Flight Centre's Toni Perrin travels to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to enjoy the shopping and sights. Her tour includes the natural beauty of Tioman Island and Kota Kinabalu. Let's hear how Toni enjoyed her trip.
We started our journey in Kuala Lumpur - the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy. We stayed at the Westin Hotel in an executive club room. I highly recommend paying the extra for the club room as there is happy hour between 5pm and 7pm in the club lounge with open bar and nibbles and if you partake every night you can definitely get your money's worth. One other thing that really must be mentioned about the Westin is their “heavenly beds” which are very aptly named - by far the best bed we slept in on the whole trip. I wouldn't bother about visiting Chinatown for shopping as you can get better deals and stay in air-conditioned comfort at Berjaya Times Square which is a 5-10 minute walk from the Westin, depending on how much laksa you've stuffed yourself with. Berjaya Times Square is 10 levels of fashion, food and fun with a theme park that overlooks the city. You can also get a massage, reflexology or a fish spa (if you can stand the tickle on your feet) all in the one shopping centre! There's only so much shopping you can do before you run out of money and a trip to KL isn't complete without seeing the Petronas Towers which make for a good photo. If you want to, you can go up the towers and walk across the skybridge that joins them but you need to be early if you want to get tickets as they limit the numbers and the queues can be long.
Next stop was Tioman Island. A tropical paradise just an hours flight from KL or Singapore. The aircraft to get there was a little propeller plane so not ideal for nervous flyers, but if you're feeling brave you really should go to Tioman Island for some rest and relaxation. Beautiful beaches, great food, gorgeous scenery and fantastic diving/snorkelling/fishing – need I say more?
From Tioman Island we went to Sandakan (via KL) where we joined a tour that visited Libaran Island and Selingan Turtle Island. Turtle Island in particular was a real highlight. We learned about the conservation efforts that the Malaysian people have undertaken over the years, the life cycle of the turtles and after that we were lucky enough to see a couple of turtles lay their eggs on the beach. We were also got to release some hatchlings into the ocean. I do wish we had gone on the tour that visits Kinabatangan River instead of Libaran Island as we met other people who had just been there and they were all raving about how wonderful it was. They got to see probiscus monkeys and a wild orang-utan (a very rare thing to see). We also went to Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre where we got some great photos of four adult orang-utans and a newborn baby one too. The accommodation on Libaran Island and Turtle Island was very basic – what I would call “roughing it”, but it was worth it to see the wildlife.
Our last stop before heading back home was Kota Kinabalu where we stayed at the Magellan-Sutera Harbour Resort. The resort is actually two hotels with a golf club in the middle situated on a marina. The grounds were lovely with five different pools, gardens and the marina which was kept so clean that a natural reef has formed and you can look straight down on the tropical fish. The rooms were lovely and so were the restaurants. The service was a little slow, although it was always polite and friendly. However, they do have happy hour down at the bar/restaurant where you can get 2for1 drinks so I can highly recommend that! We were able to catch a free shuttle bus into town which was great for those last minute souvenirs. I would still say, do the majority of your shopping in KL as you will get better deals there. If you are there on a Sunday, they have a big market which is similar to a lot of Asian markets, great for a bargain or to pick up a few souvenirs. I would suggest waiting until then to pick up the pressies for everyone back home as there are plenty to choose from. You can also buy local fruit and vegetables at the market. Always fun to try something when you have no idea what it is!
Overall, we had a fantastic time. The weather was great apart from one thunderstorm which was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I would definitely recommend Malaysia, especially Borneo, to anyone that is looking for something a bit different from Thailand or Bali that is still great value for money.
Looking for more information about travelling to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for a shopping holiday? To learn more about the exotic islands of Malaysia contact email Toni at firstname.lastname@example.org, an International Travel Consultant with Flight Centre in Northern Beaches, Queensland.