Everything was great
I have dealt with your firm for many, many years. I can pick up the phone, pass Keely Papworth the information and she does all the hard work sorting my travel plans (normally last minute as my life is hectic). Tis takes the sting out of planning for me. Through the years I have built a rapport, and have 100% trust and confidence as I’ve NEVER been let down. This is “customer service” done right.
Robert organised everything for a special birthday present for my husband. I gave an idea of which hotels and places we'd like to visit and Robert came back with amazing itinerary and price. Kept up to date on every aspect even when away. Service and support is outstanding and highly recommend using DialAFlight.
Callum in particular excelled; thanks for everything.
So easy to book, always helpful. Took the stress out of two recent long-distance journeys abroad. Thanks DialAFlight!
You take the stress out of finding flights.
As always you make it very easy to plan holidays and multi flight trips at competitive prices. Will carry on using you to book flights
Hotels in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were great and in very good locations and all flights were on time. Everything worked out perfectly
Our holiday was excellent - thank you for your assistance throughout.
The Lounge at Birmingham we had access to was awful; also, Turkish Airlines need to get their act sorted out in regard to boarding both at Birmingham and Istanbul - chaos. Don't know if you are aware that Turkish Airlines Business Class offer 2 free nights stay in Istanbul (a good selling point)
Fantastic recommendations on hotels and structure of flights. Really happy with our holiday and we will use you again.
As usual Stacey was fantastic. Another unforgettable holiday!
As always the trip was exciting but very challenging in places. The guide was excellent, patient, supportive and very knowledgeable.
Loved the keeping in touch to make sure everything was OK. Excellent service
Bruce has arranged my flights and many of my customers coming to Asia over many years. Always very good communication, alternative suggestions. Solely because of Bruce and his excellent attitude and help I have not searched for cheaper flights which I know are available.
Lucas always does an amazing job - thanks again
An accomplished travel company which puts the client's interest at the forefront of everything it does. Thank you Calvin. I will certainly do business with you again.
Everything worked like clockwork
Molly Smith who arranged my tickets was thorough and helpful throughout the process.
You are the best - that’s why we keep coming back for all our holiday needs.
We were really pleased with Calvin's service and also with the help received when it seemed there was a problem with getting our flight from Chiang Mai.
Overall our flights and holiday were excellent. The arrangements for transfers put into place by DialAFlight took place without a hitch and the drivers were professional. The only change I would have made was our hotel in Kuala Lumpur. The Ritz Carlton is very much in the business district of the city and consequently taxis were needed to visit the various places of interest. Whilst taxis are very inexpensive in KL the traffic is congested most of the time! However, an excellent holiday and we will be booking again with DialAFlight
Flights ran very smoothly, thanks again especially Ash
Excellent service. Manny goes the extra mile!
We have used DialAFlight and never ever had any problems, which is why we recommend them to friends and family. Staff are professional, helpful, friendful and knowledgeable - thank you, and here's to the next one!
There is a medical insurance required by the Qatari government for all foreign tourists which we were unaware of and caused a delay: 5o Riyals per passenger. They did not accept our Amex Insurance cover. Another money making scheme!
Our holiday was fantastic. The hotel Daniel Webb chose for us was amazing and I can’t thank him enough for arranging our flights, transfer and hotel. I’m definitely recommending DAF to all my friends and relations and will continue to use for all my future travel plans.
Excellent advice and all hotels and flights fabulous. We always use DialAFlight and highly recommend to friends.
Very happy with the service
Good efficient service with the knowledge that DialAFlight are always there should anything go wrong.
The morning’s topic of conversation has turned to the strangler fig. The parasite in question stands there tall, defiant, wrapping its sinuous energy around the ironwood tree which has found itself the choking focus of its attention.
Five yards away, Irshad Mobarak breathes deeply and prepares to play devil’s advocate. 'In the business world, this would be fully understood,' he muses, arm extended, tracing the long shape of the arboreal aggressor to his left. 'Just think of it as a hostile takeover.'
A powerfully built man, well over 6ft, he says these words with a composure that is impressive for two reasons. The first is that, directly behind him, a five-star resort swimming pool shines in the 10am daylight, the sun-worshippers around its fringes listening as they lie on loungers. The second is that one of Britain’s most fabled botanists is his main partner in this discourse. David Bellamy nods quietly as Mobarak speaks. He knows this stuff, of course – but he's happy to hear it from a fellow expert.
'The strangler fig has a terrible image problem,' Mobarak continues. 'It can take up to half a century to kill its host. Yet it has a positive effect. It only picks on trees which are past their best, which are going to die. The death brings nutrients and renewal which benefit the surrounding ecosystem.'
This might seem an odd topic for just after breakfast on a warm Friday in a luxury hotel. But then, the Datai is no ordinary hideaway. It is slotted into thick foliage on the north-west corner of Pulau Langkawi - the tropical island in the north-west corner of Malaysia.
This is Bellamy's second visit to the Datai, having stayed 13 years ago when he was a speaker on conservation at the 2002 Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference (Apeco). The two men forged an immediate connection – and Mobarak was meeting his hero.
'I grew up watching David on television,' he grins. 'I was weaned on his shows. When I was nine, my father asked me what I wanted to be. I recall pointing at the TV and saying "I want to be like him". His enthusiasm was infectious.'
Now 82, Bellamy still looks at nature around him with a fascinated eye and the jungle still holds great allure for him.
He is staying at the Datai with Rosemary, his wife of 55 years. Mobarak has been The Datai’s resident nature expert since it opened in 1993. The resort revels in creature comforts – 125 rooms, villas and suites; a small spa near the beach of powdery white sand; four enticing restaurants, including The Dining Room, where miso-glazed black cod is served under the tutelage of executive chef Richard Millar; and the Naga Pelangi, a grand wooden schooner, anchored and ready to take guests on genteel cruises in search of orangeade sunsets.
Mobarak's nature walks are popular and informative. An evening amble with the Bellamys has barely started before Mobarak spots a local character. The colugo is an odd beast – a winged mammal which seems to be a close relation of the bat, but is nearer in genetics to the primate clan.
Camouflaged against a tree trunk, she suddenly - Mobarak can even tell the gender - switches from stillness to motion, racing up the bark before spreading her wings and gliding some 50ft down to the next cluster of branches. 'I’ve only ever seen these animals in books,' Bellamy admits, with a broad smile.
On verdant Langkawi there are options for exploration further afield.
Mobarak joins the Bellamys for a voyage along the Kilim River, chattering with his childhood hero about the cycads – fern-like plants so old that dinosaurs used to eat them – that hang on the rock walls here, and the crab-eating macaques which dart down to the water to grab crustaceans. Above, a pair of white-bellied sea eagles swoop and soar.
The day’s crowning episode is saved for last. Gunung Raya rears up at the heart of Langkawi – a 2,890ft granite bluff, 204 million years old. Its peak is a fine spot from which to watch the sun go down, when some of its bird population are at their most active.
And so it proves, midway up the mountain. Mobarak calls the car to a halt and beckons its passengers on to the roadside verge. A group of great hornbills – brightly exotic birds, with extravagantly curved bills, common and colourful inhabitants of the Malaysian heavens – has gathered in the canopy.
As the light starts to slip, they take off one by one from their perches, floating without any perceptible effort across to a meranti tree with ripe fruit. There they dine amid a whoosh of wings as the entire flock flutters in.
On the ground, the two naturalists stare at the scene in raptures.
First published in the Mail Online - January 2016
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