Malaysia for C&I: Into the wild

C&IT explores Malaysia's intoxicating mix of culture, relaxation, nature and adrenaline-fuelled incentive options.

Themed dinner, Chinatown, Penang
Themed dinner, Chinatown, Penang

ADRENALINE INCENTIVES IN KUALA LUMPUR

The Malaysian capital is brimming with ingredients to make it one of the Far East's most exciting cities - the perfect setting for incentive groups that want to get the blood pumping.

Take delegates to Sepang International Circuit, near the airport, where groups can hit the tarmac on its 1.25km Kart Circuit. Various driving challenges are on offer and the track can be rented exclusively for the entire day, with the venue able to supply catering, a hospitality marquee and branding opportunities.

If the group's thirst for speed remains unquenched, head to the Berjaya Times Square retail outlet, where an 800-metre rollercoaster loops and zooms past shoppers.

The 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers are the dominating feature of the Kuala Lumpur skyline, and at 170 metres above ground level it has the world's highest skybridge. An evening stroll along the walkway before ascending even higher to the Observation Deck is a must.

ISLAND RETREATS IN LANGKAWI

Only 30km off the northwestern coast of Malaysia is an archipelago of 104 islands known collectively as Langkawi. The forested islands are bordered by pristine beaches, some of which are home to Malaysia's most luxurious properties.

The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa is a private, five-star beachfront property on Langkawi Island, the largest of the islands. Its 202 rooms and suites include premium ocean-view rooms and one-, two- and five-bedroom villas that overlook the Andaman Sea. Its location beside the beach offers groups both land and water sport activities, including windsurfing and sailing, and the Heavenly Spa by Westin is the only one of its kind in Malaysia.

The newest addition to Langkawi Island's hotel scene is the four-star Adya Hotel Langkawi, in the more downtown surroundings of Kuah. The ocean-facing, 207-room property is within easy reach of the island's excellent nightlife, wildlife parks and historical landmarks.

A 5km sail from Langkawi Island is the five-star Vivanta by Taj-Rebak Island hotel, on its own 389-acre island. A total of 94 rooms and suites are located inside wooden chalets facing the hotel's jungle-like garden or private seafront.

CULTURE IN PENANG

Penang was discovered by the Portuguese in the 16th century and its location off the north coast of Malaysia meant it became a popular harbour for trading ships around the world, and thus a lucrative hunting ground for pirates.

Over the centuries, Penang Island's capital Georgetown has evolved into a mishmash of cultures and been granted Unesco World Heritage status. Little India can be found in the Penang Heritage zone, where market streets run parallel to one another, selling affordable, mouthwatering Asian-inspired cuisine, cooked using tandoors and served in banana leaves without cutlery.

Groups can explore the city's bustling attractions - which also includes its very own Chinatown district and the affluent seafront esplanade - on trishaw tours, which run in the day and evening. A 30-minute drive from the city is Batu Gerringhi Beach, lined with luxury beach resorts and a picturesque spot for private barbecues. Sat in the hills overlooking Georgetown is Kek Lok Si (Temple of Supreme Bliss). An absolute must-see, the temple is at its prettiest during Chinese New Year when adorned with hanging lanterns. After a tour of the temple and its pathways, take a cable car to see Georgetown in all its glory.

NATURE IN BORNEO

On Borneo's northern coast is Sarawak, a Malaysian state with soaring rainforests and beachside destinations. The former are home to much loved and endangered animals, including the orangutan, and Sarawak's array of national parks, which have long been preserving the forests for its habitants.

Shangri-La's five-star Rasa Ria Resort & Spa is located on Pantai Dalit Beach, 30 minutes from Kota Kinabalu, with the Borneo wilderness as its back garden.

As well as an 18-hole golf course, the property includes its very own Orangutan Nature Reserve for guests, which protects a 64-acre ecological space and is ideal for groups wanting to add a CSR element to an itinerary.

One of the most unforgettable experiences to be had in Malaysian Borneo is orangutan trekking, for which there are many volunteering projects that act as an easy and socially responsible gateway to the jungle.

Groups can join the Heart to Heart Programme in Semenggoh to continue the protection of Malaysia's gentle ginger giants from illegal wildlife trade.

DIRECTORY
Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau
Contact: Ho Yoke Ping, general manager business events
Tel: +603 20 34 20 90
Email: pingho@myceb.com.my
Web: myceb.com.my

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Malaysia: Buyer Verdicts

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