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A Spa-cation in Pangkor Laut (Malaysia)

It was the ‘no reason except because I love my husband’ vacation! Aditya had been working around the clock and I felt he needed a break! 3 days of spa, pampering, massages and doing nothing I was sure he’d be back to his handsome, happy self in no time! So I knew he’d cheer up with a SPA-cation ( spa vacation!)

That’s why I chose Pangkor Laut Resort! I decided to kidnap my husband and take him to a resort I’d had my eye on for a long time! Off the coast of Malaysia,this  privately owned island located three miles off the West Coast of Malaysia along the Straits of Malacca and is entirely a luxury resort.

From Singapore you must take the budget airline Firefly (the only one which flies to Ipoh) then take a 90 minute luxury car ride to Lumut and then a 30 minute boat ride…! The island arranges for fabulous transport and your spa experience starts literally from the car itself with warm towels, reading materials, snacks and calming music…you are almost immediately transported!! I know that by the end of these transfers you must wonder whether it is actually with it! And it is! Nestled in the glorious lap of natural beauty Pangkor Laut resort is an unmissable experience!

Because Aditya really needed to relax and unwind, I signed us up for the spa package. The Spa bungalows were water bungalows located in the spa section. The bungalows perfectly balanced on stilts above the water provided privacy and incredible romance. The spa section was all about quiet luxury,  private pools and easy access to the spa and all it’s amenities! The spa package ensured that we’d have at least one massage every day lasting over 3 hours….now that may seem a lot to some but the spa package was uber fun (even for a non-spa person like me!). After you had a cup of aromatic green tea, the routine started!

First you had your feet scrubbed. then you wade thru chilly water and rushed through a running stream only to come out on the other side and be assaulted by incredible aromas of fresh spices. Then you bathed Japanese style sitting on stools and pouring mug fulls of water on yourself. Only then did you finally enter the massage area where each day you’d go thru a different massage technique used to calm stress, revitalize you or just to rid toxins from you!

Post the massage you’d have a quick wash and jump into the private pool…and you’re ready to take on the world or just sleep in the sun the way holidays were meant for!

Five restaurants and two bars serving everything from continental, to Malaysian, fresh fish and fabulous sushi- the choices are endless. The island is huge so you pretty much phone for a pick up when you want to travel! This is fun cos we’d end up walking to the shuttle stop post a massage and then taking a nice , romantic walk back to our rooms post a wonderful dinner!

There are lots of wild animals on the island and don’t be surprised if you see a bunch of monkeys fighting over the housekeeping cart or running away with a pack of biscuits left unattended!

I also booked us an exclusive private 5 course dinner at the Emerald Beach named because of the Emerald waters surrounding it! The dinner was calm, romantic and pretty darn amazing!

Running in the wind with your feet in the sea and your head in the clouds…sometimes that’s what vacations are meant to be… an incredible dream that you never wanna wake up from!

The Wonders of Kangaroo Island aka My Best Vacay ever (thus far)

Writing about memorable anniversaries would be incomplete without writing about my Anniversary last year where we did a spectacular tour of Australia. Most notable among the places we visited was Kangaroo Island native name Karta or Island of the Dead! Not a particularly exciting name, I really wasn’t initially looking forward to this particular leg of our trip! The hotel we were staying in was called Southern Ocean Lodge , another cause for serious concern. In India you NEVER stay in a Lodge….I mean it’s not even a hotel or a Guest House. A lodge here is a surefire recipe for YECH! I put up a fight but was too bogged down with work to really work on getting my way….A good thing I didn’t….This turned out to be my most memorable vacation ever and my favourite place in the world thus far!

To get to Kingscote, the only airport on Kangaroo Island you need to take a flight from Adelaide. The flight is barely 30 minutes and though you have a seat belt sign and an announcement saying you may move/ switch on electrical equipment when the sign goes off- it never really does go off and barely have you reached a cruising altitude you are on your way down.

The airport is small and basic and we were greeted by a car from the Lodge. The drive to the Lodge takes about 45 minutes but it often takes longer as you see Kangaroos crossing, wallabies in the middle of the road and ever so often and eagle swooping down and sitting poised in the centre of the road. This was where I first fell in love with the island. The island is straight out of a novel. With narrow roads ,shaded by beautiful, think, green foliage your car moves slowly towards an unknown destination. You see very few cars, several animals and have just a driver to keep you company as he explains the history behind the island. The drive reminded me of all the Agatha Christie novels I had read and suddenly I was more than intrigued to see our final destination!

The Southern Ocean Lodge is TRULY SPECTACULAR. Almost like a diamond placed on the edge of a cliff, when you walk in you are suddenly struck by the quiet fabulousness of the Hotel. It is beauty at its most natural best! The lobby has fabulous ceiling to floor windows which overlook the sea and the entire hotel is perfectly placed at the edge of a cliff. All of only 21 luxe suites the Lodge looks after each guest like they are family and our check in was warm and comfortable. It was like I was coming home!

And what a home! The rooms are spacious and large. Each room overlooks the sea and has the same huge bay windows as the lobby. When you book at Southern Ocean Lodge, you book ALL INCLUSIVE Luxury stays and the tasty treats included in our room were a delicious welcome!

All Inclusive has always been another thing that worried me. What if the tastes were different? What if the chef wasn’t good? How do you know you like the food? And are you paying too much extra for meals you may not even have!? These questions were unnecessary. The food at SOL is made from the finest local produce and from fresh salads to fresh cheeses and the tastiest of sea food; every imaginable choice was given to us! The chef at the Lodge is remarkable and every meal was a gastronomical delight! Also the special snacks that were in our room daily including the fabulous chocolates and brownies, ensured I’d never be able to look at food the same way again!

SOL organises itineraries for each guest and these are remarkably comprehensive and great fun to do! Right at the start of our stay we were given a personal itinerary and every day was packed with nature walks, trips and more Exclusive experiences! The trip to Seal Bay was easily my favourite. Being an animal lover, or even if you are not–watching seals in their natural habitat with their big brown eyes and floppy feet was the best way to spend a morning! Watching a baby cry to find his mother and then watching 4 mothers rush over was funny, delightful and so so touching!

The other must do trip is the Wonders of Kangaroo Island trip. A 4 hour trip , you get to see the Remarkable rocks, more seals and even spot some fabulous koalas in their natural habitat! A photographer’s dream, this is an exceptional tour! I’m not one for 4 hour tours but here I made the exception and I’m so delighted I did!

The Kangaroos and Canapés is another wonderful way to spend the evening. Watching tens of wild kangaroos graze, stare and even box each other while we drank champagne and ate some fabulous food was a perfect end to a day at SOL!

The evenings have cocktails at the fire place and it was fun to meet with fellow guests, discuss sightings and tours and just generally bond! With such few guests and staff who address you by name every time it’s like joining a new family or just extending yours!

The suite we booked didn’t have a TV and the phone connections were terrible, at best! But cut off from the rest of the world, I have never felt so at peace and oddly enough so connected! I talked. I listened. I saw. I experience. I touched. I felt. I came alive!

My greatest trip ever!

 

Best Times To Travel-: October thru to March when the weather is a lil less chilly… tho honestly I would return ANY DAY, EVERY DAY IF I COULD!

Costs-: EXPENSIVE! $ 3000+ for 3 nights with all the experiences thrown in…! Kangaroos, wallabies, canapies… and a once in a lifetime vacation…!Worth it! YES!

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