Singapore & Malaysia: A Journey through Southeast Asia13 days
About This Experience
Discover the mystique of some of Southeast Asia’s most interesting cultures. Harmoniously blending ancient religions and trading port influences with world-class amenities and futuristic innovation, this tour travels from bustling city streets to countrysides with deeply rooted traditions.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
10 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
Multilingual Tour Director
Private motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
The modern metropolises of Singapore & Kuala Lumpur
The Cameron Highlands’ temperate countryside & strawberry fields
Multicultural hubs with unique mixes of religions, nationalities & cuisines
Shrines hidden inside caves & grand golden temples
Bustling city streets & lively night markets
The ancient customs of charming coastal cities
Overnight Flight1 night
Singapore3 nights - hotel info
See the many sides of the Lion City
Bumboat Ride, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Thian Hock Keng Temple
This morning your Tour Director introduces you to Singapore. Cruise along the Singapore River in a bumboat to Merlion Park. Here, you’ll be welcomed by two statues of the merlion, a half-fish, half-lion creature that represents Singapore’s history as a fishing village and its original name meaning “lion city.” Next, get to know the downtown area with a sightseeing tour, including the Padang and the Civic District. Stop at the Thian Hock Keng Temple in Chinatown, which features both a Taoist and a Buddhist temple. Your tour ends at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, home to over 1,000 orchid species. This evening, hop aboard a three-wheeled trishaw and wind through Little India on your way to dinner at the iconic Raffles Hotel. Afterwards, enjoy the signature Singapore Sling cocktail, which the hotel developed decades ago, or head out to the vibrant night market nearby.
Explore the modern luxuries of this cultural hub
Optional Excursion - Gardens by the Bay
Fill your last day in Singapore exactly how you wish. Beautifully clean and easy to get around, the city has many modern attractions, such as the Singapore Art Museum and Asian Civilisations Museum, as well as tempting restaurants and high-end shopping. For full views of the city, take a ride on the larger-than-life Ferris wheel, the Flyer. Or, opt to partake in our Gardens by the Bay optional excursion where you can wander through spectacular waterfront gardens and enjoy a dim sum lunch.
Gardens by the Bay $115* pp
Explore the otherworldly landscapes of the iconic Gardens by the Bay, home to over a quarter-million rare plants. Among the intricately designed gardens, stand man-made, multi-species “Supertrees,” as well as two architecturally acclaimed glasshouse conservatories that house everything from orchids to olive groves. As Singapore’s premier outdoor space, the recently unveiled park is part of the government’s go-green strategy to transform Singapore into a “City in a Garden.” After exploring the park, enjoy an authentic dim sum lunch at a local restaurant.
Malacca1 night - hotel info
Set foot in the multicultural city of Malacca
Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, Malacca Sultanate Palace, Kampung Morten village
This morning, cross the border into Malaysia. Relax during an included lunch before setting off on a walking tour through Malacca’s city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take note of the terra-cotta buildings, Dutch architecture and Portuguese influence, all hinting at a history of European colonization. To further explore Malaysia’s multicultural identity, visit the Malacca Sultanate Palace; Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum; Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, which honors Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism; and Jonker Street market. This evening, cruise along the Malacca River, and stop at a kampong, a traditional Malaysian village.
Cameron Highlands2 nights - hotel info
Say hello to the verdant landscapes of the Cameron Highlands
Lata Iskandar Falls
Today, enjoy the beautiful drive as you wind your way up to the Cameron Highlands, an expansive, hilly region with a pleasant, temperate climate and a diverse population. Stops along the way give you a taste of the region; you’ll eat lunch in Tapah, soak in the scenery at the majestic Lata Iskandar Falls, visit a local village and relax with afternoon tea at the Lakehouse, a Tudor-style resort nestled in a storybook countryside setting.
Breathe in fresh country air
Sungai Palas BOH Tea Plantation
This is your day to explore all that the Cameron Highlands have to offer. Start off touring the vast gardens and tea-making plant at the Sungai Palas BOH Tea Plantation, Malaysia’s largest tea manufacturer. Next, get a bird’s-eye view from Mount Batu Brinchang, the highest point in the Cameron Highlands accessible by car. Then, explore the region’s exotic plant life as you journey on foot into the mystical mossy forest—a fairy-tale setting where the clouds practically meet the ground. After an included lunch, spend your afternoon appreciating (and sampling) locally grown specialties with a visit to a market, a tour through the rainbow-colored roses of the Rose Centre and a stop at a strawberry farm.
Penang2 nights - hotel info
Discover the Pearl of the Orient
Bid farewell to the Cameron Highlights this morning and drive to the island of Penang. Soak in the diverse scenery outside your window, as the landscapes change from beautiful forests near the highlands to twinkling cityscapes as you cross the Penang Bridge. Upon arrival in Penang, get settled in your beachside hotel. Before dinner with your fellow travelers, explore the island’s temples and beaches on your own and discover why the island is often called the “Pearl of the Orient.”
Learn what makes George Town so special
Optional Excursion - Penang Island Sunset Cruise
Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Khoo Kongsi Temple
This morning, your Tour Director gives a guided tour of George Town, the capital city of Penang and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Named after King George III of Britain, George Town has a long history as a trading port on the Strait of Malacca and today boasts a unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. Get a feel for the area’s diversity as you pass by an Anglican church, the Chinese-influenced Khoo Kongsi Temple, a Hindu temple and an Islamic mosque. Other highlights include Market Street in Little India and the Baba-Nyonya antiques found within the opulent Pinang Peranakan Mansion. This evening, choose to take our Penang Island Sunset Cruise optional excursion and enjoy a refreshing drink and new views of the island.
Penang Island Sunset Cruise $119* pp
Take in the tropical sunset as you cruise toward the famous beach of Batu Ferringhi, passing by the floating mosque along the way. Enjoy a drink and complimentary snacks as you ride along the coastline of Gurney Drive, a popular promenade in George Town, and the old Swettenham Pier. Circle back to the Straits Quay before returning to your hotel. Please note: This excursion runs as weather permits.
Kuala Lampur2 nights - hotel info
Welcome to Kuala Lumpur
Today, make your way to Malaysia’s federal capital, Kuala Lumpur (known as “KL” by locals). On your drive out of Penang, stop at Kek Lok Si Temple, an impressive and architecturally unique Buddhist temple. Illustrating the region’s mix of cultural influences, the temple’s main pagoda features a Chinese-style octagonal base, a middle tier inspired by Thai design and a Burmese crown. Stop for lunch near Taiping before continuing on to Kuala Lumpur.
Venture through KL’s diverse neighborhoods
This morning, enjoy a guided tour of Kuala Lumpur, a dynamic city, home to both heritage sites and futuristic skyscrapers. Stop at the botanical gardens and the busy Central Market. Then, take in the vast cultural diversity as you drive through the city’s neighborhoods—the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, the sights and sounds of Little India, the Moorish architecture of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Spend your afternoon discovering the many museums, eateries and shopping centers, including the space-age shopping district of Bukit Bintang. Tonight, reflect on your adventures at the farewell dinner atop the Kuala Lumpur Tower, one of the city’s highest skyscrapers.
Explore the Batu Caves and Malaysian Crafts
Optional Excursion - Batu Caves and Malaysian Crafts
Spend this morning exploring Kuala Lumpur on your own, or head to one of the region’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders on our Batu Caves and Malaysian Crafts optional excursion, where you can walk through cavernous Hindu temples set into jagged limestone formations, as well as visit pewter and Batik cloth factories. This evening, a Go Ahead representative will escort you to the airport for either your overnight flight home, or for your flight to Bali if you choose to continue the adventure with our tour extension.
Batu Caves and Malaysian Crafts $29* pp
Head to the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur to learn about pewter craftsmanship at the most modern pewter factory in the world, and see casting, filing, polishing, soldering, hammering and engraving firsthand. Next, stop at a Batik cloth factory for a demonstration before heading on to the inspiring Batu Caves. Named for the nearby Batu River, the chain of limestone caves and cavernous Hindu temples are among the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. Honoring Lord Murugan, the massive caves are lit up for a mystical ambiance, and frequently feature the music of Hindu ceremonies taking place. At the entrance to the caves stands an elaborate, gold-painted Hindu statue. Macaque monkeys call the site home, as do rare fauna and bats that live inside tucked-away corners of the jagged rock formations. Please note: entering the Batu Caves requires climbing hundreds of steps uphill.
Extend Your Stay
Add Bali $899*
This Indonesian province is as close to paradise as you can get. Rooted in Hinduism and with an appreciation for art, Bali’s calming culture provides the ideal backdrop to end your journey through Southeast Asia.
Bali3 nights - hotel info
Explore picturesque temples and local landscapes
Today, enjoy a full day of guided sightseeing to get to know the ins and outs of eastern Bali. Stop at the historical Klungkung Palace, where you’ll visit the Hall of Justice. Also known as Kerta Gosa Pavilion, the hall is famous for the intricately painted stories on its ceiling. Next, head up to Mount Agung, Bali’s largest volcano, and stop slope-side to visit the revered Mother Temple of Besakih. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant overlooking rice paddy fields. This afternoon, visit a spice plantation before heading to Pura Goa Lawah, a cavernous Hindu temple whose walls hum with the flutter of hundreds of bats.
Slow down in the culturally rich coastal setting
Optional Excursion - Ubud Cultural Tour
There are many different sides to Bali—today is your chance to delve deeper into the aspects that appeal most to you. Relax in the laid-back beach town of Sanur, try a traditional Balinese spa treatment and learn why people call eastern Bali’s pristine coastline paradise. Or, choose to take our full-day optional excursion, the Ubud Cultural Tour, where you’ll head into the lush countryside to get a taste of the area’s art, as well as visit temples and the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
Ubud Cultural Tour $75* pp
Pass by breathtaking green landscapes and rice paddy fields as you drive to Ubud, Bali’s cultural hub and one of the settings of "Eat, Pray, Love." Visit the Gunung Kawi, an 11th century temple complex nestled into the face of a cliff and set against the lush countryside. Then, stop in Tegallalang for a photo of the village’s rice terraces. Next, make friends with macaques and explore the jungles and temples at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. After an included lunch, browse Balinese paintings and woodcarving works at the Puri Lukisan Museum, the oldest art museum in Ubud.
Passport & Visa Requirements
In order to enter Singapore and Malaysia (as well as Indonesia on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry. Additionally, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain a visa in order to enter Indonesia. On the tour extension to Bali, we recommend that travelers purchase a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Clothing and Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. Bear in mind that the climate of the countries on your tour has warm, humid weather. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. However, some of the diseases known to exist in Malaysia and Indonesia include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, malaria and rabies. Be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
The cuisines of Singapore and Malaysia reflect their multicultural influences. Malaysian cuisine is a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai and Arabian cuisine. Popular dishes include rice, noodles and curries. Due to the region’s various religions, vegetarian dishes are usually available. Different meats options are abundant as well, including beef, chicken, pork and goat, as well as various shellfish and seafood. A year-round growing season allows for many fruits and vegetables, including specialties such as the durian, lychee and mangosteen. Singapore has a similar cuisine to Malaysia, but with additional influences of English, Portuguese, Middle Eastern and Philippine cultures. Singapore’s restaurant scene is highly regarded and known as a cultural attraction.
Round-trip flights arrive in Singapore and depart from Kuala Lumpur (Bali on the extension). Included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach. There is an internal flight included on the extension to Bali.
The electrical current for Singapore is 230 volts, while Malaysia uses 230/240 volts. Most sockets take two-prong round pins. It’s recommended to bring a universal adaptor and to use a power surge device if using a laptop computer.
Singapore and Malaysia are eight hours ahead of Greenwich meantime, and 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time. When it’s 9 a.m. in New York, it’s 9 p.m. the same day in Singapore and Malaysia.
The official unit of currency in Singapore is the Singapore dollar (SGD). In Singapore, most credit cards are accepted, and most shops accept foreign cash and traveler’s checks. The official unit of currency in Malaysia is the Malaysian ringgit, often referred to as the RM or Malaysian dollar. In both countries, it’s easy to exchange and withdraw money. ATMs are widely available in airports, cities and near tourist attractions, although they can be scarce in remote areas. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards. We also suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges. If you are taking the tour extension to Bali, please note that counterfeiting can be an issue. When exchanging money, ensure bills are authentic. Some establishments take U.S. dollars (USD), but often only if they are in good condition and issued after 1996.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
So much to see!
Thirteen days only scratches the surface of this interesting area. Cosmopolitan Singapore jams fabulous gardens, old town, sculpture, museums and creative architecture into its small size. The hotel was located on the edge of Chinatown and either walking or public transport was easy. Walking is safe, even at night. Having wonderful Chinese New Year decorations still up was an added bonus. Across the bridge in Malaysia, things are a bit different as it is an Islamic country but with Asian influences. Even though the heat and humidity were very high and the sun was to be avoided at all costs, modesty is the order of the day in most places. None of this slowed us down. Our tireless guide, Sunny, started early so that we could visit outdoor sites before the hottest part of the day. We went to indoor things in the afternoon. Sunny was good at rearranging the schedule as necessary for our convenience, and he knew everybody, everywhere. The early trading ports were interesting mixtures of the various cultures which interacted along the coast. The Cameron Highlands were a refreshing change from the heat and humidity as well as interesting and beautiful. Tea plantations and factory, rain forest walk and mountains were great.