Two itineraries put Borneo, Penang within reach

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LOS ANGELES -- Singapore Airlines and Asian Affair Holidays are operating two low-priced itineraries to the Malaysian destinations of Borneo and Penang.

Borneo's Rasa Ria Resort, a Shangri-La property, features Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's highest peak, as a backdrop. According to Helen Clausen, general manager of Asian Affair Holidays, Borneo in particular is a great travel bargain because of low occupancies that stem from travelers' misconceptions. "A lot of people confuse Malaysian Borneo with Indonesian Borneo [Kalimantan], and they've had a lot of problems," Clausen said, referring to the haze catastrophe of 1997 and other troubles that put the brakes on tourism to Indonesia's Kalimantan.

The firm's seven-night Borneo Magic program features accommodations at either Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort or the Tanjung Aru Resort and a sightseeing tour. Clients also can opt to spend a mix of three or four nights at each resort.

According to Asian Affair Holidays, Tanjung Aru is about 20 minutes by boat from nearby islands that offer excellent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. The resort itself is located just outside the city of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia's Sabah state.

Tanjung Aru is noted for its 64-acre wildlife preserve -- containing orangutans, civets, monitor lizards, slow lorises and other animals -- which is adjacent to the hotel and is operated by the property along with the State Wildlife Department.

The tour is priced at $998 per person, double, from Los Angeles or San Francisco, or $1,068 per person, double, from Newark or New York (Kennedy). The single supplement costs an additional $196.

A two-night Singapore extension, with accommodations at the Traders Hotel, is available for $180 per person, double, with a single supplement costing an additional $180.

Clients also can opt for a four-night Kuching Longhouse Experience extension that explores the culture of the indigenous Iban tribes.

Optional activities on this extension include a tour of Kuching's Sarawak Cultural Village and a guided trek through the jungle behind the Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort.

Clausen recommends the half-day Longhouse excursion that costs approximately $60 and shuttles clients upstream in a longboat to visit the Iban in their jungle home.

The four-night extension includes air from Kota Kinabalu to Kuching, air to Singapore at the end of the program, two nights of accommodations at both the Kuching Hilton and the Hilton's Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, daily American breakfast, transfers and a half-day sightseeing tour of Kuching.

The remote Batang Ai Longhouse, which is located on an island in the middle of a lake, is accessed via a four-hour motorcoach ride from Kuching, followed by a 15-minute boat trip.

The Kuching Longhouse Experience extension, available only on the Borneo Magic program, starts at $288 per person, double, with a single supplement costing an extra $128.

Asian Affair Holidays' other Malaysia program in conjunction with Singapore Airlines is the five-night Penang Charm package that includes accommodations at the Penang Mutiara Beach Resort and a Penang Hill sightseeing tour.

Penang, a tropical island located on the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is known for its colonial architecture, pristine beaches and local cuisine.

The tour is priced at $968 per person, double, from Los Angeles or San Francisco, or $1,038 per person, double, from Newark or New York (Kennedy). The single supplement costs an additional $200.

Both packages include roundtrip economy class air on Singapore Airlines and daily breakfast, and they are available through Nov. 30, or from Jan. 5 through March 31.

Asian Affair Holidays
Reservations: (800) 742-3133
E-mail: [email protected]

Singapore Airlines
Reservations: (800) 742-3333
Web site: www.singaporeair.com

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