Malaysia World Heritage
Discover the varied history and cultural heritage of the Malay Peninsula as well as its vibrant contemporary street-life and rich cuisine
An 8-day Kuala Lumpur to Penang, Straights of Malacca Tour
Our 8-day, Malaysia World Heritage tour kicks off in the modern-day capital Kuala Lumpur and takes you to on to the coast and the old port town of Melaka (Malacca) before travelling north by local train to historic George Town on the island of Penang.
Vibrant Kuala Lumpur, (or just KL to the locals) is in some ways the archetypal Southeast Asian city with its remarkable juxtaposition of old and new – where the iconic, ultra-modern Petronas Towers form the back-drop to the classic British Victorian buildings and cricket club of Merdeka Square and the colourful street bustle of Litte India and Chinatown contrast with suburban, air-con shopping malls. Busy, hectic, perhaps bewildering, but certainly fascinating.
From here we visit the old, Straights settlement of Malacca where European influence dates from the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th-century. Today the ancient, UNESCO World Heritage-listed, port reveals Dutch and British-period architecture as well as the still-standing Portuguese fort of A Famosa.
George Town displays later historical heritage with an impressive stock of 19th-century Victorian architecture as well as what is perhaps Southeast Asia’s most extensive and well-preserved period Chinatown. We’ll explore the intriguing and fun town on foot; check out its maze of, often brightly-painted, shop-houses, lively markets, street food, street life, venerable old Chinese clan houses and colonial-period Fort Cornwallis as well as taking a ride up Penang Hill on the old funicular railway.
This Malaysia World Heritage tour is a shorter, version of our 2-week Malay Peninsula tour offering the option of adding one of our suggested island extensions after finishing in Penang. Nearby Langkawi, conveniently reached by ferry from George Town, is recommended from October through to March, while the wonderful east coast Perhentian Islands season is March through to September.
For those with more time to spare, (and/or to optimize the cost of your airfare!), you can also continue your Malaysia exploration to the other half of the country with a flight from Penang to Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo to connect with our 1-week Sabah tour, ‘The Land Below the Wind’.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Kuala Lumpur - arrival and orientation
Our tour begins with a transfer from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to our downtown hotel (or rendezvous in the lobby for those booking a land only tour) and some time to settle in and relax before an introductory walking tour and local-style welcome dinner.
Overnight: Kuala Lumpur Transport: Walk, Meals: D,
Day 2 - KL - heritage walk, Batu Caves, street food tour
Morning walking tour of some of the diverse sites of Malaysia’s capital including the bustling street life of Little India and the Victorian architecture of Merdeka Square. In the afternoon we’ll travel by local train to the famous and spectacular Batu Caves with a return to town to sample some of the local specialities on an evening street-food tour of Kampung Baru.
Overnight: Kuala Lumpur Transport: Train, Walk, Meals: B, D,
Day 3 - Malacca - visit the World Heritage town
Early departure for the coast and Melaka (Malacca) with a late morning orientation rickshaw tour of the historic, UNESCO-listed city. Some time at leisure in the afternoon to peruse the Jonkers Street handicrafts or perhaps check out the museum of your choice before a late afternoon boat cruise up the Malacca River to explore the traditional district of Moreton Village.
Overnight: Melaka Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Tuk Tuk, Meals: B, D,
Day 4 - Train journey to Penang
Return to Kuala Lumpur to catch the Butterworth express train to northern Malaysia. Late afternoon arrival and transfer to our heritage-style hotel in George Town’s historic, downtown jetty quarter with the evening free to explore the area or maybe check out one of the famous hawker, street-food markets?
Overnight: George Town Transport: Minibus, Train, Meals: B,
Day 5 - George Town - walking heritage tour
Our morning heritage tour of UNESCO-listed George Town – capital of Penang – includes such diverse sites as Chinese clan mansions and colonial-period Fort Cornwallis. Local-style lunch with the afternoon free to explore further at your own pace, brush-up your travel photography in the local markets, visit the National Museum or try out some of Chinatown’s myriad cafes.
Overnight: George Town Transport: Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 6 - Penang - Penang Hill and the Botanical Gardens
Lush, forest-covered and colonial villa-topped Penang Hill towers over the island so today’s visit entails taking the old funicular railway up, and hiking down through the rainforest, to the Botanical Gardens. Great views and tropical flora and fauna. An evening street food tour completes the day.
Overnight: George Town Transport: Train, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 7 - Penang - spice garden tour and cookery class
A food-orientated morning with a visit to the island’s Tropical Spice Garden. An explanation and tour of the garden’s myriad herbs and spices are followed by a hands-on cookery lesson where you’ll prepare your own lunch. The afternoon is at leisure with suggestions including a hike in the nearby Penang National Park or just some R and R time on Ferringhi Beach?
Overnight: George Town Transport: Minibus, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 8 - End of tour or head to the beach
Morning at leisure and end of the tour. A transfer to Penang International Airport is included for those booking the flights package or, for those with a few more days to spare, we offer the options of island extensions to Langkawi (express boat from Penang) or the Perhentian Islands (domestic flight to Kota Baru and speedboat transfer) or a flight to Kota Kinabalu to link up with our 8-day Borneo, Sabah tour.
Overnight: Departure Meals: B,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
Our Malaysia World Heritage tour reveals the fascinating and complex cultural and historical heritage of the country as well as its vibrant contemporary life; cuisine, street scenes, local markets, Little Indias and Chinatowns.
- Combine the historic Dutch, Portuguese and British heritage with contemporary Indian, Chinese and Malay culture
- Discover the contrasting sights of the vibrant capital Kuala Lumpur from the highly traditional to ultra-modern.
- Optional beach extensions to the Andaman Sea's Langkawi Island or the Perhentians Islands on the Gulf of Thailand, east coast
- Explore the twin UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites of Melaka (Malacca) and George Town (Penang)
- Varied activities include a jungle hike on Penang Island, a hands-on Malay cookery class and rickshaw tour of Malacca.
- and last but not least; - certainly some of the best and most varied food to be found anywhere in Asia
Air Departures (UK)
- 14 November 20 GBP
- 19 December 20 GBP
- 16 January 21 GBP
- 20 February 21 GBP
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- 15 November 20 GBP
- 20 December 20 GBP
- 17 January 21 GBP
- 21 February 21 GBP
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Kuala Lumpur
*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
The Blanc Boutique Hotel, Malacca view
- Located in the heart of UNESCO-listed Malacca's Chinatown
- A small, cosy and low-key boutique-style hotel
- A refurbished heritage building on Jonker Street
Royale Chulan, Penang view
- Great location in the heart of World Heritage George Town
- Well-appointed with in-house bar, restaurant, spa and pool
- Comfy 4* rooms with modern amenties and heritage-style decor
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visas: No visa in advance is required. A free 60-day visa is issued on arrival at any international airport. As usual, a minimum of 6 months validity from the date of arrival and at least 1 blank page in your passport is required.
Meals: Breakfasts are generally hotel buffets with lunch and dinners based on local food. Your tour leader will usually order a selection of dishes, local-style, while a number of meals are not included, which allows you to ‘do your own thing’ or take a break if you’re feeling ‘riced out’.
With its kaleidoscopic population, Malaysian cuisine is one of the most varied and richest anywhere on the planet and includes all the various, regional Indian and Chinese dishes, the unique Chinese/Malay Nonya cuisine as well as traditional Malay food alongside Thai and Indonesian influences. Dishes are generally mild with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on offer.
Accommodation: all choices fall into the comfortable 3* range and are en-suite and air-conditioned. We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the lefthand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination.
Activities: note that no activities are compulsory and that any, including trekking, can be tailored for any fitness level or alternatives suggested.
Further info: detailed descriptions and photos can be found on the corresponding page of our travel blog.
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