Garden Villa, The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat

A seven-day dream in Malaysia

Vogue Turkey

January 2011

A 7 day dream in Malaysia

7 days in Malaysia article in Vogue Turkey

Should you wait to reach nervous breaking point, feel ‘lost’ to go enjoy what other cultures have to offer? Hell no! Nobody is too relaxed to appreciate Asia.

Malaysia was my place of choice for an amazing escape to another reality. This multicultural place has been enriched with 3 very strong ethnies offering their knowledge, tradition and wisdom. Malaysia is the country where you can eat, pray and love, all in 1 week, with the support of 3 cultures, namely Indian, Chinese and of course Malay.

Dragon Fruit
Dragon Fruit

I ate the most amazing and healthiest chinese food and the hottest Indian cuisine with coconut water available at every corner to cool down my system after I over estimated my capacity to take spices. But the highlight of my culinary experience was Carlton Ritz afternoon tea where you’ll find the most amazing sweet and savoury delicacies and the craziest fruits ever; my favourite, the dragon fruit with its dangerous looking flashy pink with a touch of green skin and white polka doted flesh. So pretty, you’d want to wear it.

İ didn’t pray but İ most certainly swicthed off and inherently meditated. People there are calmer and always smile, which at first can be quite worrying but their fabulous service and desire to help you enjoy every second of your stay take you to another level.

Chinese fortune tellerOn my last day, as İ needed to finish off my cash and had more craft and shoes than my suitcase could contain, İ ventured in a little boutique in Central Market where an old Chinese man was going to reveal my future. My lucky number collected in the little basket at the entrance in one hand and my disbelief in such unpragmatic practice in the other, I happily entered. İ walked back out stunned. Of course I don’t believe a word of what he said about my future but how did he manage to be so accurate about my past, my present, my state of mind, my strength and weaknesses. All this with a number, tarot cards, my date of birth, my palms but also my ear lobs and thumbs. Standing in front of a complete stranger who reads you is quite an experience and makes you wonder how much of your life do you actually control?

The climax of the trip was love. No romance to report but a real trip to love myself. After having enjoyed the Starhill shopping mall with all the usual luxurious brands and no crowd to disturb you except local royalty and international celebrities, I undulged in frantic shopping in KLCC, aka the Petronas Twin Towers, where no woman can leave without at least 3 pair of shoes, 2 evening bags and some cute summer tops, all from local brands. And once you fed your fashion hunger, you are ready for a beauty trip to The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat.

The Banjaran Hotsprings ReatreatI knew I was in for a good time when the driver who picked me up handed over a massaging neck pillow, a cosy blancket and a choice of interesting fruit juices. But nothing prepared me to the scenery and pampering at the end of this highway bordered with luxurious tropical trees. The Banjaran resort is built around a natural source of hot spring which create a mystical landscape of intense greenery and smoking water. Each bungalow is built in such a way that you can enjoy the view of the mountains from your private outdoor jacuzzi, with water coming straight from the spring, and forget that there is anything else around. The Banjaran Hotsprings Reatreat foodThe local organic food served at the restaurant reconcile you with your body and soul. Slight slap back to reality when you meet the spa manager, an amazing naturopathe, who will discuss all your problems from health to stress and design the perfect spa program for you. This heaven on earth is a place where I want to come back alone, with friends, with my partner, and after giving birth to the babies that the Chinese man saw in my palms.


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