THE MANY FACES OF MALAYSIA08/02/2012
THE MANY FACES OF MALAYSIA
An unsung hero when it comes to stopover experiences or as a standalone holiday, Kuala Lumpur is a great value destination for travellers.
Without breaking the bank, you can stay in luxurious accommodation (Kuala Lumpur has plenty), shop and spa to your heart’s content, gorge yourself on delicious Malaysian cuisine and discover the sites of the city.
Even the transport from the airport is deluxe, convenient and unbelievably well-priced. For around $17.00 you can take the 28 minute non-stop ride to KL’s Sentral Station on the KLIA Ekspres, Malaysia’s clean and efficient high speed train. For some extra indulgence try the KLIA Ekspres VIP service and take a limousine from Sentral Station to your accommodation.
Indulging is easy in Kuala Lumpur with an ever-increasing inventory of luxurious hotels. From established five star properties like the Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La to new boutique developments like Hotel Maya, Piccolo Hotel or the recently refurbished Carcosa Seri Negara with all its ‘old school’ colonial charm.
In the centre of KL, somewhere like the new Hilton Double Tree is perfect if you want to be right in the thick of it or if being out of town is more your style, the new Golden Palm Tree in Sepang offers over the water bungalows just 40 minutes from the centre of Kuala Lumpur.
If you can draw yourself away from your plush hotel, there are plenty of things to make the stopover unforgettable. Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the Petronas Twin Towers, take a walk around the beautiful Lake Gardens, visit Buddhist temples in China Town, spend a morning at the famous Batu Caves or wander around the bustling markets and streets of China Town, Malay Kampung Baru and Little India.
Along the way, it is difficult not to spend some time taking part in a Malaysian’s favourite pastimes; shopping and eating. Heading out for a Gucci, Armani, Jimmy Choo, Zara or Top Shop fix is a must. Mix in a couple of great meals sampling Malaysia’s multi cultural cuisine including Malaysian hawker food, Chinese dumplings and Indian curries and then refresh before your onward journey with some divine spa treatments.
Shop, shop, shop to your hearts content!
Kuala Lumpur is a paradise for shoppers wanting to snap up the latest fashions, shoes and electronics at a bargain! The competitive exchange rate (1NZ$ is around 2.5 Malaysian Ringgit) makes Malaysia an absolute must for the fashionista traveller.
Take full advantage of the overwhelming number of amazing deals by basing yourself in the popular shopping district Bukit Bintang – undoubtedly the city’s foremost shopping district. Starhill Gallery offers you a luxurious shopping experience that houses all of the world’s top designers including Prada, Louis Vuitton and Dior.
Once you have taken time to soak in the lavish retail atmosphere, cross over the road to Pavilion Mall which features all in the big international brands including Top Shop, Zara, H&M and Mango. Indulge in your passion for fashion and food in this shopping mecca that offers 450 outlets to browse in. More chic shopping malls are located at KLCC and Jalan Ampang.
If you have your eye on increasing your shoe collection, Sungei Wang offers a huge variety of unbelievable bargains and for cheap electronics, Low Yat Plaza is an absolute must.
Visitors in search for souvenirs and novelty items will be spoilt for choice at the open-air bazaars where bargain hunting and haggling is expected. The casual street shops at Jalan Adbdul Rahman and Petaling Street stock every imaginable item from crafts to belts and bags to electronic goods.
To take even more advantage of the abundance of shopping, timing your trip to coincide with one of Malaysia’s yearly sale carnivals can be extremely fruitful. With the Malaysian Grand Prix Sale (March to April), Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival (June to September) and Malaysia Year End Sale (November to January) all held throughout the year, there is never a bad time to fill your suitcase with newly acquired clothes and other goods.
Immerse yourself in Malaysia’s Cultural Melting Pot
Kiwis travelling to Malaysia from February to May will get a glimpse into the country’s unique melting pot and cultural heritage. A series of colourful and fun cultural celebrations help unite the nation as they ring in 2012.
If you’re interested in being a part of Malaysia’s unique and exciting cultural celebrations, you can take advantage of some fantastic fares on Air Asia.
The cultural spectacle Thaipusam (7 February) is an annual Hindu festival where devotees perform various rituals and carry ‘kavadis’ as acts of devotion and penance. Tourists can attend festivities at the world-renowned limestone Batu Caves Temple in Kuala Lumpur. Thaipusam celebrations are also observed in Penang, Johor and several other states.
The excitement continues with the Colours of Malaysia Festival (Citrawarna) in May which celebrates the country’s unique spectrum of cultures. The launch of Malaysia’s premier cultural extravaganza takes place at Kuala Lumpur’s Dataran Merdeka. Expect spectacular firework displays, traditional performances, colourful parades and magnificent arts and crafts.
An exotic getaway packed with fun for the whole family
Malaysia offers a family holiday like no other with its tropical beach fun, jungle adventures and a reputation as a unique food and shopping paradise.
Malaysia was also ranked highly in last year’s Global Peace Index (GPI) which ranks 149 countries on a range of safety and security factors…it was placed 22nd, the highest of any country in South East Asia, meaning it is a fantastic destination for the whole family to enjoy.
Take a break in Kuala Lumpur at the memorable Sunway Hotel Resort. Located right next to Sunway Lagoon, there is an endless amount of fun to be had at the world’s largest man-made surf beach and exhilarating water rides at its Water Park. You’ll also want to spend time at the Extreme Park, Wildlife Park, Amusement Park and Scream Park.
While the kids walk around wide-eyed in wonder, mums can indulge in some retail therapy at the nearby Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall which showcases 700 speciality stores. Although with other attractions including 10 cinemas and a 48 lane bowling alley, you may need to take the kids too. www.sunwayhotels.com
Sample an array of mouth-watering cuisine
Malaysian food is not one particular distinction of food but a culinary diversity originating from its multi-ethnic population of Malay, Indian, Chinese, Nyonya, Eurasian and the indigenous people of Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak).
This means that you will find a diverse menu as well as the unique multi-ethnic dishes which make the country a gourmet paradise. Try your hand at a cooking class so you can whip up your favourite dishes for family and friends when you arrive home.
With a staggering array of dishes on offer, it will be difficult for you to decide where to start the journey through the fabulous Malaysian cuisine, which is unlike any other.
Yield to Complete Relaxation with Malaysia’s Gentle Touch
If you’re looking to get away from the 9-5pm work grind, Malaysia offers the perfect exotic setting for a complete rejuvenation and relaxation holiday with its luxurious world-class spa facilities.
Malaysia’s diversity of cultures and vast abundance of natural resources provides the perfect backdrop for health rituals that are among the oldest in the world.
The combination of Malay, Chinese and Indian health practices ensures you are in safe and nurturing hands for the duration of your stay. A large number of spas also offer Balinese and Thai treatments so you have access to a full range of treatments.
Experiencing traditional Malay treatments offers the ultimate in pampering. From body massage, herbal baths, facials and a host of other treatments, all are based on ancient healing rituals and health disciplines. Malay herbal treatments use a combination of various indigenous herbs and plans which contain natural vitamins, minerals and curative properties. Most spa operators in Malaysia tie in with hotels or resorts.