Batu Caves

Honeymoon diary: Magical Malaysia

Laura Dean-Osgood and new husband Graham discover the sun-soaked shores and bustling best of this Southeast Asian land

It’s the first night of our honeymoon when my new husband, sunset cocktail in hand, says something quite out of character. “Let’s get up to watch the sun rise tomorrow morning!” he grins.

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Coming from a man who has always avoided early mornings at all costs, this takes me quite by surprise. I think it’s taken him by surprise, too. We have been on the Malaysian island of Langkawi for less than a day, but the prospect of missing a single minute of tomorrow is too much to bear. As my night-owl husband happily sets his alarm for 6.30am, it’s clear our magical surroundings have cast quite a spell.

A Rainforest Villa with pool offering views into the trees

A Rainforest Villa with pool offering views into the trees

Rainforest retreat

We’ve begun our trip at the Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, which sits at the edge of the rainforest, on the west coast of the island. With stunning natural beauty and wildlife all around, plus luxury accommodation, restaurants and an overwater spa, it is the epitome of honeymoon perfection.

We haven’t even left the resort and we have seen monkeys (lots of them), tropical birds, eagles and monitor lizards. We’ve reclined in sun-soaked bliss, dined like royalty, taken a rainforest trek and paddled in the crystal-clear waters on the private beach. After a delicious dinner at the Horizon restaurant (the only place to watch the sun set), we’re happily exhausted, and retreat to our beautiful suite.

The luxury suites are perfect for relaxation
The luxury suites are perfect for relaxation

On cue, early the next morning, we sit up in bed and hit the “blinds up” button on our bedside control panel. We watch as the sky slowly turns from black to brilliant blue, via several shades of pink. As we slide open our terrace door, we’re hit by the warmth of the day, and the unmistakable chirping and chattering of the forest.

Each morning starts with a breakfast buffet like no other. We sit on the Langkawi Kitchen’s veranda, looking out for giant squirrels and docile dusky leaf monkeys, while we feast on Malay, Thai and Indian curries with beautiful fresh rotis. We help ourselves to colourful tropical fruit and freshly squeezed juices, and find room for indulgent breakfast desserts – we are on honeymoon, after all.

You'll spot dusky leaf monkeys throughout the resort
You’ll spot dusky leaf monkeys throughout the resort

Island adventure

After two days of resort-based relaxation, including a 90-minute couple’s massage, swimming in the freshwater infinity pools and grazing at The Beach Grill, we hire a car to explore our surroundings. It only takes around 30 minutes to get from west to east by car, so we head out most mornings for a spot of thrill seeking, and get back in time for lazy afternoons and beach walks as the sun sets.

First on our adventure agenda is the island’s famous Sky Bridge, accessed by cable car. With a gondola to ourselves, we soar above the forest-covered mountains and up to the bridge, which is suspended in the hills, more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The panoramic views over Langkawi and the surrounding islands are just beautiful.

Visit the Skybridge for incredible views over the rainforest and surrounding islands
Visit the Sky Bridge for incredible views over the rainforest and surrounding islands

The next morning, we head to Kilim Geoforest Park, where ancient limestone formations meet the Kilim river and mangrove swamps. We’ve booked a boat trip with JungleWalla, an environmentally focused tour company, who will be showing us this natural wonder. Our small vessel takes us up the narrow waterways that run between the miles of dense mangrove bush. It just feels so incredibly wild. We pass monkeys cooling off in the water, and are even accompanied by a pod of dolphins as we head back via the sea.

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Visit the Island of the Pregnant Maiden lake on a jet ski tour
Take in Island of the Pregnant Maiden Lake on a jet-ski tour

On our final day, we step up the adrenalin levels with a jet-ski tour of some of Langkawi’s 99 outlying islands. I cling on to my husband as our guide leads us across the open water, stopping off at tiny tropical islands. It’s scary at first, and then so much fun, and is a truly perfect way to end the first leg of our trip.

City heat

Kuala Lumpur is only an hour’s flight from Langkawi, and before we know it we’ve landed in Malaysia’s bustling capital city. Our air-conditioned taxi whizzes us to our next stop, the Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur.

We arrive just in time for the hotel’s famed afternoon tea. The sophisticated Art-Deco interiors and huge central chandelier make it the perfect setting to enjoy tea and scones. No wonder it’s become a mecca for Instagrammers in search of the perfectly styled selfie.

Perfectly styled afternoon tea at Ritz-Carlton KL
Perfectly styled afternoon tea at Ritz-Carlton KL

The hotel is ideally located for exploring the city. The bright lights of the Golden Triangle district are mere metres away, with shops, bars, restaurants and markets to explore. And some of the city’s key sights, including the Petronas Towers, can be reached on foot. When we’re out walking, we’re sure to make frequent stops for iced coffees and fresh coconut ice cream served straight from the fruit itself – the temperature is pushing 36 degrees.

The iconic Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
The iconic Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

We spend the first evening exploring the night markets and bars, and taking in the views from sky-high KL Tower. The next day, we take a taxi out of town to Batu Caves – a colourful collection of Hindu temples housed in ancient caves – and make a stop at the shopping district of Brickfields, or Little India, which is vibrant, noisy and lots of fun.

There’s a wonderful mix of cultures in the city, with Malay, Chinese and Indian influences all around. This makes for some delicious and varied dining options. Having tried tasty Indian street food at lunch, we opt for dinner at the hotel’s award-winning Cantonese, Li Yen. After all that walking, we’ve certainly worked up an appetite and feast on an eight-course menu featuring the most delicious dim sum.

The colourful Batu Caves are around 40 minutes outside the city centre
The colourful Batu Caves are around 40 minutes outside the city centre

On our last night, we have dinner at The Library, where, surrounded by books, we are wowed by the Asian-European menu. In the romantic low lighting, we reminisce about our trip of a lifetime, while the resident string quartet plays pretty renditions of our favourite songs.

Go there!

Inspiring Travel Company offers seven nights at The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi from £1,349 pp based on two adults sharing a Rainforest Deluxe room on a B&B basis, including return economy flights and private transfers*, 01244 435 027, inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk. Deluxe Rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur are from £270 pp pn. *Price includes stay seven, pay five offer, 15% discount and is based on 8 October 2019 departure, valid for travel completed by 22 December 2019

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