During this tour we have access to a good (private) air-conditioned minibus, allowing us to stop at beautiful places along the way. It is therefore possible to stop for picture and refreshment stops easily.
The boat trips from Taman Negara, and to Langkawi, are included. Any additional transportation costs of optional excursions are not included. The transfers to and from the airport are not included either.
Orangutan Island is situated in a lake and is accessible by boat. Occasionally the island is not reachable due to the water level.
We stay in hotels on a bed and breakfast basis. They are clean and rooms are well-kept, with private shower and toilet.
Some of the planned hotels have a swimming pool; perfect to rinse off from the tropical warmth of the day! This applies to the accommodations in Penang and Langkawi. In exceptional cases it is possible that other hotels will be used and that they may be without a pool. If this occurs we will try to find a suitable alternative.
Travellers who book alone will share a twin room with another person of the same sex. If you prefer to have a room for yourself then this is possible. Please indicate this on your booking form, where a single supplement will be added. A triple room is not available on this trip.
Small groups (up to 6)
Groups with fewer than 7 persons will travel in the company of an English-speaking driver who also operates as the tour leader. When there are fewer than 7 persons, the tour leader will not necessarily be staying overnight in all of the same accommodations as the group. The tour leader will leave the group in Penang. Once the group is on the island of Langkawi, assistance is provided by a local English-speaking 'station guide’.
Groups of 7 and above
Groups of 7 and above will be accompanied to Langkawi by a local English-speaking tour leader and a separate driver. For groups of 7 and above, the tour leader will sleep in the same accommodations as the group, with the exception of Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia is comprised of a variety of people and religions, rich in colourful festivals and holidays throughout the year. If you get the chance to visit a party that is recommended, it is certainly a unique experience. The dates of these festivals vary from year to year due to the different times in the different religions.
The Hindu festival Thaipusam (a kind of Thanksgiving) is celebrated in the Hindu months (Thai) of January or February and commemorates the birthday of the god Subramanian, also known as Murugan. It is celebrated at the Batu Caves (which are just outside Kuala Lumpur), but you can also enjoy the show in other places including Penang. Hindus thank the gods or try to push a favour and use this day for self-flagellation. The piercing of the body is one of the outstanding aspects of the Thaipusam festival. The faithful carry kavadi's (wooden structures decorated with peacock feathers and flowers) attached to their bodies with iron hooks and nails that have been put through their flesh. You also see pilgrims with metal pins and hooks in their cheek or tongue. The medical community still can not explain how it is that they do not bleed out and that after they have met them a few days later there are no ill-effects. The infliction of pain to oneself is an act of contrition in exchange for favours that are asked of the gods. At the Batu Caves they must also consider the 272 steps to the top.
More than 700,000 people come to Kuala Lumpur to watch the parade of revelers who seem to be in a trance. Dancing to the beat of the drums they escort the carriage bearing the statue of the god Murugan of the Maha Mariamman temple to the temple in the Batu Caves. In Penang Thaipusam is celebrated at the Balathandaythabani temple in Waterfall Road.
This trip is in category A
The difficulty of our trips varies greatly. Added to this is the fact that travel difficulty is a very personal perception. To give an impression of the difficulty of a particular holiday we have developed a classification system.
Category A: Light travel for everyone to do. Short distances, good hotels, travel at a slow pace.
Category B: For everyone to do as well. Sometimes long distances. Good hotels and camping facilities, sometimes an adventurous overnight experience, travel at a normal pace.
Category C: Good to do for anyone who prepares themself well and is flexible. There are tougher parts of the journey, such as longer distances or walking tours. Several nights can be spent in basic accommodation.
Category D: A relatively difficult journey, travelling long distances, often primitive accommodation or tents, and challenging walking tours.
This tour of Malaysia falls into category A. We stay generally in good middle class hotels and travel frequently with our own transportation. Please remember though that you are travelling in a developing country with much lower living standards than you are used to at home. Hotel rooms can be less comfortable, the electricity can sometimes fail and it could be that you suddenly have a shortage of hot water whilst taking a shower. Also, roads may be temporarily blocked because of the weather or owing to their state of repair, in which case a detour is unavoidable. A flexible and positive attitude is just as important as a good physical condition.
Nature of the Trip
Malaysia combines the extremes of hyper-modern and old-traditional like no other country in the world. This multi-faceted tour takes you through old colonial cities, modern metropolises, the stunning Cameron Highlands and the deep jungles of Taman Negara. You will have plenty of time to go diving or snorkelling off the beautiful coast and islands of white beaches and colourful coral reefs.
We know that travelling to remote corners of this planet has its effects. At Shoestring we really try to make an effort to keep our impact to a minimum. We try to avoid the use of plastic water bottles on our treks through Nepal and we do not dump our litter during our trips through Africa. All of our staff have been trained to take special care to ensure we make as little impact on the environment as possible.Furthermore we support a lot of local projects which are mostly related to clean drinking water or making sure that children get vaccinated against illnesses such as tuberculosis. On most tours you will be able to visit some of the projects we support through our local agents. Find out more about the different projects Shoestring are involved with, how you can make a difference and our environmental policies here
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More country information about Malaysia
Frequently asked questions about Malaysia