Malaysia is one of the most tropical destinations in our portfolio, home to rainforests overflowing with diverse flora and fauna. Go in search of langurs, gibbons, orangutan, and pygmy elephants in Borneo’s jungle, delve into the street markets of Kuala Lumpur or relax on Langkawi’s exotic beaches.
Malaysia’s extraordinary diversity cannot fail to amaze and inspire. Whether it’s the melting pot of diverse peoples that call the country their home or the vibrant contrasts between the pulsing cities and the stunning natural landscapes, there really is something for every kind of traveller. It’s our job to help you decide what most appeals to you and personalise your trip accordingly.
Wildlife enthusiasts will love the extensive flora and fauna of the extraordinarily bio-diverse rainforest – Borneo alone plays host to 6,000 species of plants found nowhere else on the planet. Meanwhile, there’s enough in the way of adventurous activities and remote beaches to keep families and honeymooners equally entertained. And even the most experienced of travellers will surely appreciate the country’s rich, historical legacy which includes an astonishing array of cultural influences.
Wix Squared has some exceptional guides to get you under the skin of the country including:
- Dedicated naturalists in Langkawi, Kuching, and Sandakan with vast knowledge of nature and the ecosystem
- A local resident of Kuala Lumpur to show you the undiscovered neighbourhoods
- A professional birder in Malaysia and Borneo
- Historical specialist guides throughout the country
- A Sinseh (Chinese traditional medicine man) to reveal the secrets of this ancient art and have a medical consultation
- A Penang chef to educate you about local cuisine through exploring the Malay markets, sampling the most authentic street food, and learning how to make coconut milk from scratch
- Local girls and single mothers to teach you traditional weaving techniques
- Founders of the Orangutang Project and Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Itinerary Starting Price
From £2,000 per person, for 10 days including accommodation, private guiding, entrance fees and private transfers (not including flights).
The Malaysian state of Penang is home to none other than shoemaker extraordinaire, Jimmy Choo.
Thaipusam is held in January/February when the Hindu community appeases its Gods by various forms of self-torture, such as piercing their own bodies with pins.
What to Eat
We can show you the tastiest Jalan (street food) on offer from Lok Lok (hot pot), Nasi Lemak (the national dish of rice cooked in coconut milk) and char kuey teow (stir-fried noodles).
What to Read
‘The Garden of Evening Mists’ by Tan Twan Eng, a haunting and whimsical account of Malaysia’s historical and cultural complexities against a backdrop of the 1950s.
What to buy
Traditional textiles, such as Batik, or an array of spices to recreate an authentic Malaysian feast.
Malaysia’s selection of high-end beach resorts easily equals the beauty of their surroundings. Leave the mainland behind as you sail off to a secluded island to truly get off the grid. For those with a weakness for a world-class spa, we suggest the heavenly Pangkor Laut, while the newly refurbished Datai and the Four Seasons, both on the island of Langkawi, offer beach relaxation with virgin rainforest on your doorstep.
There’s something for every taste amongst KL’s hotel offering. The Mandarin Oriental boasts best-in-class views of the Petronas Towers with plush, superbly comfortable rooms while Villa Samadhi offers something more alternative and boutique. At Wix Squared, we’re particularly excited about the newly opened Alila Bangsar and the Banyan Tree, both offering bird-eye perspectives of the concrete jungle from on high.
Luxury living in the Malaysian jungle can be hard to come by but Wix Squared can point you in the right direction. Our favourite must be Sabah’s Borneo Rainforest Lodge at the heart of the Danum Valley, surely the ultimate eco getaway. Highlights include wildlife-spotting from your outdoor bathtub and heading out into the wilderness with one of the passionate, highly knowledgeable guides. Or for a rainforest retreat on the beach, Japamala is hard to beat.
With such compelling colonial history, there are of course a handful of heritage hotels dotted across the country. Find yourself enchanted by The Lakehouse, a simple, Tudor-style country house in the Cameron Highlands, complete with wooden beams, four poster beds and pretty gardens. For more majestic surroundings, opt for the world-renowned Eastern and Oriental in Georgetown or Hotel Majestic’s original art deco wing in KL.
Borneo plays host to one of the most concentrated collections of wildlife on the planet, with 222 species of mammals alone. From wild orangutan and shy sun bear to the Irrawaddy dolphin and the extraordinary proboscis monkey, there’s a wealth of flora and fauna to amaze and inspire. From the comfort of your lodge, venture out on foot or by dugout canoe with an expert naturalist as your guide and discover the deepest secrets of the jungle.
Borneo’s enormous national parks are accessible but still wild enough to ensure you experience that pioneering sense of the unchartered. There’s plenty here to keep everyone entertained, from the adrenaline seeker to those who wish to simply head out for a lazy paddle down the river. Those with a head for heights should make for the lofty Mt Kinabalu, the highest peak in the Malay Archipelago at just over 4,000 metres.
Asia isn’t short of great beaches, but the Malaysian coast and its islands present a collection that tends to be less visited and more pristine. Home to a dazzling array of marine life, including turtles who lay their eggs on the sandy shores, you’ll easily be tempted into a snorkelling mask or diving kit. But the utmost seclusion and laid-back vibe mean one is equally happy under a palm tree with a good book.
200km north of KL, the Cameron Highlands make for an ideal escape from Malaysia’s buzzing cities thanks to its cool temperatures and verdant landscapes. Picturesque villages, strawberry farms, ample opportunities for birdwatching … this is serenity personified. Take a hike through the lush green surroundings or visit a hill station to investigate the history of tea production in the area before sitting down to tea and scones, a legacy from the British.
Culture & History
An intoxicating blend of Asian cultures, Penang’s George Town is perhaps the pinnacle of Malaysia’s cultural fusion, full to bursting with colonial architecture, classical Christian churches, Buddhist and Hindu temples and majestic mosques. We can even arrange a street art scavenger hunt by trishaw. In KL, Chinatown jostles for space beside gothic cathedrals and Art Deco monuments. Up in the Cameron Highlands, you’ll find Tudor-style country houses where we can arrange afternoon tea amongst the rolling hills.
One of the less talked about Asian cuisines, Malaysian dishes pack a punch thanks to its history as an international trading port, the melting pot for culinary influences from countries as diverse as Thailand, Holland, India, the UK, and China. With an endless array of tastes and flavours, the multi-coloured markets in KL and the legendary street food stalls in George Town create, just in themselves, an opportunity to design a gastronomic extravaganza to whet any foodie’s appetite.
Chaotic and colourful urban adventures in KL, Malacca and George Town make a relaxing end to your trip a necessity. Why not head down to the lush, terraced landscape and sandy beaches of sleepy Lombok, only three hours flight away?
The ancient temples of Angkor make a thrilling contrast with the colonial corners scattered across Malaysia. End your cultural adventure with a spell on the Malaysian coast or perhaps a private island retreat?
Just a short, one-hour flight from each other, Singapore and Malaysia make the perfect travel pairing. The bright lights and slick city life of Singapore welcome you to Asia before you head off to explore the culture and varied panoramas of Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur is a party city, and we work with lots of wonderful venues with fantastic views over the city. Alternatively, we can arrange exclusive use of a private island, charter a boat for a day or a week or even time your visit with a festival to enhance the atmosphere and add another reason to celebrate.
Soak up the idyllic atmosphere of the Kuching waterfront in a native longboat at sunset or let us arrange a traditional celebration in a Longhouse with natives in Batang Ai, Anah Rain or Mongkos.
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The tropical climate of Malaysia means it experiences rain throughout the year and consistent temperatures of around 30°C/86°F resulting in high humidity.
The east and west coasts have opposing weather patterns so there is always a good place to relax on a beach.
The western peninsula (including Langkawi, Penang and Pangkor) is best November-March.
Borneo and the eastern peninsula (including Kuantan, Terengganu, and Tioman Island) is best March-October.
- This is a great time to visit Langkawi and the west coast for beautiful beaches in hot and humid temperatures, whilst the east coast beaches close for the rainy season and the wildlife on Borneo takes shelter.
- With similar weather patterns to January this is the perfect time to explore Pangkor, Panang and Langkawi.
- The east coast monsoon fades giving you the choice between both coastlines of the peninsula for a picture-perfect beach holiday. Alternatively climb Mount Kinabalu before the crowds arrive in the summer.
- April is the peak time for all coastlines with high chances of swimming with whale sharks. Avoid the Cameron highlands when the rains are heavy in the jungle.
- Better weather is experienced on the east coast and now is a good time to see the markets in Kuala Lumpur in full swing. It is also one of the best times for jungle treks in Borneo.
- The east coast is best for beach during the school summer holidays and Malaysia is a great place to learn to snorkel or dive. Many fruits come into season in Sabah making it easier to spot the hungry orangutans.
- July is high season for the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula particularly Tioman Island and Kuantan, whilst turtle hatching begins on Selingan Island. Advance bookings for the small lodges of Borneo are essential over the summer months.
- Rainfall is lower in Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and the Cameron Highlands so combine one of these areas with some relaxation on the east coast. The slashing and burning of crops in Borneo mean there can be a slight haze at this time of year.
- Light rains cover most of the Malaysian peninsula so we can negotiate good deals with the hotels at this time of year and it is the end of the dry season in Borneo.
- This is the wettest month of the year for Malaysia with rough seas and windy coastlines. Hence stick to Kuala Lumpur and the Highlands for more protected weather, but you will still experience the occasional downpour.
- November is one of the best months for the west coast as the rain disappears and sunshine is prominent. Diwali, the festival of lights occurs in October/November.
- For good weather, relax on the Malaysian peninsula’s west coast and delve into the more tropical highlights of the Lowlands and Highlands.