Malaysia is one of the most vibrant destinations in modern Southeast Asia, offering experiences as contrasting as its multi-ethnic population is diverse. Pristine beaches, jungle-draped hills and mountains, cities holding a wealth of exotic architecture, craft traditions and wonderfully eclectic cuisines – all can be sampled in even a relatively short tour.

Created in 1963 from a patchwork of erstwhile colonial kingdoms, Malaysia is divided into two distinct regions separated by the South China Sea: the Malay Peninsula in the west; and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo to the east. Between the Peninsula and neighbouring Sumatra stretch one of the world’s busiest seaways, the Straits of Malacca.

From the early 15th century onwards, European powers jostled for control over the lucrative trade in spices and other valuables from the Far East which passed through the Straits. The Portuguese, Dutch and British all established colonies here at one time, adding their influence to the rich mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian which had already taken root.

Today, it’s precisely this same blend that makes this such a fascinating part of the world to explore. On a tailor-made holiday to Borneo, wander through the atmospheric back streets of Georgetown, with its wood-shuttered shop fronts, Chinese temples, evocative colonial-era buildings and stalls selling flavour-packed Tamil street food; or soak up the headlong modernity of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s great melting pot, whose skyscrapers and shopping malls remind you that you’re at the heart of a booming Asian-tiger economy.

At the other extreme lie the remote, interior jungles of Borneo, which you can experience on tailor-made holidays from the comfort of a luxury river cruise, or the great mountain of Kinabalu overlooking the coast of Sabah, whose pale-grey granite summit soars above a tract of rainforest where orangutans still roam free. 

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Suggested tours to Malaysia and Borneo

Colonial Malaysia

Colonial Malaysia

14 days from £3000 per person

This two-week tour focuses on Malaysia’s colonial legacy, starting in the capital and progressing to the cooler climes of the Cameron Highlands, before exploring the…

Wild Malaysia

Wild Malaysia

17 days from £3100 per person

Malaysia is often mistakenly regarded as an urban nation, but as this 17-day trip across the peninsula vividly demonstrates, that couldn’t be further from the…

Discover Borneo

Discover Borneo

17 days from £4170 per person

Explore Sarawak and Sabah’s world-renowned wildlife parks, staying at luxurious eco-lodges in the heart of the rainforest. Spot Borneo’s varied species of tropical animals –…

Mystical Borneo

Mystical Borneo

16 days from £3900 per person

Mystical Borneo takes you deep into the interior of Sarawak, an area still well off the radar of most travellers to this island. Explore Sarawak…

Borneo Family Adventure

Borneo Family Adventure

15 days from £2800 per person

Share unforgettable wildlife encounters, sleepovers in a tribal longhouse and a blissful stay on a tropical beach in the course of this 15-day family-oriented tour.…

Wonders of Borneo

Wonders of Borneo

12 days from £2500 per person

On our tour of Malaysian Borneo venture into some of the world's oldest rainforests, teeming with a wild array of exotic flora and fauna as…

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Malaysia and Borneo Places and Experiences

Melaka

Melaka

Wander around Melaka’s old quarter, Bandar Hilir, for a glimpse of a ruined Portuguese fort, salmon-coloured Dutch Square and Chinese clan houses and temples – just part of the rich heritage of a town whose role in the early maritime spice…

Taman Negara National Park

Taman Negara National Park

High in the hills of Malaysia’s sparsely populated interior, Taman Negara, due to its easy reach from Kuala Lumpur, takes the top spot of the country’s most visited national park – a 4,323 sq km reserve of primary rainforest, rivers and clo…

Georgetown, Penang Island

Georgetown, Penang Island

Georgetown, capital of Penang state on the northwestern side of the Malay Peninsula, was the East India Company’s first outpost in the region, and preserves behind its high-rise blocks and modern intersections a wealth of colonial-era vesti…

Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at Sepilok

Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at Sepilok

Since it opened in 1964, the world-famous Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at Sepilok in northern Sabah has cared for apes orphaned or injured by forest clearance. In 43 sq km of tropical forest they are able to roam wild, re-learning essent…

Danum Valley

Danum Valley

The most pristine, protected lowland rainforest in Borneo extends over 169 sq miles (438 sq km) of the Danum Valley in eastern Sabah. Comprising primarily dipterocarp jungle, the area provides sanctuary for an exceptionally rich array of sp…

Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park

Encompassing a spectacular tract of pristine rainforest and high mountains in Sarawak’s northern interior, this is the state’s top national park, and one of the few in the country designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The accolade der…

Kinabatangan

Kinabatangan

Olive green or chocolate brown depending on the season, the Kinabatangan is Sabah’s longest river, rising in the mountains of the interior and flowing into the Sulawesi Sea on Borneo’s northeast coast. The mangroves, grassy swamplands, oxbo…

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Used by most people as the entry and exit point for a holiday to Sabah, Kota Kinabalu has a lot to offer. Its position on the coast is perfect, just a 20 minute boat ride from the five tropical islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, wit…

Malaysia and Borneo Experiences Malaysia and Borneo places Make an enquiry

Gary

Flora

Plan your 2021 Adventure

With the world beginning to open up again, now is the time to begin planning your 2021 holiday to Asia. Our Travel Specialists are ready to take your call and discuss the adventure you have spent 2020 dreaming of.

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Or call us on 07947 761 237