Langkawi… ahhh. I had never heard of it before beginning research for this trip, but apparently it’s “Malaysia’s best-known holiday destination” according to Lonely Planet, and now I can see why. Seb’s request for this vacation, well, besides being somewhere developed, was that we would find a place to spend several days in a row doing nothing but relaxing beside a beach. This was the kind of place I hoped he’d had in mind. We just had to rush through the first several stops to get here.
We splurged on the resort, paying an exorbitant amount we’ve never had the luxury to do before – and may not again, who knows. We figure while we have a company travel budget, let’s use it. By the end of our month, of course, we had gone way over that amount, but hey – we would have spent money on our own vacation without that travel budget anyway.
So we found ourselves at The Datai, the last resort reachable by road, nestled away inside the rain forest. It was a breathtaking spot. It felt like we were the only ones there (we weren’t), because everything was small, personal, intimate. We could not afford the private villas, but the regular rooms were absolutely fine by us. Beautiful decor, excellent service, and out-of-this-world food. The resort had four restaurants, and we never found ourselves wishing for more choices. In fact there just weren’t enough meals in the day to take full advantage of this deliciousness!
Our favorite: The Pavilion, specializing in Thai food and ambience. The restaurant was basically a treehouse; it sat on stilts overhanging the rain forest. The only thing better than being inside it was looking at it from a distance, all lit up at night.
The Gulai House, specializing in Malaysian cuisine. This was a cute little house all privately tucked away in the forest; you had to wander down the beach and trek through the forest just a bit to get there. (Well, you could hire a driver too, but we felt that was cheating.) Outside the restaurant was a bucket of water and wooden ladle so you could wash the sand off your feet, a Malaysian custom before entering someone’s home. We showed up for the weekly “Nusantara” set menu; not sure we’ve ever seen so much food before. Everything was excellent, but we were most surprised by how delicious oxtail soup could be. My favorite was the black rice pudding for dessert.
The “check-in desk”, with that Asian hospitality we’re really starting to get used to.
The lobby includes a lotus garden and I never did figure out what was the deal with these horses.
Our room: Zen-like simplicity.
Monkeys! The hotel has trained their guests well; the monkeys hardly noticed we were there.
The only problem with being in a rain forest? The rain. We didn’t see much sun, but that didn’t stop us from hanging out at the beach or the pool.
The beach was carpeted with sand bubbler crabs, who would all dart back inside their holes as soon as we approached.
A few more photos of this beautiful place.
Four days of R&R – boy, we needed it. Wish we could linger even longer in Langkawi. But tomorrow we’re starting our next adventure: 15 days in Thailand!