by Lisa A. Grimaldi | May 01, 2016
make time
 Hang with the orangutans: Groups can travel to Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, to learn about the challenges of sustaining the orangutan population and get hands-on experience with these amazing animals through the Heart 2 Heart with Orangutan program. Participants visit the Matang Wildlife Center, a sanctuary for the endangered species, then transfer to Semenggoh Wildlife Center to view rehabilitated semi-wild orangutans. Sarawak Forestry can organize group programs.

Be sure to visit the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, which soar 1,483 feet above Kuala Lumpur.
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Malaysia, with its 11 states and three federal territories, offers groups everything from urban settings to dense rain forests to luxurious beaches.  

With 36 properties slated to open in 2016 alone and two new meeting venues coming online in 2017, this Asian nation's offerings for groups are more diverse than ever.

Several new properties are debuting in Kuala Lumpur, the country's vibrant capital. Opening this month is the 208-room St. Regis Hotel and Residences, which will feature a business center, 15 meeting rooms, a spa, a fitness center and an outdoor pool, as well as a bar and two restaurants.

The Jumeirah Kuala Lumpur hotel and the adjoining 273-unit Jumeirah Living Kuala Lumpur residences are scheduled to break ground this year and be completed by 2021. The project is the Jumeirah Group's first entry into the Malaysia market. The hotel will feature a full-service restaurant, meeting space, a spa and a business center.

In Langkawi, an island on the Andaman Sea, the St. Regis Langkawi debuted late last year. The luxury property has 85 suites and four over-water villas, all with butler service, as well as five meeting rooms, a spa, an athletic club, three restaurants and a bar.

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, which currently offers 245,000 square feet of meeting space, will undergo an expansion that will add 108,000 square feet of flexible event space. The addition will be unveiled in 2018.

The Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Center is slated to open in Kuala Lumpur in late 2017. The center will have approximately 480,000 square feet of exhibit space, 13 meeting rooms and a multipurpose hall that will accommodate up to 3,000 attendees. The center will be part of the new KL Metropolis, a mixed-use development with hotels (details were not available at press time), retail and office space, and residences.

In the state of Penang, the Subterranean Penang International Conference & Exhibition Center will debut next year. The facility will include an indoor arena that can seat up to 10,000 delegates and seven function rooms, in addition to a 45,000-square-foot ballroom and 13 meeting rooms.