A Captivating Holiday to Singapore & Gaya Island in Borneo Malaysia

Tour Dates
Saturday 9th March - Wednesday 20th March 2024
Saturday 5th October - Wednesday 16th October 2024

This 11-day tour takes you to experience the best of Singapore and on to Malaysian Borneo for a deeply relaxing and spoiling stay at Gaya Island Resort, a luxurious sanctuary nestled in the hillside of an ancient rainforest surrounded by clear blue sea.

 

We are still accepting Late Bookings for March 2024 departure 

Please note if you are travelling in March 2024 - full payment is now required on booking, please phone or send an email if you wish to join: hello@ecttrvel.com

 

Singapore Gardens by the Bay Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore Botanic Gardens

 

We start in the multicultural metropolis of Singapore, a city nestled in lush greenery where 21st century architecture sits alongside traditional village markets and history rubs up against a high-tech future.

 

Travel to Singapore Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Sumatra Gaya Island

 

We then transfer to the luxurious Gaya Island Resort in Malaysian Borneo where you will have the opportunity to relax on a golden sandy beach, explore ancient rainforest, see marine conservation in action, and get up close to Sun Bears and Orangutans.

 

Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Sumatra Gaya Island

 

Gaya Island Resort Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Luxury stay

 

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Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore Merlion Bay

What we love

Raffels Hotel

Experiences you will treasure

Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore Flame Ginger
Wildlife and Preservation Gaya Island Resort Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024
Marine wildlife Gaya Island Resort Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024

What's Included

Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore pink orchid

Itinerary – what you will do when

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How much is it?

£3,315per person in a twin/double room
Single room supplement £850
Upgrade flights on request
Standard Economy flights with Singapore Airlines
Departing from London Heathrow £1225p/p - March departure
Departing from Manchester £1950p/p - March departure
Departing from London Heathrow £1275p/p - October departure
Departing from Manchester £1285 - October departure
Arriving at Gaya Island Resort Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024
Wildlife Gaya Island Resort Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024
Singapore Gardens by the Bay Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Chinatown
Marine Park Gaya Islands Resort Holidya Singapore
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Luxury Hoilday Gaya Island Resort Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024

Where you will stay

Jewel foutain Rain Vortex Singapore Gardens by the Bay Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Sumatra Gaya Island

Flight Information

Travel to Singapore Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore Bay by night

Booking Process

Singapore Gardens by the Bay Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo

Options to upgrade

Singapore Gardens by the Bay Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore Chinese Lanterns
Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore Arab Quarter

A Deeper Dive

Singapore is a vibrant metropolis but is also a green oasis of calm. The city in a garden vision dates back to 1967 when the then Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, set out his policy to transform Singapore into a city with abundant lush greenery and a clean environment in order to make life more pleasant for the people.

 

Green City of Singapore Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Luxury stay

 

Today, Singapore is a poster child for sustainable cities and was recently named the as top ranking in Knight Frank’s APAC Sustainability Led Cities Index, outperforming Sydney, Wellington, Perth, and Melbourne. In 2021, the government launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 to further propel the movement by understanding how humans and animals can live harmoniously, planting one million more trees across the country, allocating 50 percent more land for nature parks, and developing parks within a 10-minute walk of any residential development. 

 

 Jewel Changi Airport Singapore Gardens by the Bay Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo

 

The green delights begin at Jewel Changi Airport where a lush indoor forest planted with over 2,500 trees and around 100,000 shrubs and an awe-inspiring 40-metre-high indoor waterfall can be found enclosed within that ovoid steel and glass. The Rain Vortex is the largest waterfall in the world and can channel 10,000 gallons of harvested rainwater every minute.

Other green highlights include:

Gardens by the Bay

Singapore’s award-winning showpiece of horticulture and garden artistry claims to be ‘a green gem where wonder blooms’. The marketeers are not exaggerating! This awe-inspiring garden is home to award-winning specialist conservatories such as the Flower Dome, where flowers from the Mediterranean regions bloom in a perpetual spring, and the Cloud Forest, home to the world’s tallest waterfall. (Take the lift to the top to discover plants living 2,000m above sea level.)  And of course, no one can miss Supertree Grove, a giant garden ‘planted’ with 18 vast landscape structures.

 

Gardens by the Bay Singapore Luxury  Holidays in 2024

The Supertrees range from 25m to 50m high and each one is a fusion of nature and technology. On the one hand, they are gardens, planted with epiphytes [i.e. plants that grow on the surface of other plants and derive their moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water], and home to many species of plants and birds; on the other, they are technological entities acting either as solar power generators or as exhaust stacks for the conservatories. The trees also provide shade, biodiversity habitat and support for the ariel walkway, OCBC Skyway. (If you have a head for heights, the views from the walkway are quite spectacular.)

 

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Singapore Botanic Gardens

This 160 year-old garden is a tropical sanctuary in the heart of the city. The first - and only - UNESCO World Heritage listed tropical botanic garden, it is a unique example of the informal English Landscape Movement style in an equatorial climate. There is so much to see, from Bonsais and succulents to wetlands and a whole area dedicated to ginger, but if you only see one thing, make sure it’s the orchids.

 

Botanic Gardens Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore Botanic Garden Arch

Reputed to be the largest display of tropical orchids in the world, Singapore’s National Orchid Garden is home to over 60,000 orchid species and more than 2,000 hybrids, all arranged on the basis of a seasonal colour system. Cream and yellow for spring, pink and red for summer, purple and red for autumn and pure white for winter.

 

Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Singapore Bumboat River Cruise

 

The garden opened to the public in 1995, but the breeding programme dates back more than 80 years.  Initiated by Professor R.E. Holttum in collaboration with orchid lovers such as John Laycock, or ‘Uncle John’ as orchid aficionados know him,  the breeding programme has produced a large number of striking and hugely successful hybrids from early varieties like Spathoglottis primrose and international favourite Oncidesa goldiana (‘Golden Shower’ or ‘Dancing Lady’), to the recent chocolate-coloured Vanda. (Get up close to this dark-petalled flower and you’ll discover that it smells deliciously chocolate-like too.)

 

Orchids Singapore Botanic Gardens Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Sumatra Gaya Island

 

Research and development lie at the heart of this garden, but it is also a fascinating and beautiful place to visit. Fragrant orchids can be found in the Tan Hoon Siang Mist House, endangered varieties thrive in the Cool House, while the VIP Orchid Garden is filled with extraordinary hybrids named after some of the world’s most celebrated personalities. If you have ever wondered what Paravanda ‘Nelson Mandela or Dendrobium ‘Jackie Chan look like, this is place to come.

Singapore is famous for its street food - think the spicy noodle soup known as laksa, chicken rice and, of course, char kway teow, the smoky noodle stir fry that’s pretty much a national staple. Today these cheap and tasty dishes can be found in Hawker centres across the city, but hawker food has its roots in the itinerant food vendors of colonial Singapore.

Street hawkers were a common sight in colonial Singapore. Cooking at home was rare so there was a big - and steady - market for quick, low cost meals sold at the roadside. And the hawkers were an entrepreneurial bunch. They made their daily rounds at regular times, carrying food in wheelbarrows, carts, pots, or baskets balanced on a bamboo pole and alerting potential customers to their presence with a clatter of bamboo sticks. The food was served in wrappers made from recycled paper, fresh banana, or dried palm leaves.

 

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By providing cheap, nutritious food to the masses, these travelling hawkers met a vital need, but the colonial government regarded them as public nuisances who threatened public order and health.  It's true that some of their food hygiene practices left a little to be desired (hawkers didn’t have access to portable water, for example, and disposed of their waste in the streets), so attempts were made to clamp down, but it was only after Independence in 1965 that hawkers began to be successfully regulated. By 1986, all 18,000 street hawkers had been relocated into 135 open air complexes.

Hawker centres can still be found right across the city and much of the food on sale has evolved from dishes created by the itinerant vendors who preceded them. Pig’s blood pudding may have all but disappeared, but ‘Popiah’, a savoury spring roll filled with braised turnip and vegetables, is still widely available. Street food is a delicious part of daily life in Singapore and if you want to get a real taste of this city’s rich, multi-cultural heritage then a meal or two at a Hawker centre is the way to do it.  

Singapore is city of architectural contrasts; a place where cutting-edge skyscrapers sit next to historic buildings that speak of the city’s rich multicultural and ethnic history. One of the most visible of these must be the shophouse, the two or three-storey homes/commercial shops which sprang up in the city from the 1840s onwards as immigrants began to arrive from China.  

 

Shop Houses Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024

 

The archetypal shophouse features a pitched roof, internal air wells to allow light and air into the narrow interiors, rear courtyards, and open stairwells. They are joined to their neighbours via common party walls and sheltered corridors known as ‘five-foot ways’. (So called because they were supposed to be built five feet from the house.)

Stylistically, shophouses vary according to when they were built. The first wave, known as the ‘Early Shophouses’, were built from 1840s-1900s along South Bridge Road to support trading activities on the Singapore River. These low, two-storey buildings were functional with almost no ornamentation, reflecting the poverty of the early immigrants. As the 20th century dawned, the shophouses began to reflect Singapore’s growing economy. They grew taller and more decorative, often featuring tiles, panels, and carvings and before long were incorporating an eclectic mix of cultural influences, from Chinese porcelain-chip friezes and Malay timber fretwork to French windows and Corinthian pilasters.   Some of the best examples of these ‘Late Style’ shophouses can be found in the neighbourhoods of Clarke Quay, Joo Chait/Katong, Chinatown and Emerald Hill. 

 

Shop Houes Singapore Gardens by the Bay  Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024

 

Shophouses continued to be built up to the 1960s but, following independence, many were demolished, particularly in Chinatown, as the government began to resettle residents in new housing estates. Fortunately for Singapore’s architectural heritage, the Preservation of Monuments Board was formed in 1971 to conserve heritage buildings and objects and a programme of renovation began. Today, the facades and foundations of these fascinating buildings are fiercely protected, but behind these historic frontages lie temples, boutique hotels, cafes and clubs ensuring that shophouses continue to be a vibrant part of daily life in Singapore.

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is nestled on Tavajun Bay, just five minutes boat ride (or a 45-minute trek) from the resort’s jetty. It is part of the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, which is located within a group of five islands off Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, each one fringed by coral reefs and home to important mangrove and primary forests.

The Marine Centre, which opened in October 2013, is committed to leading the community in marine conservation and advocates three conservation pillars: Turtle Rescue, Coral Reef Restoration, and Conservation through Education.

Sea turtle gaya island resort marine centre


 
Turtle Rescue
Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre’s turtle rescue project is the first of its kind in Malaysia and was set up following research that showed six out of seven species of sea turtles are either endangered or critically endangered worldwide, mostly due to fishing, over-development, pollution, or turtles getting stranded, caught unintentionally by fishermen or becoming sick or injured. Operating a Turtle Hotline, the marine centre is notified whenever there are injured or sick sea turtles in need and provides them with a safe environment in which to recover and be treated. To date, it has rescued, treated, and cared for 29 endangered green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and one critically-endangered Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata).

The marine centre's first successful rescue was Bobby, a sea turtle found floating, unable to dive down or even eat due an intestinal blockage caused by an infection. Bobby was nursed back to health over a five-month period and then released back to into the sea.

Earlier this year, Gaya, an endangered Green Turtle species became the centre’s latest rescue. Gaya came into the care of the resort's Marine Centre on 7th June 2023 after a local fisherman spotted it wandering close to the property and brought it to the attention of the team. An examination at the Marine Centre revealed that it was suffering from chronic debilitation, severe dehydration, and malnutrition.

"Our team immediately started Gaya's treatment plan which included a series of antibiotics and saline drips over a period of 30 days, together with multivitamins and a dietary programme,” explains resident marine biologist, Scott Mayback. "There was a major improvement in Gaya's digestive tract and its appetite slowly improved over time, with a steady increase in body mass from 4.4kg to 5kg after one month.”  

Almost four months later, Gaya reached its ideal weight of 7kg and the team decided it was fit enough to be released back into the ocean.

Coral Reef Restoration
Corals cover less than 0.1% of the ocean floor,  yet they provide a home to more than 25% of all marine species. Rising ocean temperatures and human impacts are putting the world’s coral reefs in danger – half of all tropical reefs have disappeared in the last century. The Gaya Island Marine Centre’s coral nursery plays a vital part in the restoration process.

In an initiative run in collaboration with the NGO Reef Check Malaysia, the 1,000 litre nursery establishes an artificial environment to aquaculture coral fragments that will be returned to the sea to help rejuvenate and enhance the natural reefs.

Conservation through Education
The Marine Centre’s educational programme provides engaging opportunities for resort guests and staff to further their appreciation of conservation. There are daily conservation talks, and guests are encouraged to get involved in future external outreach programmes as volunteers or sponsors. The marine centre also provides outreach to the local fishing communities by training the fishermen to use less harmful fishing practices, educating them on the benefits of conservation and implementing a recycling programme to reduce floating debris.

Scott is the first Resident Marine Biologist to be posted in the YTL Hotels group and believes tourism and conservation can go hand in hand. “In my time here, the conversation team has rescued 29 turtles, conducted experimental coral planting, mangrove planting, and sea grass planting,” he says. “Without tourism it is not as economically viable to conduct conservation works as without tourism money coming into people of all walks of life, they may not have the incentive to protect the environment.

“We also educate our guests on what we are doing and why. We don't simply take people into the reef without teaching them how to preserve it, or into the mangrove without teaching them the importance of the habitat. Instead, we offer a variety of conservation-based activities such as coral planting and mangrove planting. Hopefully in the future we can start a conversation fund for guests who wish to stay involved from home.”

Diverse wildlife Gaya Island Resort Holiday to Singapore and Malaysia Borneo 2024 Luxury stay

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