Inspired by 17th century Malay palaces and winner of the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Tanjong Jara Resort is a YTL luxury resort that claims to encourage true rejuvenation to both body and spirit. The claim sounded yummy and desirable, so I decided to give it a try. It has been a while since I last saw a clear blue sky here in Malaysia, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a haze-free clear blue one upon arrival. The chirping of birds was a relief compared to the usual sounds of traffic, and a gentle breeze reminded me that a sandy beach is just a lazy stroll away. A peacock was seen strutting freely through the grounds; a clear show off of the stress-free life it has here.
Upon arrival, a resort staff sounded a traditional gong to welcome us and brought refreshing fruit punch, local kuih, and a cold towel. The resort offers three types of rooms – Bumbung, Serambi, and Anjung; and each room is designed to overlook either the distant South China Sea or the resort’s tropical landscaped gardens.
The walk from the Lobby to the room took many turns; I eventually gave up trying not to be lost after a while and obediently just followed the staff who was giving us a tour of the place. The exhaustion from the 4 hour travel was starting to take a toll and it made the 10 minute walk seem like eternity. All was however forgotten when doors opened to blasts of icy cold air coming from their air-conditioned prepped room. The Serambi room beds were plumped and ready to let me sleep the weekend away; and let us not even talk about the size of the gorgeous bathroom with a bathtub inside. How can you not get used to staying in this room forever?!
After a luxurious and well-earned soak in the bathtub, I half-heartedly decided to pry myself away from the luxuries of the room so that I could discover what wonders the resort’s enormous grounds held. A schedule handed to us upon arrival showed various activities offered by the resort such as gasing – a top spinning game, volleyball, or sepak takraw – a game played using a traditional woven rattan ball. For a fee, guests may also opt to climb up Jara Hill, go snorkeling, attend a traditional handicraft class, or visit the Kenyir Elephant Village. Definitely a great way for tourists, especially non-Malaysians, to indulge in the Malaysian culture.
I did not plan on ‘exerting’ myself too much, so it was either a trip to the Spa Village, a dip in one of the two pools, or a long laze in one of the numerous hammocks provided beside the beach. Decisions, decisions. Such a tough First World Problem. Hammocks eventually won and I left the room with my book in hand. I quickly found out that some of the hammocks were located too near to some of the room entrances and the main pathway. A few minutes into my laze, an angmoh opened his room door and stared at me for a full 5 minutes before losing interest and going back in. I felt like I was an exhibit in National Geographic.
First Hammock of the Day, with Mr Angmoh’s Room on the Left
Cautious now of my surroundings, I took off in search of greener pastures and eventually found myself in a more secluded area nearer to the beach. The coconut trees left a cooling shade and surprisingly, the salty sticky feeling salt air puts on the skin was not felt at all. A good book, a gentle breeze, and the soothing sounds of waves crashing. Ah, this is paradise; sans the coconut, which I somehow could not seem to find.
Second Hammock of the Day – Definitely Better Than the First!
Entrance to Spa Village
Swimming Pool Overlooking the Sea
A Gazebo by the Beach
Dinner choices included one of the three restaurants located in the resort – Di Atas Sungei, Nelayan, and Teratai Terrace; or Restaurant C.B. Wee located just outside of the resort. We decided to opt for C.B. Wee. Read about it here. After dinner, there was the option to watch a “Movie under the Stars” as the resort will prop up a big screen for guests to watch the movie of the day whilst lounging at the pool. Sounded like a great way to wind down and relax before you head off to bed but my full stomach and comfy bed got the best of me. Besides, there was also trouble with the YES Huddle 4G Mobile Hotspot device that the resort loans free of charge for wireless internet access. We were having trouble maintaining a stable connection and were told that the only solution was to move the device around the room until a connection is reached and the device’s light turns from red to green. Half an hour of stretching like chimpanzees and we were ready to snuggle into bed and call it a day.
Steamboat in Di Atas Sungei
True to Tanjong Jara Resort’s Sucimurni concept which emphasises on the purity of spirit, health, and well-being, early morning stretching exercises were available but we headed immediately for a buffet breakfast at Di Atas Sungei. Breakfast included the typical galore of fruits, yoghurt, nasi lemak, noodles etc., and we took our time to sample them all. An hour of lazing later, we got a call that check-out is 11.00am so we packed up, bid au revoir and headed back home.
I would scream it to your face if I could. GO!! Whether you are a fellow Malaysian who is running away from the haze and is looking for a relaxing ‘Cuti Cuti Malaysia’ trip, or a tourist looking for the cultural ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ experience; Tanjong Jara Resort is definitely worth visiting at least once in your life. The prices may be a bit steep, but it is a great place to relax, unwind, and be close to Mother Nature. I would however recommend staying at least two nights to fully enjoy the experience.
How to get there:
The nearest airport is Kuala Terengganu Airport (approximately 77km / 1 hour drive away). A drive from Kuala Lumpur will take approximately 4 hours including short pit stops. Take note that there are no food outlets along the way so be sure to stock up at the McDonald’s and/or KFC that you will pass prior to turning into the highway.
Packages start from RM500++ per room per night for a minimum of two nights.
For Malaysia residents and its expatriates, a Residents’ Package is available for RM686++ per room per night for a minimum of two nights. Each night includes breakfast at Di Atas Sungei, one two-course set lunch at Nelayan, and one dinner (steamboat or off the menu) at Di Atas Sungei.
For more information:
Tanjong Jara Resort
Batu 8, Off Jalan Dungun,
23000 Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia
Tel: +609 845 1100 (General Enquiries); +603 2783 1000 (Reservations)