Malaysia’s Colonial Echoes 9 Days

Travel Agency Malaysia – Travel Agent Malaysia – This nine-day holiday is based on two main historical landmarks with turbulent histories, Malacca and Penang, interposed by visits to the capital and the popular Cameron Highlands. The main theme of the tour is Malaysia’s colonial history and heritage.

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Despite the historical background, modern Malaysia plays a major role in this tour. The most obvious example is Kuala Lumpur where the many colonial buildings and traditions rub shoulders with an advanced technology capable of creating ultra-modern edifices such as the Petronas Twin Towers and the new administrative capital of Putrajaya that belies its status as a developing country.

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The itinerary is designed to appeal to all ages and interests, but if you have particular interests we will accommodate your wishes. As you’d be travelling Avada Travel Malaysia-style, you’ll be able to have exactly what, when and where you choose. Our tailor-made tours are completely flexible and offer remarkable value.

Day 1: Singapore/Malacca (DP)

Arriving at the International Airport in Singapore, you’ll be met and driven through the Johor Causeway linking Singapore to Peninsula Malaysia. After brief formalities, you’ll enter Johor Bharu, the southernmost state of Malaysia. The route to Malacca, your destination, takes you along a good highway fringed by palm oil and rubber plantation. The journey is comfortable and you’ll soon be checking in at your hotel with time for a preliminary exploration the city’s remarkable characteristics.

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Day 2: Malacca Orientation (B, L, G)

Although Malacca is quite small in comparison with other famous historical landmarks, there’s more than enough to keep your interest for a full day. The main sights are St. Paul’s Hill, Porta De Santiago, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and Jonkers Street (popular for its antiques, local art and crafts). The Baba Nyonya Museum offers an interesting insight into Malacca’s turbulent past, colonial connections, and the complex tapestry of the city’s inhabitants, notably the unique ‘peranakans’ (descendents of very early Chinese economic immigrants). Once your guide has escorted you around the multitude of sights and departed around the late afternoon, you’ll find yourselves drain to canal-side cafes to soak in the ambiance of modern Malacca before returning to your hotel.

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Malacca has a tumultuous history since its inception far back in the mist of time – legends place its establishment in the fourteenth century. Initially a small settlement, its ideal location for maritime commerce and grew to become one of the worlds most important trading ports.

However, in the early fifteen hundreds, European traders and privateers looked towards the city’s great wealth, power and strategic location. Commercial interest was superseded by military influence, and in 1511, the Portuguese navy stormed Malacca. The city was overwhelmed and thus began nearly 450 years of colonialism.

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An eighth-month siege by the Dutch ended Portuguese control and devastated the colony. The new rulers set about restoring Malacca as a military base. In turn, French Revolutionary forces captured the city in 1975. However, the defeated Dutch, wary of Napoleon’s expansionist aspirations, handed Malacca to the British. After a period of ‘caretaking’, British forces took full control in 1824 and, apart from three years of Japanese occupation during WW2, held sway until Malaysia gained independence in 1957.

Day 3: Malacca/Kuala Lumpur (B, G)

After breakfast, you’ll take the highway to Kuala Lumpur passing Seremban en-route. Malaysia’s capital city is unusual in that most of its population commute to Kuala Lumpur every day and live some distance away.

Upon arrival, your guide will take you on an orientation tour to make sense of the bustling cosmopolitan metropolis. The major highlights are the National Monument, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building (originally built to house the British administration, and now an offshoot of the country’s High Court) and Merdeka (Independence) Square, the National Mosque, the Selangor Club (the apogee of British Colonial rule), Menara Kuala Lumpur (better known as the KL Tower – a 421 m (1403 ft) telecommunications tower), the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers, the spectacular Thean Hou Temple and the King’s Palace.

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Much of the country’s history is depicted in the varied architecture of the city’s buildings as well as the traditions and cultural heritage of the major ethnic communities. The afternoon is free to investigate the manifold contradictions of multicultural Malaysia before returning to your hotel.

Day 4: Kuala Lumpur (B, L, G)

After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you to the limestone Batu Caves, near the city to the north. They were discovered in 1892 and consist of three large chambers and several smaller caves, 400 metres long and 100 metre high overall. To reach the main cave you will have to climb 272 steps to reach the Hindu shrine devoted to Lord Muruga – quite a climb.

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You’ll probably be accompanied by posse of macaque monkeys – it’s not advisable to feed them because they can snatch jewellery and other items if you get too close. It’s also not advisable to wear expensive clothes – a multitude of bats and pigeons can produce plenty of droppings! A cheap sun hat offers good protection.

There’s also a much deeper cave (2000m) with several endemic cave species. Although it’s not open to the public, cave enthusiasts can obtain a permit but must be applied for in advance.

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After the caves, you’ll visit the Royal Selangor Pewter Centre, the world’s largest pewter manufacturing company. It’s well-established – over 120 years! You’ll be able to see the manufacturing process. There’s no obligation to buy anything, but you might be tempted by the many examples of the artists’ products. The remainder of the day is free to wander around Kuala Lumpur before returning to your hotel.

Day 5: Kuala Lumpur/Cameron Highlands (B, L, G)

In the morning, you’ll leave Kuala Lumpur for the Cameron Highlands (the centre of Malaysian tea production) that takes you to altitude of 1500-1800 metres above sea level. On the way up to the mountain resort, you’ll stop at a small Aboriginal village and a teahouse. From there, your route will take you passing through Brinchang and finally the main town – Tanah Rata to check in your hotel. You’ll spend the night at the peace and serenity of the Cameron Highlands.

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Day 6: Cameron Highlands (B, L, G)

Today you’ll visit one of Malaysia’s many tea plantations to watch the processing of black tea and, later, sample various types of tea in the teahouse.

Tea grows best between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. It requires a plenty of rain and a temperature between varying between 10°C and 30°C degrees centigrade. The slopes of the Cameron Highlands are ideal.

The process begins with planting and pruning the tea bushes. The leaves are plucked at intervals between seven to ten days. The fresh shoots are then ‘withered’ to reduce the moisture in the fresh shoots by about 70% – it takes about 15hrs. The withered leaves are then passed through a rolling machine that twists and breaks them.

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The next stage is ‘oxidization’. The tea is laid out to allow the enzymes in the leaves to come in contact with the air and thus oxidize. During this process, the tea gradually turns from green to deep brown. Temperature and timing are critical (around 26°C and between 30 minutes to 2 hours respectively). Great skill is necessary!

To halt oxidization, the tea is passed through hot air dryers. Finally, the tea is finally graded and packaged.

(Note: the Tea factory is closed on Mondays)

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You’ll also visit the Rose Garden and Butterfly Farm. After a tea break, you’ll head to a local fruit/vegetable market to see the variety of fresh produce grown in this area. You’ll have a chance to mingle with the locals in the town of Tanah Rata before returning to your hotel.

Day 7: Cameron Highlands/Penang (B, L, G)

After breakfast, you’ll leave the Cameron Highlands to head towards Ipoh and, eventually, the island of Penang. En-route, you’ll stop at the famous Cave Temple and the Ubudiah Mosque (a striking building with a large golden dome) and the former palace of the Sultan of Perak with its intricate woodcarvings. Nearing Penang, you’ll visit the Orang-Utan Island at the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort before crossing the Penang Bridge onto the island of Penang to check in to your hotel and, if you wish, wander around its centre – Georgetown.

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At 13.5km, the Penang Bridge is believed to be the longest bridge in Asia and the third longest in the World.

Penang Island is a historical treasure house of Britain’s Colonial past. Established by Captain Francis Light, an adventurer trading between India and Malay, managed to negotiate an agreement whereby the then virtually deserted island was ceded to his company in exchange for an annual payment of £1,500. Thus, in 1786 Penang became Britain’s first trading port in the Far East.
Light originally intended to use the island for agricultural purposes and set about clearing the dense ironwood forest by offering fee land to his sepoy forces and local natives. Initially, few were interested in the backbreaking task, so he decided on a novel incentive – using cannon to fire silver coins into the thick jungle.

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The ploy was highly successful. The population swelled rapidly into the thousands and Light was declared Superintendent of the island. Penang was designated a free port and renamed ‘Prince of Wales Island’ with Georgetown as its capital after George III, the reigning British monarch.

Francis Light died early in 1796 leaving a remarkable legacy of a unique colonial period – its architecture (including his residence) and the story of his tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Day 8: Penang (B, L, G)

Today you’ll explore Penang – the Pearl of the Orient and the oldest British settlement in Malaysia. The visits will include the Khoo Kongsi (Dragon Mountain Hall) clan house with its ancient design constructed to capture the splendour of an Imperial palace, the historical Fort Cornwallis, the Thai temple of Wat Chayamangkalaram (housing a 32m reclining Buddha, and the remarkable ‘Lost Fortress’. From then, your time is yours to return to your hotel or continue to soak up the unique ambiance of Penang.

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Fort Cornwallis is built on the site where Captain Francis Light first landed in 1786. Built in 1793, the site was chosen for its historical significance rather than defence considerations. In 1810 it was rebuilt in a star configuration considered to be more effective to repel invasion. The only buildings still standing are the outer walls, a gunpowder magazine, a small Christian chapel and several old bronze cannons. One Dutch cannon, called ‘Seri Rambai’ and dated 1603, is locally believed to have a positive effect upon a woman’s likelihood of conception! It’s well designed and managed and has knowledgeable guides.

Far from Captain Light’s era, the story of the ‘Lost Fortress’ is a particularly interesting slice of history. In the early 1930’s, a growing threat of Japanese imperialism prompted the British forces to build a massive fortress dug into Bukit Batu Maung Hill to repel any attempt at invasion. Unfortunately for the British, their defence strategy was based on an attack by Japan’s powerful navy. In the event, the enemy advanced from the landward side easily overwhelming the luckless garrison. Today, it’s a fascinating museum tucked away in dense forest and thus little visited, but its well worth a visit.

Day 9: Penang Departure (B, DP)

Your time will be your own until your driver arrives to take you to the airport for your flight to KLIA to connect with your departure flight. Travel Agency Malaysia – Travel Agent Malaysia

“We had very good guides”

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“I wish I had time to see Sa Pa. I am already trying to figure out when I can go back to Vietnam just so I can visit Sa Pa. Even though Ha Long Bay is incredibly beautiful and it was one of my favorite places, I wish I had opted to visit Bai Tu Long or a nearby area instead. Ha Long Bay was so overcrowded and touristy, it was disappointed to be stuck in such a limited area of the Bay when it is so vast. I would recommend that travelers explore their options and stay in nearby areas Cat Ba, Bai Tu Long, Lan Ha, etc and spend more time.”

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