"Thank you for organising our holiday (to China).

We had a great time.

All of the guides were on time, very well informed and easy people to be with.

We have seen so many things and eaten in local places where we would never have gone by ourselves.

We wouldn't hesitate to recommend you and if you would like more details of our adventures or a statement of recommendation let us know."

Nicola, Michael and Family

"Arrived home safe and well and had a wonderful holiday in Nepal and Bhutan"

Michael and Eileen

"Just wanted to thank you for booking our holiday to Koh Lanta.

Everything was perfect and I can thoroughly recommend the Layana Resort and the island of Koh Lanta to any one who wants a laid back, peaceful, non commercialised holiday."

Jane and Andy

"I just wanted to let you know what a great time I had in the Philippines and Borneo.

Everything went without a problem. Great time, great pics, etc.

Thanks for all of your help with this trip"



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Cuisine, Homestay, & Jungles - 12 Days

The northern part of peninsular Malaysia offers a multi-faceted range of experiences for travellers. This journey takes in the heritage and culinary attractions of Penang, a glimpse into traditional Malay life at a homestay near the royal river city of Kuala Kangsar and then a true castaway break on the paradisiacal enclaves of Langkawi or the Perhentian Islands.

Day 1 - Arrival, Penang

Penang is an evocative city. A trader’s port for centuries and once a British colonial stronghold for the trade route through the Malacca Strait, Penang exudes the charm of its rich heritage. Spend the next couple of days exploring the street art, hawker food and finding out why UNESCO awarded Penang a World Heritage listing in 2008.

Subject to the time of arrival, guests can start their exploration of Penang with a wander through the colorful lanes that combine modern street art and 19th Century buildings. A walking tour of Penang can be customized to better suit guests’ interests and fitness levels, however all tours will include all the main buildings of interest, and where possible, the local artisans still plying their trade. Fort Cornwallis, the Street of Harmony, Little India and the Clan Temples all form part of this Penang discovery.

Tonight, experience the sights and sounds at one of Penang’s favorite eating locations. Dining under the stars with a range of local food options is one of the many ways the local Penangites catch up with their family and friends. The guide will accompany guests to the market to point out the many and varied specialty dishes of Penang.

Overnight in Penang

Distances and journey time:

Penang Airport to Hotel (20km): 40 mins

Penang Walking Tour (3km): 3 hours

Hotel to Night Market (4km average): 15 min

Day 2 - Penang Cooking Class & Jungle Canopy Walk (B,L)

This morning guests will be picked up from their hotel and transferred to a local wet market, where the chef for the day will explain the range of fruits, vegetables and snacks that are sold in the market and form part of the daily fare. Guests can sample seasonal fruit and morning snacks as they wander through the market, before continuing to a private garden. Here guests will learn about the variety of herbs and plants that form the basis of the local dishes that guests will be cooking today (this is a joint tour, max. eight people – private sessions are available at an additional cost).

During the class guests will create three traditional meals much loved by the ‘Penangites’, all of which are a must-try for any visit to Penang.

After the cooking class, visit Malaysia’s smallest national park for a moderate walk through the jungle – a great way to ‘walk off’ lunch. Established in 2003 and covering just over 25 sq km, this park provides a series of hiking trails that snake through rugged forest landscapes and isolated beaches, offering the opportunity to spot eagles, monkeys, otters and even pangolins. The park's 250-meter-long canopy walk, suspended from trees 15 meters above the ground, also provides a great view of the forest. It is a 25-minute walk along a pathway to reach the canopy walk starting point.

Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.

Overnight in Penang

Day 3 - Penang to Kuala Kangsar (B,L,D)

This morning, guests can experience the frenetic atmosphere of eating dim sum with the locals. A favorite way to start the day, Penang offers some long-standing restaurants that provide a glimpse into a typical Penang morning. The clunking of chopsticks, din of conversation and the swirling of Chinese green tea make for a tasty start to the day. Return to the hotel and check out.

Leave Penang via what was once the longest bridge in South East Asia, before traveling south to the beautiful royal river city of Kuala Kangsar. On arrival, take lunch at a location preferred by the locals, sampling a laksa recipe that has been in the family since 1955. Kuala Kangsar boasts perhaps the most beautiful mosque in Malaysia, which was designed in 1917 by AB Hubback, the famous Kuala Lumpur architect, and features a bold golden ‘onion’ style dome and gold tipped minarets. Like any place of worship respectful clothing is advised, however robes and headscarves can be provided. Inside the mosque, the intricately carved wooden privy screens set against the Islamic designed tiles are a must-see! Just next door to this mosque is Baitul Anor – a great example of ’kampung’ (village) architecture of the early 20th Century. Continue past the current Sultan’s Palace, a tribute to the art deco influences of the time, before stopping for a photo at Istana Kenengan, the former palace of the sultan and a very well-preserved example of classic Malaysian wood craftsmanship.

Being a royal city there are crafts that support the sultan, one of the most important being ’keris’ making. The keris is dagger-like weapon which features a design full of personal meaning, using a range of established symbols and flourishes. Guests can learn more about this fascinating craft as they meet with the present day keris maker for the Sultan of Perak.

Travel to a village that specializes in making Labu Sayong– a particular style of gourd-shaped pottery produced from the fine clay of the Kangsar River, which and used to keep water cool. This craft is currently experiencing a resurgence and these elegant water pitchers have found a new home amongst modern Malaysians across the country.

Leaving Kuala Kangsar behind, guests travel for around 30 minutes to an island in Lake Cendorah, which was founded by the enigmatic Aziz and his wife Asiah. Guests will stay here for the next two nights in comfortable but basic accommodation with cold showers.

Take a 20-minute boat trip across the serene lake to the island where, once they have settled in for the night, guests can experience some of Asiah’s fine family cooking.

This evening is spent at leisure, with the opportunity to learn the traditional and addictive game of ‘chongkak’, chat with the hosts, or simply relax in the peaceful surroundings..

Please note that out of respect for the hosts, alcohol is not available during this stay.

Overnight in the homestay

Distances and journey time

Penang to Kuala Kangsar (125km) 1.5 Hours

Kuala Kangsar to Lake Cendorah (33km) 35 min

Pier to Island (by speed boat) 20mins

Day 4 - Homestay (B,L,D)

Guests will awaken to the haunting sound of the local gibbons, and take breakfast with views across the lake to the nearby verdant hills. Board the speedboat and travel to a local village that has been separated since the flooding of this region in the early 1920s. Start with a walk through the village, which is dotted with wooden stilted Malay houses, learning about local medicinal plants and their uses. This was where the first rubber tree was planted in Malaysia, from a seed from Kew Gardens in England, and there are now rubber plantations all around the village, amongst thicker jungle. Learn the processes of rubber tapping and the importance of this industry to the village. There are a lot of very old trees in this village and the guide will talk guests through their symbolism and uses, as well as the tropical fruit trees and herb gardens that surround each home.

Continue on a walk to a nearby waterfall for a refreshing swim. During rainy season this track can get a little slippery.

Guests then return to their island homestay where they can spend the afternoon kayaking, swimming or lazing with a good book.

This evening, guests can watch a cooking demonstration based on cuisine from the north of Malaysia, utilizing herbs seen in the village gardens and, depending on the catch, fish from the lake. Dinner will be served in a classic Malaysian family style, with guests eating a range of specialty dishes using only their right hand.

Evening at leisure

Overnight in the homestay

Distances and journey time

Island to Village (by speed boat) 20mins

Village Walk & Trek to waterfall (2 hours)

Day 5 - Homestay - Belum Rainforest (B,L,D)

After saying goodbye to their hosts, guests will continue to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site of Lenggong Valley, which has been inhabited for more than 200,000 years. It is also the site of the ‘Perak Man’, which, at around 11,000 years-old, is the oldest and most complete skeleton found in South East Asia. Whilst simple, the Archeological Museum is an interesting stop along the route to Belum State Forest, and houses 100,000 year-old stone tools amongst other artifacts.

Take a local lunch in the town of Gerik, before continuing to Royal Belum State Forest and Banding Island, which is located in the Temenggor Lake - the second largest manmade lake in Malaysia. This area shares its 130 million year-old forests with Thailand and is home to an enormous variety of wildlife, birds, butterflies, flowers and trees.

Arrive to the Banding pier for a 40-minute boat ride to the accommodation.

This evening, take a night walk through the surrounding jungle to catch a glimpse of the nocturnal side of life.

Overnight in Belum Forest

Distances and journey time

Lake Cendorah to Lenggong (16km) 25min

Lenggong to Gerik (53km) 50min

Gerik to Belum State Forest (42km) 45 min

Banding Pier to Resort (by boat) 20-45min

Day 6 - Belum Rainforest Resort - Jungle Activities (B,L,D)

This morning guests are able to explore the jungle by foot and by boat, visiting the site of one of the three species of Rafflesia, the world largest flower (if in season), plus local waterfalls, and trekking into the jungle while learning about the history of the area and its wildlife. Elephants, rhinoceroses, deer, otters and tarsiers, to name a few, still exist in these jungles, but are rarely seen. The flora here is older than the Amazon and the indigenous guide will share stories of his life as a hunter and gather in the jungle and how the locals coexist with the wildlife.

Overnight in Belum Forest

Day 7 - Belum Rainforest to Kota Bharu Walking tour (B,L)

After breakfast, depart the forest and transfer to Kota Bharu, the cultural heart of Malaysia, found on the east coast and affectionately known as KB.

KB is a great location to explore a range of artisanal crafts, age-old architecture and one of the most photographed central markets in all of Malaysia – Pasar Siti Khadijah. It is a compact city where the most impressive sights are located within a small radius, ranging from one of the oldest match- making businesses (since the early 1930s) to the Sultan’s Palace, which has now been converted into a museum.

Along this journey into Malaysia’s heritage, guests will have the opportunity to explore traditional weaving and batik techniques, along with paying a visit to a silver and goldsmith who still uses foot pumps to create finely crafted pieces.

Visit early 19th Century Malay palaces housing an assortment of historical artifacts, which give a better of idea of the influences of the recent past. Guests can also hone their bargaining skills as they wander the diverse Temenggong Street, where handmade crafts, traditional fabrics and woodwork are available.

The State Mosque, influenced by the art deco architecture of the time, also houses a clock tower and provides an excellent photo opportunity on this walking tour. A local lunch will be served by the riverside as guests watch local life go by.

Please Note: This tour can also be enjoyed by trishaw. Additional costs apply.

Tonight, explore some of the finest Kelantan dishes with a visit to the night market.

Overnight in Kota Bharu

Distances and journey time

Resort to Banding Pier (by boat) 20-45min

Banding Pier to Kota Bharu (175km) 3 hours

Kota Bharu Walking tour (4km) 3 hours

Day 8 - Kota Bharu - Perhentian Islands (March - October) (B)

This morning, transfer to Kuala Besut where guests will board a local speed boat and transfer to the Perhentian Islands.

On arrival, check in to the hotel before spending the day at leisure.

Overnight in the Perhentian Islands

Distances and journey time

Kota Bharu to Kuala Besut (53km) 1 hour 20min

Kuala Besut to Perhentian Islands (by speed boat) 40 min

Day 9 - 11: Perhentian Islands, at Leisure (March - October) (B)

Swim, take a self-guided jungle walk, snorkel amongst the turtles or laze under a palm tree.

Overnight in the Perhentian Islands

Day 12 - Perhentian Islands (March - October) Departure (B)

This morning is at leisure until guests are transferred by boat to Kuala Besut, then by road to Kota Bharu for their onward flight.

Distances and journey time

Perhentian Islands to Kuala Besut (by speedboat) 40min

Kuala Besut to Kota Bharu Airport (58km) 1 hour 15 min

Alternative Day 8: Kota Bharu – Langkawi Island (October - March) (B)

This morning transfer to Kuala Besut Airport for the flight to Langkawi, via Kuala Lumpur Upon arrival at Langkawi International Airport guests will be met by their guide and transferred to the hotel.

On arrival, check in to the hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure.

Overnight on Langkawi Island

Distances and journey time

Kota Bharu to Airport (10km) 20min

Flight Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur (Firefly) recommended flight:MH5305 1325

Fight Kuala Lumpur to Penang (Firefly) recommended flight: MH5362 1535

Langkawi Airport to hotel (varies):30min

Day 9 -11: Langkawi Island at Leisure (October - March) (B)

Swim, walk the impressive Canopy Walk, take a boat trip on Maiden Lake, a full-day island tour, or simply laze under a palm tree.

Overnight on Langkawi Island

Day 12: Langkawi Island (October - March) - Departure (B)

This morning is at leisure until guests are transferred to Langkawi International Airport for their onward flight.

Distances and journey time

Hotel to Langkawi Airport (varies):30min

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Penang, Malaysia