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Off-The-Beaten-Track: Singapore, Langkawi, Malaysia & Borneo

By Hayley Groves

Travel Consultant

Posted: 05 November 2014
Hayley with our Product Manager for Asia, Julie Sturzy and Alastair McAlpine, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi

Hayley with our Product Manager for Asia, Julie Sturzy and Alastair McAlpine, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi

Hayley with our Product Manager for Asia, Julie Sturzy and Alastair McAlpine, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort Gaya island Resort: The Spa Village Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore: Atrium Waterfall Four Seasons Resort Langkawi: Mangroves Mandarin Oriental Singapore: View of Hotel Location within Singapore
Raffles Hotel Singapore The Datai: Datai Bay Beach The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur: The Orchid Conservatory Orangutan, Borneo

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Singapore & Langkawi Hayley and Julie arrived into Singapore’s multi-award-winning Changi Airport, where they say, you can safely assume that the polite and efficient service you encounter will continue throughout your entire stay. Singapore is slick, fast-paced, ultra clean and easy to navigate. Perhaps most famous for its shopping and cuisine, visitors can seek out the super brands and indulge in a wide array of dining options, with ease. Sightseeing opportunities include the busy Marina Bay Area, Botanical Gardens, the Singapore Flyer (a giant Ferris wheel), China Town, heritage trails and the island of Sentosa that is full of fun attractions including Universal Studios Singapore. In their opinion, no visit to Singapore would be complete without a visit to the historic and timeless, Raffles Hotel to sample the Sunday brunch with free-flowing Champagne, high tea or a Singapore Sling cocktail. For fans of a more contemporary type of design, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore has stylish interiors and a fabulous harbour view to match, whilst Shangri-La’s flagship hotel in Singapore has recently added new facilities including Waterfall Cafe that offers a relaxing poolside dining experience and CHI Spa, plus the exclusive Valley Wing.

After their stay in Singapore, Hayley and Julie took an early morning short one and a half hour flight to Langkawi, an archipelago of ninety-nine islands about thirty kilometres off the west coast of Malaysia. Think mountainous, jungle-covered, palm-fringed islands with sandy coves and coral reefs, limestone outcrops and paddy fields. The main island, Langkawi, is by far the largest and for those keen to explore the jungle, The Datai has an amazing location to take in its sights and sounds. The resident Wildlife Guide will gladly take you on an early morning or evening walk to point out the ancient Iron Wood trees or Sea Eagles that soar above the noisy rainforest canopy. For beach lovers Four Seasons Resort Langkawi offers a mile and a half of blindingly soft white sand. With beautiful accommodation, superb service, a spa and family facilities, this is a resort for all the family to relish. Water sports and a climbing wall will help keep those who like to be active entertained, while the nearby Geo Park offers the chance to explore the mangroves on a guided boat trip where you can see inhabitants including crabs, bats and snakes.

Malaysia & Borneo Kuala Lumpur is the ‘gateway’ to Malaysia  and one of Asia’s fastest growing cities, where mosques and skyscrapers, including the world-famous Petronas Towers, stand almost side by side, with historical buildings, shopping opportunities, museums, galleries and gardens. The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur which dates back to the 1930s, has been lovingly restored and stylishly marries the old with new. Enjoy delicious Malay dishes in the restaurant or cocktails in the bar, while listening to the house jazz band.

For the ultimate south Asia experience, complete your trip with Borneo – an island in the South China Sea that belongs to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Hayley says that you will be glad you did, especially if you have an interest in nature or are a keen photographer as Borneo is renowned for its untouched rainforests home to a myriad of rare and endangered wildlife. Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort is an excellent choice for those in search of orangutans as it boasts its own Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. After a short presentation, small groups are taken on a ten-minute trek into the rainforest to see these fascinating primates – and their typical cheeky behaviour! Families are made to feel especially welcome; there is a complimentary children’s club and playground area, while 5 to 12-year-olds can become a Ranger for a day, assisting with preparing food for the residents of the hotel's nature reserve, including farm animals, four orphaned orangutans, a jungle cat, a porcupine, deer, tortoises and a lizard. This resort offers the blissful blend of a tropical setting on Pantai Dalit Beach, a remote feel – with the nearest resort about twenty-five minutes away – stylish accommodation, award-winning restaurants and extensive recreational facilities including a golf course, spa, games area, bike hire, a shopping arcade and a hair salon, whilst horse-riding and evening boat trips to look at fireflies can also be arranged.

For couples, spending part of your holiday at the romantic Gaya Island Resort, located just fifteen minutes by speedboat from the marina at Kota Kinabalu, Borneo – where the resort has its own check-in lounge – is an excellent idea. Situated within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, this boutique resort offers a superb house reef and from the end of the jetty guests can take a guided snorkelling trip with the resident Marine Biologist to learn about the variety of corals and marine life that inhabit the warm waters directly in front of the resort. A Turtle Rescue Centre is also being established, while PADI diving and guided nature walks are available. There is also a large spa offering locally-inspired treatments, stylish Hillside Villas, special dining experiences including personalised beach picnics, private yacht charter, yoga and cooking classes, a gym and, if you are travelling with children, there is a half day kids’ club programme for little ones aged 4 years old and above.

About Hayley

During my time at Elegant Resorts I have travelled extensively and have specialised in Africa, Asia and Australasia. As well as beach holidays, I love organising the more adventurous holidays, such as safaris and Far East touring.

Read More About Hayley

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