The lush greenery and nature activities at The Datai will make you feel brand new. Living in a concrete jungle like Singapore with deadlines and to-do lists aplenty, a resort like The Datai in Langkawi Malaysia may be exactly what the doctor ordered for your frazzled soul.
Nestled in 10 million-year-old rainforest and overlooking the Datai Bay, awarded by National Geographic as one of the top 10 beaches in the world, the location of The Datai is a balm for weary, computer-strained eyes. For a nature lover like me, this was my idea of heaven on earth. The 21-year-old resort boasts old world charm with traditional Malay architecture that blends luxe with rustic expertly. My villa reminded me of a high-end kampung complete with modern amenities like an iPod filled with a diverse choice of music and high-speed Internet Wi-fi. I chose to avoid all electronics and opted to watch a family of Dusky Leaf monkeys feeding outside my balcony and let myself be lulled to sleep every night by the calming sounds of nature instead.
The icing on the cake for me was the nature walk with renowned naturalist, Irshad Morborak. His stories of love, sex, conflict and tragedy in the animal and plant kingdom can rival any Korean drama. He also covered Darwinism, parasitism, mutualism, commensalism, ecosim and evolution during his 90-minute walk, and I could feel my IQ increasing as he spoke. I was not the only fan and he had many other “fans” amongst my group – some who return year after year to “walk” with him. There is also a marine biologist onsite who will take guests on beach walks. If you prefer the sea, you must take a sunset cruise on the magnificent Naga Pelangi, a traditional 97-feet junk schooner and enjoy the wind in your hair on the Andaman Sea. I was privileged to play my virgin golf game at The Els Club Teluk Datai, awarded the “World’s Best New Golf Course” by Golf Awards, which is a short five minute drive away. No trip is complete without a visit to the spa and The Datai Spa specialises in traditional Malay treatments using native ingredients. Their signature treatment, Tungku Batu, which means “heart of stone” – is an ancient heated stone treatment used by Malay healers to reduce pain and increase blood circulation.
Meals were a culinary delight: Apart from the usual breakfast spread of international cuisine, there was roti cannai station, with fluffy and crispy flatbread made on the spot and served piping hot. I enjoyed an innovative fusion Western dinner at The Dining Room with dishes like an Asian lobster salad and foie gras chawanmushi. For traditional Malay fare, The Gulai House, set amidst the forest – complete with Silat performance, made for an entertaining night. The Pavilion, another dining spot, offered exquisite Thai fare and you may even get to dine with their resident monkeys if you’re lucky!
The Datai truly checks all the boxes for a wonderful holiday – nature, great food, stellar service and wonderful new experiences. No wonder they have a “Returnist” club – guests who return year after year, some even made friends at the resort and arrange to meet each other yearly! I left the resort being more present and with a deeper awareness and understanding of what’s around me. Let’s hope this feeling stays with me for as long as possible!
The Datai Langkawi, Jalan Teluk Datai, 07000 Langkawi Kedah, Malaysia, www.thedatai.com
Written by Pearlin Siow.
Looking for a getaway like this but further afield? Read our review of Lush Island Living in the Maldives.