"Just out of Kuala Lumpur is the famous Hindu temple at the Batu Caves, a must see for any trip to this area."
Kuala Lumpur (known simply as KL) is a place of contrasts where shimmering 21st century skyscrapers tower over colonial shophouses amid pockets of leafy greenery. For an overview of this contrasting city, climb the Petronas Towers, once the tallest buildings in the world.
At ground level, weave through local markets, traditional neighbourhoods and steamy street food vendors. Just out of KL is the famous Hindu temple at the Batu Caves where monkeys scamper around devotees.
Penang & Langkawi
Penang’s historical capital, George Town, is a popular stop on the way to Langkawi and certainly merits a few nights. Soak up Indian, Malay and Chinese culture – visible in the eclectic architectural styles of its temples and mosques – and tuck into street food from the hawkers’ sizzling stalls; we recommend the chilli crab.
Perhaps Malaysia’s best-known holiday destination, Langkawi itself is an archipelago of over 100 different islands, close to the border with Thailand. Picturesque paddy fields and virgin jungle cover much of the main island, while swaying palms and sandy bays dominate the coastline. To truly get away, head to the outer islands on a full-day tour – some are little more than tiny limestone outcrops ringed with coral, offering fabulous snorkelling in clear blue seas.
East Coast Islands
"Less visited than the west coast, the east has an awful lot to offer - not least its stunning and largely unspoilt offshore islands."
World-class diving and snorkelling are among the highlights of Malaysia’s east coast, whose stunning and largely unspoilt offshore islands are lined by some of the country’s best beaches.
In the north, the Perhentian Islands are one of the few places in the world where endangered leatherback turtles still come to nest on white-sand beaches. Below them, the Redang Archipelago is a protected marine park of nine islands offering fabulous diving among pristine coral reefs. While far in the south, laidback Tioman Island is perfect if you like your luxury a long way from anywhere.
Meet the Maker: Bill Bensley
We talk to the man behind some of Asia's most 'out there' wilderness retreats, including Cambodia's Shinta Mani Wild and Bali's Capella Ubud
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