A rainforest retreatPosted on: 03 February 2020 by Michael Edwards
Ambong Pool Villas overlooks Malaysia’s Andaman Sea and the islands that make-up the Langkawi archipelago. Michael Edwards visits one of the planet’s ecological hotspots.
There is a choice at the nine individually designed villas that make-up this serene rainforest resort. Guests can opt for a view of the sun rising over Teluk Baru, perhaps having breakfast delivered to the balcony of their villa. Alternatively, they can watch the sun set over Pulau Tepor, maybe with a chef preparing a private dining BBQ on their balcony.
Of course, most guests opt to leave their villas to dine at Ambong’s Rimba Restaurant. As well as superb Malaysian cuisine, the restaurant offers spectacular views of the lush, verdant jungle too. Monkeys clamber from branch to branch, three species of Hornbills - Oriental Pied Hornbills, Great Hornbills and Wreathed Hornbills - fly through the sun-dappled greenery and giant technicolour butterflies dance.
All of this is accompanied by the rhythms of a jungle sound-track of strumming cicadas, calling macaques and humming dragonflies. It’s like being centre stage in an Attenborough wildlife documentary - but with a coconut rum cocktail in hand and one of Ambong’s Signature Skewers about to be delivered. Or Squid Ink Sambal Spaghetti. Or Whole Fish Bakar with Air Assam. Or whichever Malaysian speciality appeals.
The name Ambong comes from the flowering Ambong-Ambong plants found on the sandy bay below. Walk down the steep hill to the tropical paradise beach or call for a 4 x 4 vehicle to take you there and collect you. And the Pool? Every villa has its own 12 metre infinity pool.
With the villas discretely built into the contours of towering forest it’s advisable to ring for a 4 x 4 wherever you are headed. Vehicles take guests to their yoga sessions, to a culinary lesson where they learn how to cook Northern Malay classics and to the Ishan Spa. Guests may also book a visit in their villa from the therapists who use local herbs, spices, fruit and flowers such as coconut, black rice, cinnamon, ginger and frangipani for the treatments. Similarly, the cookery course run by chefs Aimy and Mizo, makes the most of local flavours provided by herbs and spices grown in Ambong’s organic garden.
Looking down on the aquamarine seas and the islands of the Langkawi archipelago, guests are drawn to the marine world. A half-day jet-ski safari is the ultimate adventurous exploration. Skimming across the waves for a 21 mile voyage is exhilarating. There’s a stop at the uninhabited island of Pulau Dayang Bunting which, as its skyline looks like a reclining pregnant young lady, is known as “The Isle of the Pregnant Maiden.” Local legend says that swimming in the island’s spring water lake boosts fertility. Later you moor up to relax on a Robinson Crusoe style desert island.
Another way to take to the seas is a cruise. Late afternoon the yacht sets sail towards the sun, navigating through a seascape of densely wooded limestone islands, before stopping for a cooling swim. Dinner is served on board, then as the last of the sun’s rays sink below the horizon, the volume of the music cranks up a notch, unlimited drinks flow, and the yacht moves into a joyous party mode.
But for most people, for most of the time, Ambong Pool Villas is a relaxing escape, a chance to get to know the lush rainforest. Vast windows make it feel as if the light and spacious apartments are part of the rainforest.
A stylish tropical chic is the aesthetic as white bedding, dark woods and soft-furnishings flashes of colour combine. Rubber wood is used for the flooring and acacia for the bed headboards. Some villas have recycled railway sleepers for their approaching steps and recycled cengal batu is used for the hardwood decks.
Sarongs and fisherman’s trousers in the wardrobe invite guests to relax and forget their frenetic world beyond Langkawi. Beds, sofa and day beds all face the forest and the sea. The views continue on the secluded patios, where there are external bath tubs and showers as well as the bath room facilities inside the villa.
Although Among Pool Villas is close enough to Langkawi’s many attractions and high-octane activities, the resort is still a peaceful haven where serenity and tranquility come as standard.
For more information about acommodation, availability and the best time to stay visit Ambong Pool Villas.
Qatar Airways fly to Langkawi from Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Gatwick, London Heathrow and Manchester.
Ambong Pool Villas provide complimentary transfers for guests from Langkawi Airport which takes around 20 minutes.
Disclosure: Our trip was sponsored by Qatar Airways, Avante Yacht Charters and Mega Watersports.
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