Sick of the Antarctic blast? Looking to escape the winter chill? Somewhere that you can get a bit of everything – sunny weather, delicious food, sensational shopping and culture all in the one place? Well Malaysia has the lot and its just an 8 hour flight from Melbourne or Sydney. And this August there are some great events and attractions taking place right around the country, which are sure to appeal to every taste.
Here are our top picks…
George Town Festival
For anyone looking to inject a dose of culture into their holidays, George Town is not to be missed, especially in August. Heralded in the New York Times as one of Asia's hottest up-and-coming arts events, the George Town Festival (GTF) returns this August with an unbeatable lineup of local and international performances, exhibitions and events. Three of this year's highlights will be making their Asian debut – including the Spanish hip hop/flamenco fusion dance theatre Titanium; the Australian-made, highly choreographed musical and dance feature AM I; and the Iranian experimental theatre, Slow Sound of Snow. Berlin's renowned Rimini Protokoll will also make their Southeast Asian premiere with one of the festival's most anticipated shows, 100% Penang. And with many events taking place right in the heart of George Town's World Heritage precinct, there will be plenty to keep you entertained!
Date: 1 - 31 August 2015
Rainforest World Music Festival 2015
Entering its 18th year, the Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique event that brings together on the same stage renowned world musicians from every continent alongside indigenous musicians from Borneo's interiors. The festival attracts music lovers from right across the globe for their annual pilgrimage to Sarawak to enjoy a weekend of ethnic and traditional music in the midst of a lush tropical rainforest and has been voted amongst the top 25 international music festivals for the sixth consecutive year by renowned UK world music magazine, Songlines. And apart from some amazing music, the Festival Food and Village Mart is worth a visit in its own right, featuring indigenous delicious local cuisine and arts and craft outlets all housed in native Orang Ulu and Iban longhouses. The Festival is definitely guaranteed to deliver a musical -adventure' you won't forget.
Date: 7 – 9 August 2015
Start in Tioman 2015 (S.i.T)
Do you know Malaysia is fast becoming one of the world's leading dive destinations? With one of the richest marine environments in the Indo-Pacific Basin, a dip below the warm sea's surface guarantees divers an astounding experience.
S.i.T is a scuba diving program with a difference. It offers skilled and semi-skilled divers not only an opportunity to enjoy Tioman's glorious underwater world, but also help conserve the island's majestic reefs, adopt a coral, and clean the beach. For a minimal fee of RM50 (AU$17), participants can take part in the 'Adopt-a-Coral" program, which allows them to tag their company or even their own name on corals. And they can check on the growth progress of their own adopted specimen on subsequent visits to Tioman Island. The island is also an idyllic spot for leisurely days in the sun. Swim in its emerald waters, enjoy a stroll by the beach or simply sleep by the sound of the waves and stay active or unwind as the mood takes you.
Date: 20 - 23 August 2015
Malaysia's Independence Day Celebration
On 31 August, witness on of Malaysia's most spectacular sights – the annual Merdeka Day Parade at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, in celebration of Malaysia's Independence Day. Known locally as Hari Kemerdekaan, it's the time when Malaysians show their appreciation for yet another year of harmony and celebrate their country's successful struggle for independence. This year's Merdeka celebration is themed -#sehatisejiwa', reflecting the spirit of solidarity, understanding, togetherness and humanity of all people in the country. Among the many events leading up to the day of the parade are the KL marathon, the annual Merdeka Day Carnival and Concert. Come and celebrate like a local and join in all the festivities!
Date: 31 August
As well as the myriad of festivals and celebrations taking place around the country, Malaysia's biggest shopping extravaganza – the annual 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival, is also happening throughout August, with bargains galore for anyone in need of a retail fix!
With everything it has to offer, it's easy to understand why Malaysia is one of the world's most visited countries. So book you tickets now and visit Malaysia this August!