Sitting like an emerald dragon guarding the translucent waters of the South China Sea, Pulau Tioman offers every possible shade of paradise. While many travel here with a relaxed beach holiday in mind, the island has enough activities to keep adventure-seekers occupied for at least a week. Chart-toppers include world-class diving and snorkelling, jungle hikes to waterfalls, adrenaline-pumping climbing and culinary exploration. Swimming and beach-bumming The idyllic palette of blue waters surrounding Pulau Tioman is impossible to resist. Dive into this ocean of delights at Juara. Located on the eastern (windward) side of the island, this little village has an impossibly gorgeous beach dotted with chilled-out bungalows that look right onto the sea. While you’re here, don’t miss an afternoon learning about turtles at the Juara Turtle Project. You’ll also find a dazzling blonde beach at Salang, on the island’s north-west coast. This backpacker-friendly enclave is equally famous for its curious monitor lizards and thumping late night parties. For a special treat, visit Nipah, a remote bay on the island’s northwest coast where bioluminescent seaweed glows in the dark. By day, consider a swim by the river mouth at the end of the beach at Nipah, where cool fresh water … Continue reading Escape to Tioman: where to get wet and wild on Malaysia’s adventure island

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The spark is finally returning to the time-worn neighbourhoods of Ipoh. For too long, the capital of Malaysia’s Perak state was considered a faded has-been of a city – and that’s if travellers thought of it at all. But restorations are in full swing, especially in the streets of Old Town, and Ipoh’s coffeehouses and heritage houses are staging a long overdue comeback. Ipoh began its drift towards obscurity when the glory days of its tin-mining trade came to an end. After the British withdrew from Malaysiaand Perak finally gained independence in 1957, colonial buildings began to slide into disrepair. The last few years have stopped the rot: art-cafes have popped up in period houses, and century-old buildings have found new life as restaurants and hotels. Visitors can see contemporary street art, traditional coffee shops and colonial masterpieces, often within the space of a single street. Here are the best places to breathe in Ipoh’s rousing blend of nostalgia and modernity. Explore Ipoh’s colonial ‘golden triangle’ West of the Kinta River, Ipoh’s small but perfectly formed Old Town is home to the city’s most impressive historic buildings. Under British colonial rule, palatial architecture sprouted in this part of Ipoh – … Continue reading Ipoh old and new: come explore Malaysia’s renaissance city

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