 12 acres of land, the cave temple was a place of worship since the 1920s. Set in a limestone outcrop, spend 45 minutes exploring the temple featuring a number of Buddhist figures. Continue to Gua Tempurung Caves, one of the longest caves in Peninsula Malaysia. Take a well-lit and maintained boardwalk trail to platforms of differing heights to view the spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
The length of the trail is flexible, the most challenging is a walk via platform 5 (standing at 120m high and covering over 1,000 steps. Take a breather on the wind tunnel and feel the breeze before proceeding to the Giant Cavern. Spend up to 1.5hours in the cave before returning to the vehicle and taking a traditional lunch at Gopeng Antique Kopitiam (Closed on Mondays).
Return to Ipoh and head to the old town to discover one of Malaysia’s diminishing trades. Learn to make a traditional lantern and bring light to this age-old handicraft with a lantern master who is one of the few traditional lantern makers left in Malaysia.
Lanterns primarily served as a major light source in the olden days, and also carries blessings in each light. Now they are mainly used as decorations and in celebrations especially Mid-Autumn Festival. In this experience, you will enjoy the process of making a lantern by hand in the cozy atmosphere of a workshop under the guidance of the lantern master. From bending the bamboo sticks to draping clothes onto the wooden lantern frames, this hands-on experience provides a nostalgic and memorable exploration of this traditional trade in Ipoh.
Please Note: Lantern making workshop will be suspended until further notice most properly until May 2020
Other options in Ipoh include: Street Art & Treats in Old Town Ipoh, An artisans of Perak experience or White Water Rafting in Gopeng, until the Lantern Workshop returns in May 2020.
Overnight in Ipoh
Depart Ipoh with an English-speaking driver and be transferred for one hour to Kuala Kangsar. On arrival to the royal town visit the kampung (village) area of Sayong where traditional Malay houses still remain abundant along the banks of the Perak River. Learn about the labu sayong (water gourd) used as a water pitcher in the old days, the labu sayong has slowly gained much prominence in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar - but not just as a water container. The clay-made item is not only an identity for Kuala Kangsar but has become an icon for the state of Perak.
From here continue the short distance to Ubudiah mosque for a photo stop before heading to the Royal Museum, the building a temporary residence of HRH Sultan Iskandar Shah of Perak.
Take a local lunch in Kuala Kangsar before continuing 45 minutes to a traditional Malay homestay to enjoy a two-night stay at Suka Suka Homestay in a traditional Malay home with Mr Aziz and his family. Located by the edge of Lake Chenderoh in Perak, go on an introductory tour of the area then choose to relax to the backdrop of the lake and forested mountains or go on a 2.5 hour kayak before an evening BBQ dinner of local food followed by local games.
Overnight Suka Suka Homestay
Enjoy a fulfilling breakfast at the homestay before departing at 0900 for a village walk. Travel by boat to a traditional Malay Village, wooden stilted Malay houses, where the guide will explain about local village life.
Stop on route for a Teh Tarik before returning to the homestay for lunch.
The afternoon participates in learning the traditional way to wear a Malay Sarong before an afternoon to relax or for the more adventurous walk to a nearby waterfall or jump in the kayak once more.
A traditional authentic Malay Dinner will be served this evening.
Overnight Suka Suka Homestay.
Have breakfast before departing for a 1 hours transfer to the coastal fishing town of Kuala Sepetang. Famous for its charcoal kilns take a visit to one of the largest charcoal factories in Malaysia established in 1930. Take a 1-hour tour and learn the process of charcoal manufacturing and enjoy chargrilled sweet potatoes after.
Continue on a boat ride after to Kuala Sepetang’s fishing village before taking a local seafood lunch.
Following lunch continue the 1.5hours to Georgetown. If time permits stop in Taiping and explore the lake gardens, the first public garden established during the British rule in Malaysia.
Please Note: Matang Mangrove Forest Eco education Centre including the Boat tour will be closed from 01Jan19 through to 31Dec19.
Penang has a long history as a stopping point for traders traversing the long route between India and China. Blessed with a natural harbour and bountiful fresh water, it came under British control in the mid-1700’s and soon became a world-renowned trading port. Today, UNESCO-listed Georgetown is still calling visitors to its shores, promising a distinctive cuisine, unique colonial charm and special customs.
Check in late afternoon and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
Overnight in Penang.
This morning, meet the guide at the hotel lobby at 08:30 and walk from the hotel into the heart of Georgetown. Partake in a mornings workshop with Mr Lee, Georgetown’s last traditional Joss Stick maker. Learn first-hand about this traditional trade with the living heritage in his pre-war shophouse on Stewart Lane.
Born in 1928, Mr Lee has been making Joss Sticks for over 70 years. One of the last traditional joss stick makers and perhaps one of the most well-known person who is still in the trade. Making Joss sticks since he left school he continues this dying trade today. Spend 2.5-3 hours as Mr Lee demonstrates the techniques of rolling joss sticks and be rewarded with a selection of sandalwood joss sticks to take home as well as the knowledge of this dying trade.
Learn about his life as a joss stick maker and stories of postwar Penang. Finish the workshop and take a short walk to the Goddess of Mercy Temple, a Taoist temple where offerings of joss sticks can be seen everywhere. Situated in Pitt Street it was built in 1728, making it Penang’s oldest Taoist Temple.
At 11:30 continue exploring Georgetown and head to Sri Mahamariamman Temple to learn about the Hindi Culture. Take lunch in Penang’s little India before experiencing the fortune telling by the local parrot astrologer. When a patron sits before the fortune teller, the latter opens the cage and lets the parrot out. He instructs the parrot to pick a card for the patron. The parrot walks over to the cards, picks one from the stack or the spread with its beak and gives it to the astrologer. It then walks back inside its cage. The astrologer opens the card and based on the image tells the fortune of the patron. Walk back to the hotel (situated within Georgetown) to freshen up before meeting the guide for an evening discovery of Penang.
Meet the guide at 17:30 in the hotel lobby and explore Penang by night. Be picked up at the hotel (For hotels located within the Georgetown area) by Trishaw. Locally known as beca, the main transportation today being motorcycles and cars the trishaw rider has become a dying breed with less than 150 trishaw riders left in Penang. Discover Georgetown’s heritage by night from this three-wheeled transportation before being dropped off at Red Garden Food Paradise Night Market. The Hawker venue offers all of Penang’s favourite dishes. Taste the popular satay sticks of barbecued meat and char koay teow noodles fried with seafood while watching how they are prepared. From 21:00 each evening sit back and enjoy a local band or take a short walk to Georgetown’s 360 degree revolving bar for a drink (at own expense) with a view.
At 08:30 this morning, be transferred deep into the hills of the winding road of Teluk Bahang to Art and Garden where nature meets art. Within 1.5 acres of hilly land, in three-tier reaches, a green sanctuary showcasing an amazing variety of bromeliads, air plants, aloes, agaves, gingers, trumpet pictures and orchids amidst glass, clay and metal sculptures as well as paintings and colourful mosaics.
A pleasant walk along the terraced hill land with an explanation of each plant’s origin and use, the seamlessly blended art glass with tropical planting and landscape along with many other mediums of work.
From here transfer back to Georgetown with a stop in the quiet town of Balik Pulau in the centre of Penang. Three Murals reside here on the outside of pre-war shops that represent the community; a fisherman, a traditional Malay Martial art silat and a dancing Hakka girl. Learn about the significance of each mural to Balik Pulau with a short walk and photo shoot.
Transfer the 35 minutes back into Georgetown to Hin Bus Depot (Sundays offers a pop-up crafts market from 11:00-17:00), a community art space that supports and nurtures emerging artists. Once an old Bus Depot is now reformed into a unique space with a Mural Garden and cafes. Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the restaurants of choice within the Mural Garden.
At 13:30 continue on a short transfer into Penang to complete the day’s art tour with a stop by Fuan Wong’s glasswork studio on Armenian Street to view more of his great works before heading back to the hotel for 15:00.
Transfer to Penang Airport for an onward journey
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