Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei
Entwined by shared history, Southeast Asia's terrific trio offer steamy jungles packed with wildlife, beautiful beaches, idyllic islands, culinary sensations and multi-ethnic culture. Urban Adventures If urban exploration is more your scene, you won't be disappointed either.
Located at the intersection of Asia’s great kingdoms and and Europe's powerful colonial empires, the island of Penang has long served as the link between Asia’s two halves and an important outlet to the markets of Europe and the Middle East. This history has resulted in a culture that is one of Malaysia’s most diverse, cosmopolitan and exciting.
Combine three distinct and ancient cultures, indigenous and colonial architecture, shake for a few centuries, garnish with a burgeoning tourism scene, and you've got the tasty urban cocktail that is George Town. George Town's most apparent – and touted – attraction is its architecture.
Kedah & Perlis
The states of Kedah and Perlis represent a rural idyll that is central to the Malay identity. Limestone pillars thrust up through emerald paddy fields, which contribute to the harvest of over half of the country’s domestic rice supply. Not that many foreigners see this. In fact, most travellers would draw a blank if you asked them about ‘Kedah’.
For travellers’ purposes there are essentially two Kedahs: the tropical island of Pulau Langkawi and its surrounding islets, and the rural, little-visited mainland Kedah, known as Malaysia’s ‘rice bowl’. Langkawi is the stuff of tourist brochures that don’t skimp on descriptions such as ‘sun-kissed’ and ‘paradise’.
The old chestnut ‘What do you prefer, the mountains or the ocean?’ goes over pretty well in Perak, peninsular Malaysia’s second-largest state. ‘Perak’ means ‘silver’ in Malay, but historians debate whether the word references the state’s tin mines or the fish off its sandy coast. For travellers, this ambiguity simply reinforces the variety of the region.