Welcome to the Turquoise Travel Diaries, a collection of interviews, stories and excerpts from our fabulous team, as they travel around the world. Here at Turquoise we pride ourselves on unrivalled knowledge of the destinations in which we specialise, so that we can provide honest, expert advice to all our guests and fellow travellers. This week, our interview is with Carl, one of our Asia specialists and enthusiasts. Carl has just retuned from an in-house research trip where he was lucky enough to sample some of the world’s most delicious cuisine and visit some island hideaways in the beautiful Borneo.
- If you could describe the overall experience of a holiday to Malaysia in three words, what would they be? Exciting, Adventurous and Special
- What is the best time of year to visit Malaysia and Borneo and how long do you think you need to really enjoy it? The best time to visit the west coast (Langkawi, Penang, KL) is during our winter months, whereas the east coast (Tanjong) and Borneo is the opposite…better in our British summer months. If you are looking to combine the two – April or May are the best months to do so! However, it is important to know that if you are combining the two, there is a lot of travel involved, so having enough time is vital.
- What did you think of the island of Langkawi, where did you stay and what was your favourite thing about the hotel? I absolutely loved it. The best thing about Langkawi is that it is so tropical and the majority of it is covered by rainforest. There are endless rainforest treks you can do and amazing cruises into the UNESCO World Heritage Geopark which has stunning scenery and lots of wildlife. The beaches are also some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen anywhere in Asia. We stayed at the Four Seasons which was really lovely and my favourite part of it was “Ikan-Ikan”! This is their signature restaurant and means Fish-Fish in Malay. The food here was incredible!!! A ‘must do’ experience when staying at the Four Seasons.
- Did you try and local Malay food? Absolutely, we chose the local dishes as often as we could. My favourite dish was Kuali Noodles which is stir-fried noodles with chicken, calamari, vegetables and crispy soft-shell crab. It was so good! The local beer Tiger is also incredible!
- There is so much more to Borneo that just the jungle experience, did you visit any island hideaways and what were they like? Yes, we visited both Bunga Raya and Gaya Island. Both resorts are just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu and are the perfect boltholes in which to relax after all the adventure and excitement of the rainforest. Both properties are great but very different from one another so it is completely dependent on the client as to which I would recommend.
- Is there anything that surprised and delighted you on your Malaysian adventure that you didn’t know before? I don’t think I had quite grasped how remote Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley was until I arrived. It’s one of the best places that I have ever been to, a real Bucket List experience.
- Describe your favourite sunset/sundowner spot, where were you? This has to be on the Kinabatangan River whilst doing our evening/night wildlife boat tour. The Sunset was beautiful…here is the photo!
- Finally, would you say Malaysia and Borneo are more suited to couples or families? or both? Both. I wouldn’t say it is ideal for families with really young kids but slightly older children and families who love an adventure will be in heaven. Active couples, or couples looking for a real escape will love Malaysia and Borneo – it can also be fantastic value for money for winter sun beach holidays.
If you would like to get in touch with Carl today to start planning your adventure, please call Carl on 01494 687 991