As much as I love Kuala Lumpur, I love leaving it more. Deep down I’m just a country girl, stuck in the body of a city girl and after a crazy term at school, I was ready to hit the hay bales. So on was the search for a holiday somewhere semi-remote, that would take me closer to Tarzan.
Malaysia has a lot of offer nature nerds like myself, but sometimes finding the right ‘value’ resort can be a challenge. Initially I dreamed of doing something adventurous this Easter break, like climbing Mount KK in Borneo or trekking deep in its jungle at the Danum Valley. Although my plans were quickly thwarted when I was told the cost. To stay in a well below average room there for merely two nights would rack up to about RM 4’500 per person (approx. $1’500AUD). My teacher salary doesn’t pay enough to justify that for two nights guys!
And don’t even get me started on east coast islands like Redang who either have [sorry] crappy budget-looking resorts that massively overcharge, or nicer ones that are through the roof. Do they forget that Thailand is just next door? I could be on Koh Lipe and pay half that! Or on a more value island in Malaysia like the Perhentians.
But, I wasn’t going to give up that easily. I was determined to find an awesome staycation that was worth every penny. I’m sure there had to be one around here somewhere. 🧐
Mangala Resort and Spa
Bingo! That’s the thing about hard work, it pays off eventually. I forgot that two friends came here a while back and the pictures spoke for themselves.
Situated in Gambang, Mangala Resort is a comfortable 2.5hrs drive east of Kuala Lumpur. Arriving into its generous 60 acre plot gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling. Don’t you love those holiday moments when you know you’ve nailed a stay as good as it appears on the internet. Life’s little wins.
The staff were extremely friendly and quickly made us feel at home. After drinking our welcome glass of kadongdong juice from fruits grown on site, we were given a private tour of the resort by buggy.
The grounds are vast. It’s like a self-contained nature village, consisting of lakes, a wetland, vegetable farms & tropical fruit orchards, whilst being surrounded by palms. The area is perfect for exploring by bike, which they hire for free.
It’s hard to believe that this green haven was previously baron land used for tin mining. Since the owner of Mangala took over, he had to completely regenerate the site to make it fertile for plants to grow. Which is why there are so many palm oil trees, as they have shallow roots that won’t be stunted by the clay substrate below.
As this is one of our last weekend getaways in Malaysia [😔], I thought I’d splurge a little extra and get the room with the private pool.
I don’t stay in 5* resorts regularly, but this is one of my favourites. They thought of every small detail to make this a comfortable and memorable stay. From the actual espresso machine in the room, to the complimentary snacks and bringing us chocolates and water every evening (clearly, the quickest way to my heart is is through the stomach!) They even replenished the snack tray after I ate everything in it.
The Amani room was really slick, spacious and furnished beautifully. With the private pool on our balcony too, it felt like a home away from home. Simply put, it was perfect… and I don’t blurt that word out often.
Or maybe it was until our neighbours showed up on the second day.
The only minor negative about our room was that it was semi-detached, which would normally be fine if all guests were respectful human beings. But we ended up with a couple of discourteous people [douchbags] next door. They stayed up until 1:30am, arguing and shouting at the tops of their voices on the balcony- who does that?! It’s not Love Island guys, take your domestic back home!
Thankfully they left after the first night. Reception were really sweet when we told them about it and said they’d move them if they decided to extend their stay. They didn’t [stay] 🙌.
Aside from our temporary lousy neighbours, the ‘retreat’ part of our stay was on steroids.
We were given so many choices. Like whether to use the private saltwater pool in our room, or the infinity pool overlooking the lake? Hmm, both!
To relax in the jacuzzi with a mojito or without? With.
Or whether to take a leisurely bike ride or have the spa’s couples signature massage? – ride then relax baby!
The massage was the best I’ve had in years, and I have one almost every week. There was none of this ‘make it hurt to make it work’ funny business. Every stroke was utter zen den material.
There are other activities available in their recreation area too if you fancy exerting some energy, like archery or kayaking. Around the lake is a jogging track also and they’ve just started work on building tennis courts.
As a beach lover, I thought I’d miss being by the ocean. But I didn’t at all. It was actually nice to be off the grid in the middle of the countryside and away from the typical beach crowds. Plus, with infinity pools such as this overlooking the lake, you have as much water as you need around you.
The only thing I’d say Mangala could do better is the food. The breakfast buffet was okay, but the main menu and execution was a bit of a let down. For such a nice resort, they should focus on improving their quality of meals. (Wines by the glass would be nice too 🙂.) I’d recommend going for the Asian dishes if you’re there.
Tip: Wine is only sold by the bottle and alcohol can be expensive at the resort. If you’re keen for a tipple, make a stop in KL and bring your own.
Overall, Mangala is a stunning, luxurious resort. It’s righteously earned itself many accolades and awards, including a gold award for its environmental rehabilitation and conservation efforts. Not only is it an awesome place to holiday, but it’s sustainable too.
. . .
Needless to say, we enjoyed it here so much that we quickly extended our stay from 2 night to 3. Although I could have quite happily traded in KL to spent the rest of my days here. 😉
Mangala is perfect for a relaxing staycation, romantic getaway or family retreat.
For the best rates and genius discounts, I booked via Booking.com.
They have 6 types of bungalows. The cheapest ones are:
- The Sara Villa (overlooking the wetland)
- Jala Villa (lake view)
- Vana Villa (Forest view)
Cost: RM 635 per night (approx. 220AUD.)
Other ones are:
- Vani Villa with pool
- Amani pool Villa
Cost: RM 760 per night (approx. 260AUD.)
The two-bedroom Amani Villa (sleeps 4) cost RM 2’264 per night (approx. 780AUD.)
Mangala Resort and Spa is a 2.5 hour drive east of Kuala Lumpur.
We don’t have our own car but always rent one using GoCar. There are multiple GoCars dotted around KL and it’s usually more convenient than venturing to a car rental.
You can register via their website and then book via the app. They have a newer fleet of Renault Capturs at RM 109 per day, as well as their older Nissan Almeras at RM 90 per day.
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