KL & Surrounds
Brickfields (Little India)
Jalan Travers to Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, KL. A small town just outside KL Sentral, Brickfields is a melting pot of Malaysian culture. You’ll find art galleries, markets as well as various stalls serving Indian cuisine. While the government is quick to call it the ‘second Little India’ after Masjid India, spend a little more time in the neighbourhood and you’ll find there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Cruise Tasik Putrajaya
Jeti Putra, Jambatan Putra, Jalan Masjid Putra, Precinct 1, Putrajaya (03 8888 5539/ www.cruisetasikputrajaya.com). The scenic and leisurely cruises on Lake Putrajaya are a particular hit with visitors from outside Klang Valley. There are some stunning views of the ‘the Garden City’ and the boats and perahu (gondolas) dotted about give the lake an idyllic feel, especially as the sun sets. You can also dine on-board at night and the food is surprisingly decent.
Dataran Merdeka (Merdeka Square)
KL City Centre. One of Malaysia’s most historic landmarks, Merdeka Square has a special place in the country’s heart and history. You can’t miss the huge 100-metre flag pole flying the Jalur Gemilang. And guess what? It’s the tallest freestanding pole in the world.
2 Jalan Punchak off Jalan P Ramlee, KL (03 2020 5444/www.menarakl.com.my). Take a tour up the 421-metre high telecommunications and broadcasting tower for a magnificent vista of KL from its viewing deck. The audio tour is reasonably informative, if a little dry, and the restaurant at the top is very popular with tourists despite its mixed reviews. (Observation deck) Daily, 9am-10pm. Adults, RM52, Children (4-11 years old), RM31; (MyKad/MyKid holders) Adults, RM32, Children (4-11 years old), RM21.
Petronas Twin Towers
Concourse level, Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, KL (03 2331 8080/www.petronastwintowers.com.my). Icons of Malaysia, the largest twin towers in the world are beacons of culture and heritage. Check out the displays and exhibitions at ground level before ascending in the elevator to the impressive skybridge. It’s free but be aware that the views are somewhat limited due to the huge towers on either side of the skybridge; it’s actually the view of them that is more impressive than the view from them. Still, it’s worth a morning out of anyone’s holiday. Just get up early to avoid hanging around for your timeslot on the bridge. Tue-Sun, 9am-9pm (closed from 1-2.30pm every Friday). Issuing of tickets starts from 8.30am. Adults, RM84.80, Children, RM31.80; (MyKad holders) Adults, RM26.50, Children, RM12.70.
NEW Old Rubber Smokehouse
Lunas Architect Laurence Loh, the man behind Penang’s Blue Mansion, received a DIGI Amazing Malaysians award for his work on this old rubber smokehouse. The town of Lunas was built on the rubber trade and as the industry slowly died, this building fell into disrepair. Loh worked with local schoolchildren to create an exhibition about Lunas’s cultural history and this can be seen at the museum today. Visitors can also see and try their hand at making smoked sheets of rubber. There is an onsite eatery as well.
Cable Car Station, Oriental Village, Burau Bay (04 959 4225/www.panoramalangkawi.com). One of the top tourist attractions in Langkawi, Panorama Langkawi offers tourists an unforgettable airborne experience. Start off with the cable car ride from the base of Mat Cincang Mountain. The Sky Cab travels 1,700 metres and suspends visitors 650 metres above sea level on its way to the middle station where there are viewing platforms. Venture further on to the top station to send postcards to family and friends 708 metres above sea level via the SkyPos facility. The SkyBridge, one of the world’s longest curve suspension bridges, offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the untouched jungles below. Note that at the time of publication, the SkyBridge was only partially open and reachable by a bit of a trek. There’s plenty here to thrill the kids besides – including a 6D ride, F1 Simulator and a 3D Art Museum. From base to top station, Skycab operation hours, Mon-Tue & Thu, 10am-7pm; Wed, 12noon-7pm; Fri-Sun, 9.30am-7pm. Adults, RM35, Children (2-12 years old), RM25.
Jalan Parameswara, Alor Gajah, Malacca. There’s barely anything left of this 16th century Portuguese fort, which the English decided to destroy when they gained control of it in the 19th century. All that remains is the main gate Porta de Santiago and this only through the fortuitous visit of Sir Stamford Raffles who, with his passion for history, asked for it to be spared. It’s become one of the city’s most prominent landmarks since and a popular spot for touristy shots.
Melaka Duck Tours, Menara Taming Sari, Jalan Merdeka, Bandar Hilir (06 292 2595/ www.melakaducktours.com.my). Go on a sight-seeing tour of Malacca in an amphibious truck. The tour lasts approximately an hour, with the water leg taking up to 20 minutes, making it the perfect way to see the city for tired little feet. It’s a unique perspective from which to see the city and all its sights. Daily, 9am-6pm. Adults, RM45, Children (1-12 years old), RM27; (MyKad holders) Adults, RM38, Children (1-12 years old), RM22.
The Light & Sound Show
Dataran Pahlawan, Jalan Merdeka, Bandar Hilir (06 286 6070).
The best way to learn about the history of Malacca is to watch the Light and Sound Show at Dataran Pahlawan in Bandar Hilir. Significant events in Malacca’s history are re-enacted by means of lights, narration, dialogue, music and sound effects to project real life drama.
Jalan Gereja. This brick-red building, built in 1650 by the Dutch during their rule in Malacca to serve as their administrative quarters, now houses the town hall and several museums. Also known as Red Square, it’s right smack in the centre of town and is usually very festive. Touristy but fun trishaws congregate around this area, offering rides around the vicinity – it’s a great way to take in the sights if you have little ones.
The Blue Mansion
14 Leith Street, George Town (04 262 0006/ www.thebluemansion.com.my). The beguiling Blue Mansion was apparently the favourite home of the globetrotting Cheong Fatt Tze, whose residences were scattered throughout Asia. After years of neglect, its Unesco award-winning restoration managed to recapture the beauty and luxury of this 19th century home. You can stay overnight at the mansion or simply book a guided tour. Guided tours conducted at 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm only. Adults, RM16; Children, RM8.50. Fort Cornwallis
Padang Kota, Jalan Tun Syed Shah Barakbah, off Lebuh Light, George Town. Fort Cornwallis was once the stronghold of Penang against attackers from the north. It was completed in 1810 and is now a popular tourist attraction. In truth, there’s little to see other than the large Seri Rambai cannon and the old chapel, so combine it with a visit to the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower beyond the fort’s southeast perimeter or just take it in as part of a leisurely stroll. Daily, 9am-7pm. Adults, RM2; Children, RM1. Khoo Kongsi
18 Cannon Square (04 261 4609/www. khookongsi.com.my). Khoo Kongsi’s pivotal building, Leong San Tong, is hidden amid a crowded network of terrace houses and shophouses, tucked in the Southwestern area of George Town. To make it to Leong San Tong, likely the grandest of clan houses in South East Asia, you will need to wade through an alley between two rows of 19th century terrace houses and bypass the opera stage before you see it in the majestic granite square. In their little museum, you’ll see the Khoo genealogy charted through the generations and the architecture of the main building is awe-inspiring. Daily, 9am-5pm. Adults, RM10; Children (under 12 years), RM1. Suffolk House
Jalan Air Itam, George Town (04 228 3930/ www.suffolkhouse.com.my). Penang’s first ‘Great House’, Suffolk House is an exquisite specimen of Anglo-Indian architecture and one of Penang’s colonial gems. Like the Cheong Fatt Tze or Blue Mansion, the 200-year-old building was in a terrible state before a group of architects (led by the formidable Laurence Loh) took it under their wing and restored it to such magnificence that it won the Award of Distinction in the 2008 Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation. Tour the building and its garden with a personal guided tour and complete the colonial experience with a quintessential English afternoon tea in its restaurant. Daily, 10am-6pm. RM20 per person (children under 12 free) and redeemable for refreshments.
Gopeng Heritage House
6 Jalan Sungai Itek, Gopeng (05 359 1923/012 598 7857/www.facebook.com/ GopengHeritageHouse). This restored shophouse takes you into the world of a Nyonya family living in the Kinta Valley at the height of the tin mining industry. The beautiful living room, bedrooms and kitchen are decorated with antiques from the British Administration era and there are also areas that replicate the inside of a bar, a barbershop and a kopitiam.
Sat-Sun, 9am-3pm. Free entry. Kellie’s Castle
KM 5.5, Jalan Gopeng, Batu Gajah (05 255 2772). Under new management, the mansion behind the tragic tale of William Kellie Smith stands on a hill, 20 minutes’ drive from Ipoh. The half-completed mansion was meant as a gift for Kellie’s wife, or his son, depending on which story you’ve heard. Influenza wiped out Kellie’s hired workers after World War I and later on Kellie himself died of pneumonia. The house endured years of vandalism but has been refurbished and is now a hauntingly (some say haunted) romantic tourist spot. Climb the tower for sweeping views of the surrounding valley but be careful if you have small children as there are no safety railings up there. Researchers are currently in the process of trying to find a fourth tunnel beneath the castle. It’s rumoured to hold Kellie Smith’s car. Daily, 9am-6pm. Adults, RM7, Children, RM5; (MyKad holders) Adults, RM5, Children, RM3.
Mari Mari Cultural Village
Kionsom, Inanam (08 826 0501/ marimariculturalvillage.com). At Mari Mari you can tour the traditional houses of the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Kadazan peoples, ethnic groups of Sabah. Experience ritual ceremonies and learn about each tribe’s way of life. You must book a tour through your hotel or a tour operator. Aside from the guided tours of the museum, you can also experience a traditional meal – check with your tour operator for details. (Price includes return transfer), Adults, RM165, Children, (5-11 years old) RM145; (MyKad holders) Adults, RM145, Children, (5-11 years old) RM 125. Monsopiad Cultural Village
Kampung Kuai Kandazon, Penampang (www.monsopiad.com). The Monsopiad Cultural Village relies solely on the support of visitors. It showcases Kadazandusun culture through music, cuisine, dance and other traditional customs. If you’re a history buff, this visit will intrigue you with tales from the past of head hunting and spirit worship. Contact the village for admission fees and opening hours. North Borneo Railway
Level 2, The Magellan Sutera Resort, 1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard, Sutera Harbour, Kota Kinabalu (08 830 8500/www. suteraharbour.com). This nostalgic journey through paddy fields, villages and rainforests will make for an interesting morning out. The return journeys last for four hours: breakfast is served at the beginning of the journey while a delicious tiffin lunch is served on the way back. Train boards at 9.30am on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the year. Adults, RM318; Children (3-12 years old), RM159.
Sarawak Cultural Village
Pantai Damai, Santubong (08 284 6411/ www.scv.com.my). The Sarawak Cultural Village gives visitors a taste of traditional Sarawakian lifestyle, which is incredibly diverse. It’s 40 minutes from downtown Kuching, so plan to spend a day exploring the traditional houses and taking part in the fascinating cultural activities offered. And if you discover a day isn’t enough, then stay over in one of the longhouses. Check the website for packages and deals. Daily, 9am-5pm. Cultural shows: 11.30am-12.15pm & 4-4.45pm. Adults, RM60, Children (6-12 years old), RM30.