Weekend getaway: Tanjong Jara Resort, Terengganu
Bliss out by the beach
There's nothing like a weekend getaway, or these days, a digital detox, to leave you feeling renewed, recharged and ready to take on the world again. While we're spoilt for choice with a variety of great destinations for short breaks, some of the best are found right at our doorstep, with YTL Hotels's Tanjong Jara Resort being one of my personal favourites.
A gem of a beach resort, Tanjong Jara Resort (TJR) is just under a four-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, or a short flight away, should one not be inclined for a scenic road trip. For those who scuba dive, this makes TJR the perfect (and probably the only) luxe option as it's just a 45-minute boat ride to Tenggol Island, part of the Terengganu Marine Park, which is known for its fantastic dive sites. Crystal clear water awaits (read: visibility up 20m and more) and on my last trip there, we spotted a baby eagle ray from our boat, close to shore.
At TJR, the sound of the welcome gong immediately transports you to an oasis of calm, surrounded by palm trees, bordered on one end by a pristine beach and the emerald waters of the South China Sea. Spread across 17 hectares, Tanjong Jara Resort has been designed to emulate wooden palaces of Malay sultans of a bygone era, with the concept of 'Sucimurni' at its core—an emphasis on the purity of spirit, health and wellbeing, and wholesomeness through good living.
In the mornings, Captain Mock leads the Sucimurni exercise, a gentle stretching exercise that's a combination of tai chi, yoga and breathing exercises. Based on the seven main animal chakras, the exercise re-centres the body, mind and spirit. Post-Sucimurni exercise, head to Di Atas Sungei for breakfast, where a spread of local and international food are served; take your pick of nasi dagang and nasi kerabu, to bircher muesli, or poached eggs with sausages. In the evenings, the restaurant's Menu Masters or Chef Ann herself, will come to your table to find out what your food preferences are and serve up tantalising local dishes to suit your taste buds (the butter prawns, beef rendang and roselle chicken are some of the must-trys).
If it's a romantic occasion you're celebrating, speak to the concierge to organise Dining on the Rocks for an evening to remember—set on the rocks at the end of the beach, you'll arrive at sunset to a candlelit pathway that leads to a table for two perched on the rocks, with waves crashing below as you dine on a five-course dinner.
With two swimming pools to choose from, there's never the need to fight over deck chairs. While the family-friendly pool offers views and direct access to the beach, a personal preference is the free-form, adult-only pool that's next to Teratai Terrace, which serves lunch, and cocktail in the evenings. This is also where the nightly movie screenings take place, under a night sky full of stars.
Now, if there's one thing you must do when at Tanjong Jara Resort, it's a trip to the Spa Village. Offering a range of traditional Malay massages and treatments, try the signature Roselle Body Treatment that features a full body massage, followed by a roselle cream body scrub. High in vitamin C, as well as calcium, iron and potassium, the roselle flower has long been used in traditional medicine and is known to lower blood sugar levels and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Saturdays at TJR offer guests a chance to experience the 'kampong' lifestyle at the resort's beachfront garden—try your hand at batik painting, play sepak takraw, bottle feed the resident goat or simply lay back on a rattan mat and sample local delicacies.
Whether its just a long weekend or a week you're staying for, there's just something about the idyllic, sucimurni lifestyle that will keep you coming back for more. Click here for more information about Tanjong Jara Resort.