Review: Rest.Pause Rainforest Retreat @ Janda Baik, Pahang

Happy CNY, everyone! The Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days, so I’m not too late with my wishes! 😛

This year’s celebration was a little different. Instead of the usual balik kampung to Ipoh, the fam rented a bungalow in Janda Baik, Pahang for a 3D2N stay. Tucked among hills and greenery about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, the area is a popular tourist spot for those who like relaxation and nature.

Our accommodation was called Rest.Pause Rainforest Retreat – and it did not disappoint.

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Built on a hill slope, the house was spacious and beautifully designed, with all the comforts of a modern home, surrounded by lush greenery. There was a nicely kept garden at the back with its own fish pond, as well as a natural stream. There was also a caretaker on hand to take care of all our needs during our stay. He lived in a small but immaculately kept house just next to the main building, and kept the fattest chickens I had ever seen.

(Above) Spacious living room, complete with comfy couches, a large-screen TV and a selection of DVDS to watch. Tall wooden sliding doors opened up to the verandah, allowing for plenty of sunlight to filter in. The place was airy and bright.

 

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The dining area where we had most of our meals was outside on the verandah, affording us scenic views of the garden and surrounding jungle. It was lovely especially in the morning when a mist shrouded the trees and there was a cacophony of chirruping crickets and birds.

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Insert obligatory vain photo here.

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Our welcome drinks of sweet and fragrant pandan water.

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They also prepared a gift basket of snacks; peanuts, instant noodles and Mamee.

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There were four rooms in the bungalow – two on the ground floor, and two upstairs. Ideally, the house should fit a maximum of 15 people – we had 25 ._. They were still really accommodating and even prepared extra mattresses and pillows. Some of us slept in hallways and living rooms.

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View of garden from staircase window.

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One of the rooms upstairs. The setup was basic but comfy. The springy mattress wasn’t good but I slept on a thin one on the floor. Super comfy and cooling!

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Room shared with Moo, Pops and the Bro. I like small spaces and tight corners so you can guess which bed I ‘booked’ immediately upon entering the room. 😀

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The thing I liked most ? THEY HAD A MINI LIBRARY!!!! The bookworm in me shrieked with pleasure when I saw the cupboard of volumes just waiting to be flipped and caressed and devoured (figuratively speaking, of course). There were also some board games on the shelves underneath: UNO blocks, congkak, poker cards, Monopoly, chess.

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Picked up a gem of a book called Shantaram; but it was a long novel so I couldn’t finish it within 3 days. 😦

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Venturing out to explore the garden. Caretaker’s house (right).

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View of the bungalow from the garden.

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Bougainvilleas in bloom.

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Dinner on the first night was hotpot. The place had all the facilities we needed, included cutlery and pots – all we had to do was bring the food. It felt really warm and comforting to enjoy hotpot in the cooling weather!

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Breakfast the next morning was prepared by the caretaker and his wife – simple but tasty fare of fried eggs, sausages, toast and beans.

Janda Baik is close to many tourist spots, including Genting Highlands, Bukit Tinggi, Bentong and a couple of waterfalls. I wanted to stay in and read but the fam was bored so we drove up to Genting Highlands. It was my first time playing slot machines at the casin; it might have been beginner’s luck but I won some money – enough to treat the fam to a good lunch.

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Dinner on our second night was BBQ – the caretaker set up the charcoal and stoves for us on the front porch. The aunties also made a killer lap mei farn (rice with waxed meats).

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Breakfast on our final day was fluffy pancakes with honey and butter – washed down with steaming mugs of coffee and refreshing glasses of orange juice.

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I’d highly recommend Rest.Pause to those who love nature, and those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city without driving too far. The Wifi is pretty wonky, which prompts you to tear your eyes away from the screen for awhile, and reconnect with nature, family and friends (in my case, I still had my nose in a book so, shrug). Everything was provided for – kitchen facilities, entertainment such as books / TV, even mosquito repellents and insect cream – so all you have to bring is yourself and the food. Travel is best by car as there is no public transport in the area. Cycling seems popular but I don’t recommend it as the roads are windy and narrow.

A stay at Rest.Pause costs approximately RM1,000 per night.

Bookings: rest-pause.com

REST.PAUSE RAINFOREST RETREAT 

Lot A293, Sum Sum, Jalan Tanarimba Pine, Tanarimba, 27540 Kampung Janda Baik, Pahang

 

Review: 9 Reasons Why Dash Resort Langkawi Is The Beach Holiday Of Your Dreams

Langkawi – the ‘Jewel of Kedah’ of Malaysia –  is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and amazing tropical scenery. While resorts and hotels are a dime a dozen on the island, those looking for the beach holiday of their dreams will find it at Dash Resort Langkawi – a four-star boutique resort that’s quirky, laid back and endlessly fun.

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Part of the Ri-Yaz Group, which also manages the Dash series of hotels in Cyberjaya and Bali, design plays an integral part at Dash Langkawi, with the entire setting inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. True to their tagline ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’, a stay here will take guests on a whimsical journey.

Here are nine reasons why I think you should book a night (or two. or three!) at the resort:

1 ) Insta-worthy shots EVERYWHERE. 

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It is clear from the get-go that this is a hotel designed for the young and young at heart, with Instagram photo opportunities at every turn. Bright, colourful and cheery, the outlandish designs feature everything from oversized furniture to gold-framed portraits of superheroes in Victorian-era costumes. The lobby itself has polished marble floors, soaring pillars, an opulent chandelier and mismatched (but not clashing) sofas, puffy couches and cosy seats.

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CatWoman reimagined. See if you can ‘collect’ photos of all the different superheroes within the resort ! There’s Captain America, Batman, Spiderman and a bonus Chewbacca (it’s pretty hidden).

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The centrepiece of it all ? A giant 9-metre tall blue Dash rabbit, the resort’s mascot.

2) The beach looks FANTASTIC 

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When our group first approached the Beach Club area which faces part of Pantai Cenang, a collective oooh was heard. White cabanas, sun deck complete with glittering DJ booth, endless blue skies over the azure blue waters of the Andaman and soft white sand –  the scene looked more akin to the beaches of Mykonos or Crete in Greece. Who says you need to travel far to experience natural beauty?

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3) The food is pretty awesome. 

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The quirky, fun design extends to the restaurant / bar area, aptly dubbed Dash Beach Club. Instead of buffet-style which is the norm for many resorts/hotels, dishes are ordered ala carte, and are an eclectic mix of East Meets West with flavour influences from around the world. Afternoon fare is more burgers and pasta, while night offers heavier, more substantial meals and local dishes. What you can’t miss is breakfast:

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Nothing like waking up to a gorgeous spread of pancakes and toast, or ham and sausage with a side of mushrooms! The real winner though, is this:

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Eggs Kejriwal. Would honestly travel back just for this. Originally an egg, cheese and toast snack from Mumbai which features grated cheese and green chillies, red onion and cilantro on a piece of toast, Dash’s version switches it up with a crunchy fried filo pastry with crisp layers. Works really well, especially when you cut into the egg and it oozes golden gooey goodness. Not too spicy either!

Fun fact: The Beach Club is open to the public (for a fee) so you don’t necessarily have to be a guest. Still feels plenty exclusive though.

4) Their rooms are spacious and comfy 

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Still with the Alice in Wonderland theme, rooms follow the same quirky concept with fun patterns and unique pieces of furniture. Stayed in a Deluxe Room, with a comfy queen-sized bed, dressing table, TV and a Dash bunny to snuggle with. No bathtubs, but there is a nice shower, a wardrobe with bathrobes + slippers, as well as coffee and tea making facilities.

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5) You can unwind at the spa

What’s a beach holiday without a good massage? Unwind at the Rabbit Hole Spa, which offers a variety of pampering treatments and luxurious pick-me-ups. Granted, the space was a little bare/basic and prices are steep, but I enjoyed my quick 30 minute massage to smoothen out tired knots and muscles.

6) They’ve got an awesome infinity pool + ‘sunken’ cabana area

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The pool has got to be one of the resort’s highlights, as it is right by the beach and looks out to the sea. There’s a pool bar for when you need a drink after the swim, and a cosy ‘sunken’ cabana area right in the middle of the pool, so you’re literally surrounded by water.

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7) You can get (cute) limited edition merchandise

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There’s a shop within the resort called Dashoppe, which sells cute resort-themed merchandise you won’t find elsewhere. There is the blue bunny mascot native to Dash Langkawi, but they also carry the green and red ones from Dash Bali and Cyberjaya. Other items on sale include designer clothing, swimwear, bathrobes, shoes, and souvenirs.

8) The sunset is GORGEOUS 

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One of my favourite things to do at the resort was just sit by the beach at sunset with a cold glass of smoothie and watch the sun set. Nothing like the sight of islands amidst a backdrop of cotton candy sky, listening to the sounds of waves lapping against the shore.

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9) It’s a great place to chill at night 

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Unlike other island places like Phuket in Thailand, Langkawi is pretty quiet at night – so if you’re expecting crazy nightlife with booze and bars, then it’s probably not the place for you. If you want a quiet place to relax, however, it’s perfect. The pool at Dash is not open at night, but guests can still chill on the patio with some drinks and finger food. Occasionally you get local performers putting up a fire show by the beach – just remember to tip them!

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DASH RESORT LANGKAWI

Jalan Teluk Baru, Jalan Pantai Tengah, Mukim Kedawang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah

Phone:+604-955 7171

Website

**Note: I was invited to DASH Resort Langkawi for a hotel review for work. Views here are entirely my own.