When I arrived at the airport in Langkawi, the first thing I notice is the exotic warmth and new and different scents. Already inside the arrival terminal, I am greeted by Yong, a smiling well-dressed young Malaysian guy, he is my private driver and it is his job to drive me from the airport to the hotel.
In the car, which of course has air conditioning, Yong offers me a damp towel to clean my hands after the flight. Almost in the same breath, Yong offers me a refreshing drink. Even before I reach the hotel, I am already beginning to feel relaxed.
During the 35-kilometre trip, Yong tells me a lot about the area’s fascinating history and about the magnificent hotel The Datai. From the car, I can quickly see that I’m moving from a more built-up area, to a much more lush and green area. Langkawi, unlike many other tourist destinations, is not filled with hotels and resorts. The closer we get to the hotel, the more I feel like I’ve arrived in a rainforest.
A hotel in the middle of the jungle
After driving for a while through the lush landscape, a small road goes down on the right, I can slowly make out some buildings among the trees. It doesn’t look like the hotel has destroyed the beautiful scenery, but rather looks like the hotel is one with nature.
When I arrive at the hotel, Yong quickly gets out of the car and is ready to take my luggage and escort me into the lobby. Here I’m greeted by a smiling lady who hands me a glass of nice, cold champagne, then politely shows me the way to the reception. The check-in process itself couldn’t be smoother.
As my luggage is taken to my room, Najihah shows me around the hotel, smiling as she tells me about all the different facilities available to me, but as she can see that I’m a little tired after the long journey, she says with a twinkle in her eye that it’s all in a colorful brochure that I can find in the beach villa.
Stay in pure luxury in Malaysia
Unlike the main building, the villa is almost directly located on the award-winning Datai Bay beach. As I am alone, I have booked their 1 bedroom Beach Villa, but am greeted by 218 square meters of pure luxury. Even though the hotel has 13 of these villas, I feel like I’m the only person on site. My private butler, Hana, shows me around the villa and explains how it all works. As we walk around, I realise that no expense has been spared.
The bedroom itself is like a whole little apartment, the four-poster bed is an integral part of the room, with a headboard that runs from floor to ceiling. To one side of the bedroom, open doors welcome you to my very own private pool. The pool is 10 meters long and is shielded from the other guests so I don’t feel disturbed. From the bedroom, I can walk straight into the bathroom where a unique wellness space greets me. There I find a freestanding white bathtub (behind the shower curtain and shower rod), behind these, doors open up to an outdoor bath with a rain shower.
Langkawi and Malaysia in general are unavoidable stops if you want to experience true backpacking in Southeast Asia.
A trip into the Langkawi jungle
During my stay at The Datai, I decided that in addition to relaxing in my private surroundings, I would also explore nature. So, one morning I decide to join a guided walk through the rainforest surrounding the hotel. My guide is Irshad Mobarak, and together with some assistants, he offers tours to the absolutely amazing nature areas, which are right outside my door. We start close to the hotel and slowly make our way into the dense rainforest.
You quickly forget time and place, Irshad has an amazing knowledge of the forest and knows every plant and animal. There is a group of small monkeys playing around on the branches above us, they don’t seem to be particularly bothered by our presence.
You can immediately feel that you are in a tropical climate, the nature is lush, but at the same time a bit humid, as rain fell the night before.
As we stroll through nature, Irshad often points up to show us some of the animals, some of them are very easy to see because of their colors, while others of the animals almost blend into nature. We pass some beautiful waterfalls where the water rushes past our feet.
After walking for a few hours, we are back at the hotel where Hana my private butler has prepared a cold drink and some snacks. I want to go to bed early, as the next day I have decided that I want to go snorkeling.
Snorkeling on your doorstep
I’ve decided to get up early, while I take a quick shower, Hana prepares my breakfast. You can easily eat at the hotel’s large breakfast buffet, but I’ve asked Hana to prepare my food in the beach villa, as I want to get out snorkeling as soon as possible.
The great thing about staying in one of the beach villas is that you have direct access to the private sandy beach. The beach is filled with the finest sand, but it’s definitely the crystal clear water that attracts my attention, this is where I’m going snorkeling. From the second I stepped into the water, I knew this was going to be a great trip. The sandy bottom and the amazing fish just below the surface make me want to stay in the water all day. Langkawi has amazing reefs full of marine life, so snorkeling or scuba diving is a must-do activity.
After seven great days, it’s time to go back to the busy life, I say goodbye to Hana and get back in the car to drive to the airport. As I sit in the car I get to thinking about some of the things I have experienced, there is no doubt that I will definitely be back.