Malaysia Airlines flies twice-weekly from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur until March 2021, with return economy-class fares from £587.


The Sultan Abdul Samad building by

Merdeka Square; street food stalls in Jalan Alor;

nasi lemak; Petaling Street; a souvenir shop at Central Market; flamingos in Kuala Lumpur Bird Park;

Bar Trigona at Four Season Kuala Lumpur; the city skyline including Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur (left) and the Petronas Towers (right) PICTURES: Shutterstock; Banyan Tree; Keen Seet/Four Seasons

Premier Holidays offers a 12-night holiday to Kuala Lumpur and Borneo from £1,449, including three nights each at the four-star Dorsett Kuala Lumpur and Hilton Kuching, and six nights at the three-star Damai Beach Resort, for travel in May 2021. The price includes private transfers, a Kuching city tour, visit to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and flights from London. Regional departures are available from £1,649.

Day two

07.30: Time to saddle up. Several companies offer bike-based tours, and one of the best is Bike with Elena (from $60 per person). On her Hidden Secrets of Kuala Lumpur tour, which starts at the KL City Gallery, you’ll check out ancient shophouses, join locals for breakfast and learn about the city’s past. Cycling is becoming more popular, thanks to a new bike lane network unveiled earlier this year, and cyclist- friendly car-free mornings on the first and third Sundays of every month.

11.30: KL is a city filled with green spaces. Head to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park (admission from £12 per adult) to discover the world’s largest walk-in aviary. There are 3,000 birds and 200 species, including the Borneo hornbill, but the star of the show is the toucan, Malaysia’s national bird. Younger visitors will love the daily activities, including ostrich feeding and photography sessions.

13.00: Top up your wildlife fix with a visit to the Deer Park next door. It’s free to enter and is home to several species, including the ridiculously cute mouse deer, the world’s smallest hoofed animal. Still not satisfied? The Butterfly Park and Orchid Garden are within walking distance too.

15.00: Step back in time with a wander around Kampung Baru – get there using the Uber-like app Grab, whose drivers charge a fraction of the rates used by metered taxis. This neighbourhood dates back to 1900, and with its traditional wooden houses and wonderful street food stalls, it feels like a rural Malaysian village – if you can ignore the backdrop of the Petronas Towers. The best food stands can be found

on Jalan Raja Muda Musa – try nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk) and teh tarik (pulled tea).

16.00: Finish the day with a selfie at one of KL’s newest attractions, the KL Countdown Clock in the

Heritage Quarter. Stand before the walls of water surrounding it until the flow stops, then walk through the gap to have your photo taken and appear on a huge screen.

17.00: Enjoy a spectacular view of Kuala Lumpur’s ever-changing skyline with a sundowner at the beautiful new Banyan Tree (from £190 per night), a 55-room property with the city’s highest hotel rooftop bar. Afterwards, ascend to the breathtaking (thanks to floor-to- ceiling windows) Horizon Grill on the 58th floor, famous for its fresh seafood and steaks. I recommend the corn-fed wagyu.

20.00: Discover why the Alila chose up-and-coming Bangsar as the location for its stunning new hotel with a visit to one of its fantastic nightlife spots. Shelley Yu’s is a cosy Bangsar cocktail bar with traditional Nyonya decor. Nyonya inspires the cocktails too, hence the more unusual ingredients, such as turmeric brine. Cheers, KL!


Riviera Travel has a 14-day Malaysia & Borneo tour with three nights in the Meliá Kuala Lumpur Hotel, a guided city tour, visits to Penang, Sandakan and Sepilok, and three nights at the five-star Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort & Spa in Kota Kinabalu. Prices start at £2,149 based on a September 6, 2021, departure, including flights.

expert ASK THE “Kuala Lumpur is a brilliant mix

of old meets new, where historic temples rub shoulders with 21st-

century skyscrapers and shopping malls. I love its modern feel but also appreciate being able to wander

down side streets and stumble upon the remains of old Malaysia.”

John Parker, product manager, Premier Holidays

24 SEPTEMBER 2020 35

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