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Showing posts with label Romantic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romantic. Show all posts

Penang or Langkawi? (By Stuart McDonald)

You’re traipsing through Peninsular Malaysia and have time for just one west coast island and the two most frequently considered are Penang and Langkawi — but which should it be? In an ideal world we’d say stretch your leave form for another week and visit both, but if you really only have time for one, here’s our take on which you should go for.

Are you a beach bum?

If you’re primarily looking for slow time spent lazing on a beach, with some afternoon watersports and the occasional cocktail thrown in, then Langkawi wins hands down. It has, by far, the better beaches of the two islands. Plus it is surrounded by a cluster of other smaller islands that can be visited on day snorkelling and diving trips. Even without leaving the main island there are plenty of beaches to choose from — from Cenang to the more isolated and almost lovely Tanjung Rhu.

This is not Penang

Penang’s beaches on the other hand are really quite ordinary. Batu Ferringhi is seriously overrated and while there are a few other strips of sand on the island, Penang just isn’t in the same league as Langkawi when it comes to beaches.

Langkawi 1; Penang 0.

Are you a food lover?

What’s the point of having great beaches if there’s nowhere decent to eat? Penang, and in particular Georgetown with its strong Chinese influence, excels when it comes to food. We can’t recall ever having an ordinary meal here (never ever have the guesthouse breakfast!) which isn’t something we can say for Langkawi. Georgetown boasts fantastic street food and there are also excellent Georgetown food walks and cooking classes that the culinarily inclined will want to savour.

This is not Langkawi

Langkawi’s food scene is far more a meld of Malay and tourist fare — and none of it done especially well. We’re not saying you won’t have a decent meal here — you will — it’s just that it’s as likely to be a pizza at a beachfront bar as a steaming plate of street food.

Langkawi 1; Penang 1.

Are you a culture vulture?

Langkawi’s history is wrapped in legend and mystery — of which today there is precious little evidence. Skull Sand beach isn’t littered with skulls — though the sand is nice. Langkawi was the first part of Southeast Asia to rise from the sea (some 500,000,000 years ago) but, well, there’s just a big (and impressive) mountain today.
This is also not Langkawi

Penang, on the other hand, is a living museum, with a rich culture you can observe and, to an extent in Georgetown, participate in. While it fights an ongoing battle with culturally challenged developers who’d seemingly like to demolish and concrete over half the old city, the heart of this area is an intriguing area to explore — and that’s before we even get to the real museums. Langkawi has some museums, but Penang wins this race.

Langkawi 1; Penang 2.

Are you an outdoor enthusiast?

When it comes to outdoor pursuits — be it mangrove exploring, jungle trekking, waterfall hiking, snorkelling, diving or even banana boating, Langkawi wins on all counts. Langkawi’s cable car  is simply breathtaking and we’d say that alone makes Langkawi worth visiting.

This is not Penang

Penang has its botanical and spice gardens and Penang Hill of course, but it is not an outdoor enthusiast’s playground.

Langkawi 2; Penang 2.

Are you a honeymooner?

Ahh, this is a difficult call. Both islands have terrific upper-end properties that would ideally fit with a romantic honeymoon. In Georgetown, Love Lane  remains one of our favourites, while for a more resort style hideaway, the Datai on Langkawi’s rugged jungly north coast delivers the goods. For those looking for a more affordable romantic spell, both islands also have options that fit the bill. We’ve covered some of our favourite places to stay in Georgetown here and Langkawi has plenty of comfortable flashpacker options. We’ll call this a draw.

Love Lane: So lovely we wanted to get married again just to stay here.

Langkawi 3; Penang 3.

Are you a budget traveller?

We think that Langkawi unfairly has a “package tourist resort” reputation, when in practice it’s no more resorty than any other popular island in Southeast Asia. That said, if you’re on a tight budget, Penang is where it is at — it boasts cheaper rooms, cheaper food and it’s cheap to get around on. Langkawi costs a little more in almost all respects, but as it is a duty free island, you can pick up some mighty affordable booze. If you’re on a tight budget we’d say visit Penang and save your pennies for a beach fix on the Perhentians (season allowing).

Langkawi 2; Penang 3.

In summary
Overall, the decision really depends on you and what your priorities are. Or just make the whole thing easier and prolong your stay by another week!

By Stuart McDonald

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Langkawi Malaysia (By Melanie)

02 Mar

After our single day and night in Sitiawan with our dear friend Philip, we headed to Langkawi Island. Only it was a bad time to travel, especially from Sitiawan, a predominantly Chinese town. Chinese new year had just ended and everyone had gone home to be with their families for this holiday. So now everyone was now traveling out of Sitiawan back to where they came from – work, school, or whatever. So we were unable to get a bus directly to where we needed to go, Kuala Perlis. Long story short, a trip that should have taken about 4 hours, ended up taking us 12 hours.

We had to first get a bus from Sitiawan to Butterworth, then another bus to Alor Setar. From there the ferry terminal, Kuala Kedah, was not very far away, but of course it took us over an hour on two local buses to get there. Once there, we were told the next ferry would be arriving in 45 minutes. It didn’t show up. We waited almost 2 hours more before it showed up. The ferry was huge (500 person capacity) and the seats were recycled airplane seats. Pretty funny. Also they were BLASTING the a/c and it was so cold. Luckily I had the blanket I had ‘borrowed’ from my Delta flight to keep warm. Once we arrived to Langkawi Island we were able to find 4 other tourists to share a taxi van with to the beach where all the tourists go, which is pretty far from the ferry. So it only cost us $2 each instead of a lot more.

We went directly to Hotel Amani, where Heidi and I had stayed in the Summer of 2011 when we were there. Only this time the price was 45 MYR. $15. Double what we paid in 2011. Way too much. However I was exhausted so I said we’d just stay one night and find something cheaper in the morning. Next morning we went to every other guesthouse on the beach and none were cheaper so we just stayed at Amani, even though our room was really crappy and didn’t even have a sink!!! Prices seem to have risen a great deal since I was there last, so we only stayed 4 nights/3 days.

Our first day we just hung out on the beach all day, it was a hot day and the water was cool. We laid in the shade because the sun was so hot. Hussein met a Moroccan guy when he was hanging out in the water and we ended up hanging out with him and his Chinese friend, a girl named “Jingle”, that night. Hussein was happy to have met someone he could speak Arabic with.

laying on the beach in the shade

our beach, Cenang beach, as seen from the water

Our second day we didn’t do much of anything again, just went to the beach again and lazed around, and hung out with the Moroccan guy (I forgot his name already) and Jingle again in the evening.

The only cheap food options on this beach were Indian restaurants so we were eating a lot of Indian food, but I’m not complaining, it was really good.

Our third and last day, February 19th, we decided to go rent a motorbike and ride around the island to some other beaches and a waterfall. I drove the first 5 minutes but felt too uneasy with Hussein on the back so I let him drive the rest of the day. We rode out to a beach, Pantai Kok, on the northwest side of the island, but the sand on the bottom in the water was really squishy and slimey feeling, probably something to do with all the pine trees on the beach, so we didn’t go swimming there, Hussein was too grossed out by the feel of the sand. We just had lunch there and laid in the shade and took a nap for a while then walked around and took some photos. 
The beach with the icky squishy sand bottom

Next we rode over to the Cable Car, which unfortunately had the sky bridge closed, so there was no point to really go up as it was kind of expensive.We bought a map of the island there though since we kept getting lost, and rode over to a waterfall called Durian Perangin where we went swimming in nice cold refreshing water. However after we got out of the water we noticed a big ‘HEALTH RISK’ sign posted on a tree, warning that the water may have bacteria, parasites, etc. Luckily nothing happened to us.
Durian Perangin waterfall, where we went swimming

the sign we saw after swimming..oops

a very broken bridge near the waterfall leading nowhere

We headed back to our beach after that and rode down to the other end of the beach to eat at a different Indian restaurant and then returned the bike. The next morning we got up early to get a taxi back to Kuah to get the first ferry of the morning and head to Cameron Highlands

By Melanie 

10 Romantic Luxury Resorts in Malaysia (By Ashley Yeen)

Leading a fast-paced city life can be exciting, but what we often neglect is not only our own need to relax, but also our partner’s need for intimacy. When we recently asked a number of young, career-focused couples if they’ve been on a romantic holiday recently, a lot of them answered in the negative, and the main reason for it was the lack of time to organize one.

We’ve put our heads together and decided that there shouldn’t be an excuse not to enjoy a break and re-ignite the fire of romance with your loved one, so we’ve cooked up a list of the best romantic resorts we love in Malaysia. You’ll have no problems with long flights or foreign languages – just choose a resort you like, book a room, and ta-da, start packing for an intimate getaway with your man!

1.Four Seasons Langkawi Malaysia (5 Star)

One of the most luxurious villas on Langkawi island, the Four Seasons Langkawi is surrounded by a tropical rainforest and dramatic cliffs. Explore the entire island or enjoy an intimate barbeque by the beach as the sun sets. For something even more luxurious, bathe in the villa’s exclusive celadon soaking tub.
Address: Jalan Tanjung Rhu, 07000, Langkawi Malaysia
Phone: 04-9508888

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2. Eastern and Oriental Hotel, Penang (5 Star)

The E&O Hotel is well-known in Penang as it eludes the grand elegance of the British Colonial era. It was also named one of Penang’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Located in Georgetown, you will enjoy great sea views during the day and then simply walk over to Penang’s famous clubs right opposite the hotel at Upper Penang Road at night.
Address: 10, Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang
Phone: 04-2222000

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3. The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Ipoh, Perak (5 Star)

If you love to get close with Mother Nature, Hotel Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat offers the best experience nestled in the lush tropical rainforest. Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner in Pomelo Restaurant with nourishing cuisine and fine wines in the cellar carved out of limestone. Embrace the company of each other in a dazzling plunge pool, outdoor rainshower and sunken Jacuzzi with geometrical hot springs water.
Address: 3, Persiaran Lagun Sunway, 31150, Ipoh, Perak.
Phone: 05-2107777

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4. Pangkor Laut Resort, Pangkor Island (5 Star)

This is the only hotel located on Pangkor Laut Island. It has been rated one of the best local honeymoon getaways on numerous travel articles as both of you can enjoy romantic moments sitting by the private beach, or pamper yourselves with a luxurious fine dining experience. Their specially designed huts and pavilions all feature private balconies or courtyards, and most bathrooms open out to the rainforest.
Address: Pangkor Laut, 32200 Perak.
Phone: 05-6991100

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5. Gaya Island Resort, Kota Kinabalu (5 Star)

If you wish to have both luxury and nature on your holiday, this could be your choice. The beautifully located resort is set on an island that’ll promise serenity and breath-taking views of beautiful tropical plants and of the ocean. Spend  intimate moments with your loved one in spacious bedrooms with oversized bathtubs and two vanity units, or laze around on the outdoor verandah with day beds.
Address:  Malohom Bay, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Phone: 03 27831000 / 018 9391100

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6. Lone Pine Hotel, Penang (5- Stars)

The E&O Group promises to bring their guests to the highest level of excitement by offering them the most luxurious and relaxed environments. Lone Pine Hotel is designed to combine British colonial elements with contemporary touches. Dine in tranquility by the beach and listen to the sound of nature while sipping fine wines with your loved one.
Address: 97, Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang.
Phone: 04-8868686

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7. Carcosa Seri Negara, Kuala Lumpur (5 Stars)

If you want a romantic, colonial feel that’s right in the middle of Klang Valley, then book a weekend at Carcosa Seri Negara. In the 1900s, it used to house the Governor of the Straits Settlements as well as other prominent guests of the Malay Federation. Each suite in this hotel is not only spacious, but is also distinctive from each other to give its guests a luxuriously unique experience. Fans of colonial films like ‘Anna and the King’ will truly appreciate the interior of Carcosa Seri Negara and its beautiful manicured gardens.
Address: Jalan Kebun Bunga, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: 03 2295 0888

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8. The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort (5 Star)

One of the most private locations in Redang, The Taaras is a bespoke beach residence that is known for its luxury and hospitality. We recommend trying Taaras’ exclusive twinning package which combines both ocean adventures and seaside relaxation for couples who want the best of island stays. If green rainforests and beautiful blue waters aren’t convincing enough, then these highlights about The Taaras will: oversized beds with hand-picked linens and fabrics. spa bathtubs overlooking the bay, sixteen meter infinity pool…need we say more?
Address: Pulau Redang, 20928, Redang Island
Phone: 09-6308888

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9. Tanjong Jara Resort, Kuala Terengganu (4 Star)

This idyllic beachside property blends both contemporary luxury and old-world Malaysian warmth. You’ll feel as if you had travelled back in time to the olden days of Malay kings when you’re at Tanjong Jara, as it’s designed to reflect the elegance of 17th century Malay palaces. The rooms overlook either tropical landscaped gardens or panoramic views of the South China Sea and are furnished in local timber and luxurious fabrics. Activities are numerous here, from unique cooking lessons, jungle trekking, reef explorations to river cruises. You can also pamper your body at the Spa Village Tanjong Jara, where they offer programs for relaxation, reinvigoration and stress relief.
Address: Batu 8, Off Jalan Dungun, 23000 Kuala Terenganu
Phone (Reservation): 03-27831000

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10. Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi (5 Star)

The boutique resort is located on the northern tip of Langkawi, surrounded by tall palm trees and enormous outdoor swimming pools. Spanning over 2.5km of white sandy beach, the rooms here exude an Asian-Eastern influence, decorated with with upholstery and drapes in Thai silk and Indian cotton fabrics. For an unforgettable romantic experience, arrange for a special private dinner on the beach where a private butler will spoil you with champagne and mouthwatering barbeque selections. At the moment, they’re undergoing some renovations for service upgrade purposes until December 2013. However, if you don’t really mind some renovation noise, the hotel management will offer complimentary activities such as nature walks, fish and eagle spotting. More information on special rates during Tanjung Rhu’s refurbishment period, go here
Address: Mukim Ayer Hangat, Pulau Langkawi, 07000, Langkawi
Phone: 04-959 1033

Ashley Yeen

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Top 10 Romantic Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur (by Genevieve Nunis)

Finding the perfect romantic place to dine can be quite a tedious task. On top of finding the right food, ambience, location and setting plays an important role in finding the perfect place to both express your love and excitement for your loved one. Being romantics ourselves, we’ve scouted and picked these ten restaurants that happen to be the best romantic spots to wine and dine with your loved one!

1. Bijan Bar and Restaurant

3, Jalan Ceylon,Kuala Lumpur | 03-2031 3575

Nestled away in the quiet part of Kuala Lumpur, lies the Bijan Bar & Restaurant that offers fine Malay cuisine. The cosy and warm atmosphere is the perfect romantic location, with its combination of rustic batik decor and subdued lighting.

2. La Vie en Rose

39, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur | 03-2078 3883 
If you’re looking for Parisienne chic dining, head to La Vie En Rose. It’s a classy and intimate establishment that captures the lush greenery of the Bukit Nanas forest reserve against the bright lights of the KL’s skyscrapers. Set in a bungalow, the decor is light, fun and flirty.

3. The Hill

23, Lorong Dungun, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur | 016-229 1505 
For a casual, relaxed approach for a romantic night out, The Hill could just be the best choice for you. Set in the breezy Damansara Heights, you can choose to sit by the bar, in the beer garden, or get a place by the balcony in the lounge just one floor above to get a romantic view of Kuala Lumpur, or catch the sunset.

4. Marini’s on 57

Level 57, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur | 03-2161 2880 or 03-2161 4880. Situated on the 57th floor of the Petronas Tower, this fine dining restaurant not only gives you brilliant ambience. The combination of a candle-light dinner, with a gorgeous view of the KL skyline will only set hearts of fire.

5. LaFite, Shangri-La

Lobby level, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur | 03-2074 3900. If you want the finest spot place to be spoiled, then head to Lafite in Shangri-La. Voted as the Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Time Out KL Food Awards in both 2009 and 2010, Lafite offers fine French cuisine while giving you the chance to experience a romantic ambience.

6. Rama V

5, Jalan U Thant, 55000 Kuala Lumpur | 03-2143 2663. 

For authentic Thai cuisine, head to Rama V Thai Restaurant. Set amongst a lovely pool of lotus blossoms, Rama V will offer delicious food with serene, exotic ambience. Choose a private chalet for you and your loved one, or simply dine and let the food feed both your eyes and your belly!

7. The Warehouse

198, Jalan Tun HS Lee, 50000 Kuala Lumpur | 03-2022 0528. If fine-dining isn’t something for you two lovebirds and you’re looking for something quirkier, then head to The Warehouse. Housed in a former textile warehouse in Chinatown, indulge in delicious coffee and pair it with a delicious steak.

8. La Risata, Ampang

16, Persiaran Ampang, 55000 Kuala Lumpur | 03-4252 6269. If you love Italian food, followed by a relaxed cozy ambience with an old-fashioned charmed, then La Risata in Ampang could be the perfect choice. Serving authentic Italian cuisine like wood-fired pizzas to delicious pastas, you can drink it down with an aperitif from the bar or choose from their extensive wine list.

9. Boardwalk, Hilton KL
Boardwalk, Hilton KL, 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur | 03-2264 2592
In the heart of Kuala Lumpur, lies an oasis surrounded by palm trees and a pool of crystal clear water. Bask in a romantic view of the KL skyline amidst a relaxed ambience with candles and the sound of lapping water.

10. Bistro a Table

6 Jalan 17/54, 46400 Petaling Jaya | 03 7931 2831. If you’d like to dine outside of the city, the head to a classic French bistro called Bistro a Table in Petaling Jaya. With an ever changing menu, you can enjoy modern French cuisine with a chic Parisienne feel.

Genevieve Nunis

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