“We’re all going on a summer holiday. No more working for a week or two…” Some of you may remember these famous lines from Sir Cliff Richard’s hit song ‘Summer Holiday’. While the song talks about going on a holiday during summer to enjoy the sun and sea, here in Malaysia where it’s sunny all year round, every day is a summer holiday! So if you’re making plans to #TravelLater and go on a well-deserved vacation after the world has fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia should definitely be the first in your bucket-list of #JourneysToCome.
That said, here are two splendidly exquisite beachside locations in Malaysia that we were fortunate to be invited by Tourism Malaysia to experience, and that you must visit once all is back to normal:
Built on the edges of a 300-acre private island three miles off the coast of Lumut, Perak, Pangkor Laut Resort is a quiet luxury resort once voted “Number One” by Condé Nast Traveller and declared a paradise by the late Luciano Pavarotti, one of the greatest tenors of all time. We were greeted upon arrival by a stunning view of the resort’s beautiful architecture set against a backdrop of an ancient forest and glistening tropical water.
Here, one can choose from five types of villa or their Pavarotti Suite, depending on one’s preference. But for the ultimate luxury and privacy, Pangkor Laut Resort’s eight Estates offer bungalow bedrooms, outdoor jacuzzi, private pool, living & dining pavilions, and even a private butler. Our plush 71sqm Spanish hacienda style Garden Villa was no less grand and came with a large open en-suite bathroom, oversized outdoor bathtub and an outdoor porch, among others.
Breakfast at Pangkor Laut Resort was something else entirely. Excellent menu aside, the real treat was to have the resort’s resident Oriental Pied Hornbill come join us for breakfast. A pair of them landed on a tree within an arm’s reach of our table, and it was quite a special moment.
While the beach in front of Pangkor Laut Resort is not for swimming due to the presence of jellyfish, Emerald Bay on the other side of the island welcomes you with its white sandy beach and glistening azure water. This scenic beach is perfect for a swim or to soak up the sun and is ideal for both couples and families. Before returning to your room in the evening, head to Pangkor Laut Resort’s laid-back Chapman’s Bar on the beach for a wonderful meal while the golden sun slowly sets over the horizon.
While there’s plenty to do on the island resort, including spa, Pangkor Island Excursion, jungle trekking and cruises, just being at Pangkor Laut Resort is truly a rewarding experience in itself.
About 200km away in Batu Ferringhi, Penang lies Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa. It’s a stunning beach resort combining modern design and traditional elements, like it’s regal Minangkabau style roof. The 304-room property is set amidst vast manicured tropical gardens, with giant century-old rain trees taking prominence.
Our Premier King room at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa’s Rasa Wing presented us the opportunity to experience first-class accommodation and treatment. The superbly lavish room featured a living room, large bathroom with multiple showers, a balcony with daybed and private soaking tub, and complimentary items in the minibar. Guests at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa’s Rasa Wing also have access to facilities all throughout the resort, including the Garden Wing, among other perks. Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa has direct access to the beach, where you can go for a swim or a leisurely stroll.
If you’re up for a bit of excitement, you may even opt for activities like parasailing and banana boat. Golf by the beach, tennis or maybe a game of volleyball? Those are available too at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa. But if you’re just looking to chill, relaxing on the sun lounger or at the resort’s Pinang Bar & Restaurant seems idyllic. It’s also the perfect venue from which to take in the sunset.
Head downtown and go on a city tour to discover Georgetown’s well-preserved heritage, see its famous street art, and taste some of Penang’s signature street food like Laksa Penang and Penang Char Kway Teow. Save some space for dessert. Penang’s cendol is recommended. But here’s a little secret; Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa has one of the best cendols in all of Penang. Even Malaysia’s favourite celebrity chef, Chef Wan agrees.
Having experienced these two splendid beach resorts was a real privilege. If you’re planning to #TravelLater to Malaysia, these should definitely be in your #JourneysToCome bucket list.