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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / beach holiday

Earlier last month we went for a short weekend getaway at one of the most prestigious resorts in the country at The Datai Langkawi. This is a review of hotel from my personal experience.

Located at the North Western corner at Langkawi island, the Datai is set within an ancient virgin rainforest, overlooking the Andaman Sea.

map of The Datai Langkawi

We arrived at the Langkawi International airport and was greeted by the driver arranged by the hotel. The journey from LGK took approximately half an hour, and we were given cold tower and chilled bottled water for the journey to freshen up from the one hour flight from KL.

Since the hotel is pretty far from town and other attractions, I initially thought that we were going to be missing the opportunity to hop around the island a bit. As it turned out, we didn’t think we missed anything at all, staying at the hotel was such a pleasant experience that for the first time, I understand why people would want to got o a resort, spend a few days and totally not go anywhere else.

main entrance, The Datai Langkawi
main entrance, The Datai Langkawi

This is the main entrance at the Datai Langkawi. Going through the receptions, past the water lily pond is the lobby lounge area. Cocktails and snacks are served here, and at night, a live band.

The lobby lounge is reserved for guests over the age of 12 only, which is something you don’t think about often, but the lack of screaming babies and 5 year olds that can’t stop running everywhere is quite a bliss.

there are DVDs you can pick up, very good selection of titles
there are DVDs you can pick up, very good selection of titles

By the receptions area there’s a shop that offers a selection of souvenirs, but more importantly, they also have a very good collection of DVD titles for guests to loan and watch in the room.

We finally watched Citizen Kane for the first time thanks tot The Datai and isn’t ashamed to admit it. Yah, the movie was as good as they said, maybe I should try to watch Gone With The Wind next?

adult only main pool and the grand stairs case to the beach
adult only main pool and the grand stairs case to the beach

Just below the lobby lounge is the breakfast dining area and one of the two main swimming pools at the resort. Like the lobby lounge, this pool is for guests over 12 year old only, families are welcomed to use the other pool by another pool closer to the beach area.

the architecture is uniquely Malaysian and blends in with nature
the architecture is uniquely Malaysian and blends in with nature

The Datai Langkawi spans over 70 acres of land, with the main building situated at the side of the hill and many other smaller buildings, including various types of villas, the Beach Club, Gulai House, the spa, and another pool dotted between it and the private beach.

You can take a scenic walk to get from one point to the other, or call for buggy service, we did plenty of both on our 3D2N stay.

The architecture is uniquely Malaysian, with villas on stilts, furniture and structures made from wood, atap, and other traditional material in a blend of modern & old school design within the rain forest. I find it very beautiful.

our room at The Datai, overlooking lush greenery
our room at The Datai, overlooking lush greenery

Our deluxe room has a king sized bed with some of the most comfortable pillows and comforters I’ve lay my butt on, a day bed in front of the balcony overlooking the lush greenery, an LCD TV, a working desk, and a tea table with another two arm chairs.

There’s no putting your access cards to activate the power sort of nonsense. The electricity and air conditioning is always on unless you decided to switch it off.

the bathroom, and minibar complete with Lavazza coffee machine
the bathroom, and minibar complete with Lavazza coffee machine

The room also comes with a pretty huge bath tub in which we had bubble bath in (sorry no photos to show for that, obviously), two basin, a very well stocked mini bar, and best of all – a Lavazza coffee machine.

There’s also a fruit basket on the tea table, and we’re advised to not leave the balcony door open lest those pesky monkeys come in a wreck havoc. When you’re that close to nature, I guess that’s part of the charm.

the private beach, with catamaran for hire too
the private beach, with catamaran for hire too

The beach is Datai Langkawi is one of the longest private beach on the island. Without any motorized water sports, it is also very quiet and relaxing, all you hear is waves, wind making wind chimes out of tree leaves, and the occasional chirping of birds.

While the water isn’t exactly crystal clear, it is pretty clean with visibility of perhaps 2-3 feet. We swam and rowed the resort provided canoe around a bit. If you’re a bit more adventurous, there’s catamaran with guide for rent as well. At the end, we decided to chill on those long beach chairs and sip on some chilled drinks instead. I can do this everyday.

nature walk around the resort, we even spotted a wild boar family in another occasion
nature walk around the resort, we even spotted a wild boar family in another occasion

The one time we ventured a little bit out of the resort was during the guided nature walk on the second day. Along with about a dozen other guests from Russia, Europe, Japan, Australia and such, we went around a bit to spot the wild life around the resort.

During the one hour or so walk, we spotted a couple types of hornbills, a few species of other birds, two different types of monkeys, giant caterpillar, monitor lizards, and more. We were also lucky enough to have met a family of wild boars crossing the road while on buggy too. They were too cute!

this is the beach villa at The Datai, 475 sq. meters of awesomeness
this is the beach villa at The Datai, 218 sq. meters of awesomeness

We also visited other suites and villas at The Datai. The premium room, corner & end suites, pool villa, and the superior villas were all very nice, but the beach villa, now that’s what living a high life is all about.

The beach villa takes up 218 square meter, or over 2,346 square feet, has a room with the bed over looking a 10 meter private pool and an entertainment & dining area on the side with a direct access to the beach. On top of that, there’s a walk in wardrobe, beautiful marble bath tub, a rain shower, and an outdoor waterfall shower too. The two room beach villa is 475 square meter.

It is as luxurious as it gets, elegant, secluded, and definitely beautiful.

our engagement on the last day at The Datai, a trip to remember
our engagement on the last day at The Datai, a trip to remember

Just prior to departure from The Datai, on the 4th of August, 2013, I finally proposed to Haze properly, with the ring and all. I’m happy to report that it was a success and I want to thank Lex & WeiZhi of kampungboycitygal for taking these photos of us.

It was a very sweet moment for us, and we really had fun traveling with you guys over the entire trip too.

Lex, KY, Ardi, Haze, and WeiZhi the Datai Langkawi
Lex, KY, Ardi, Haze, and WeiZhi the Datai Langkawi

Our guide throughout the stay at The Datai was Ardi. A very friendly and supremely helpful chap who kept us entertained with many of his colorful stories. Thank you Ardi, we certainly enjoyed our stay and will surely hope to come back again.

Will talk about the food we had next. 🙂

Address:
The Datai Langkawi
Jalan Datai, Teluk Datai,
07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Tel:+60 4-959 2500
Web: www.dataihotels.com
FB: The Datai Langkawi
Reservation: reservationsdatailangkawi@dataihotels.com

Earlier last month we did a small road trip to the South. Our ultimate destination was the concert of Snow Patrol at Singapore, but since that falls on a Monday night, we took the opportunity to stop by Tioman island for a couple nights over the weekends.

we dived in these four sites around Tioman island
we dived in these four sites around Tioman island

In Malaysia, I’ve dived at Tenggol, Redang, Lang Tengah, Aur, Sembilan, and Sipadan, so I thought it’ll be nice to tick Tioman off the list too.

Like Pulau Aur/Dayang, the ferry to Tioman island leaves at Mersing. The ferry stops at 5 different jetties – Genting, Paya, Tekek, ABC (Air Batang), and Salang Bay.

eat, dive, and rock along the beach, what a life
eat, dive, and rock along the beach, what a life

Ferry fare is at RM 35 each way per person, and you need to know where you are supposed to get off. We chose Salang Bay because it’s one of the more diver friendly destinations located at northern side of the island.

The ferry ride took about an hour or so to get to the island, but since Salang Bay is the 5th and final stop, the total time spent on boat was closer to 2 hours. One word of advice: it can get very cold in the ferry, bring a jacket!

(annoyingly, Salang Bay is the first stop on the way back to Mersing, so it’s another 2 hour again…)

this is the boat we dived from, not the most glamourous but it works
this is the boat we dived from, not the most glamourous but it works

Diving at most other islands in Malaysia is usually a packaged affair. You pay a single fee and accommodation, boat transfer, x number of dives, and food are all included.

At Tioman though, it is more like an ala carte menu. Ferry fare is paid separately, you get to choose a dive operator, stay at any chalet/resorts of your choice, and eat at any restaurants/food stalls on the island.

The advantage of this is that it caters to different budgets, and if you’re interested in just chilling at the beach and doing a bit of snorkeling, a 3 day 2 night stay can be had for less than 3-400 bucks. The disadvantages though, is that you need a bit of planning, and don’t get the “pay once and forget about everything” deal like you do at other islands.

yep, that's a useful thread mill
yep, that’s a useful thread mill

After a bit of scouting around online, we decided to go with B&J Diving Center. They are one of the bigger dive operators at both Salang Bay and ABC Beach that will also help book resorts and secure ferry tickets, which makes our job a bit easier.

We did 4 boat dives with them, which comes up to RM 430, and since we were using our own equipment, we got a 20% discount that brought the price to RM 344. The more dives you do, the cheaper it gets. Price list is available on their website.

and a muray eel decided to swim across that blue spotted sting ray
and a muray eel decided to swim across that blue spotted sting ray

As for accommodation, we stayed at Salang Indah Resort (RM 120/weekday – RM 135/weekend). The bed is clean, there’s hot water, but that’s all you can say about the chalet. They didn’t maintain it very well, and I think we will look into other resorts on subsequent visits even though this one is quite close to the dive center.

There are almost 10 resorts at Salang Bay (list of resorts) and prices starts at something like RM 50 for two person if you can live with cold water and no air conditioning.

hawksbill turtle has had enough with divers
hawksbill turtle has had enough with divers

At Salang Bay, or at least with B & J, dive boat departs at the jetty, which is about a good 100 meter walk from the dive center. They do have a cart and your friendly dive masters will load up the equipment and send it over to the boat. However, it does take quite a bit longer to get from dive center to being underwater.

cuttlefish kept saying "you can't see me, you can't see me"
cuttlefish kept saying “you can’t see me, you can’t see me”

Diving at Tioman is best from March till about late June/July where the water is clearest. We did it early August, and on top of that it was full moon – high tide. Hence visibility was pretty terrible. We didn’t manage to see more than 5-10 meters on our dives.

fat garoupa fish decided to sit on top of a coral
fat garoupa fish decided to sit on top of a coral

Our dive sites were Reggis Island, Sayok, Tiger Reef, and Labas, and despite the poor visibility, we did manage to see quite a bit. These are some pretty nice dive sites.

There were plenty of clown fish – we spotted False Percula Clownfish, Tomato Clownfish, and Bright Pink Skunk Clownfish vigorously defending their patch of anemone whenever my camera went close for a Kodak moment.

again, there were plenty of nemo, here's three types of them
again, there were plenty of nemo, here’s three types of them

We also spotted a couple hawksbill turtles, a rather stealthy cuttlefish, garoupa fish, blue spotted stingrays, moray eels, bat fish, angel fish, and barracuda, and a pretty good size reef shark among other reef fish. Would have been able to get better photos if visibility wasn’t so bad.

we had a great time at tioman, I'm sure we'll revisit sometimes
we had a great time at tioman, I’m sure we’ll revisit sometimes

As for B & J, they are pretty decent. We had two different dive masters on our dives and they were pretty professional and attentive to details. The pre-dive briefings were comprehensive, and each DM didn’t have to take care of more than 4-5 divers. Our experience with them was a positive one, and it’s very likely that we dive with them next time around.

I’ll talk about food at Salang Bay some other time. Need another holiday!