Classic Malaysia Trip Notes

Classic Malaysia

Last Modified: 31 Aug 2016
Classic Malaysia
Trip code: TMKP
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Emerging from Dutch, Portuguese and British rule, Malaysia has prospered into a diverse and multicultural country where Chinese, Malay, Indian and Indo-Chinese cultures have combined to give the nation its unique flavour. Beginning in the futuristic city of Singapore, journey to the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur, hop down to fascinating Melaka, enjoy the cultural spoils of an island hideaway and get a dose of colonial history in Penang before winding up the adventure on the beaches of Pulau Langkawi. Sample mouth-watering foods, see a wealth of modern and historical sights and savour the natural beauty of the Malaysian landscape on this treasure-filled trip.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinishing point instructions
ThemesAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionVisas
Why we love itMealsWhat to take
MapMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryGroup leaderHealth
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyTravel insurance
Physical ratingJoining pointA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point description
Style
Comfort
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- This itinerary is faster-paced than many other trips. You'll travel through Peninsular Malaysia in ten days. While there are some longer days of travelling, there is also plenty of time to relax and unwind by the ocean at the end.
- The facilities at your homestay will be basic. You'll stay in twin-share rooms with fan cooling, and bathrooms don't always have hot water. However, the experience with a local family is a real highlight for many travellers.
- The climate in Malaysia is generally hot and humid, so be prepared for some balmy days no matter when you visit. It tends to be wetter and more humid from May to October, but the temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year.
Why we love it
- There's perhaps no better way to take in beautiful Melaka than by trishaw. Your three-wheeled tour of this ancient spice-trade town stops in at the major sights in town
- Spend time with a local family at a homestay in Kota Aur. You'll be treated to some warm hospitality, homemade cuisine and of course a chance to try out your new skills in Bahasa Malay!
- A South East Asian adventure wouldn't be complete without cycling – or coconuts, for that matter. Pedal out to the rice fields around Kota Aur and learn all about how local coconuts are harvested
- Try your hand at preparing some delicious local specialties with a cooking class in Penang
- Finish your adventure with a few days of blissful relaxation in the beachside village of Langkawi – the perfect place to extend your trip
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Singapore
Welcome to Singapore! If you have arranged an airport transfer, you will be driven to your hotel. A pre-trip briefing will be held in the evening, generally around 6 pm. You will meet the other members of your group and discuss the trip itinerary at this meeting. Please check for a welcome notice on the hotel noticeboard, located near the hotel lifts, for more information. After the group meeting you may head out to a nearby restaurant for dinner with the group (this is optional). With free time for the rest of the evening, perhaps enjoy a quiet drink in the Clarke Quay or Boat Quay areas. You might like to arrive a bit earlier before the start of the trip to explore the island-state's many other attractions, such as the zoo (it's one of the world's best). Visiting Sentosa Island is also recommended – there you will find a few small beaches, Fort Siloso and the Universal Studios theme park.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Melaka
Travel to Melaka today by public bus (approximately 5.5 hours). A former colonial outpost, this town retains a distinctive old-world charm that makes it a delight to visit. Travelling by trishaw in local style, you will take a tour of the town, cruising through the narrow, winding streets to get a taste of old Melaka and learn about the ancient local spice trade. Along the way you will pay a visit to Harmony Street, an aptly named strip of mosques and temples that exudes a tranquil air. You will also check out a mosque, a variety of Chinese Buddhist temples and a traditional Muslim house-museum.
Included Activities
  • Melaka - Trishaw Tour
    Optional Activities
    • Melaka - Riverboat Trip - MYR15
    • Melaka - Sultanates Palace - MYR2
    • Melaka - Eye on Malaysia - MYR20
    • Melaka - Menara Taming Sari (revolving tower) - MYR20
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Day 3 Kuala Lumpur
      From old-fashioned colonial charm to the bustling big smoke – depart Melaka and head for Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia (approximately 2.5 hours). Known colloquially as 'KL' by the locals, Malaysia’s most cosmopolitan city is a wonderful mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. It's also home to nice green parks, excellent shopping spots and world-class cuisine – so you won't be short of things to do in your free time today. Ask your leader for a recommendation.
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Meals
      1 breakfast
      Day 4 Kuala Lumpur
      Discover the key sites of Kuala Lumpur on a half-day city tour. Along the way, you will visit some of the city's most impressive architecture, such as the National Monument, National Mosque, Istana Negara (National Palace). You will also check out the Batu Caves (an impressive assortment of strange grottoes in a limestone hill by a river), and Royal Selangor Pewter (for a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic Malaysian manufacturer). Afterwards, you will have some free time to explore the city as you please. Taking in the spectacular views from the top of Menara Kuala Lumpur (the major lookout tower) is a wonderful way to wile away the hours.
      Included Activities
      • Kuala Lumpur - City tour
      • Kuala Lumpur - National Mosque
        Optional Activities
        • Kuala Lumpur - KL Tower - MYR49
        • Kuala Lumpur - Cultural Show - MYR5
        • Kuala Lumpur - Islamic Arts Museum - MYR12
        • Kuala Lumpur - Petronas Towers Skybridge & Observation Deck - MYR86
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 5 Malay Homestay
          Travel north on the new electric train service to Butterworth (approximately 4 hours). From there you will take a minibus (approximately 30 minutes) to your homestay at Kota Aur. 'Kota Aur' translates to 'Village of Bamboo', although now the village is located in a picturesque rice growing area. Meet your friendly hosts on arrival and settle into your twin-share room (this is equipped with fan cooling, but may only have a cold shower). In the afternoon you will tour the village and rice fields by bicycle and learn about how the local coconuts are harvested. Experience a cooking demonstration and a home-cooked meal together with the group and one of your hosts. In the evening there will be the chance to learn about the Malay game of congkak and to enjoy a taste of family life in Malaysia.

          Note: Out of respect to your hosts, it's important to wear conservative clothing during your stay, ensuring shoulders and knees are covered. Your leader will give you more information on cultural etiquette before you arrive, and help you learn some basic Bahasa Malay. Most of the hosts speak a bit of English. Note that alcohol will not be available during your stay.
          Included Activities
          • Kota Aur - Village bike tour
          • Kota Aur - Coconut picking demonstration
          • Kota Aur - Cooking Demonstration
            Accommodation
            Homestay (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
            Day 6 Penang
            Awake to the sounds of village life – possibly the crowing cockerels! After breakfast with your hosts you will head to the nearby market in the country town of Kepala Batus. It is known as the 'whispering market' because the customers prefer to whisper their bids to vendors to get the best prices for their fish. It is the only one of its kind remaining in Malaysia. Afterwards you will look at some of the traditional palm houses in an 8-acre palm plant nursery, and have the chance to taste some delicious palm juice. You will also make a stop at a monument to commemorate those who were lost in the 2004 tsunami. Later on, travel by minibus to Malaysia's prized island, Penang (approximately 1 hour). Enjoy free time on arrival – perhaps take a stroll to get acquainted with Penang's beautiful coastline and excellent cuisine.
            Included Activities
            • Palm houses
            • Tsunami monument
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Day 7 Penang
              Discover Penang and all its colours and contrasts today. On a morning walking tour of the Georgetown area, you'll check out Fort Cornwallis, the site of the original British settlement. You will also take a drive to Kek Lok Si, the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia. After that, you might like to embark on an optional tour of the grand and opulent Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Khoo Kongsi. Both will incur small entrance fees but are well worth your time. Take the chance to meander past wonderful antique shops and absorb the old-time Chinatown charm of Chulia Street, which exudes the ambience of a bygone era.
              Included Activities
              • Penang - Half Day Sightseeing
              • Penang - Fort Cornwallis
              • Penang - Kek Lok Si
                Optional Activities
                • Penang - Khoo Kongsi - MYR10
                • Penang - Teluk Bahang National Park - MYR9
                • Penang - Chong Fat Tze Museum - MYR12
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 8 Langkawi
                  Get hands-on today as you are treated to a cooking class. This fun and interactive activity will introduce you to the fine art of preparing Malaysian cuisine. You will be in the hands of a local expert who will impart to you their many years of experience, and no-doubt a few secrets. You'll see that this food is a combination of many different influences, including Chinese and Indian. Needless to say, the use of chilli can be liberal, and the spice of the famed Penang curry is a great example. In the afternoon, it's time to bid farewell to Penang and fly to the island of Langkawi. With pristine white-sand beaches, luscious rainforests and quiet, untouched Malay villages, this is a divine place to relax and let your hair down.
                  Included Activities
                  • Penang - Cooking Class
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                    Day 9 Langkawi
                    Spend a day island-hopping around Langkawi and exploring some of the smaller islands by boat. Some of the surrounding landscapes are really beautiful and make for some great photographic opportunities, especially when coupled with the cool, clear blue waters. You'll also take a cable car trip today. On this little excursion you'll be treated to spectacular views over the Andaman Sea and some of the 99 tropical islands of Langkawi. After a day of sightseeing, perhaps pull up a towel and indulge in a few lazy, quiet hours by the sea.
                    Included Activities
                    • Langkawi - Island Tour
                    • Langkawi - Cable Car
                      Accommodation
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast
                      Day 10 Langkawi
                      Your trip comes to an end today, with no further activities planned.
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast
                      Itinerary disclaimer
                      ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                      OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                      Physical rating

                      Included activities
                      Melaka - Trishaw Tour
                      Kuala Lumpur - City tour
                      Kuala Lumpur - National Mosque
                      Kota Aur - Village bike tour
                      Kota Aur - Coconut picking demonstration
                      Kota Aur - Cooking Demonstration
                      Palm houses
                      Tsunami monument
                      Penang - Half Day Sightseeing
                      Penang - Fort Cornwallis
                      Penang - Kek Lok Si
                      Penang - Cooking Class
                      Langkawi - Island Tour
                      Langkawi - Cable Car
                      Important notes
                      1. Please provide passport details at time of booking, as these are essential for booking services on this trip. Failure to provide these could result in additional fees
                      2. A single supplement is available on this trip, please contact your booking agent for more information. On the following nights a single room is not available:
                      - Day 6 Homestay
                      3. There's a 15kg luggage limit on the included flight. Intrepid will not pay for any excess luggage.

                      Group size
                      Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                      Your fellow travellers
                      GROUP TRAVEL
                      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                      SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                      Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                      Accommodation
                      Homestay (1nt), Hotel (8nt)
                      The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                      Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                      If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
                      Meals introduction
                      While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                      Meals
                      9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
                      Money matters
                      The official currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (MYR).

                      The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). ATM's are now readily available and visa cash advances are available in major banks. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change.

                      SPENDING MONEY
                      When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                      TIPPING
                      If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.

                      The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                      Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                      Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.

                      Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.

                      Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                      In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                      At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.

                      Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.

                      DEPARTURE TAX
                      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                      EMERGENCY FUNDS
                      Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                      Group leader
                      All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                      Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                      Safety
                      FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                      Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                      SEAT BELTS:
                      Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                      MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING:
                      Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.
                      Joining point
                      V Hotel Lavender
                      70 Jellicoe Rd Singapore
                      Singapore
                      208767
                      SINGAPORE
                      Phone: +65 63452233
                      Joining point description
                      Conveniently located directly above Lavender MRT Station, V Hotel is a 20 minute train ride away
                      from Changi International Airport and minutes away from Orchard Road.All rooms have airconditioning, ensuite bathrooms, safety deposit boxes, mini refrigerator and hairdryers.
                      http://www.vhotel.sg
                      Joining point instructions
                      An arrival transfer from Singapore airport is included. Please advise flight arrival details to your agent at least 14 days prior to departure. If you have pre-booked your transfer you will be met on arrival at the airport. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

                      IMPORTANT NOTE: There are many exits after collecting and clearing customs, so please use the exit door closest to the luggage collection belt that you have just come from. If you cannot locate our transfer representative, please call our airport transfer operator's emergency contact no: +65 9783 3739 (between 7 am and 10:30 pm - Singapore time).
                      Finish point
                      Langkawi Chantique
                      Jalan Bohor Tempoyak
                      Kampung Lubuk Buaya
                      Pulau Langkawi
                      Kedah
                      07000
                      MALAYSIA
                      Phone: +60 4 953 1300
                      Finish point description
                      Langkawi Chantique is a 15-minute walk from local dining options, 5-minute drive from Cenang Beach and a 10-minute drive from Cenang Mall. Kuah Town is approximately a 20-minute drive away. The hotel facilities include outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, baggage storage and laundry service. There's free wifi in all areas. Rooms are air-conditioned and feature satellite TV, an private bathroom and a personal safe.
                      Finishing point instructions
                      Langkawi Chantiquet is located 15 minutes drive from Langkawi International Airport. A private transfer from the resort to the Langkawi airport can be booked at time of booking. Or alternatively, transport can be arranged and paid locally through the hotel reception.
                      The island of Langkawi is located 1 hour ferry ride from Kuala Kedah mainland , 45 minutes ferry ride from Kuala Perlis mainland and 90 minutes ferry ride from Penang.

                      Check out time is 12.00
                      Emergency contact
                      In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Thailand Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Burma & Phillipines) and Tel: +855 92 555 969 (Cambodia).

                      For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist. For further contact details please use the following page:

                      For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                      While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                      We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                      You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                      Intrepid's Thailand Office: +66 898 103 722
                      Visas
                      As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
                      Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

                      Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                      MALAYSIA:
                      Most nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Please check with your relevant Malaysian embassy or consulate.
                      What to take
                      What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                      Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                      Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                      WATER BOTTLE
                      Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

                      LOCAL DRESS:
                      When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                      LOCAL DRESS:
                      When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Malaysia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. At the homestay we ask that you show respect to our hosts by wearing conservative clothing including long trousers or skirts. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
                      Climate and seasonal information
                      RAMADAN:
                      The month-long Ramadan Festival will start on the 7th of June 2016. This is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all popular tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic month to travel in Muslim countries as it offers a chance to witness this fascinating Islamic event and the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken, from 7th July 2016.

                      CHINESE NEW YEAR:
                      An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2016, the Year of the Monkey is scheduled to be held from 8th February. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption a flexible approach from the traveller is appreciated.
                      Health
                      All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                      You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                      DENGUE FEVER:
                      Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

                      AIR POLLUTION
                      From June to October, Malaysia can experience air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia. Current recorded pollution readings in a number of states are higher than usual for this time of year. The persistent hot and dry weather conditions also causes dust to remain suspended in the air and accumulate, causing haze. Please be aware of this if you suffer from any medical conditions exasperated by air pollution.

                      Zika Virus
                      Singapore and areas of Malaysia are experiencing ongoing transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to Singapore or talk to their doctor about possible implications.

                      Please see further information about the Zika virus (and our current cancellation/change policy) on our safety page of the Intrepid website at http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety
                      Travel insurance
                      Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                      When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                      If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                      A couple of rules
                      Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                      Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                      Responsible Travel
                      We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                      The Intrepid Foundation
                      Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                      The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                      http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                      Feedback
                      After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                      http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback