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Trip Report Craig & Jeane's 2011 "Official" Trip Report: Malaysia and Singapore

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Jeane and I started planning for our trip to Malaysia and Singapore about a year and a half ago. We had just returned from our second trip to India and were looking for an Asian destination that was “easier”. We settled on Malaysia and Singapore because both countries have good tourist infrastructure and English is widely spoken. Also, we had not traveled to either country before. Jeane and I are in our mid-50’s and since the year 2000 we have traveled extensively around this part of the world. In previous years, we have traveled to Thailand, Bali, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

After reading Kathie’s trip report on Malaysian Borneo, RHKKMK’s trip report on Penang/Singapore and getting a recommendation from Smeagol on where to stay on Langkawi, I decided on an itinerary that would consist of 3 nights Kuching, 3 nights Langkawi, 4 nights Georgetown (Penang) and 3 nights Singapore. Due to work commitments we would have to make this trip in late June/earlyJuly - we knew that it would hot and humid but otherwise the weather would be okay. We knew we wanted to go to Penang and we chose Kuching because we wanted to at least get a taste of Borneo. However, the lack of upscale lodgings and the logistics of getting there prevented us from going deeper into the Borneo rain forest areas. Instead, we opted for time on Langkawi, Malaysia’s premier resort island.

As we always do, we set out to obtain our overseas flight reservations 330 days in advance. At the end of July last year, I started searching United’s website and was able to redeem miles for a one-way Saver Award for our outbound flights in business class. At that time, there was also good availability for the return. Two weeks later, I went on-line and found that the entire inventory had been pulled. After poking around on Flyer Talk and making inquiries on the Fodor’s Airline Forum, I decided to wait a while to see if United would make the Saver Award available again. After two months, I started to get nervous and decided instead to buy economy tickets for the return flight and upgrade to business class with miles. It was a good decision as United had completely stopped offering Saver Award seats in business class for its SE Asia routes unless you were willing to wait until the very last minute and be subject of course, to very limited availability. So we were set to fly from Hartford to Chicago to Hong Kong to Singapore and back...

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