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MALAYSIA 'TRULY ASIA' TOUR 2001

Eight Section members formed part of a group of some two hundred Club members that participated in the Club Tour of Malaysia from 25 October to 12 November. Bill and Elaine Cottell, Fred and Monika Fruth, Andrew Honour and Simon Buck joined our Section Chairman and First Lady, Tony and Daphne Leach, together with their respective motor cars that had been shipped from Southampton at the end of September.

Rally participants were greeted on arrival at the impressive new airport serving Kuala Lumpar and were whisked by transit coach to the magnificent and exclusive marble VVIP arrivals building normally used by Heads of State whilst luggage was retrieved and immigration formalities dealt with. This singular honour set the tone for what was to be a truly splendid tour of a beautiful country with the patronage of the son of the current King of Malaysia, HRH the Regent of Selangor.

The hotels used during the rally were all of a very high standard, but our base for the first week and also the last few days of the tour was the sumptuous Palace of the Golden Horses. Located along with a first-class golf course at The Mines Resort City twenty minutes south of KL, it overlooked a huge landscaped lake born phoenix-like from the unpromising origins of an abandoned tin mine.

The well-organised if very full itinerary involved visits to the interesting historical town of Malacca, the famous Royal Selangor pewter factory, Chinese temples, the Sepang Formula One Racing Circuit, tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands, the sights of the lovely island of Penang (reached by an impressive bridge) and the necessary lunches with Sultans at their Palaces! The eighty-seven Club cars were escorted throughout by a team of leather-clad police motorbike outriders who halted all traffic whilst our motor cars made their progress.

Our motor cars were given exclusive permission to be displayed beneath the famous twin Petronas Towers whilst the record for the largest gathering of Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars in Malaysia was made. About 50,000 people visited on the day and made the most of the special occasion to see the array of motor cars on display.

As our tour drew to a close, there was also a small amount of free time to relax and enjoy a bit of paradise on the remote island of Pangkor Laut with its white sandy beaches and turquoise water, and hornbills and monkeys could be both seen and heard in the jungle - deliciously cool fruit punch cocktails helping to prolong the moment!

With such a variety of ethnic groups among the population there was the opportunity to experience the wide tastes of Malaysia - its food is as interesting as its people. The delicious tastes and smells of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Portuguese and Indonesian cuisines available every day pleased our taste buds. At almost every stop we were also treated to colourful shows displaying the varied history and cultures of Malaysia.

Those participants who considered it unsafe to travel to an Islamic country and stayed in Britain missed a truly outstanding tour of a charming, hospitable and friendly country with some of the most genuinely welcoming people on the planet!

Memories of the Malaysia Tour 2001 will never fade; in fact they will linger until the next visit - soon!

Simon Buck and Andrew Honour - Committee Members


Palace of The Golden Horses   Meeting the Prince
The Palace of The Golden Horses - a sumptuous 'home'.   Mr and Mrs Leach meet the Prince Regent of Malaysia.
Rolls-Royce of foods?   Petroas Towers   Concours
The Rolls-Royce of foods?     The twin Petronas Towers glimmer in the night sky during one of many receptions.     Record breaking display.
The British Commissioner's residence   Penang show
Daphne Leach, Elaine Cottell and Simon Buck at The British Commissioner's residence.         Colourful cultural show in Penang.
A bit of paradise
Simon Buck soaks up the sunshine in paradise! Photos: Andrew Honour