The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

The 14 top-tier beach vil­las at The Datai Langkawi are strung in a line mere steps from sand and sea. But what sets apart this bed-to-beach re­treat (see Page 8) is its prox­im­ity to vir­gin rain­for­est es­ti­mated to be 10 mil­lion years old. Guest ac­com­mo­da­tion in all cat­e­gories is sur­rounded by dense fo­liage and crea­tures such as naughty macaques and shy spec­ta­cle-eyed dusky leaf mon­keys scam­per around the es­tate and the great horn­bills her­ald their ar­rival with a tremen­dous beat­ing of wings. Take a but­ter­fly-filled Rain­for­est Awak­en­ing morn­ing walk with res­i­dent nat­u­ral­ist Ir­shad Mo­barak (pic­tured left) or a guided evening ram­ble for en­coun­ters with noc­tur­nal dwellers such as fly­ing le­murs, bats and squir­rels. This re­sort, on the is­land of Langkawi off Malaysia’s north­west coast, even has a spa in­te­grated into the jun­gle with four semi-al­fresco vil­las set be­side a stream and a menu of heal­ing ther­a­pies. Be­yond The Datai, ex­plore more of Langkawi, South­east Asia’s first UNESCO Geop­ark, on ex­cur­sions with re­sort guides, and cruise through a man­grove for­est hemmed by fos­sil-rich lime­stone hills and alive with marine crea­tures and birds. Then back to that lux­ury base camp. More: the­datai.com.

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