In celebration of domestic tourism, we’re launching a new campaign to spotlight all the hidden gems and small businesses that are now welcoming visitors again
The easing of the movement control order (MCO) has meant that domestic travel is now a reality again, whether that’s a weekend getaway to Penang or a foodie trip to Ipoh. This has been welcome news to many – certainly the travel-hungry, but especially the small, tourism-reliant businesses that have been hard-hit by the lockdown.
That’s why we’re celebrating domestic travel in our new #goingplacesagain campaign, where we spotlight across our channels all the small, homegrown businesses that are welcoming visitors again. We hope this will inspire you to explore the endless possibilities awaiting you right at home, while also showing love to the local businesses that help create that quintessentially Malaysian travel experience.
If you know of a cool, independent shop, hotel, gallery or café in Malaysia, give them a shout by using the #goingplacesagain hashtag on Instagram – and we’ll feature them on our social channels or website!
To get you #goingplacesagain, we’ve curated a list of hidden gems in our backyard that we can’t wait to visit, from a farm retreat in the hills of Janda Baik to a unique cocktail bar in Ipoh’s historic Market Lane.
1. KLoé Hotel
A stylish boutique hotel in KL
If you’re looking to dodge the mainstream crowd on your next KL visit, book yourself into KLoé, a new hotel built by and for creatives. This 85-room boutique stay has the look and feel of a trendy Brooklyn loft, albeit one with Malaysian art and accessories. Get in early and claim one of the five Artist Loft rooms, each designed to reflect one of KLoé’s signature artistic pursuits: art, music, food, gardens and books.
227 Bukit Bintang Street, Imbi, Kuala Lumpur
2. A Little Farm on the Hill
An organic farm retreat in Bentong, Pahang
Offering gardening workshops, cooking classes, yoga retreats and its own farm-to-table restaurant, A Little Farm on the Hill is an idyllic retreat located in the hills of Janda Baik. Only a 45-minute drive from KL, the farm grows over 30 varieties of fresh produce, which it supplies to some of KL’s best restaurants like Dewakan and Sitka. You can sample its organic offerings first-hand with a dining reservation here, which promises an unforgettable meal and a beautiful setting to boot.
Lot 161 Tanarimba Janda Baik., Persiaran Enderong, Bentong, Pahang
3. Tiga Bar
A cool speakeasy in Ipoh
Thought Ipoh’s dining scene was all kopitiams and traditional fare? Tiga Bar, its new speakeasy-inspired bar, is shaking up the local cocktail scene with a menu that riff off the classics. Expect cocktails and mocktails infused with classic Malaysian spices, herbs and fruits. The Move Like Jagger is its take on the classic pina colada inspired by the flavours of Indian cooking, while Summer Remedy is an Asian-style spin on the G&T and comes garnished with pickled lotus root. Housed in a vintage building on the historic Market Lane, its old-world Instagram-worthy interiors are an added bonus.
35 Market Lane, Ipoh, Perak
A glamping experience in a misty forest in Pahang
The first glamping resort of its kind in Malaysia, Tiarasa Escapes encompasses 20 safari-style tents and five stilted treetop villas nestled in the foothills of Pahang’s Janda Baik rainforest. It’s the perfect blend of nature and luxury. Expect modern creature comforts like a king-sized bed, WiFi, air-conditioning and stylish safari-themed décor with nods to Bornean culture. Join in the ceremonial bonfire every night and sink your teeth into the various rainforest and outdoor activities available during your stay here.
Persiaran Enderong, Kampung Janda Baik, Bentong, Pahang
5. World of Phalaenopsis
A vibrant orchid farm in Genting Highlands
The World of Phalaenopsis in Genting Highlands is an orchid nursery and the largest grower of phalaenopsis (moth orchids), a flower species native to Malaysia. You’ll be greeted by a proliferation of colourful orchid varieties in full bloom as you step into the space. Pick up some fresh blooms to spruce up your home or opt for its guided tours that coach you through the proper way to care for them. This peaceful orchid farm is also home to a quaint café where you can refuel before heading home.
Lot 1017, Kampung Sungai Kamin, Ulu Yam Baru, Ulu Yam
6. Sukau Lodge
A luxury eco-lodge along Sabah’s Kinabatangan river
Sabah’s mighty Kinabatangan river is home to rich and rare wildlife, and a growing eco-tourism scene. Sukau Rainforest Lodge is its first-ever eco-accommodation, built by tourism guru and conservationist Albert Teo. Made from local hardwood and proud to employ a variety of energy-saving and waste-reducing practices, the lodge offers comfortable and luxurious ensuite rooms and counts famed historian and broadcaster David Attenborough and actress Judie Dench as former guests.
Lot 1, Pusat Perindustrian, Kolombong Jaya, Mile 5.5, Jalan Kolombong, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
7. Baba Charlie Nonya Cakes
A traditional nonya kuih shop in Malacca
Anyone who’s grown up in Malaysia has their own favourite kuih shop, but Malacca’s Baba Charlie Nonya Cakes arguably makes the best, authentic Nonya treats in the country. Tucked in an elusive back lane, this unassuming shop has a smorgasbord of treats like lepat kacang, kuih dadar and kuih koo hitam. Now that they’re open again, shop for your favourite kuih while watching the staff skilfully prepare them from its open kitchen concept – a must-try for any self-professed foodie.
72, Lorong Tengkera Pantai 2c, Kampung Tengkera Pantai Dua, Melaka
An artisanal batik store and studio in Terengganu
Terengganu-based batik store and studio Nysakapas is a must-visit for batik-lovers. While the artform has remained unchanged in Malaysia for decades, this label bucks the trend with its contemporary take. Founder Haniza Binti Hisham creates the fabric and garments using the same, generations-old methods but eschews the traditional motifs for more modern designs based on her own sketches.
1716-A, Aras 1, Kampung Pengadang Baru, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu
9. Book Xcess
A bank-turned-bookstore in Ipoh
Once known for selling remaindered books, Book Xcess has since revamped its spaces to create a one-of-a-kind bookstore experience. Its outpost in Ipoh is very much a destination in itself. Located in a disused bank vault in the storied Kong Heng Square, the store features cheeky neon signs and a section entirely devoted to the late acclaimed Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad.
No. 91 Jalan Sultan Yussuf (Belfield Street), Ipoh, Perak