ISLE OF PLENTY

Es­cape city life for mo­ji­tos on the beach, a villa over the ocean, buf­fet break­fasts and an un­sur­passed spa

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - MOVIES -

THERE’S some­thing to be said for tak­ing a hol­i­day where you can post pho­tos to In­sta­gram with barely a fil­ter and still wit­ness the dig­i­tal steam bil­low­ing from friends’ ears via a green-tinged com­ment or two. Not that this was my first pri­or­ity when I booked my trip to Pangkor Laut in Malaysia, a pri­vately owned is­land 1.5km off the west coast of penin­su­lar Malaysia, but it was a sat­is­fy­ing bonus.

For a few weeks pre-trip, I made sure any­one who hap­pened to ap­proach my desk to chat was coralled into view­ing a small bom­bard­ment of im­ages from Google of the YTL Ho­tels Pangkor Laut Re­sort, where I would be check­ing in come count­down’s end.

Let’s be hon­est, there’s noth­ing like a good hol­i­day brag. No­body re­ally cares about some­one else’s hol­i­day snaps un­less they in­duce a good old-fash­ioned mea­sure of jeal­ousy, and the In­sta­gram-wor­thi­ness of this spot did not let me down.

In case you are now won­der­ing at my lack of hu­mil­ity… there was a mo­ment when I was hum­bled.

It lasted at least a good cou­ple of min­utes, you’ll be glad to know, as we ar­rived via speed­boat and the first glimpse of the is­land re­sort ca­ressed my reti­nas. A short-lived breath­less mo­ment, be­fore I whipped my phone out for the first time with the de­vi­ous in­ten­tions men­tioned above. Judge me if you can hon­estly say you wouldn’t do the same.

We’re talk­ing tiny lit­tle rip­ples play­ing across the sur­face of blue wa­ter, which joins the edge of the quin­tes­sen­tial white sandy bay, punc­tu­ated only by tech­ni­colour bursts of trop­i­cal fo­liage. Yep, this is the is­land that dreams are made of and cam­eras were made for, my friends.

You step off that boat and into the arms of lux­ury. An ice-cold towel is of­fered for you to pre­tend to be gen­teel as you dab del­i­cately at your face, and a pretty pinkhued juice is taken as you walk to­ward your check-in point.

But let me scoot you on past that ini­tial de­tail to the Sea Vil­las – the sig­na­ture Pangkor Laut ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tion and your pri­or­ity num­ber one for In­sta­gram.

These tim­ber huts sit stilted above sea level, so pic­turesque you al­most weep upon see­ing them for the first time with your own eyes. Al­though they are grouped in vil­lages of sorts, they are cer­tainly sep­a­rate enough that you have your own tran­quil space and are po­si­tioned so you can’t see your neigh­bours from your bal­cony (per­fect for a cheeky nude sun­bake, no?) or from your bath­room… which brings me to my next point.

No sooner had I stripped down and jumped un­der the fall of the rain shower than I dis­cov­ered, to my fas­ci­na­tion, that the large case­ment win­dows in front of the bath, could be swung out­ward com­pletely, leav­ing noth­ing be­tween your rudely nude bod and na­ture it­self.

Af­ter feel­ing a lit­tle shy at first (what if a fish­er­man drifts past?), I quickly got into the swing of this un­fa­mil­iar state of bathing and the nat­u­ral world and the nat­u­ral I got ac­quainted. I’m still un­sure why this was one of my favourite parts of the trip – some­thing to do with the calm­ing pic­ture of seren­ity out­side as you dream­ily go about your ablu­tions. That’s how I’m jus­ti­fy­ing it so far.

Now, I had a very clear mis­sion here. My aim was to clad my­self in a bikini and get my back­side en­sconced on a sun lounger, with a mo­jito in hand, as quickly as hu­manly pos­si­ble. And make no bones about it, I am a woman who typ­i­cally achieves what she wants. That day was no ex­cep­tion.

Given, the mis­sion was never go­ing to be dif­fi­cult with two pool­side spots I could choose, where no sooner had I dis­creetly slurped the last of my cock­tail than a smil­ing staff mem­ber would ap­pear to help me con­quer my next.

My top ad­vice for those look­ing to fol­low my lead in terms of “leisure” ac­tiv­i­ties would be to stick to the spir­its and beer – wine is gen­er­ally more ex­pen­sive and com­ing from SA, I know you are a dis­cern­ing cus­tomer – keep it for din­ner and choose well.

The usual slew of is­land-rel­e­vant ac­i­tiv­i­ties is, of course, avail­able. If you’re not one of those people who en­joys ly­ing around “tak­ing the sun” and read­ing for hours on end (se­ri­ously: I talk about those people as if I don’t know them be­cause, truth be told, we were never go­ing to end up friends) then you ain’t gonna be bored.

There’s fish­ing, wa­ter sports, cruises on yachts, sail­ing boats and teak­wood Ori­en­tal junks. There’s golf, jog­ging trails and hik­ing trails all over the is­lands (there is noth­ing else be­sides the re­sort

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