To be a “Malay” signifies you were born in Malaysia, whereas a “Malaysian” is someone with the nationality of the country. This subtlety in the national language is indicative of the country’s strong, often contrasting identities, both distinct and mixed at the same time. Located in the heart of East Asia, Malaysia has seen waves of immigration as a result of European, Indian and Chinese colonization. It’s impossible to set foot in Kuala Lumpur without being struck by the variety of aromas, colors and materials. This cultural plurality is compounded by the duality between the traditional and the ultra modern. The contrast can be felt by simply crossing the city with its huge skyscrapers and suddenly seeing a virgin forest as old as time itself. When one compares Malaysia’s economic rise and its desire to be an important capitalist world power with the “kampung” (a traditional village) philosophy of living together by and for the community and helping each other mutually, a philosophy still in existence today, the difference is as radical as night and day. The archipelagos on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula are an ideal setting for understanding the country’s culture and, at the same time, admiring their idyllic scenery.
Off the coast of Kedah, a region near the border with Thailand, the island of Pulau Langkawi appears. This Malaysian jewel is a very popular tourist destination. Incrusted between land and sea, superb hotels like the Dataï Langkawi offer guests a unique setting for a serene vacation in the midst of ancestral nature. The ten million year old virgin forest is home to an incredibly rich flora and fauna including the elegant red backed sea eagle known here as the milan sacré. The beaches are among the most beautiful in the country. Activities such as visiting a crocodile farm, the Underwater World Langkawi, a tunnel crossing an immense aquarium, and the Taman Legenda, a park dedicated to the islands’ myths and legends make Langkawi an ideal site for a family vacation. The luxurious Andaman hotel complex has a Young Explorer’s Club with a number of other activities for children. Be sure to try the local products from the island’s kampungs, and take advantage of Langkawi’s duty free status to take home one of Malaysia’s delicious liqueurs.
The small island of Rebak, also part of the Langkawi archipelago possesses only one structure, the Rebak Island Resort hotel. This exclusivity assures guests of a perfectly tranquil and intimate vacation. Its first class marina is an encouragement for even the most landlocked minded visitors to take to the sea. In the area of dining, the choice is as varied as the culture of the country with restaurants proposing Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Thai cuisine.
In a similar vein, the Pangkor Laut Resort follows the same concept of one island - one hotel. Its luxurious villas, hidden under the leaves of tropical trees or built on stilts for a “feet in the water” ambiance, are bound to delight nature lovers. Since the island has no other life apart from the hotel, a visit to the neighboring island of Pangkor is recommended for discovering the charms of Malaysian culture and for visiting the temples and the Dutch fort dating back to the 17th century.
The region of Penang bears the scars and the remnants of colonialism and best embodies the country’s colonial exploitation. Facing the coast, on the island of Pulau Pinang, we find Malaysia’s oldest British city, Georgetown, classified a UNESCO world heritage in 2008. In addition to the British colonial influence, the island also has a Little India and a multi-colored Chinatown. In the image of this crossroads of three distinct peoples who live together in harmony, The Blue Mansion, an original and unique hotel with its blue indigo facades, was once the home of Cheong Fatt Tze, a wealthy Mandarin. A few days at the Blue Mansion is an excellent way to plunge oneself in the complex history of Malaysia and its different peoples.
Malaysia, on the list of the New Industrialized Countries and one of the five “Asian Tigers.” It consists of western Malaysia or the peninsula region and eastern Malaysia, north of Borneo. Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is known for its cultural syncretism (a combination of different and contradictory beliefs) with influences from Asia, India as well as British colonialism which ended in 1957 when Malaysia became an independent nation.
Although many visitors come to Kuala Lumpur to do business, primarily in the Petronas twin towers building, the country’s numerous treasures make it an ideal tourist attraction for anyone seeking an exotic vacation.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, 75 kilometers south of the capital is the most common starting point. It’s also possible however, to fly to Singapore and in less than an hour’s drive, be in the regions of western Malaysia. To reach Borneo, a domestic flight is required since there are no ferries, although to go from island to island, the country possesses a well developed maritime traffic system. Inland sites can be reached by bus, although it’s safer to use long distance taxis available in all the major cities.
A Malaysian kite, batiks, songket (silk brocaded fabrics or cotton material, hand brocaded in gold), pewter objects, a kris (a Malaysian dagger), leather puppets or silver jewelry. Be careful about exporting cultural objects or imitation luxury goods as it is strictly forbidden and severely punished. Never purchase an antique without a certificate authorizing its export.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital, Thaipusam religious ceremonies in the Batu Caves, Taman Negara, a luxuriant jungle unchanged over thousands of years, the Cameron Highlands, Georgetown’s colonial quarter in Penang, a snorkeling session in Perhentian, and for the more athletically minded, a hike up Mont Kinabalu, Malaysia’s highest mountain, is highly recommended.
Malaysia - Georgetown
FROM 105€ /night
Malaysia - Langkawi
FROM 243€ /night
Malaysia - Kampung Padang Masirat
FROM 364€ /night
Malaysia - Kedah Darul Aman
FROM 140€ /night
Malaysia - Perak
FROM 222€ /night
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+33 1 75 43 70 26 *Our reservation department is always happy to assist you via phone or via email. We are open Monday to Friday 9am to 18pm (GMT +1).