Determined not to leave this post as long as the wedding one, it’s taken only 4 weeks since we arrived back from our honeymoon to sift through all our photos and start putting a few words together!
We started planning this trip almost as long ago as we started thinking about what we might do for our wedding, and settled on Malaysia as a place new to both of us (or nearly new, at least – B. had been to a 3-day conference in KL but had mostly only seen the inside of her hotel!) that had the promise of an adventure as well as some luxury. And it delivered on both counts!
We spent the first half of our time away on Pulau Langkawi, a small island in an archipelago of 104 islands near Thailand. It has a couple of little towns, a comparatively large airport in the centre of the island, and quite an array of resorts along the coasts. We stayed at the Berjaya Langkawi, in Burau Bay, and despite being new to the resort experience, we got into the swing of things pretty quickly!
Our room was a self-contained chalet in the rainforest, just a 2 minute walk to the main buildings. They also had shuttles like enlarged golf carts that spent the entire day (and night, probably!) shuttling people around the resort – so we never had to walk back up to our chalet! There were 5 restaurants on site, and 3 bars – one in the pool! – and other facilities like the games room, large pool area, shop and water activities. Our favourite was the Beach Restaurant, unoriginally but aptly named, with stunning views and food we could both eat. We also booked a table at the very popular ‘floating’ Thai restaurant and watched the sunset as we listened to two Malaysian men singing Spanish songs to the accompaniment of their guitars. The breakfast buffet was something to marvel at – and could have sustained a small army for several days! S.’s dad, always a breakfast aficionado, had a wee video made just for him.
As Langkawi is a UNESCO World Geopark, we wanted to see and appreciate as much of the area’s natural beauty as possible. We saw plenty of it around the resort itself, but also made a special trip to Oriental Village to go up the cable car and across the sky bridge. Fortunately, we picked a clear day to go up, as the views were phenomenal, and the weather closed in for the remaining days after that. We took advantage of the rain to treat ourselves to Traditional Herbal Heat massages at the wonderful Ishan Spa on the other side of the island (only a 25 minute drive). We had one of those this-is-just-what-I-imagined moments, catching each other’s eye half way through the massage, feeling very relaxed and floaty and fragrant from the muslin bag of traditional fresh herbs and roots poultice that were steamed and gently pressed onto our bodies. Bliss!
The following morning, we took off for a change of scene and pace in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Our hotel here was right in the centre of the action, on Jalan Bukit Bintang, near the famous Lot 10 and Pavilion malls. We certainly embraced our inner shoppers with uncharacteristic enthusiasm while here! We visited many of the malls, having a very good day at MidValley MegaMall in particular, and also making the trip out to IKEA in the next town. Our favourite place to eat was the Heritage Food Village at Lot 10 – unfortunately breakfast at the Piccolo Hotel consisted of very limited Starbucks vouchers… Luckily for our bank balance, B. had also researched many cultural sites to visit in the city. Central Market with its traditional handcrafts and Jamek Mosque, the oldest in KL, were highlights, as were the temples and little shops in Chinatown (but not the night market on Petaling Street – full of crappy knock-off branded gear).
After ten full days of sights and sounds and experiences, we packed our bags (all 5 of them!) and returned to New Zealand, very content that we’d managed a luxurious adventure – the perfect honeymoon for us!