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Our Impressions of Malaysia, Borneo & Singapore

  • Reservations Team Leader Naz tells us about her recent tour to southeast Asia
  • Advice on hotels, food and excursions
  • How the tour manager improved the experience

by Naz, Reservations Team

This August, Naz – a Team Leader in our Reservations Department – joined a group of clients on the Malaysia, Borneo & Singapore tour. We sat down with her to find out what she thought of her experience.

What were your thoughts and expectations about Malaysia, Borneo & Singapore before you went, and did the tour surpass these expectations?

I was apprehensive about travelling so far away and was nervous about the long flight, however Singapore Airlines was a fantastic airline with amazing service and entertainment throughout, which made the flight go by quickly.

Malaysia and Singapore were two destinations on my bucket list and they definitely lived up to my expectations.  The people were incredibly friendly and the food was superb.  There was plenty to do, and the tour manager, Franck, was amazing at recommending little gems to visit, from the local street food markets in Penang to the fireflies visit at night in Kota Kinabalu.

What were your highlights and favourite excursions?

In Penang it was the rickshaw ride in Georgetown. This was great fun and a memorable way to see the town and its famous street art. The sunsets on Ferringhi beach were also some of the best I have ever seen; I would enjoy sitting on the pristine beach in the evening admiring the sun slowly drip down out of the sky, whilst watching the locals pass by.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Petronas Towers were amazing, especially the extravagant water fountain light shows they put on in the evening. What you see in the images is nothing compared to the spectacular grandeur of these towers in real life.

Petronas Towers, Penang

Petronas Towers, Penang

The Orangutans at Sandakan Borneo were a major highlight of the holiday. We were lucky enough to see many Orangutans during feeding time. One of them also casually walked past me on the boardwalk which was amazing!

Monkeys at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneo

Monkeys at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneo

Western Borneo in Kota Kinabalu was simply beautiful. Our hotel was the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, where we had plenty of free time to relax. The hotel was so very impressive, and I particularly loved the beach close by, where I relaxed watching more beautiful sunsets.

In Singapore, The Gardens by the Bay were my highlight. I went in the evening to capture the light show and from the moment I walked in and saw the Supertree Grove, I was totally mesmerized.

Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Supertree Grove, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

What did you think of the local cuisine?

I was hesitant about the food in Malaysia as I’d never tried it before and wasn’t sure that it would be to my taste, but I was pleasantly surprised. We tried a variety of Peranakan dishes which I loved. This type of cuisine is influenced by descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca and Singapore. Nasi Lamak, a rice based dish with steamed coconut milk with fragrant pandan leaves, was definitely my favourite. I did attempt to try the Durian fruit but I failed miserably, however there were some clients who were much braver than me and gave it a go!

Which was your favourite hotel and why?

Although all the hotels on this tour were fantastic, the Park Royal Hotel stood out the most to me. The service and food was just amazing. It is located on the beach and had a great atmosphere all around. Nearby were the night markets which were great to explore.

Was there a sufficient amount of free time, and how did you spend it?

Overall there was plenty of free time on this tour, the excursions were mostly in the morning with the rest of the day at leisure. There was a good balance of tours and free time, especially considering the number of internal flights included.  There are three free days towards the end of the tour before we go to Singapore when we stayed at the Shangri-La, I spent this time relaxing on the beach and pampering myself at the incredibly luxurious spa.

What advice or tips would you give to someone going on this tour?

I would recommend taking a jacket for the train ride to Kuala Lumpur as the air-conditioning is always set to full and it can get very cold in the carriage. Our tour manager, Franck, mentioned this to us the day before and we were all very grateful that he did! You will also need plenty of mosquito repellent, especially for Borneo when visiting the Orangutan sanctuary.

We hope this has inspired you to try our tour of Malaysia, Borneo & Singapore for yourself. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Naz is an Assistant Team Leader in the Reservations Department and has been with Riviera Travel for 3 years.  Her top holiday destinations are Spain, Tunisia and now Malaysia and Singapore!  The next destinations on her bucket list are Jordan and Italy.

To speak to Naz about her experience or if you have any questions about this holiday, please don’t hesitate to call her for a chat. The Reservations Department is open Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm, Saturday 9.30am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

7 Responses
  • Joshua
    May 17, 2019

    Love what you’ve shared here! The pointers and experience are both helpful for tourists like me. Malaysia is truly beautiful, and I can’t wait to return soon to explore more. Kudos to this post!

  • Rick
    December 21, 2018

    its really nice travel blog.. enjoyed it remarkably.. great info you have to sharing with guys.. keep it up

  • Riviera Travel
    December 14, 2018

    Hi Patricia

    Thank you so much for your glowing review! We’re so pleased you had a great time on holiday with us. Our tour to Malaysian, Borneo and Singapore is rapidly becoming a customer favourite!

    We’d love to see some photos of your experiences on the tour, or of your adoptive Orangutans! If you want to send them to us, just attach them to an email to

    Thanks again.

    Kind regards,

    The Riviera Travel Team

  • Patricia Johns
    November 12, 2018

    I arrived back from this wonderful Malaysian, Borneo, Singapore tour, 28th October 2018. I was travelling alone within the group, but I have to say, everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. The hotels and tours were excellent and of course my highlight was to see the Orangutans and they did not disappoint. I have some wonderful photos and of course the Sun Bears also.
    The tour was very well organised and although we were on the go most of the time, there was substantial free time to explore at leisure. The hotels were marvellous and I loved Penang and the wonderful resort in Kota Kinabalu. The staff were amazing.
    I would thoroughly recommend this tour and with the guidance of the Riviera Tour Manager and the local guides it was a super holiday and experience. I have travelled with Riviera Travel a few times including a river cruise, which was superb.
    Now looking at my next adventure, perhaps to South America.! I have adopted an Orangutang named Archie and my daughter has adopted Beryl. They are wonderful. I met some lovely people and hope to remain in touch.
    Thank you.

  • Anonymous
    October 18, 2018


  • Gillian
    October 17, 2018

    Photos and tips are fab! Some great suggestions. Googling durian fruit now!

  • Clare Mace
    October 17, 2018

    I was lucky enoughk have been on the same tour as Naz to Malaysia, Borneo and Singapore. I say lucky as I count myself very privilidged to have had such a fantastic experience. I often travel alone and can recommend this tour for anyone on their own as I felt so safe and well looked after by my tour manager and fellow travellers. I can honestly say I could not fault a thing. Great value for money, fabulous hotels, perfect balance of excursions and free time. I would recommend this to anyone