Ok where to start! Everything was great. Pick from airport was there waiting for us on arrival.... more
A kaleidescope of colour and a journey into the facinating history of Malaysia. (Private & small group) Commence in Kuala Lumpur OR Penang.
1000 hours depart for a 2.5 hours (151 km) drive south of Kuala Lumpur to historical Malacca, the third smallest state in Malaysia and one of the oldest, and most strategic trading ports in Malaysia which has undergone Portuguese, Dutch and English rule.
Drive past the largest 17th century Chinese cemetery outside of China, located at Bukit Cina. Stop at the foothill to view the Sultan’s well. Visit the ‘Abode Merciful Clouds’ or the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (1600s) the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia.Visit to Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. Baba Nyonya are descendants of the early Chinese immigrants to the Malay Archipelago who inter-married with local folks. They were partially assimilated into the Malay culture, especially in food, dressing and language yet still retaining some of the Chinese traditions and culture they brought from China, thereby creating a new kind of mixed culture of their country of origin with local elements. Among those, like Baba Nyonya cuisine which has developed with strong influence of the spices of Malay cuisine and the famous Sarong Kebaya clothing for the ladies. An included Baba Nyonya lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to view the famous gateway, the well-known Portuguese “Porta De Santiago” and the ruins of St. Paul’s Church lined by 17th Century Dutch Tombstones. Visit “Red Square”, the salmon pink Dutch Administrative buildings which today house the Malacca Ethnography Museum and government offices. The majestic Christ Church building (1753) is next on your stop. Overnight in 4 Star, Equatorial Hotel Malacca.
Today’s excursion is at a more leisurely pace and features an hour boat ride along the Malacca River, relaxing and seeing the city in a different way. Where once the merchant ships came from ports in India, China and Arabia to trade their textiles and silk for spices and scented woods. The centre street of Malacca’s Chinatown was once renowned for its antique shops. During the Dutch Malacca era, servants and subordinates of Dutch Masters used to live at the nearby Heeren Street. After the Dutch left, it became noblemen’s street. Rich straits-born Chinese started to live and did business within the street area, giving the street a deep-rooted ethnic and cultural flavor. Over the years it has turned to clothing and crafts outlets as well as restaurants. Today it is known as Jonker Street. Overnight at 4 Star Equatorial Hotel Malacca.
0800 hours depart for a 4 hours (354 km) drive North West of Malacca to Ipoh in Perak. Enjoy a scenic journey passing through rural countryside and farmlands. You have a choice to break the journey by taking a train from Rawang to Ipoh.
After lunch at Ipoh we proceed for a walk in Ipoh city. In just over 130 years Ipoh transformed itself from a sleepy Malay village to the bustling metropolis it is today, the fourth largest city in Malaysia with a population of over 700,000. Its boom period began around 1880 and lasted until well into the 1930s, largely on the back of tin mining and it became known as the town that tin built. The tin rush drew in hordes of migrants, mostly Chinese, many of whom went on to build substantial fortunes. This wealth is reflected in the architecture of the period and many fine buildings remain in the old part of the city, west of the river.
The Railway Station is a superb example of colonial architecture, completed in 1917 and designed by talented British architect, A.B Hubback, who also built Kuala Lumpur’s famous station.
Across the street is the stately, neo classical style Town Hall and Old Post Office building also designed by Mr Hubback during the First World War. The Birch Memorial, built in 1909 to commemorate the first British Resident of Perak State, JWW Birch, whose somewhat heavy-handed attempts to extend British authority over the area resulted in him being stabbed to death in 1875.
The Chartered Bank building (still occupied by the bank) dating from 1924. At that time Chartered Bank was the leading bank for the tin industry and the major banker to the Straits Trading Company, a big tin-ore exporter, whose former office building lies directly across the street from Chartered Bank. OCBC Bank now occupies the Straits Trading Company premises which were built in 1907 in Italian Renaissance style. Nearby is another bank building, Mercantile Bank, built in 1931 in art-deco style. The building remains in excellent condition. Mercantile Bank was taken over by Honking Bank in 1959.
On the next corner sits the premises of the former Perak River Hydro-Electric Power Company, formed in London in 1926 and for many years the largest power supplier in Malaya. They built a dam and hydroelectric power station at Chenderdoh on the Perak River in 1930. The gleaming white neo-classical High Court building completed in 1928. The next point of interest is the Royal Ipoh Club. It was believed to have been founded in 1895, occupied a prime location overlooking the town field. The other bastion of British colonial life the Church of St. John The Divine, when finished in 1912 was the largest church in Malaya. Its bricks was cemented with coconut fibre, sugar and egg whites among other things.
A few minutes away is the Museum Darul Ridzuan. It has a modest general collection of exhibits of St. Michael’s Institution, a school with over 2,000 pupils, it is a massive gothic style building, with classroom doors and windows aligned north/south instead of east/west so as not to disturb pupils with early morning and late afternoon sunrays.
Next door is the Town Padang Mosque. It was constructed in 1908 in Moghul style and has features similar to those in the Red Fort, Delhi. It was financed by a wealthy Muslim Tamil businessman, Shaik Adam. Inside is a lovely iron spiral staircase. The F.M.S. Bar & Restaurant, said to be the oldest restaurant in Malaysia which began operating on its current site in 1923 and is still operating today.
We proceed by car to Kacang Putih Village. This village make snack brought to the country by migrant families from India, it eventually became every Malaysian’s favourite snack and even became a name for a village. The moment someone says kacang putih (chick peas), the thought that comes to mind is the crunchy snack food — a favourite among Malaysians. But when one is in Ipoh, Perak, it is advisable to be precise when saying kacang putih because there is a village in the outskirts of the city which goes by the same name.
At Kampung Kacang Putih in Buntong, visitors can get not just chick peas, but a wide variety of crunchy deep-fried, roasted and steamed Indian snacks, including murukku, pakoda, omom and kadalai. Visitors are shown hoe these crackers are made from varies type beans, vegetable, seafood etc. and taste varies types of delicious snack.
This humble village has a thriving family-run cottage industry producing these delicious snacks and is now considered one of the country’s main suppliers. The kacang putih industry, which began in the late 1940s, had its beginnings at the foothills of Gunung Cheroh in Ipoh.
Proceed to check in and overnight 4 Star Weil Hotel.
After breakfast, depart Weil Hotel for 1 hour 15 minutes to Bukit Merah (87km) and then by boat for 20 minutes to Orang Utan Island at Semanggol, Perak.
While most of Malaysia’s orang-utan rehabilitation efforts are focused in east Malaysia, such as the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, other initiatives are also forming in Peninsular Malaysia toward this goal. One fundamental hub that contributes to these efforts is the Orang Utan Island situated within the Bukit Merah Laketown at Semanggol, Perak. The Orang Utan Island is a research institution dedicated to the preservation and research of the orang-utan. The Island is a rehabilitation and conservation facility where Orang Utan are able to roam freely. This unique island serves as a research and educational centre to better understand this endangered species. The island sits in the middle of a very large expanse of water so that the Orang Utan will stay within the jungle on the island of 4000 hectares.
On arrival visitors are greeted by guides who explain what the research facility is all about.
Visitors are then introduced to the babies at the quarantine area behind glass so as to maintain no human contact possible. Visitors are than taken to a 200 metres walkthrough cage tunnel, where they are able to come up close with the Orang Utan while observing the primates roaming freely in their natural habitat.
We return to the mainland and proceed to Kuala Sepetang (30 km) a coastal town formerly known as Port Weld after a former Governor, Frederick Weld. It is a thriving fishing village, and the main jump-off point to the river mouth where the Chinese fishing community specializes in fish breeding in cages.
Kuala Sepetang has excellent seafood and we have lunch at a famous seafood restaurant situated on the upper floor of a shop lot overlooking the river. Kuala Sepetang is also well known for its mangrove reserve park which is open to the public daily. It has a boardwalk built over the swamp for tourists.
A visit to the nearby charcoal factory is a must. It is very interesting to know and learn the charcoal manufacturing process, how the mangrove trees are use during the earlier years and the people daily living style. Take a walk along the 1.6km man-made wooden walkway winding across a small portion of the Matang Mangrove Forest which is touted to be one of the world’s best managed sustainable mangrove ecosystem. Inside the forest, it is surprisingly cool despite the hot weather and if you walk slowly and watch closely, you may be able to find mud crabs, mud skippers and other wildlife including migratory birds and macaques in the wetlands especially nearer to the river.
Return to Ipoh and overnight 4 Star Weil Hotel.
0930 hours depart Ipoh for a 2.5 hours drive (90 km) up the highlands in Pahang. In the 19th century the Cameron Highland was a popular spot for the British colonialists to retreat to from the heat and humidity of the lowlands. Much of the colonial character remains in the architecture of the highlands and resembles the English countryside more than tropical Malaysia. Lunch at Brinchang. Visit to Kea Farm which is an agricultural district in Cameron Highlands. It is a vegetable market along the main road and a popular shopping destination for visitors on weekends. Traders and farmers sell the best of their crops and goods here from morning till evening, including greens, corn, strawberries, flowers, souvenirs, honey and more. Your next visit is to a Strawberry Farm before going to the Butterfly Park. Your tour ends with a visit to Rose garden. Overnight in 4 Star, Strawberry Park Resort.
In the morning, depart hotel to visit BOH Tea Plantation. Situated on numerous hills where the slopes are covered by nothing else but tea trees.
The highland was first founded in 1885 by Mr. William Cameron, a British Government surveyor while on a mapping expedition. The cool temperature and undulating hills provide perfect conditions for growing strawberries and tea. Many hill slopes are covered with iconic tea plantations with their distinctive pattern. The beautifully manicured tea plantations look like a carpet that stretches for miles into the distance.
See how tea is grown, harvested and take a walk in the plantation and get a feel of the natural environment filled with fresh air and green scenery around you. Visit the nearby factory where harvested tea is processed immediately. See the process to turn from green tea leaves to processed tea ready for your tea pot.
We adjourn to the café built on a large and high platform to give you a panoramic view of the plantations. Enjoy a cup of BOH tea and soak it the atmosphere of this hill station.
After lunch at a local restaurant, go for a walk in the countryside filled with trees and bushes of the highlands. Enjoy the fresh air and the mossy forest around you. You may see some small animals along the way. Have a traditional afternoon tea of scone with locally grown strawberry jam. Return to and overnight at 4 Star Strawberry Park Hotel.
Transfer out to Penang OR Kuala Lumpur. Drop off at hotel.
“We had an absolutely wonderful holiday thank you. You know the old saying ‘when things seem too good to be true……it was much more than our expectations! We were fortunate to have a small group of 8 (maybe that is normal) so we did not feel rushed. Accommodation was wonderful, breakfasts amazing, lunches too were just the best. Our tour guide, Mike Singh was very informative, we saw and learnt so much about Malaysia from him, and the best tour guide we have ever had. Our bus driver (owner) was a very careful driver and kept the bus in top condition. A 5 star tour and we have already told different ones about it. Thank you.” Heather and Paul. July 2016
Ok where to start! Everything was great. Pick from airport was there waiting for us on arrival.... more
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