We decided to reduce our travelling time by booking a flight to Langkawi, which takes just 35 minutes from George Town. Despite the short journey time, Rachael still managed to sleep through the entire flight.
Langkawi Island is the largest in a cluster of 99 islands that are located around 50km from the Malaysian mainland. As we made our approach into the island, we were treated to the sight of beautiful turquoise water and white sand beaches, which we couldn’t wait to get a closer look at.
After a short taxi journey, we arrived into the islands’s main resort town of Pantai Cenang. We had managed to time our visit not only with the Malaysian school holidays, but also with the LIMA ’19 Airshow. This is one of the largest such events in Asia, and meant the island was inundated with visitors.
Undeterred, we decided to go straight to the beach which surprisingly was almost completely empty. We found a nice spot on the waters edge, where we spent a few hours working on our tan. After complaining about the freezing ocean waters in Australia, we had the opposite problem here with a swim in the lukewarm water failing to cool us down.
After a great time in the Highlands we returned to the coast, taking another bus several hours north to Penang Island. The large island is connected to the mainland by several bridges over the narrow Penang Strait.
Located to the northeast of the island is George Town, which is the second largest city in Malaysia and we decided to base ourselves here during our visit. Much like Melaka, the city’s historic Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is full of narrow streets and colonial style buildings.
The city is also well known for its collection of street art, and we begin our visit with a self-guided walking tour around all of the most popular artworks.
The next stop on our journey through Malaysia was in the Cameron Highlands. The bus journey from Melaka took around six hours, including a brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur. The final hour of this involved a steep climb along very narrow roads, and we were both feeling a little queasy by the time we eventually arrived.
With only two nights in the region, we decided to arrange a full day tour to take us around all of the main attractions. After looking through the various tours on offer, we decided to book the Experience Tour with Eco Cameron which cost RM90 (£17 each).
Our guide picked us up early the following morning in a well-worn Land Rover Defender, and after collecting one more guest we were ready to begin the tour.
After several days in Kuala Lumpur, our next stop was in the historical port town of Melaka (Malacca), which can be reached by a short two hour bus journey from the capital.
We were still getting used to carrying our huge bags around, after the luxury of leaving them in the campervan for most of our time in New Zealand. This was made worse by the now useless coats and other warm clothes that we had to pack for the first leg of our travels.
Despite this, the journey proved very straightforward. The bus terminal was easy to navigate while the bus itself was great, and despite the tickets costing very little, the seats were more business class than economy.
Our visit to Malaysia began with two days exploring the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The modern and diverse city is dominated by sparkling sky scrapers and huge shopping malls, and is home to lots of different ethnic groups while also having a large western influence.
The star attraction in Kuala Lumpur are the landmark Petronas towers, which at 452m were the tallest buildings in the world from their completion in 1998 until 2002. The towers are the centrepiece of a huge complex that includes the six storey Suria KLCC shopping mall, the Kuala Lumpur convention centre and the large KLCC Park.
The park was our first stop after arriving into the city, and we made it just in time for the daily light show. It was a beautiful and colourful display of lights and water, although we were less keen on the accompanying music.