Langkawi

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of Malaysia’s Kedah state, but are adjacent to the Thai border. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of about 45,000. The island is a declared duty-free zone.

The peak season is from December to March when moonson at the eastcoast shuts down most of the Islands there (Perhentian etc.). This makes Langkawi a good island alternative during that time period. Generally though, Langkawi can be visited all year around.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city of Malaysia. Being a young city (founded only in 1857) it developed fast into a bustling metropolis of 1.5 million people (6 million including the satellite cities in the Klang Valley). Kuala Lumpur, or simply KL (as it is it called by Malaysians), literally means “muddy estuary” in Bahasa Malaysia. With good and cheap accommodation, great shopping and even better food in this multi-cultural melting pot, increasing numbers of travellers are discovering this little gem of a city.
Having been in the shadow of other big cities in the region like Bangkok and Singapore, KL was put back on the map for good with the opening the Petronas Twin Towers in 1997, until 2004 the highest and still one of the most impressive buildings in the world. Though, the sights are not what makes this city unique, it’s KL itself and it’s mixture of people and visitors.

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Georgetown and Melaka just became Unesco world heritage sites

On Monday, July 7, 2008, the historic city centre of Melaka and Georgetown, Penang with their mostly Chinese shophouses and colonial buildings were just been added into the list of Unesco World Heritage sites. Therefore, Malaysia now has four sites on the list, the other two being Gunung Mulu National Park (Sarawak, tropical karst area) and Kinabalu Park (Sabah, highest peak in South-east Asia).

Comments

With such announcement, Peninsula Malaysia now has 2 World Hertiage sites. Hopefully this title, it will bring even more efforts to preserve the historical architecture, restore and refurbish old houses and prevent them from being demolished and replaced with new buildings. The atmosphere in the streets with its 2-storey shophouses, walkways and colonial buildings is truly unique, especially during the night with the lighting effect, the peaceful atmosphere when the traffic has slowed down. Much effort has been done for the past few years to upgrade the area, proper side-walks has been constructed, the river (Melaka) has been cleaned, etc. However, some of the measures taken by locals are a little over-doing and unconsciously spoilt the original feel of what the quarters used to have. With the title as Unesco World Heritage site, every measures to renovate or build within the awarded area will be monitored closely. If the historical buildings are being threaten by the act of demolishing, the title will be removed by Unesco itself as the objective is to maintain its origins and Unesco will keep monitoring the devolopment of the Heritage Sites.

The core areas encompass the historical sites of George Town, including the Lebuh Acheh historical enclave and sites such as the Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Kling Mosque, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, Khoo Kongsi, St George's Church, Assumption Church, St Xavier's Institution, Convent Light Street, Little India, the museum and court building, the commercial area of Beach Street, Fort Cornwallis, Esplanade, City Hall, the clan jetties and the port areas.

In Malacca, the historical sites near the St Paul???s Hill, the 17th century Dutch Stadhuys buildings, Jonker Street with its Dutch-era buildings, Jalan Tukang Besi, Kampung Morten and Malacca River have been recognised as part of the world heritage sites.

Quote from the UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Centre:

Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (Malaysia) have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century. The two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/450


Melaka

The Red Square with Clock Tower (built in 1886, not by the Dutch), Christ Church (built between 1741 and 1753 by the Dutch), Stadthuys (completed 1610 by the Dutch):


St.Pauls Church (built in 1521 by the Portuguese)


Chinese shophouses

part of Melaka River that has been cleaned up and renovated in 2007


>> more about Melaka



Georgetown

Old City Hall, Colonial District (built by the British in late 18th century)


Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (built in late 19th century), UNESCO Most Excellent Heritage Conservation Award in 2000


Chinatown


>> more about Georgetown
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DID YOU KNOW?
Buses

It’s very convenient to take busses in Malaysia. The condition of roads and buses are very good. There several privat and a national bus line (Transnasional). Usual it’s no problem to get ticket on short notice unless there’s a major holiday like Hari Raya (end of Ramadan), Deepavali or Chinese New Year. A 2-hour ride from KL to Melaka costs around RM10 and a 5h ride to Penang around RM25.

STORIES

Famous Jalan Alor



The well-known food street Jalan Alor is currently the talk of the town. Every local and tourist will eventually end up here having feast of good food in one of the many many restaurants and stalls. But since this week you might have a hard time finding this short but remarkable street in Bukit Bintang because the city council decided to change the name to Jalan Kejora - much to the dislike of about everybody.