Closing date: 15 Dec 2019
Kuala Lumpur is so much more than the gateway to Malaysia – it’s a cultural crossroads with a rich history, where towering skyscrapers rub shoulders with temples, mosques and museums.
For many, it’s simply a stopover city – somewhere to change planes on a continent-hopping journey – but this thriving metropolis always rewards those who linger longer.
Stay a while, and you’ll discover not only a vibrant capital with international clout, but a tempting tangle of street markets, city parks, colonial relics and historic banyan tree-shaded lanes. It’s where old meets new, tradition meets ambition – and where Malay, Indian and Chinese influences combine with intoxicating effect. Now, Malaysia Airlines is offering one lucky winner a six-night holiday for two to Kuala Lumpur and Penang, including hotels and return flights.
Wherever you venture, the mighty Petronas Towers are never far from sight. Those twins are the tallest in the world, and glittering beacons of the capital’s prosperity. Up on the 88th floor observation deck, with the city at your feet, you’ll spy the bustling street food stalls of Jalan Alor, the incense-infused temples of Chinatown, and the Central Market where artisans and antique dealers ply their wares.
Kuala Lumpur may be a cut-and-thrust capital, but it has plenty of peaceful moments too: in the Islamic Arts Museum, for example, where sacred treasures await; or the treetop walkway of KL Forest Eco Park. Look eastwards and you’ll see E&O Residences, one of the city’s most welcoming hotels. With a choice of suites and apartments, it offers comfort and convenience – as well as a pool, concierge service, landscaped gardens and easy transport links.
Few visitors realise that Malaysia is an archipelago, with almost 900 islands to its name. There are isles to suit beach hoppers, culture seekers, foodies and adventurous souls – but Penang, just off the west coast, has something for everyone. The state’s capital, Georgetown, is UNESCO-listed for its colonial architecture and trading history (it was the first British settlement in South-East Asia) – with many of its 16th-century forts and landmarks still standing today.
E&O Hotel, which opened in 1885, has maintained the opulence of its origins – akin to Raffles in Singapore, and The Strand in Rangoon. Come for the history, but stay for the fancy suites, fantastic location and the star-studded guest list: the likes of Noel Coward and Rudyard Kipling have stayed here.
Outside Georgetown, Penang promises plenty of authentic Malaysian culture. You can discover ornate Buddhist temples such as Kek Lok Si, feast on richly-spiced street food, brave lofty views from the panoramic Sky Walk – which towers over hills and forests in the north of the island – and laze on wildlife-rich beaches in Penang National Park. You’ll be sharing the sands with flying lemurs and crab-eating macaques, and gazing out at marmalade sunsets every night.
Penang isn’t just an island, however: it also encompasses part of the mainland, known as Seberang Perai. Here you’ll find hiking in Bukit Mertajam Forest, birdwatching in Penang Bird Park, and – in December – the Penang International Dragon Boat Festival.
Whether you’re in Kuala Lumpur or exploring the islands, adventure is never far away – and the country is closer than you might think. Malaysia Airlines, its national carrier, flies directly between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur twice daily on its new Airbus A350 fleet – taking just 13 hours. From Kuala Lumpur, the airline connects directly with more Malaysian destinations than any other carrier – putting everywhere from Borneo to Langkawi within easy reach. Penang is just a one-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur – a direct route the airline operates multiple times a day.
If you’re planning a trip to Australia or New Zealand, ask about Malaysia Airlines’ Bonus Side Trip offer: you can enjoy a multi-day stopover in Malaysia, plus a free return airfare, with only taxes to pay, to seven Malaysian destinations (plus Bangkok and Singapore) while you’re there – to squeeze the most into your break. Malaysia Airlines is a member of Oneworld, so travellers also earn Avios and Tier points on all flights – as if exploring this incredible country wasn’t rewarding enough.
Malaysia Airlines is offering one lucky reader a holiday to Malaysia, worth £5,500. With two economy class tickets for you and a companion, you’ll enjoy return flights from London Heathrow, three nights at the E&O Residences in Kuala Lumpur, and three nights in a Studio Suite at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang – including all breakfasts, 30kg baggage allowance and private transfers too.
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