Destination Malaysia

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The Club Saujana Resort Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia is finding new ways to attract tourists by becoming a top shopping destination and adding more high-end hotels and attractions.

“Malaysia is a beautiful mix of cultures and people, which is reflected in our colorful festivals, cuisine and architecture,” says Salahuddin Ariffin, v.p. eastern USA, Tourism Malaysia. “Travelers will feel at home in Malaysia because English is widely spoken and our people are kind and welcoming. In fact, our country is one of the top 10 friendliest countries in the world, according to HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey.”

In an effort to increase tourism, the country is planning to increase the amount of four- and five-star hotels, with 3,000 more rooms added by the end of this year alone.

One of the newest additions is Seri Chenang Resort & Spa Langkawi, which features six villas and 13 rooms, as well as the Kayangan Spa. This boutique luxury hotel in Langkawi, which is set to have its grand opening at the end of 2012, offers guests a look at Malay culture, with local cuisine and traditional performances. The villas are designed like a traditional Malay home, all set on a garden with views of the sea and mountains. For more information, visit

For clients who want to be in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the four-star Anggun Boutqiue Hotel is only a 5-minute walk to the Bukit Bintang shopping and entertainment district. Close to the major tourist attractions and restaurants, this boutique hotel features eight Classic rooms, four Deluxe rooms, two Family rooms, three Anggun suites and one Courtyard suite.

Anggun is offering a Weekend Treat You package now through March 2013 with rates starting at $283. The package includes a 3-night stay in a Classic room, free set breakfast for two, unlimited WiFi, a $16 voucher for the Bubu Rooftop Restolounge, and a free welcome drink and cold towel upon arrival. For more information, visit

Travelers looking to stay near Kuala Lumpur but still feel like they’re on a retreat have The Club Saujana Resort Kuala Lumpur, which recently joined the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Located 30 minutes from central Kuala Lumpur, the resort is set on 395 acres of tropical gardens and has two 18-hole championship golf courses. For more information, visit

According to CNN, Kuala Lumpur ranked fourth in a survey on the top best shopping cities in the world, thanks to its “high quality shopping, affordable prices, and reliable sales.” With more than 320 shopping malls in Malaysia, and the 1Malaysia Year-End Sale, it’s no wonder tourists spent over $5.7 billion shopping in 2011. The annual sale, which is 55 days long and runs until Jan. 1, 2013, takes place all over the country. If your clients miss it this year, they have next year to look forward to.

Families visiting Malaysia have plenty of new attractions to look forward to as well. Last month, the Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park opened in the state of Johor. The complex has hotels, food and entertainment, including Hello Kitty Town, the first Sanrio Hello Kitty theme park outside of Japan. Another attraction in Johor is LEGOLAND Malaysia, the first LEGOLAND in Asia and first international park in Asia. The park has seven themed areas with more than 40 rides, shows and attractions.

Travelers seeking adventure have their fill at Mountain Torq Sdn Bhd, southeast Asia’s first mountaineering training center, at Mt. Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mountain Torq offers activities like hiking, via ferrata climbing, sport climbing, rock climbing and alpine rock climbing.

Friendly Planet offers a 16-day Borneo Adventure, taking travelers to the island of Borneo, as well as places like Kuala Lumpur and Mt. Kinabalu. The tour starts at $3,399 pp, including roundtrip air from Los Angeles, accommodations in deluxe and superior first class hotels, daily buffet breakfast, six lunches, six dinners, sightseeing tours, ground transportation, and flights within Asia. For more information, visit

For more information on Malaysia, visit To read more about new happenings in Malaysia and Asia as a whole, check out the December Asia/South Pacific feature, For Asia And The South Pacific, 2012 Was A Vintage Year.