MALAYSIA - WEST COAST: CITIES, HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS
15 days, from £1,000 per person, based on a family of 4 sharing.
Plus international flights from £550 per adult.
Recommended for travel between October and April, although year-round is possible.
Travel Style: Self-Drive
This self drive family adventure takes in all of the Malaysian peninsula's best known stops and, with relatively short drive times, is a perfect two week itinerary. You'll spend time in fascinating cities, trek through tea-rich highlands, experience island life in a jungle homestay and still have time to play on palm-fringed beaches, succumbing to a touch of luxury.
Play hide and seek in Kuala Lumpur's urban parks and explore the interactive museums.
Whizz past Malacca's beautiful buildings in a multi-coloured tri-shaw.
Breakfast with macaques and slow loris on Pangor Island.
Stroll through tea plantations to hidden waterfalls in the Cameron Highlands.
Get your food and culture fix in bustling Penang.
Relax on the jungle-cloaked beaches of Langkawi.
THE BORING BUT NECESSARY BITS
Average flight time from UK: 13 hours (direct).
Total drive time: 14 hours
Longest drive: 3 hours
No visa required for UK passport holders.
Malaria: low to no risk.
Day 1 - 3 Kuala Lumpur
Your adventure begins in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. It’s a young city, where just a few generations separate todays KL-ites from the Chinese and Malay founders. The result is a city that craves modernity, with a glistening skyline punctuated by the awesome Petronas Towers, whilst continuing to embrace the ancient cultures of its people. Explore the colourful street food stalls in frenetic Chinatown and Little India and wander amongst the giant skyscrapers and shopping malls in the city centre. Little adventurers will love the huge KLCC park, complete with splash park, adventure playground and miles of cycling and walking trails, while the interactive science museum inside the hulking Petronas Towers is a great indoor option. On the city’s outskirts the Batu Caves are a must-see. Guarded by a giant golden statue of a Hindu god, adventurers of all sizes will love searching out bats and monkeys amongst the Hindu temples and stalactites, hidden within the limestone cliffs.
Day 3 – 5 Malacca
After a short drive south, your next stop is the colonial city of Malacca. The city’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a fabulous place for your Tribe to wander; admiring the various architectural styles and playing hide and seek amongst the beautiful colonial buildings. You’ll stay in a converted shophouse, a short walk from bustling Jonker Street, brimming with shops, eateries, artwork and one of Malaysia’s best night markets. Kids will love jumping in the back of a colourful trishaw (a three-wheeled rickshaw) and being bounced from side to side as you take in the sights and sounds of one of Malaysia’s most scenic city’s.
After exploring Malacca, drive back to Kuala Lumpur, and enjoy another evening in the city. Head to Jalan Petaling, a night market in the heart of Chinatown, where delicious fresh noodles and a much haggled-for bargain await.
Day 5 – 7 Cameron Highlands
It’s time to leave the cities and humidity behind as your Tribe heads north past eucalyptus forests and emerald tea plantations to the stunning Cameron Highlands. Enjoy two days of fresh air and fabulous trekking through forested hillsides, majestic waterfalls and beautiful highlands. Visit the famous Boh tea estate for a hands-on guide to how tea is grown and harvested and a delicious tea tasting experience. For younger members of the family, the highlands offer plenty of fun-packed activities from strawberry picking and indoor mazes to honey farms and an authentic Orang Asli Indigenous Village. Here adventurers can try out a traditional blow-pipe and learn more about ancient agricultural techniques.
Day 7 – 9 Pangkor Island
Head back to the coast and the former pirate hide-away of Pulau Pangkor. 'Beautiful Island' (as it directly translates) is a little dot of stunning jungle surrounded by soft sandy beaches and crystal clear, coral-rich waters. Your Tribe will stay in an airy jungle lodge where neighbouring hornbills and macaques are likely to join you for breakfast, and cicadas and frogs will serenade you as you tuck into delicious home-cooked evening feasts. The next few days will be all about engaging with island and jungle life. Take in the sights and smells at local fishing villages where thousands of tiny anchovies (Ikan Bilis) are dried in huge clay bowls. Stop and meet the locals at markets, temples and boat yards, trail through lush jungle, looking out for flying lemurs and giant butterflies, and spend lazy afternoons relaxing on the tropical beaches.
Day 9 – 12 George Town, Penang
Your adventure continues up the western coast as you move on to one of Malaysia's best-known islands, Penang. It's a wonderful mix of old colonialism and ancient customs and no one place encapsulates this more than it's thriving capital. George Town is a kaleidoscope of different cultures but remains anchored by a rich Asian heritage. Grand buildings stand proudly on street corners where fancy chefs share spaces with street-food hawkers, and both cook up some of the finest food in Asia. It’s also home to a thriving art scene and we’ll arm your Tribe with a street-art map of the city. Kids will love looking out for pet dinosaurs, dancing lions and a bathtub of kittens. Your Tribe will stay in a converted townhouse, right in the heart of downtown Georgetown.
There's loads going on around the island and, at barely 20 km's from north to south, it's all easily accessible for your Tribe. Penang National Park offers some great (and relatively easy) jungle trails, past natural pools, leading to secluded sandy beaches. One of the easier trails leads to the aptly named Monkey Beach, where your Tribe are almost guaranteed to share the sand and sun with any number of wandering primates. Nearby, the fabulous Tropical Spice Gardens are a young adventurers nirvana with hundreds of tropical plants to discover and adventure playgrounds, including a unique 3D snakes and ladders, to enjoy.
Day 12 – 15 Langkawi Island
A quick ferry across the Strait of Malacca takes you to the palm fringed beaches and turquoise waters of Langkawi. There are multiple beaches on the island from the family friendly Pantai Cenang, a long stretch of sand backed by numerous cafes and restaurants, to the quieter jungle-lined beaches of Tanjung Rhu and Pantai Kok. Kids can paddle and swim in the warm waters while parents enjoy some relaxation on the soft sands. Forests with waterfalls and hot springs dot the islands interior and the traditional island villages, known as Kampungs, ensure a wonderfully laidback approach to life.
It's a fabulous island for families with a host of activities and entertainment when the kids need a break from the beach. The skycab, the world's steepest and longest mono cable car ride, is a Tribe favourite. Piercing the low-lying clouds to arrive at the lofty peak of Gunung Machinchang is a thrill for adventurers of all ages, and the views back over the island below and out to sea are spectacular. There’s also the Sky Bridge; a 125m boardwalk snaking its way above the jungle below, a 3D interactive art museum, an excellent aquarium and wildlife park and a host of adventure and water sports.
On day 15 you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.