woensdag, april 13, 2005

Malaysia, nice destination

Malaysia Malaysia is one of the most pleasant, hassle-free countries to visit in southeast Asia. It's buoyant and wealthy, and has moved towards a pluralist culture based on a vibrant and interesting fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous cultures and customs. Most visitors to Malaysia stick to the insane headlong rush of Kuala Lumpur, the colonially soothing Cameron Highlands Hill Station or the hedonistic torpor of Langkawi. However, the island of East Malaysia offers spectacular wildlife, longhouses and the awe-inspiring Mt Kinabalu. Malaysia's love of Western-style industrialisation is abundantly clear in its big cities. Aside from the gleaming glass of the 21st Century, though, Malaysia boasts some of the most superb beaches, mountains and national parks in Asia. Warning Visitors are advised to be extra vigilant when travelling in eastern Sabah and to avoid altogether the islands off Sabah's east coast, including Sipadan and Pandanan, as there is a risk of kidnapping and terrorist attacks, particularly targeting foreigners. Malaysia was hit by the December 26th tsunami's secondary 'shadow' wave, resulting in 68 deaths and massive property damage. Areas affected included the island of Penang and Langkawi, and parts of the mainland in the states of Kedah, Perlis and Perak. Clean-up efforts have been quick and efficient and all beachfront hotels are at full operating capacity. Full country name: Federation of Malaysia Area: 329,750 sq km (204,445 sq mi) Population: 22 million Capital city: Kuala Lumpur (pop 1.2 million) People: 50% Malay, 33% Chinese, 9% Indian, plus indigenous tribes such as Orang Asli and Iban Language: Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese dialects, Tamil, indigenous dialects Religion: 52% Muslim, 17% Buddhist, 12% Taoist, 8% Christian, 8% Hindu, 2% tribal Government: Parliamentary monarchy Head of state: King: Tuanku Salehuddin Abdul Aziz Shah ibni al-Marhum Hisamuddin Alam Shah Prime Minister: Dr Mahathir Mohamad GDP: US$99 billion GDP per capita: US$4,530 Annual Growth: 2%Inflation: 4% Major Industries: Tin, rubber, palm oil, timber, oil, textiles, electronics Major Trading Partners: Singapore, Japan, USA Singapore Singapore has traded in its rough-and-ready opium dens and pearl luggers for towers of concrete and glass, and its steamy rickshaw image for hi-tech wizardry, but you can still recapture the colonial era with a gin sling under the languorous ceiling fans at Raffles Hotel. At first glance, Singapore appears shockingly modern and anonymous, but this is an undeniably Asian city with Chinese, Malay and Indian traditions from feng shui to ancestor worship creating part of the everyday landscape. It's these contrasts that bring the city to life. One day you're in a hawker stall melting over a bowl of Indian curry, the next you're enjoying high tea in whispered environs complete with air-con, starched linen table cloths and gliding waiters. Super-safe and mega-clean Singapore may be, but its sultry rhythms wash inexorably beneath the regimented beat of big-city life. In the crowded streets of Chinatown, fortune tellers, calligraphers and temple worshippers are still a part of everyday life. In Little India, you can buy the best sari material, freshly ground spices or a picture of your favourite Hindu god. In the small shops of Arab St, the cry of the imam can be heard from the nearby Sultan Mosque. Area: 683 sq km Population: 4 million Country: SingaporeTime Zone: GMT/UTC +8 (Standard Time) Telephone Area Code: There are no area codes in Singapore; just dial the eight-digit number. Orientation Singapore is a city, an island and a country. Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore on the Singapore River, which is still the heart of the city, encompassing the central business district and the popular entertainment and dining precinct along the quays. Most of Singapore's tourist action is centred around Orchard Rd, Chinatown and Little India. Pangkor Laut Resort A unique resort on a unique island Pangkor Laut is a privately owned island located three miles off the West Coast of Malaysia in the Straits of Malacca. Situated on this exotic island is the internationally acclaimed Pangkor Laut Resort. Although the island encompasses a total of 300 acres, only a fraction has been developed to house the Resort and its Estates while the rest is covered by lush and unspoiled two million year old rainforest. There are 148 Malaysian-style luxury villas in the main Pangkor Laut Resort and eight magnificent Estates in a nearby secluded cove. Every villa, suite and Estate is elegantly designed and furnished, yet complements and blends in with the surrounding natural environment. As the island is only accessible to the guests of the Resort and Estates, it makes the perfect private holiday getaway. The Resort offers many fine dining opportunities, a wide range of facilities and activities, and has been widely praised for its attentive and gracious service. Voted the second best island destination in the world by Condé Nast Traveller (October 1999 issue), Pangkor Laut Resort consistently ranks high on the itinerary of international pleasure seekers. Pangkor Laut Resort Tranquility and privacy redefined The main Resort offers guests a choice of three suites and four different villa styles. The villas are all designed to accommodate two guests. Every villa and suite features spacious interiors, luxurious fabrics, and private balconies with cushioned deck chairs. Ensuite bathrooms have large vanities, and, depending on the villa, a separate shower and oversized tub in a private outdoor courtyard or with large windows opening out onto the tropical gardens or sea. All villas have thermostat controlled air-conditioning, king-size bed, writing desk, an electronic safe, direct-dial telephone, hairdryer, refrigerator and coffee and tea making facilities. Additionally, there is a CD-player with a large selection of music available from the Library. Situated along a secluded bay and away from the main Resort are the eight Pangkor Laut Estates. These residences recall the lifestyle and atmosphere of South East Asian estates of days gone by. Each Estate is a collection of special purpose buildings enclosed within a beautifully landscaped garden, created with minimal disturbance to the natural forest. Privacy and a sense of isolation is the design. Each Estate is unique, with discrete living, dining, sitting, bathing and sleeping pavilions in various adaptations of Malay architectural traditions. The swimming pools are a central focus, dramatically situated to take advantage of the best views. The interiors are tranquil enclaves in which to relax and rest the senses. Each individual space is thoughtfully crafted with refined elegance and luxurious comfort. The indoor-outdoor quality of each structure allows the gardens and landscapes to form the paintings. Polished tropical hardwood floors add warmth to the muted colours and tones. The Estate Manager is always at hand to cater the routine of your Estate to your personal tastes and intended daily schedules. Additionally, two dedicated Estate attendants and a Chef prepare and serve your daily meals, address your housekeeping requests, and unobtrusively co-ordinate all aspects of your tenancy. For reservations: click here Dining A celebration of flavours and aromas Dining at the Resort is sure to be a delightful experience. With a choice of superb venues, the options range from authentic Malay to traditional Chinese. Palm Grove Café Situated next to the Frog Pool, this open air informal café serves an extensive buffet breakfast. Opens for breakfast from 7.30 - 11.30 am (Daily) Uncle Lim's This beautifully designed restaurant is built atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea. Named after its Chef, Uncle Lim, who has been with the Resort since its inception, the speciality of this restaurant is Nyonya and Hockchew Chinese style home cooking. All dishes are inspired by the unique products available locally and made to each guest's individual tastes and requirements. A unique experience for those who enjoy the exotic flavours of the east. Opens from 6.30 - 11 pm (Except Tues) Royal Bay Beach Club Just steps away from the lap pool with superb views over the sea, this outlet offers light lunches and snacks as well as a variety of refreshing beverages throughout the day, for those enjoying the pool and sundecks. An a la carte menu featuring East meets West dishes is now offered daily for dinner. After dinner drinks can be enjoyed to the sounds of the resident band. Opens for lunch and snacks from 11.30 am - 7 pm (Daily) Sri Lagenda Lounge Situated below the rocky outcrop of Uncle Lim's, the lounge provides the perfect setting for pre-dinner drinks, overlooking the ocean. Opens from 7 - 11 pm (Except Tues) Dinner On The Rocks Watch the sun set over the glistening waters of the Straits of Malacca at Emerald Bay, followed by a romantic four-course set dinner on a rocky outcrop, surrounded by the tropical rainforest and the gentle lapping of the waves. From 7 - 10 pm (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sun) Fisherman's Cove Situated in Spa Village, Fisherman's Cove Restaurant offers a truly unique symphony of Western Grill, Chinese signature dishes, fresh seafood and Italian cuisine. The dynamic open show kitchen, stunning sea view and state of the art design invite all guests to journey into the exciting world of Asian fusion cuisine. The ultimate dining experience on Pangkor Laut. Please note that there is a dress code that applies to all diners. No shorts, singlets, sandals, flip flops, etc. Dinner jacket and ties however are not required. Opens from 7 - 11 pm (Except Wed)

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