Arranged by tourism Malaysia in conjunction with Discovery Overland, IPO Tours Sabah and Borneo AdventuresSelamat Datang – Welcome to MalaysiaMalaysia consists of Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak). The country is endowed with a diversity of cultures and offers a “truly asian experience”. It is a fusion of three of Asia’s oldest civilisations – Malay, Chinese and Indian. It is enriched with the indigenous traditions of the Kadazan, Ibans and other ethnic communities of Sabah and Sarawak.20069 September – Departed from London Heathrow on Malaysian Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur. 10 September – On arrival at Kuala Lumpur we transferred to the flight to Penang where we were welcomed and met by Alan Chew of Discovery Overland, who looked after us for the two days. Overnight was at Paradise Beach hotel. Dinner at the hotel.11 September – The day commenced with a tour of Georgetown including the clan house (Kongsi) Khoo Kongsi, the oldest Chinese temple Kuan Yin Teng, Thai temple – Wat Chayamangkalaram, Perangkan Mansion and Cheong Fatt Txe Mansion that is also a Guest House. An inspection of Eastern & Oriental hotel was carried out including lunch.After lunch we visited the north of the island including inspection visits of Lone Pine Resort and Shangri La Golden Sands. Later we visited a Tropical Fruit Farm which showed a multitude of tropical fruits growing. Dinner was taken at a small family run restaurant in order to sample what was available other than at the hotel. 12 September – After breakfast, a late morning flight took us back to Kuala Lumpur where we were met by Rahman of Discovery Overland, and transferred to Federal Hotel in the shopping district for 2 nights. We enjoyed a city tour including the Sultan’s Palace, mosques, old Law Court buildings (Sultan Abdul Samad Building), National Monument, Central Market and China Town. Dinner at Federal hotel.13 September – After breakfast, we travelled to Putrajaya, 25 km south of KL, the nation’s new administrative capital. It is a model township, constructed with detailed planning, modern design, and futuristic construction, preservation of the environment with Botanical Garden, Putrajaya Lake and Putrajaya Wetlands. The main sites are the many impressive bridges, Putra Mosque, Prime Minister’s Office and Residence and many beautiful buildings and landscapes. We visited Putrajaya Shangri La Hotel for an inspection Visit and lunch before we went to the Botanical Gardens. In the evening we had dinner and watched a cultural show at Saloma’s Restaurant.14 September – After breakfast we transferred to KLIA for our flight to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. On arrival we had a superb reception by Sabah Tourism Board and Sabdin Said from IPO Tours Sabah. We transferred to Sutara Harbour Resort Magellan Wing for 3 nights. There was a wonderful reception in the hotel lobby and there was a very good ambience and feeling. This is a superb resort and the Magellan Club Rooms were extremely comfortable. We were entertained at dinner by Elaine Kwan, Director of Sales with a superb meal.15 September – After breakfast we embarked on a tour of Kota Kinabalu and a meeting with Sabah Tourism Board. We also made inspection visits to the Jesselton Hotel (3 Star plus with 4 star facilities) and Promenade Hotel. Later we transferred to the airport for the flight to Sandakan where we were taken to Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary to view the feeding at 3 pm. It was an outstanding experience to see these “men of the forest” behaving in their natural way. We were taken to the English Tea Rooms for afternoon tea and later transferred to the airport for the flight back to Kota Kinabalu. Unfortunately, the ground handler, Wildlife Expeditions, was not very accommodating and when we had 2 hours to spare they said they could not give us a tour of Sandikan as it was not in the itinerary!16 September – After an early breakfast we departed for a full day visit to Kota Kinabalu National Park and Poring Hot Springs., where we enjoyed a refreshing bath in the natural hot water. We enjoyed some walking in the National Park seeing many forms of plants and flowers. This was a superb day and on the return we visited Shangri La Rasa Ria, a 5 Star resort on the beach.17 September – After breakfast we undertook an inspection of the Sutara Harbour Resort site, with its excellent facilities for all guests, with high standards. Later we transferred to the airport for our flight to Kuching, where we were welcomed by Borneo Adventures and transferred to Holiday Inn for two nights. Holiday Inn was very impersonal and lacked any ambiance or atmosphere. 18 September – today, after a 35 minute drive to Bako Village, we took a boat ride to Bako National Park which is situated on a peninsular on the coast. It is one on the best places in Sarawak to see the proboscis monkey and other wildlife including monitor lizards, wild boar, many birds, tropical rain forest plants, flowers and vegetation. We had many sightings of the proboscis monkey. Later returned to Kuching.19 September – Following an early breakfast, we drove to Batang Ai where we took a boat to the Hilton Batang Ai longhouse Resort. This was rather run down and is a poor advertisement for Sarawak, but at least the local staff were very friendly and helpful. After check in, we had the afternoon to relax and swim.20 September – An early start took us by long tailed boat across the lake and up the river to the Iban Mengling Longhouse village. On the way we stopped to purchase some Red Bream fish to be cooked for us at lunchtime. After 1 ½ hours, we arrived at the Iban village and entered the Longhouse. All the village live in separate rooms but with a common area outside each family room where they intermingle during the day and evening. These days the work is mainly farming of pepper, rice or fishing plus the making of traditional goods , such as wood tribal masks, loin cloths, trinkets, basket work, etc. for sale to tourist at the longhouse or at the markets in the area. We were entertained to some tribal dances by the young people and joined the adults in drinking rice wine and rice whisky. Later we departed and continued upriver. Lunch was cooked for us over an open fire. It consisted of fish cooked in banana leaves, chicken and meat skewered on sticks and suspended over the fire and various vegetables with spices and garlic cooked in a wok……a feast for a king!! This was one of the highlights of the tour and something that tourists from UK would enjoy.21 September – We returned to Kuching today and stayed at the Kuching Hilton, which was very good and had excellent food. After arrival we had time to visit Borneo Adventures at their office and enjoyed the Riverside Walk and souvenir shops before dinner.22 September – A late morning flight took us to Kuala Lumpur where we were met and transferred to Federal hotel for overnight. This was where the official part of the tour ended but friends in KL had promised to take us out for 3 days. We drove to Port Klang where we enjoyed a superb seafood dinner of crab, fish, octopus and other dishes.23 September – Our friends met us at the hotel and we departed by car to Cameron Highlands, where we arrived after a 3 ½ hour journey. The scenery was lovely with rubber plantations, tea plantations and green mountain vista. We stayed overnight at the Casa de Mar hotel. We visited the Tea Plantations, Strawberry Farm and the Butterfly and Insect Farm, which was fascinating. We took dinner in the local town.24 September – After breakfast, we drove back towards Kuala Lumpur and on to Malaka, the former Portuguese area of Malaysia. Lunch was taken in a local restaurant with local specialities. Later we walked round the old streets and visited an old Chinese Mansion, antique shops, the remains of the Fort, and the reproduction sailing ship and museum. Later we departed for KL and took dinner in the suburbs at a Chinese restaurant. Overnight was at our friends apartment.25 September – Today was the day we departed, with Margaret returning to London and Stuart flying to Kerala, India to attend Kerala Travel Mart.Thank You!! That was the end of a wonderful introduction to Malaysia and thanks must be extended to Razip Hassan, Director of Tourism and Libra Hanif both of Tourism Malaysia London, Mohamed Hafezin Khadiri, Tourism Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Discovery Overland, Malaysia, and IPO tours, Sabah and Borneo Adventures, Sarawak.