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Malaysia World Heritage Tour

Discover the history, rich cultural heritage and varied landscapes of the Malay Peninsula, as well as its vibrant contemporary street-life and fantastic cuisine on our Malaysia World Heritage tour

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 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 backdrop to the classic British Victorian buildings and cricket club of Merdeka Square and the colourful street bustle of Chinatown contrasts with state of the art overhead railways. Busy, hectic, perhaps bewildering, but certainly fascinating.

From here, we visit the old, Straights settlement of Malacca (Melaka) 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 in addition to what is probably Southeast Asia’s most extensive and well-preserved 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’.

Since airfares are fluctuating wildly at present, as well as varying considerably from period to period, our ‘with flight’ prices, below, are approximate only.

Includes: Meals: B x 7, L x 3, D x 5

Malaysia

Itinerary

Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.

Malaysia World Heritage

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 Chinatown walking tour and local-style welcome dinner.

Overnight: Kuala Lumpur Transport: Walk,  Meals: D, 

Malaysia, Batu Caves

Day 2 - KL - Batu Caves and city sights

Leaving the city centre we’ll travel by train to the northern edge of KL and the famous and highly revered Batu Caves. From here we return to the historic centre for a walking tour taking in the old central mosque and the fabulous Victorian-era architecture of Merdeka Square. An evening walking tour of Kampung Baru introduces you to some of the array of local street food on offer as well as providing some great views of the city’s iconic Petronas Towers.

Overnight: Kuala Lumpur Transport: Train, Walk,  Meals: B, D, 

Malacca back street

Day 3 - Malacca - visit the World Heritage town

Morning departure for the coast and Melaka (Malacca) with an afternoon orientation tour by rickshaw of the historic, UNESCO-listed city. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed town displays Portuguese, Dutch and British influences and we’ll allow you time in the late afternoon and evening to explore at your leisure.

Overnight: Melaka Transport: Minibus, Walk, Tuk Tuk,  Meals: B, 

Chinese shop houses in George Town

Day 4 - Train journey to Penang

Return to Kuala Lumpur to catch the Butterworth express train to northern Malaysia. Late afternoon arrival and transfer by ferry 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, Boat,  Meals: B, 

West Malaysia Tour

Day 5 - George Town - walking heritage tour

Penang’s capital George Town reveals a bewildering mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures; Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu religions. Our walking tour of this well-preserved town takes in exotic temples, Chinese architecture, colourful Little India and impressive British colonial-period buildings. The afternoon is free to explore the fascinating and friendly town at your leisure, check out the local markets or museums while an optional visit to the historic Cheong Fatt Tse ‘blue mansion’ can be arranged.

Overnight: George Town Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

Penang Hill railway

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.

Overnight: George Town Transport: Minibus, Train, Walk,  Meals: B, 

Malaysia, Penang sunset

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. Short afternoon hike to unspoilt Monkey Beach in nearby Penang National Park.

Overnight: George Town Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

Malaysia Family Tour

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, 

Print Itinerary

Details

The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.

Malaysia World Heritage

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
  • Explore the twin UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites of Melaka (Malacca) and George Town (Penang)
  • Optional beach extensions to the Andaman Sea's Langkawi Island or the Perhentians Islands on the Gulf of Thailand
  • Discover the contrasting sights of the vibrant capital Kuala Lumpur from the highly traditional to ultra-modern
  • 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) *From

  • 27 April 24 1,950 GBP
  • 25 May 24 1,950 GBP
  • 22 June 24 1,950 GBP
  • 21 July 24 1,950 GBP
  • 24 August 24 1,950 GBP
  • 21 September 24 1,950 GBP
  • 19 October 24 1,975 GBP
  • 23 November 24 1,975 GBP
  • 14 December 24 1,975 GBP
  • 11 January 25 2,000 GBP
  • 8 February 25 2,000 GBP
  • 8 March 25 2,000 GBP

Land Departures

  • 28 April 24 1,350 GBP
  • 26 May 24 1,350 GBP
  • 23 June 24 1,350 GBP
  • 22 July 24 1,350 GBP
  • 25 August 24 1,350 GBP
  • 22 September 24 1,350 GBP
  • 20 October 24 1,375 GBP
  • 24 November 24 1,375 GBP
  • 15 December 24 1,375 GBP
  • 12 January 25 1,425 GBP
  • 9 February 25 1,425 GBP
  • 9 March 25 1,425 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...

Tiang Jing Kuala Lumpur

Tiang Jing Kuala Lumpur view

  • Lovingly-designed, boutique-style, heritage hotel
  • Great location in the heart of KL's Chinatown
  • In-house cafe/coffee shop and restaurant
Rosa Malacca

Rosa Malacca view

  • Carefully-designed and decorated boutique-style hotel
  • Well appointed rooms and particularly helpful staff
  • Quiet location a short walk from the historic centre
Royale Chulan Penang

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

Please note that the Malaysian government has seen fit to introduce a Malaysia Digital Arrival Card, (MDAC), system as of 1st January 2024. This form needs to be submitted online at least 3 days prior to arrival. (We would expect a few possible teething problems so we’d say it’s best to save proof of submission such as a photo or screenshot of the submitted form just in case.)

We apologise for the inconvenience incurred but will bite our tongues and refrain from further comment.

Finally, also note that you may come across references to a daily ‘tourism tax’ of 10 RM, payable by visitors to Malaysia, but this has already been included in the cost of your tour and will be paid by your tour leader.

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.

The standard arrival point for this tour is Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the departure port is Penang International Airport.

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. 

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