It’s winter: let’s go get some sun in Malaysia!

With little time to decide and prices going crazy, my desire to take a break at the beginning of winter and before the end of the year holidays came up against the realities of the market. Finally it is in Malaysia that I will spend a very pleasant fortnight.

Here is the logic behind this trip, one third vacation, one third mileage run, one third mattress run with a little bonus gift at the end of the article.

The choice of the destination

To be honest I would say that the destination chose me more than I chose it. Not that I don’t like Malaysia, on the contrary, but given the context it was more a pragmatic choice by elimination.

I had only one goal, to find a destination with a mild climate, ideally one that I didn’t know, ideally far enough away to start my Star Alliance requalification period the right way and stay there long enough to finish my Marriott qualification period in style.

And as it has been the case for the last year, some professional constraints prevent me from projecting myself too much: I could only look with some certainty in terms of dates 3 weeks before the departure. Knowing that it is already much too short to have good prices and that moreover the prices in question are becoming crazy since several months I was not going to seek the best price but the least unaffordable.

Argentina, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand…after sleepless nights running simulations, I finally chose Malaysia and it’s a place I really like.

The choice of the airline and flights

As you might have guessed I didn’t really choose the airline but in all the simulations I did I ended up choosing the airline/destination combination that suited me best.

No matter the destination, in the list I gave you, it is difficult to find a business class ticket for less than 7000€ departing Paris. I might as well tell you that at this price I stay in Paris.

In addition, so close to the start, the fares I find sometimes disappear after half a day and the few plans I identified before confirming my dates are dead. I even had some good plans in First and Business identified a few weeks before, so all my preparatory work could be thrown in the trash.

So I searched, as it often happens at the end of my preparation process, not for the best flights for a destination but for the best destination from a selection of departure cities where I usually find good market fares.

Not surprisingly I find Thai Airways to go just about anywhere in Asia but after having flown them for my recent vacation in Australia not only do I want to see something else, but their product has not made me want to repeat the experience unless I can’t do otherwise.

Finally I find Singapore Airlines departing from Copenhagen. Not to go to Singapore, much too expensive, but to go to Thailand, Malaysia or anywhere else as long as the fact of having to make a connection in Singapore makes the flight less competitive than a direct flight and thus forces the airline to charge more attractive prices. Finally it will be Malaysia (and yes, going to Kuala Lumpur via Singapore is cheaper than just going to Singapore).

Now it’s time to see if I can further refine the fare by trying an alternative airport and it works. I still manage to reduce the bill with a departure from Gothenburg. It’s exactly the same flights as from Copenhagen except that adding a Gothenburg-Copenhagen to the routing lowers the price by a few hundred euros.

Finally I got a Gothenburg-Copenhagen-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur at 3200 euros in business class on Singapore Airlines. I never thought I’d write this but it’s a great deal in the current context (7500 departing from Paris). At least for this price I have one of the two best airlines in the world.

Business class cabin on the Singapore Airlines A350

I crush a tear thinking about the time when you could find Singapore Airlines in business class between Stockholm and Sydney for 2100, about the Gothenburg-Sydney booked at 2000 euros 3 years ago and cancelled by the COVID…. Those days are over and expensive air tickets are here to stay.

Once there I will spend my time between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. I want to rest, I’m starting to get the full use of my leg back, but I’m not going to do anything crazy.

To reach Gothenburg I will take Lufthansa and for domestic flights in Malaysia it will be Malaysia Airlines, which is not a complicated choice for lack of credible competition.

Last point: between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur I will have the opportunity to discover the 737 MAX 8 and its cabin and on the way back to the pleasure of an A350 on a flight of barely an hour.

The choice of hotels

If I want to validate my Titanium status at Marriott, I will make my choice in the hotels of the group.

As for choosing a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, I will try to take a hotel that neither Olivier nor I have tried before. Bye-bye to Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur, the St Regis Kuala Lumpur, the W Kuala Lumpur ….

I will spend one night at the arrival before reaching Langkawi and will choose the Ritz Carlton. Why ? During Olivier’s latest stay, the W staff advised him not to go there, so I figured if I’m going to take a risk, it might as well be just for one night before leaving. While returning from Langkawi I will go to the JW Marriott, a chain which never disappoints us and of which we still have in mind our excellent stays at the JW Marriott Singapore.

View from my room at the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

In Langkawi, normally I would have spent at least a few days at the Andaman, a haven of peace where I like to relax. Unfortunately the hotel went up in flames during COVID and is not scheduled to reopen until late 2023. I will learn once there that it will certainly never reopen, or not in this form.

Beach @ Andaman Langkawi
The beach of Andaman in Langkawi

I start with the idea of testing two hotels. I will start with the Westin, then I would have liked to return to the St Regis Langkawi but since I wanted something new I will opt for the recent Ritz Carlton.

One of the pools of the Ritz Carlton Langkawi

As for finding a hotel in Gothenburg and since my favorite channels are almost absent I will spend a night in one of the many Scandic of the city (a discovery) on the outbound trip and return to the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Gothenburg spend a night on my return trip.

The Spa at Radisson Blu Scandinavia Gothenburg

Why ? My departure flight is very early and I have to arrive the day before. As for the return trip, I took advantage of the fact that I was there to see my friends and I chose the Radisson because of its superb Spa, which is very tempting after a night on the plane!

Tourism on the spot

Those who followed the articles about my vacations in Australia know that a problem with a nerve in my leg handicaps me a bit even if in 4 months my physiotherapist did miracles and the discomfort almost disappeared. But there is no question of overdoing it. In Langkawi, it will be a rest and in Kuala Lumpur a few walks but not enough to write a real travel diary.

I had already visited Kuala from top to bottom a little less than 10 years ago and to do it again to write articles worthy of the name on the subject will have to wait for a next trip.


This trip had no gastronomic vocation and I will rely mainly on the restaurants of the hotels where I will stay. A bit out of laziness too.

I will however add three restaurants. Kaifo in Gothenburg, an Asian fusion restaurant for a dinner with friends, Cilantro in Kuala to test a local gastronomic table and 28+ on the way back in Gothenburg to continue my discovery of local starred restaurants. I thought that if I was going to finish on a high note after a business trip on Singapore Airlines and a visit to the Radisson Blu Spa, I might as well add a gastronomic meal before returning to France just in time for Christmas Eve.

A little regret to end

If I had known that I would not be able to join my Christmas Eve party, the SNCF going to cancel my train because of strikes, what I will discover by a text message when I arrive at Roissy, I would have postponed everything by one week, spent Christmas in the sun and paid a little less for my plane ticket.

The bonus gift

If you followed my adventures with TAP who lost a suitcase and still refuses to compensate me (case still in progress one year later) know that in this trip my luggae will be delayed twice. Will the situation be better managed than by TAP or will I have to get a new wardrobe on the spot?

The answer in the related articles!

The routing

Finally, this leads to the following program and articles

Review #TypePost
#1DiaryGenesis of a trip to Malaysia
#2HotelMoxy Roissy CDG
#3FlightParis-Frankfurt, Lufthansa Business Class
#4LoungePanorama lounge, Frankfurt
#5FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg, Lufthansa Business Class
#6HotelScandic Rubinen, Gothenburg
#7RestaurantKaifo, Gothenburg
#8LoungeSAS Lounge, Gothenburg
#9FlightGothenburg-Copenhagen, SAS, SAS Plus
#10LoungeSAS Gold Lounge, Copenhagen
#11FlightCopenhagen-Singapore, Singapore Airlines, Business Class
#12FlightSingapore-Kuala Lumpur, Singapore Airlines, Business Class
#13HotelRitz Carlton Kuala Lumpur
#14LoungeGolden Lounge Domestic, Malaysia Airlines, Kuala Lumpur
#15FlightKuala Lumpur-Langkawi, Malaysia Airlines, Business Class
#16HotelThe Westin Langkawi
#17HotelThe Ritz Carlton Langkawi
#18LoungePlaza Premium Lounge Langkawi
#19FlightLangkawi-Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines, Business Class
#20HotelJW Marriott Kuala Lumpur
#21RestaurantCilantro, Kuala Lumpur
#22LoungePlaza Premium Lounge, Kuala Lumpur (Satellite terminal, international flights)
#23FlightKuala Lumpur-Singapore, Singapore Airlines Business Class
#24LoungeSingapore Airlines Krisflyer Lounge, Singapour T3
#25FlightSingapore-Copenhagen, Singapore Airlines Business Class
#26FlightCopenhagen-Gothenburg, SAS, SAS Plus
#27HotelRadisson Blu Scandinavia, Gothenburg
#28Restaurant28+ Gothenburg
#29FlightGothenburg-Munich, Lufthansa Business Class
#30LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, Munich T2 satellite
#31FlightMunich-Paris, Lufthansa Business Class
#32DiaryDebriefing the trip

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrin
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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