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Spotlight on Malaysia

26th September 2017

Malaysia is an interesting and exciting country, with a mainland uniquely separated by the South China Sea.

The destination offers a beautiful blend of cultures, with European, Chinese, Indian, and Malay influences impacting on the architecture, food, and general atmosphere of the place. Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to how and where to spend their time, and it is likely that a return trip (or indeed trips!) will be necessary to see everything.

 



Kuala Lumpur

 

The capital of Malaysia is undeniably enchanting and invigorating. Here you will find some fantastic shopping opportunities, fascinating museums, impressive modern architecture, and not forgetting the delicious food. Both upscale restaurants and tasty street food can be found peppered throughout the city.

 

Sarawak

 

Located on the Island of Borneo, this Malaysian state is home to some incredible wildlife. Go on safari to see orangutans, crocodiles, all kinds of species of birds, and other beautiful creatures. If you have time, visit Gunung Mulu National Park where you can see more wildlife, including an immense colony of bats.

 

Cameron Highlands

 

This stunning area of Malaysia will bring a breath of fresh air – literally. Located at between 1,100 and 1,600 metres above sea level, the Cameron Highlands boast simply remarkable vistas, with bright green rolling hills stretching as far as the eye can see. The land was developed when the British were in Malaysia, to enable an escape from the heat of the lowlands.

 



George Town

 

On the island of Penang, George Town demonstrates the influx of cultures that have been present in Malaysia. There are colonial buildings, mosques, and Chinese style buildings all within this small town. Take in all the sights, visit the museums, and spend time in cafes and restaurants serving everything from otak otak (steamed fish curry), to cakes and ice cream.

These are just four of the top spots to visit in Malaysia, and it is entirely possible that you will want to spend all your time exploring only one of them considering how much they have to offer. The country truly has something for everyone; you just need to think about the kind of holiday you’re after before deciding where to spend your time.

Could Malaysia be the next adventure for you? Find out more about our Asia cruises and start planning your holiday today, and be sure to sign up for our new Asia brochure.


Best Places To Celebrate Chinese New Year

13th February 2015

Also known as Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year celebrates the start of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. This year, it falls at the beginning of February, with vibrant festivals, fairs and parades taking place worldwide. Here, we take a look at the biggest and best Chinese New Year celebrations across the globe!

 

Beijing, China


Must visit:

  • Spring Festival Temple Fairs - A great opportunity to try traditional food, drink and gifts
  • Longtan Fair - For fantastic sporting events with audience participation

Chinese New Year in Beijing

Traditionally, residents of Beijing will begin by enjoying a family dinner at home. For this reason, many restaurants and shops are closed to allow staff the time to visit relatives but after this quieter time, the vibrantly-decorated streets of China come alive with the arrival of numerous firework displays. These displays are thought to chase away evil spirits and last the whole week. Beijing’s temples and parks are buzzing with fairs, carnivals and parades. Circus-style acrobats fill the streets alongside lion and dragon dancers as well as families celebrating alongside.

 

Singapore


Must visit:

  • Chingay Parade – A once-in-a-lifetime experience of Asia’s biggest celebration
  • River Hongbao Celebration – A perfect alternative to the above for those travelling with children

Chinese New Year in Singapore is an event everyone should have on their bucket list. The annual Chingay Parade, Asia’s largest street procession, is a spectacle of music, dancers, lights, acrobats and more, and is a mass celebration of good health, prosperity and luck for the coming year. The River Hongbao celebration is also considered one of the main festivities of Chinese New Year, as well as an ideal family event, with culture and entertainment for all ages. Huge lanterns illuminate the route and depict ancient myths and legends of China, while there are plenty of carnival games and amusement rides to enjoy.

 

Hong Kong


Must visit:

  • Chinese New Year Cup Horserace – An exhilarating experience for keen fans of racing
  • Victoria Harbour fireworks and lights show – This fascinatingly choreographed display is a must-see for all ages

Hong Kong Light Show

With one of the loudest and most lively celebrations of all, Hong Kong brings in lively crowds from all over the world to experince its Chinese New Year celebrations. Combining tradition with modern twists, this region brings exciting parades, spectacular firework and light displays, and hugely popular horse racing. The first three days of Chinese New Year are the primetime to visit Hong Kong to make the most of the celebrations. Visitors are guaranteed to enjoy authentic, delicious street food at the Temple Street night market before watching countless floats, acrobats and dragons dance well into midnight.

 

Penang, Malaysia


Must visit:

  • Kek Lok Si Temple – A stunning illumination of the temple and surrounding area
  • Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta – An incredible sight to behold as many hot air balloons take to the skies over Penang

For traditional Chinese performing arts, Penang, Malaysia is the place to visit. Temples, which are otherwise closed to the public, open their doors to visitors for lion dances and performances. Kek Lok Si Temple in Georgetown lights up with over 200,000 lights around the beginning of Chinese New Year, illuminating the area throughout the night. During the fifteenth night of Lantern Festival, single women and girls throw oranges into the sea in the belief that this will help them find good husbands. They write their contact details on the fruit, and the men scour the water for the oranges in the hope of finding ‘the one’.

 

London, Chinatown


Must visit:

  • Shaftsbury Avenue – For expertly-crafted martial arts, taekwondo and music demonstrations.
  • Leicester Square – The perfect destination for families and kids, with workshops and performances that all ages will enjoy

Lanterns in Chinatown

It’s not always possible to get to the other side of the globe for Chinese New Year. Fortunately, London is renowned for hosting fun, vibrant events for all ages in the city centre, saving you the journey! Boasting one of the biggest and best Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, you can expect inspiring performances, arts and crafts stools and hundreds of bars and restaurants with open doors. Events take place across the West End with Trafalgar Square providing the main stage performances, including a thanksgiving ceremony, dragon and lion dances, Chinese rock hits and so much more.

 

Our top tips:

  • Wherever you choose to celebrate Chinese New Year, remember – it will be very busy! To make your time as stress-free as possible and ensure you get to the events and restaurants you want to visit, try and book ahead.
  • Many restaurants close for the holidays, giving staff time to see their families. In the busiest areas, some may remain open but it’s always a good idea to contact them beforehand and book a table where possible.
  • Not all festivities will require tickets, but arriving to events early will ensure the best vantage point and optimal viewing opportunities.
  • It’s good to keep in mind that fireworks last all week. For very young children, bringing ear-guards allows them to enjoy the stunning displays without the concern of too much noise.
  • If you’re staying with friends or hosts throughout the festivities, bringing a small, modest gift is a great idea! Red, yellow and gold are all symbols of good luck, health and prosperity, while tea, fruit, health foods and healthcare products are widely-enjoyed as gifts for the new year.

Chinese New Year is a celebration of new beginnings, with fun for all the family. Whether you choose to join the festivities in China, Malaysia or at home in the UK, it promises to be an experience to remember for years to come. Combine a stop in Beijing with the gems of Japan, Australia or South Korea, and cross off multiple items on your bucket list – the possibilities are endless! Check out our Asia cruises, or contact one our friendly experts.


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