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JapaMala

JapaMala and Kuala Lumpur

Explore the cosmopolitan city of Kuala Lumpur and spend time relaxing on the beach on peaceful Tioman Island.

Whats Included:
3 nights Kuala Lumpur, including breakfast; 7 nights Japamala, including breakfast. Includes flights and transfers.

13 days from £2,050pp

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who's been there

Audley Travel specialist Bex

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On the beach - 8 days

JapaMala, Tioman Island

Fashionably rustic Japamala is a wonderful eco-resort offering a range of accommodation hidden away in lush tropical jungle. The impact on nature is minimal and no boulders were moved or trees cut down to make way for the distinctive suites.

There are only 13 rooms in this intimate boutique resort, where each room – appropriately referred to as a sarang or ‘nest’ – is reached by a series of raised wooden walkways winding through the thick foliage teeming with birds, butterflies and buzzing cicadas. A jetty reaches out into the turquoise sea where the Mandi-Mandi restaurant serves global cuisine with an Italian emphasis. The serene swimming pool with its own waterfall, sea views and natural spring is a wonderful place to relax. Alternatively you could enjoy a treatment at the Samadhi Spa which is designed to create memorable sensory, as well as visual, experiences with treatments in natural caves, the gardens and in hydro pools built into the cliffs. You could also take a kayak and snorkel in the spectacular underwater garden just offshore, swim to the brightly-coloured reef or dive in some of Malaysia’s best locations.

Carefully positioned for unparalleled views and designed for space, comfort and utmost privacy, the rustic but contemporary suites combine the best local traditions with modern design. All are different and feature private verandas, some have plunge pools and outdoor sunken baths.

Before the beach - 4 days

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is one of Asia’s most vibrant capital cities where a melting pot of cultures collide to fantastic effect. Relatively compact and easy to navigate, you can take in much of the city in a few days. Explore Chinatown with its bustling restaurants and shops, head to Hindu temples and Muslim mosques and try the wonderfully eclectic street food. See the Petronas Twin Towers, wander the busy Art Deco central market in search of traditional Malay crafts, or get away from it all in the serene Lake Garden.

The Villa Samadhi is a calm retreat from the city. Each of its 21 spacious rooms has its own individual style, some with indoor or outdoor Jacuzzis, and some with direct access to the main pool.

JapaMala, Tioman Island

13 rooms, 2 restaurants, 2 pools

Description

Described by its owners as fashionably rustic, the JapaMala boutique resort is ideal for those looking for peace and seclusion. It’s been built with ‘samadhi’ in mind: the highest form of meditation which encourages a sense of stillness. With no phone signal and limited Wi-Fi this is a place to get away from it all.

Set in a very remote location with just 13 rooms, the resort's service is personal and friendly; the staff are like a family, and are very proud of their resort.

Built with minimal impact on its natural environment, the property is almost completely hidden in the jungle and opens out onto a white sand beach fringed by reef. Each room — aptly referred to as a sarang or ‘nest’ — is perched amongst a series of stilted walkways in its own patch of jungle.

For families

There are no specific facilities for children, and this is a remote jungle experience that may not be suitable for some young children. Although children are allowed, the resort discourages children under 12 years to maintain the peaceful nature of the resort.

Nestled in the tangled forest of Tioman Island, on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia Japamala overlooks the pure white sands and emerald waters of the South China Sea. As you explore the hotel you’ll see birds and butterflies darting between the trees, and the buzz of cicadas and crickets at night.

Tioman Island itself is remote and picturesque. The island has various little villages, other resorts and secluded coves that can be reached by boat, but don't expect lots of facilities.

Our opinion

The Japamala offers something a little bit different — a low-key but comfortable stay for those that want to escape to a secluded, back-to-nature environment. In fact, it’s one of our most-loved off-the-beaten-track hotels in Southeast Asia.

Rooms

The JapaMala offers several categories of wooden villas and chalets, all positioned to ensure those staying in them feel at one with nature. Specifically designed for space, comfort and utmost privacy, the rooms are all different in shape and size, having been built around the existing rocks and trees, taking care not to disturb the existing landscape. You might find your bathroom built around a natural boulder, or the bough of a tree protruding through the room.

The resort's blend of natural materials and contemporary flair adorn the nature-inspired, traditional living spaces, depicting the beauty and elegance of  'old and new' that’s been embraced by modern Malaysian design.

All rooms feature a flat screen TV, tea and coffee facilities, air conditioning and minibar. They also have an outdoor seating area, and most rooms (except for tree top and sea cliff chalets) have a Jacuzzi or plunge pool. 

The rooms do not currently have a safe or telephone.

Tree Top chalet

Perched within the thick jungle canopy, the tree top chalets give you the chance to stay completely surrounded by the click of crickets and chirp of the birds. Whilst they feel completely secluded, they are only a short walk up from the beach.

Sea Cliff chalet

Our preferred room category, these stilted chalets overlook the South China Sea. Each chalet is unique, having been built around the tree canopy. There’s an unobstructed view of the sea from your balcony, as well as shower room.

Hillside Plunge Pool Sarang villa

The hillside sarangs (or nests) are duplex rooms perched high on the hillside, with a wooden deck that leads into a private pool and outdoor shower. There’s a huge day bed as well as exclusive spa toiletries, minibar and an Espresso machine.

Jungle Luxe Plunge Pool Sarang Villa

Tucked away on the lower terrain of the property, the jungle luxe sarangs are cosy 'nests' surrounded by the dappled shade of the jungle canopy. They come complete with an open-air bath tub/Jacuzzi, and a small outdoor seating area where you can enjoy private dinners.

Each sarang is distinctively designed with all the facilities you could need so that if you wish, you don’t have to leave your room.

Seaview plunge pool sarang villa

There is only one Seaview Plunge Pool Sarang at JapaMala. Built on lower terrain it offers a kitchenette and a semi-outdoor dining room. Adding to the opulent comforts of a 'jungle luxury' holiday are some extra features; his and her sinks, a private swimming pool, timber sun deck and an open air hydro pool. There is a waterfall flowing just behind the room too.

Penghulu beach house

Resting on the beach, penghulu beach house is a huge two-storey, two-bedroom villa. Built like a modern Malaysian village house it has the jungle at its front door, and the beach as its backyard.

The rooms are furnished with the modern comforts of an urban home, and large windows look out across the forest. The atas residence (main bedroom) has a vast living space, which opens out to a views of the sea.

Guests staying in the bawah residence (ground room) have direct access to the private swimming pool, just steps away from the foot of their two single beds. Penghulu beach house has plenty of space to sprawl out and relax in complete seclusion.

Pictures of the rooms

Activities, diving & excursions

A house reef lies just metres off the resort's shore, ideal for snorkeling — equipment is complimentary. You might see stingrays or turtles, while colourful soft and hard corals decorate the reef walls, plunging down to over 15 m (49 ft).

You can swim to this reef from the beach, or from the jetty when the tide is out. The area around Mandi-Mandi restaurant is teeming with fish too.

There are also two small swimming pools next to the Tamarind Terrace restaurant which leads out onto the beach. The pool deck sits on stilts above a natural spring. Sunbeds are provided for lounging and lazing by the beach.

Kayaks are also available free of charge for those who would like to kayak through the mangroves, or had out to discover deserted white sand beaches hidden along the coastline.

Tioman Island is a marine park, making it popular with many of the region's scuba diving enthusiasts. 

Numerous islands dot the archipelago — each no more than a day trip away. Although there isn't a dive centre at the resort, they will be happy to help you make arrangements with a local dive centre.

PADI certification is available (taking about three days for certification) and there are more challenging spots for experienced divers.

The best months for diving in this area are from March to October.

Food & drink

Il Tempio is the main restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner serving a variety of pizza and pasta dishes along with a choice of soups, salad as well as a meat and seafood grill.

Tamarind Terrace is the sister restaurant to the award-winning Tamarind Hill and Tamarind Springs in Kuala Lumpur. This alfresco restaurant is surrounded by luxuriant rainforest, and the beach is just a stone's throw away. Stone-carved statues of Buddha adorn the wide dining space. Specialising in Malay, Thai and Indochinese cuisine, recipes are hand-picked by the Indochinese and Malay chefs. It opens daily for lunch and dinner.

The Mandi Mandi bar is perched over-water on the tip of the jetty and opens for evening drinks. This is the hotel’s best vantage point for sunset.

Spa Facilities

From natural cave environments to hydro pools built on cliff edges, Samadhi Spa is designed to make the most of the natural surroundings.

All the spa products contain 100% natural materials, guaranteed to contain no harmful or toxic chemicals. Many are made by hand by spa staff and enriched with botanical extracts, cold-pressed plant oils and aromatherapy-grade essential oils.

Please check with your specialist as the spa might not offer a full complement of treatments during periods of low occupancy.

Kuala Lumpur

Location: Kuala Lumpur

Tireless Kuala Lumpur (KL) is a spectacular urban web, with its glittering, record-breaking skyscrapers towering over the horizon.

Points of interest

Highlights include Chinatown’s busy markets, the elegant colonial buildings of Merdeka Square, and the vast Lake Gardens, leading to the Masjid Jamek mosque resting peacefully at the confluence of two rivers. The Petronas Towers dominate the skyline, but there are also great views from the revolving restaurant at the top of the KL Sky Tower.

There are many high quality hotels in the city, all located close to the main sights and shops, and a couple of excellent character options.

Villa Samadhi Kuala Lumpur

Accommodation: Villa Samadhi Kuala Lumpur

Villa Samadhi is one of the first of its kind in the city. More of a villa residence than a hotel – you instantly forget the hustle and bustle of KL once you enter into its vicinity. Located in the embassy district, just a 20 minute walk from the famous Petronas Twin Towers, Villa Samadhi has 21 rooms all with their own individual style. Influenced by the tropics, the interiors are fitted with salvaged timber floors and Asian-inspired furniture yet come with all the modern amenities you would expect. The Crib Rooms are all on the first floor, whilst Deluxe Cribs have an indoor or outside jacuzzi. The Sarang Rooms are on the ground floor and have direct access to the main pool. All-day dining is available at the Mandi Mandi restaurant which is located near to the main pool and serves modern Malaysian cuisine exclusively to residents of the hotel. A shuttle service is also available to the sister restaurants of Tamarind Springs and Tamarind Hills in the city, both come highly recommended. In the early evenings cocktails are served in the rooftop Bambung Bar.

Itinerary

Day by day

Day 1

Fly from London to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines.

Day 2

In Kuala Lumpur you will be met by your driver and transferred to the Villa Samadhi.

Day 3

You have the day at leisure to relax after the flight and explore the city at your own leisure. Visit the lively markets, the colonial buildings of Merdeka Square and stroll in the shadows of the Petronas Towers.

Day 4

Another day at leisure to explore Kuala Lumpur. You might like to explore Chinatown's busy markets and colourful temples or wander round Little India.

Day 5

This morning you will be transferred by road to Mersing on the east coast of Malaysia where you will board a boat to take you to Japamala on Tioman Island.

Day 6

Enjoy exploring Tioman Island today.

Days 7 - 11

Day at leisure to relax at the resort.

Day 12

Today you will board Japamala's boat back to the mainland for the drive back to Kuala Lumpur for your flight home.

Day 13

Early morning arrival into the UK.

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Tailoring your trip

This itinerary is designed to give you a flavour of what is possible.

  • We can tailor this trip to suit your specific requirements

  • Any aspect of the itinerary can be altered, from excursions to accommodation

How to book

Contact a Hidden Beach specialist

Whether you wish to plan your trip around this itinerary idea or you have other ideas, please do get in touch by phone or online. If using our online form, a destination specialist will contact you by phone to discuss your requirements.

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Confirm your trip

Once you are satisfied with all the arrangements, we ask you to complete a booking form and pay a deposit of 15% of the total cost of your trip.

Stay in touch

Even after booking, you'll undoubtedly think of more questions. Feel free to call your specialist at any time. The same specialist will handle your trip from start to finish.


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