A feast for the senses awaits in Singapore - a fantasyland of skyscrapers, lush gardens and an intoxicating mix of cultures and cuisines, from India to China. On arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel. Later meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception with local appetisers.
Tread in the footsteps of Sir Stamford Raffles, launching your city tour on the spot where it all began for colonial Singapore - Raffles Landing Site. Stroll along the Singapore River through the Colonial District and see the landmarks that remain to this day, including the former Parliament House, the Victoria Theatre and the Old Supreme Court Building. 'Dive Into Culture' and explore the contrasts of Singapore, from the red and gold façades of Chinatown to the intoxicating spice and vibrant flower garland vendors in Little India. Later, visit the UNESCO-listed Singapore Botanic Gardens and enjoy a leisurely stroll through its exquisite National Orchid Garden before spending the afternoon at leisure. This evening, a 'Local Specialist' demonstrates the delicate craft of Chinese Calligraphy before dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Stroll through the narrow lanes of the Night Market and take a trishaw ride before returning to your hotel.
There are few things more important to the local Singaporeans than food and you'll discover this as you 'Dive Into Culture' and spend the morning sampling the city's culinary delights that reflect its multi-cultural influences, including Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan. Rub shoulders with the locals at Geylang Serai market, which lies at the heart of the Malay community. Here you can indulge in all-time Singaporean favourites like Roti Prata and Thosai taken with a frothy glass of Teh Tarik. Continue to the Joo Chiat and Katong enclave where you will visit a Peranakan-style shophouse showcasing a display of local delicacies as well as artefacts, nyonya attire, bags and beaded slippers. The shop is run by family members who are committed to preserving the Peranakan heritage through their culinary and handicraft skills. This evening consider joining our 'Night Out at Marina Bay' Optional Experience to enjoy the Rhapsody of Lights Show at Gardens by the Bay and views of Singapore from the Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck.
Leave the cityscape of Singapore behind bound for Malaysia, where your journey begins with a visit to Kampung Cantik village. Here you'll 'Connect With Locals' and join a family for a 'Be My Guest' lunch before a walk around the village with a 'Local Specialist'. Admire the distinct Malacca kampong stilt houses and discover the scents and flavours of local fruits, herbs and spices that infuse the delicious regional cuisine. Immerse yourself in the local culture and participate in some of the villagers' favourite pastimes such as top spinning and silat, a Malaysian art of self-defence. Then, continue to your hotel in Malacca and check-in for a relaxing evening.
This morning, your 'Local Specialist' reveals the seamless fusion of Portuguese, Dutch, British and Malay influences that have shaped the UNESCO-listed historic city of Malacca. Embark on an informative walking tour past Dutch Square with its Stadhuys and clock tower, reflecting the multi-cultural heritage of this once vibrant trading port. Ascend to the top of Malacca Hill, then stroll along the river to Kampung Kuli where you'll discover colourful shopfronts displaying traditional crafts. This afternoon, board a leisurely cruise along the Malacca River, sailing past historic buildings, old godowns (warehouses), churches and villages. After a day of exploration enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants.
The commercial and culinary hub of Malaysia awaits - its skyscrapers and colourful street vendors yours to explore over the next two days. You'll visit Independence Square and view the grand 19th century Sultan Abdul Samad Building, with a final stop to see the city's landmarks from the Sky Bridge observation deck perched between the imposing 88-storey-high Petronas Twin Towers that tower over Kuala Lumpur. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free to explore Kuala Lumpur on your terms.
We venture into the countryside this morning to visit a village inhabited by the Orang Asli, an ethnic group widely regarded as being Malaysia's original inhabitants. We'll delve into their history and traditions during a visit to the Orang Asli Museum, then stroll around the village with a 'Local Specialist', observing first-hand local traditions such as bamboo cooking and weaving. We return to Kuala Lumpur, where we'll visit Chow Kit Market and watch how the locals haggle to get the best deals. Our next stop is the central Kuala Lumpur enclave of Kampung Baru, where the ethnic Malay lifestyle has been preserved. Sample traditional Malay sweets and cakes at the local food stalls before returning to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure.
Journey deep into the Malaysian countryside, stopping briefly at the Selangor Pewter factory before continuing to Batu Caves, one of Malaysia's most iconic sights and a popular Hindu shrine. En route to the Cameron Highlands, enjoy a quick photo stop at the Lata Iskandar Waterfall, then continue to Tanah Rata for a Trafalgar highlight - afternoon tea and scones with cream and locally produced jam. Discover the region's strawberry farming heritage during a visit to a strawberry farm, then continue to your hotel for dinner.
Lush valleys and tea plantations provide a tranquil backdrop for today's drive through the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia's most extensive hill station. Snap a photo of the area's emerald landscape before driving to Perak Cave Temple, an extensive cave complex in Ipoh. Venture into the cave temple and see its beautifully painted murals and golden sitting Buddha statue, which dominates the temple. This afternoon enjoy a walking tour of the charasmatic town of Ipoh and admire the colonial-style buildings which were once home to wealthy tin miners and today house trendy cafés and shops. Walk through the old town's narrow laneways and admire the street art that adorn its façades. Spend the rest of your evening relaxing or consider visiting the night bazaar for some retail therapy.
Our journey to Penang this morning takes us past the royal town of Kuala Kangsar where we'll visit the majestic Ubudiah Mosque, ranked as one of Malaysia's most beautiful mosques with its white marble and massive golden dome. Afterwards we'll visit the workshop of a traditional keris maker to learn about how these elaborately carved daggers are made and hear all about their spiritual meaning to the local people who believe that they possess magical powers. Later we'll drive over one of the longest bridges in Southeast Asia before arriving in Penang, which we'll have an opportunity to explore at leisure after checking in to our hotel. This afternoon consider joining an Optional Experience to visit the majestic Kek Lok Si Temple and ascend Penang Hill by funicular railway.
Immerse yourself in the Asia of yesteryear as you embark on a historical tour of Georgetown. Begin your journey back in time with a quick photo stop at Fort Cornwallis, where Captain Francis Light, the founder of the British colony in Penang, first landed in 1786. Continue with a visit to the small home of the local joss stick maker, a 'Local Specialist' who will demonstrate the almost-forgotten craft of making handmade joss sticks. Your next stop is to the intricately carved Chinese clan house of Khoo Kongsi, where Chinese families of the same surname gather together to worship their ancestors. Later, see the city's splendid colonial architecture and famous street art from the comfort of a traditional trishaw, followed by an afternoon at leisure. Your epic journey across Singapore and Malaysia almost at its end, you'll join your travel companions for a Farewell Dinner to celebrate the highlights of your trip.
Say farewell to newfound friends before taking a transfer to Penang International Airport for your onward flight.