About Singapore, Bali & Malaysia Luxury Travel
Singapore: Red coiled incense smoldering just outside ancient temples, brilliantly colored song birds in birdcages along the street, monks in morning prayer. Tropical Singapore is an ideal place to begin getting acquainted with Southeast Asia. It is also a great way to end any journey. On the major sea routes at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, the city-state has been visited by Chinese junks, Indian vessels, Arab dhows, and Portuguese and English battleships. Singapore reflects that dynamic mix in sleek skyscrapers, tropical gardens and pockets of traditional neighborhoods, including Chinatown with its shops of crafts, clothes, teas and potions; and Little India with its pungent spices in stalls along Arab Street and its colorful Sri Mariammam Temple so boldly adorned with gods, demons, mortals and animals. Luxurious hotels, fine restaurants, a thriving nightlife, and nearby Sentosa Island’s relaxed resorts make this a well-rounded destination.
Bali & Lombok: The coast of both these islands boasts miles of soft, sand beaches, luxury resorts and spas and nearly endless opportunities for water sports. In the center of Bali, the town of Ubud retains its sense of identity through its arts and crafts communities, temples and palaces. It has been inhabited as far back as the Bronze Age. Megalithic ruins and stepped pyramids were found along with an enormous Bronze Age gong known as “The Moon of Pejeng.” Hindu-Buddhist culture spread through Bali between the 10th and 12th centuries, leading to the establishment of many temples and monasteries along the way. The eloquent Balinese dances, dramas and puppet plays originated in these early kingdoms. Just east of Bali, Lombok is less developed, dryer and more rugged than its cousin. The island has the third largest volcano in Indonesia, Mount Rinjani, which contains a horseshoe-shaped lake in its cone. It is part of Rinjani National Park, which is inhabited by the rare black ebony leaf monkey, long-tailed gray macaque, Rusa deer, the smaller barking deer, wild pig and a host of colorful birds. Lombok’s history is seen in Ampenana’s grand palace and temple, Narmada Water Palace, Mayura Water Palace and the Hindu-Muslim Lingsar Temple. These delicious islands represent the quintessential beach getaway.
Kuala Lumpur: Often referred to simply as KL, the capital city is the largest in Malaysia, and is its economic engine. It is a designated global city, meaning that it is an important part of the global economic system. KL is the cultural hub of Malaysia. It is home to Petronas Philharmonic Hall, several national museums including the national art museum, and the Islamic Arts Museum houses more than 7,000 Islamic artifacts, including rare exhibits from China.
Penang: Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia, and sits on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It was originally part of the Malay Sultanate of Kedah, but in 1786, the sultan handed control over to the British East India Company in exchange for promised military protection from invading Siamese and Burmese armies. That help never came. In 1826, Penang, along with Malacca and Singapore, became part of the Straits Settlements, and came under direct British colonial rule in 1867. In 1948, it became part of the Federation of Malaya, which gained independence in 1957. George Town, the capital of Penang, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its unique architectural and cultural townscape. A walk around town captures the essence of its mixed heritage with rows of century-old “shophouses,” colonial villas and old houses with columns or multi-colored tiles. Aceh Mosque is the oldest religious house in the city. The smell of incense drifts in the air amid the gold settings of Burmese, Thai and Chinese temples. Here, you see delicately carved wooden panels of a traditional Chinese art called Khoo Kongsi.
Kuching: The once-colonial city is the capital of Sarawak, Malaysia’s largest state. All manner of traders landed in this port in the 19th century in search of exotic spices. The palace once belonged to the White Rajah (Englishman James Brooke). Now it serves as the residence of the governor, and overlooks traditional sampans cruising the river. Semonggok Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is south of Kuching. It is a sanctuary for orangutans that have been injured or captured. The semi-wild orangutans roam freely in the rainforest and often return to the center at feeding time. Thanks to the successful breeding program at Semonggok there is a good possibility of experiencing one of the most heart-warming sights in Borneo – an orangutan mother with a young baby.
Cameron Highlands: Cameron Highlands is north of Kuala Lumpur, in Pahang, Malaysia. At 5,000 feet above sea level, it offers a cool retreat. The highland district is ideal for growing strawberries, roses, vegetables and tea. It also has a butterfly farm, the Brinchang Hindu Temples and the Sam Poh Chinese Mahayana Buddhist Temple and Market Square.
Suggested Tour Itineraries
Day 1: Arrive Singapore
Day 2: Singapore & Sentosa Island
Day 3: Singapore / Depart
Day 1: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Day 2: Kuala Lumpur
Day 3: Kuala Lumpur / Penang
Day 4: Penang
Day 5: Penang / Depart
Day 1: Arrive Bali, Indonesia
Day 2: Bali Coast
Day 3: Bali Coast / Ubud
Day 4: Ubud
Day 5: Ubud / Bali / Depart
Custom Travel Options
Lombok, Indonesia (4 days)
Less developed than nearby Bali, the island has the third largest volcano in Indonesia. It is home to wildlife such as the rare black ebony leaf monkey, long tailed gray macaque, barking deer and a host of colorful birds.
Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia (3 days)
Semonggok Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, in Kuching, is a sanctuary for orangutans that have been injured or captured.
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia (3 days)
This cool highland retreat is ideal for growing strawberries, roses, vegetables and teas. Here, too, is the Brinchang Hindu Temple.