By David Bowden
Lazing in Langkawi
The direct flights to Langkawi ensure that this duty-free island near the Malaysian-Thai border is popular with Singaporeans.
Rejuvenate at Langkawi
There are award-winning and dreamy resorts like the Four Seasons, Datai and Andaman, which are perfect for couples who want to relax by unspoilt beaches, dine in smart restaurants and enjoy duty-free wines.
Families will love the unhurried life, the casual ambience of many family-friendly restaurants and various educational activities such as jungle trekking, sailing, mangrove excursions and riding the cable car to Mount Machincang's summit.
The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa (www.frangipanilangkawi.com) even has a Green programme that will win over the environmentalists. It was highly commended at the Virgin Holiday Responsible Tourism Awards held recently in London.
At this family resort, kids can explore the wetlands, go on educational tours of its recycling centre and make batik as well as enjoy many tropical island resort activities. The 400m-long beach is shallow and safe for swimming.
Splashing at Sunway
Spend a weekend at Sunway Lagoon near Kuala Lumpur and win your kids' hearts. They will love the action and adventure at this water theme park and associated hotels and shopping precinct.
Attractions in the theme park include Extreme (all terrain vehicles, paint ball and flying fox), Amusement (rollercoaster and many other rides), Water (rides, slides and pools), Wildlife (interactive zoo) and Scream (rides to shock and scare).
At the Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa (www.sunwayhotels.com), parents or couples can also seek refuge in the Mandara Spa and stay in chic and secluded villas surrounded by lush forests.
Indulge in Ipoh
Relax in the fresh air of Cameron Highlands
Ipoh is famous for its rugged limestone rock formations that look like a scene in a Chinese painting.
The city's famous local food includes delicacies such as sar hor fun (flat rice noodles) and ngah choy kai (chicken and bean sprouts). Indulgence Restaurant and Living (www.indulgencerestaurant.com) is making connoisseurs of creative cooking, wine and smart accommodation sit up and take notice.
This Tudor-style building was once a mansion of a wealthy Ipoh family. It now offers six boutique themed rooms above the restaurant which are stunning in their decor, style and comfort.
Guests can choose to stay in an English country suite that includes a four-poster bed and plush lounges coupled with modern facilities such as a rainforest shower, mini-bar and flat-screen plasma television.
This is perfect for indulgent couples who love innovative Western cuisine, vintage wines and unique accommodation.
Chill out in Cameron
Cameron Highlands is cool in more ways than one, but it's the cooler temperatures that lure most visitors into the mountains.
Relax in the fresh air and walk through temperate gardens and montane forests or buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are locally grown and harvested.
Strawberries are one of the treats, and there are several places serving Devonshire tea featuring local strawberries and tea grown on one of several tea plantations located at the highlands.
Guests can enjoy their teas in colonial-style ambience at the Cameron Highlands Resort (www. cameronhighlandsresort.com), which overlooks a golf course.
The spacious rooms are equipped with period furniture and supplemented by contemporary facilities.
Pampered in Penang
Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa
Resorts along Penang's Batu Feringgi are popular with loyal tourists who return regularly.
Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa (www.shangri-la.com) is Penang's first beach resort and is located on prime land, with its shaded trees creating a relaxing setting.
Its range of accommodation, restaurants and facilities enable it to cater to various groups from families to intimate couples and energetic singles. All the rooms have been recently refurbished with plush interiors, LCD TVs and lavish bathrooms.
The Rasa Wing rooms are larger with a semi-open but private outdoor spa bath on the veranda.
Guests at this wing also enjoy lounge benefits of private breakfasts, coffee, tea and juices and evening canapés and cocktails. Staying here is like being in a private club with a spacious lounge.
There are two pools plus a long list of watersports you can try out including jet skiing and sailing a Top Cat, a type of catamaran.
CHI Spa, based upon Tibetan treatments, is located in a tranquil site within landscaped gardens. Book a CHI treatment and you'll be floating on air, free from the cares of the world.
Top picture: Sunway Lagoon
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Nov 25, 2008.
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