Important things first, right? Many of our accommodations will provide Wifi, but since I’m an internet addict I’ll also be providing a 3G wifi hotspot through my cell phone provider. You can upload your delicious pictures and plug-in your devices while we drive (please bring your own USB cables). Internet speed and quality depends on cell reception.
I have selected simple and clean accommodations that provide us a unique and authentic cultural experience while remaining as close as possible to interesting, tasty durians.
Depending on our itinerary, accommodations may range from upscale eco-retreat centers to a night camping out in a durian orchard. Most nights you will share a room with 2 or 3 persons per room with attached bathroom with shower and flushing toilets. Single Room supplements are $400 USD and have limited availability .
9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 9 dinners, 13+ Durian Buffets
I’m assuming that durian and other fruits is usually sufficient for lunch, but if you prefer a savory mid-day meal there will be opportunities for you to pick up snacks along the way.
All-you-can-eat duran is included for the duration of this trip. We will be eating a lot of durian, as well as other exotic fruits like rambutan, longkong, mangosteen, papaya, banana, jackfruit, and cempedak. Days that do not include officially include lunch we will be feasting on fruit all day and I expect you to be too full to be interested in a more traditional lunch. If fruit is not sufficient for your mid-day meal you are welcome to supplement with snacks.
Dinners will feature local Chinese and Malaysian cuisine, sometimes highlighting different traditional ways to cook and prepare durian.
Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to budgeting for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Here are a few ways you may wish to spend money on the tour:
• Alcoholic beverages: no alcoholic beverages are included on this tour.
•Water: tap water is not potable in Malaysia and you may need to buy water (we supply some water).
• Private Durians: Group purchased durians are considered public property. If you don’t want to share, you’ll need to buy it yourself. Remember, durians taste better shared!
• Snacks: If you are somehow hungry after the durian feasting, buy some tasty and interesting Malaysian snacks.
• Meals Not Included: Please allow $50 USD (200 RM) per person for independent meals.
• Donations to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Center.
July is the end of the dry season and typically one of the driest months of the year. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t rain. Rainstorms in the tropics tend to be brief but furious downpours lasting 10 to 30 minutes. Please bring shoes you can get wet and a waterproof bag to keep your camera and other valuables safe and dry.
Daytime temperatures average above 90° F (30° C) with the nights in the low 70’s (20° C). Pack comfortable, light weight clothing and a light sweater or long sleeve shirt for evenings or after a heavy rain when the air feels comparatively cool.
We will traveling to a new hotel every night, so pack as lightly as you can to be comfortable.
- Hat and Sun Protection: This is the equator, guys. Protect your skin with a hat and sunscreen or a lightweight longsleeve shirt.
- Swimwear: We’ll have plenty of swimming opportunities so please be ready to get wet. Ladies please bring a loose t-shirt or comfortable cover up in order to respect the local customs.
- Beach towel: Our hotels generally provide towels for showering and bathing (the exception is Day 7) but please bring your own towel for drying off after a good swim.
- Insect repellant: Mosquitoes are a part of life on most farms, but their bites don’t need to be part of yours!
- Waterproof backpacks/bags: It’s likely to rain during our outings, so protect your camera and valuables.
- Flashlight or torch: Durians fall at night, and we will have plenty of opportunity for nighttime durian feasts so you will want a source of light. We will also be doing a night hike one evening.
- Lightweight sweater: I sometimes get cool in the evenings and on public transit where A.C. is used, so I recommend bringing something light with long sleeves.
- Footwear: Comfortable runners or sandals for hiking.
- Camera: You’re going to want to remember each and every durian.
- Malaysian Ringgit: Please bring an extra 200-300 RM in cash ($50-75 USD) for meals not included, water, alcoholic beverages, personal durians, snacks or souvenirs you may want while we’re out and about.
- A good appetite, a sense of adventure, and a smile.
To see what I typically pack, you can check out what’s in my backpack.
If you miss a flight or are otherwise delayed, get lost, get separated from the group, or need to get in touch with me for any other reason, you can will have many ways to reach me. I’ll send you all my contact information in your Welcome packet.
Important Note: Ramadan
Our group will be traveling during Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by followers of Islam. Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country and many people will not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. It is important that we are sensitive to hungry worshippers.
Please bring modest clothing that covers shoulders and knees to wear as needed.
Ladies, be advised that in some areas of Malaysia swimming suits are illegal. Please bring a loose-fitting shirt and shorts to wear over your bikinis.
Some restaurants and shops may be closed during the day, but we’ll make sure we’re never inconvenienced.
How To Get to Georgetown, Penang
International airfare is not included with this tour, but I’m happy to help if you need assistance booking or planning your travels to Georgetown. Send me an email.
From Kuala Lumpur
Fly. Cheap flights from Kuala Lumpur to Penang are regularly available on Air Asia for as little as $10 USD. From the airport take Rapid Penang Bus # to Georgetown.
Bus. It takes 5 hours from Kuala Lumpur and costs 30 RM, about $9 USD. Bring a sweatshirt, as the buses tend to be very cold.
Train. You can also travel to Penang from Kuala Lumpur by train. Go to Rawang Station and get off in Butterworth. You’ll need to take the ferry.
Ferry If arriving in Butterworth, you’ll need to take the ferry to Georgetown. The ferry costs 1.20 RM (in COINS) and departs every 30 minutes between 5:20 AM and 12:40 A.M. Schedule here.
Fly. Direct flights through Air Asia cost as little as $60 and take about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Flights depart Don Mueng International Airport.
Bus. It’s a long haul from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur. If you want to go overland, take the train.
Train. Overnight trains from Bangkok are a safe and comfortable way to see the countryside. Only one train makes the trip per day, departing around 2 PM and arriving around 12 PM the next day, for a total of 22 hours on board. The journey costs 1,210 baht, or about $40 USD.
Most visitors don’t need a visa to visit Malaysia. Most likely, you’ll get a 90 or 30 day permit upon arrival. If you see your country in the lists below, you don’t need to worry about a visa. If not, please check with your local embassy and get the appropriate visa.
• Netherlands / Holland
• New Zealand
• South Africa
• Saudi Arabia
Durian availability is subject to the weather. I have done my best to predict the durian season through communication with individual farmers and contacts in the regions, however I can’t predict a bad storm that knocks durians off trees or affects flavor, a rampaging elephant that destroys trees, or other natural events.
Due to our dependence on the vagrancies of the weather, our itinerary and scheduled farm visits may change in order to give you the best durians and experience possible
Terms and Conditions
I’ll be sad if you can’t make it, but I understand that sometimes things happen that are more important than durian. The refund policy is as follows: if you cancel more than 90 days before departure, you’ll get 100% of your money back. If you cancel between 90-60 days before departure, a 50% refund. If you cancel within 60-30 days of departure, a 25% refund. Cancellation within 30 days of departure results in a 0% refund.
Mandatory Insurance Requirements
I do require you to show proof of medical travel insurance.
Send your payment via Paypal or Transferwise to DurianyearATgmail.com. If you to do a bank transfer, please contact me and we’ll chat.
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