"We were pleased that Indochina Travel was small enough to provide the things larger companies cannot, yet with all the benefits of using a larger one. In Saigon, we were honored to visit our guide's family. The BEST parts of our trip were the PEOPLE we met, especially the real, local people, not just the famous ones (though they were fascinating as well). Cuong made this possible throughout our time with him."
—Ric Haas, Menlo Park
"Chris and I had a wonderful journey. Thanks to you, everything was flawless. All of the guides were superb (especially Thiha in Burma). The accommodations were top-rate in most cases, the special activities and personal service much appreciated!"
—Ann & Chris McMurray, Alexandria, VA
"Overall, we had an excellent trip! Don and I both loved Bhutan and Myanmar. Both countries are beautiful, each in their own way. Our main comment would be to say how wonderful our guides were. As we've discussed in the past, it's really the difference between a good trip and great one. It was really nice to have the same guide for the entire itinerary, you really get to establish a rapport and they get to know us. We thought both guides were very professional, knowledgeable and personable, and we learned a lot from both."
—Irene Ing and Don Ershig, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Boating - "Thank you for an amazing adventure, we were delighted at every turn and the activities and people we met were thoroughly fascinating. We really the appreciated the authentic experiences we shared. Our girls are still talking about the trip, please give Linh and Duc our best!"
—The Anderson Family
Halong Bay Kayaking - "This was our fourth trip with you guys and it couldn't have possibly been any better. Your crew is outstanding in every way-well prepared, attentive, and professional. Again, you planned some very special things for us which we really enjoyed. Thank you for another amazing experience."
An ocean front resort surrounded by natural beauty of jungle and coastline, yet only a ten minute drive away from the airport. The city center is not far away and the five coral islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park sit just off the resort. The resort's tropical design allows lots of ventilation from the tropical air to cool things down and circulate around the resort.
Enjoy a sunset cruise, departing from STAR Marina, to view Borneo's famous sunset. Not long after, wind down at Coco-Joe's Bar & Grill. Lounging atop one of the beach-dining platforms, over cocktails and a delectable seafood tower, you continue to enjoy the sound of overlapping waves on the shores of Sunset Beach. A pampering session at CHI, The Spa rounds off the day. With treatments based on traditional Asian healing philosophies, you lose yourself in an enchanted and indulgent journey, all on the resort's private spa island.
No. 20 Jalan Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, 88100, Malaysia
Telephone: (60-88) 327 888, Fax: (60-88) 327 878
This chic sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur's green embassy district, Villa Samadhi hotel – whose name means 'journey' in Sanskrit – is a tempting boutique retreat replete with Thai influences. Expect lantern-lit paths and a serpentine pool that winds its way around the lush gardens at this intimate hideaway that feels far from the bustling streets of Malaysia's capital city.
Come sunset, the rooftop Bumbung Bar opens for a short-and-sweet service of free cocktails and canapés. Don't miss the 6–7pm nightly session, when the bartender shakes up specialties such as the Travel to Japamala of roasted apple, cinnamon and vodka, or a punch-packing Eliya Grapefruit cocktail of gin, tea and grapefruit jam.
Facilities Gardens, laundry, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, wine fridge, Samadhi toiletries. Luxe Cribs and above feature private plunge pools or Jacuzzis, and Sarang's also have kitchenettes. More details Poolside Surrounded by cabanas and tropical gardens, the blue-tiled, lagoon-shaped pool weaves through the heart of the hotel. Ladders from ground-floor terraces allow guests to swim out from their rooms.
Indochina Notes: A top boutique-level property in KL. Luxe Sarang 15 is the best of the 21 rooms with its oversized bathroom, complete with an open-to-the-elements Jacuzzi, soothing water feature and double rainwater shower. For even more space, book the top-tier Loft, which features a striking sloped timber ceiling in the bedroom, expansive living area and sun-drenched deck with plunge pool (skinny dippers take note: the rooftop bar overlooks this inviting space). Starting at about $150/night.
Persiaran Madge, 55000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan
Telephone: (60 3) 2143 2300
There is no lack of diversions near the 250-room Ritz-Carlton — the "Golden Triangle" commercial district of the city bustles just outside the door — and yet this hotel remains a quiet pleasure. This is partly the result of smart design, as the hotel's business and convention facilities are in a separate building from its guest rooms, but The Ritz-Carlton also benefits from immaculate furnishings and calm, unstilted service. No doubt some industrial-grade soundproofing also plays a role.
The Executive Deluxe Rooms are an instantly relaxing space. Conservative dark wood furniture was balanced with homey flourishes such as fresh flowers and stone Buddha statues. The electronics are intuitive, and the television lounge area feels like the tasteful living room of an expat banker. Dedicated butlers provide pleasant and attentive service.
Downstairs, the dark wood paneling, gilt-framed portraits and harpist will remind you that you are staying in a Ritz, but the welcoming atmosphere of the lounge areas are in stark contrast to the clattering marble halls of the Mandarin. To be sure, there are the usual mobile phones present, but also plenty of couples on holiday and families enjoying high tea. César's, the informal café, was a lively, white-tiled space that offers a staggering breakfast buffet every morning. Li Yen, the formal Chinese restaurant, was a singular experience (see full review on Kuala Lumpur page).
In another smart design choice, the Ritz partnered with Spa Village, a firm with half a dozen destination spas scattered throughout Malaysia, to create a peaceful, water-filled environment of sandy-colored stones and lush palm fronds just off the main pool area. Extended your hour long Thai massage with time in the afternoon reading by the koi pond.
We do recommend the Ritz over the Mandarin, and should also note that while all of Kuala Lumpur is relatively inexpensive, the Ritz offers a great value for money and we suggest upgrading to suite-level rooms at this property rather than the lower equivalent the Mandarin.
168, Jalan Imbi, Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur,
Telephone:(60-3) 2142 8000
Lankayan Island Dive Resort offers simple elegant accommodation in all 23 wooden, roomy and well-appointed seafront chalets. The comfortable wooden chalets are built entirely from locally-sourced natural materials. Rooms are airy and interiors decorated with colorful fabrics and carved wooden furniture. Every chalet has its own private balcony and direct access to the beach. Dine at the beautiful open-air wooden terrace surrounded by swaying casuarinas, the ideal spot for after dinner relaxation and chatting, all the while admiring the dozens of juvenile black tip sharks swimming leisurely a few feet beneath. Check out the sunset bar for an evening BBQ and enjoy the panoramic view of the sun surrendering for the day.
Despite the remoteness the resort offers all the amenities of a tropical island resort and are well-appointed and equipped with hot bath, coffee and tea making facilities, mini refrigerator, and fresh water from mainland. Power is available with 220 V or 110 V. A media room is available for viewing the day's video shots or stills taken during your dives and internet access is available at the resort's main building which between 8am and 11pm. A boutique with souvenirs and necessities and water sports gear for diving, snorkeling and ocean kayaking at the dive center round out the facilities. Water sport gears and equipments for diving, snorkeling and ocean kayaking activities are available for rental at the dive center. A small shop that sells souvenirs such as postcards, T-shirts, and some necessities such as sd cards, batteries, and toiletries, is within the central open building.
Sepilok only provides simple but comfortbale bungalows in its dramatic rainforest setting. Twin bed chalets border the protected area (it is actually not uncommon to have Orang Utans or pythons wandering around among the chalets) and perfectly integrated with the surrounding forest.
The resort is set in beautiful tropical gardens, and delicious meals and drinks are available in a stunning setting overlooking the lake and forest.
Each chalet features beautiful lake or jungle view verandas and private bathrooms with hot water; the sprawling surrounding garden, which would take half a day to explore, offers and amazing array of tropical plants and grasses and a collection of more than one hundred and fifty different Asian orchid species.
The award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge nestles on the banks of one of Borneo's most important waterways, the Kinabatangan River, home to many of Borneo's magnificent wildlife. The Lodge is simple but provides an ideal location immerse yourself in the tranquility of the rainforest and the cacophony of its inhabitants, its majestic birds, all seven species of Borneo Primates including Borneo's iconic Proboscis Monkey, Orangutans in their natural habitat as well as herds of Borneo Pygmy Elephants.
Telephone: (60-88) 438300, Fax: 60-88-438307 (Sabah Admin Office)