Two flights, 17 hours and over 9,000 miles travelled all feel instantly worth it as soon as you step into Malaysia's Tanjong Jara resort. This luxurious five-star resort prides itself on being 'Unmistakably Malay'; something that is immediately reflected in its traditional Malaysian gong greeting, friendly service and stunning tropical grounds.
With two swimming pools, a beachside location and an award-winning spa village, rest and relaxation are in abundance at Tanjong Jara. Set in extensive grounds, the property never feels busy or overcrowded, allowing plenty of opportunity to lie out and unwind in the sun in peace.
Tanjong Jara was designed to reflect the elegance of 17th century Malay palaces
It is easy to settle into laidback life at Tanjong Jara, waking up to watch the sun rise on the beach before feasting on a leisurely breakfast of traditional Nasi Lemak and setting up base at the Nelayan pool, which offers stunning views over the East China Sea.
An appointment at the resort's spa village offers the perfect antidote to any jetlag. Try the signature Asam Roselle treatment, which utilises the pretty Roselle flower into a massage and body scrub followed by an antioxidant rich tea.
The Nelayan pool offers views over the East China Sea
While it would be all too easy to take up residence on one of the beachfront loungers for days on end, there are too many fun activities and beautiful places to explore in the region to miss out on - including a snorkelling trip around Tenggol Island, which forms part of Terengganu Marine Park.
Swimming in the sparkling blue waters alongside tropical fish, blacktip reef sharks and - if you're lucky - sea turtles, in their natural habitat is an experience that cannot be missed during your stay.
Snorkelling at Terengganu Marine Park is an unmissable experience
Tanjong Jara is located near the small fishing village of Dungun, with lush tropical jungle surrounding the perimeter. One of the best ways to explore the area is with a bicycle tour led by the eccentric resident naturalist Captain Mokh. Take in the sights of Dungun on a leisurely cycle before meeting the locals and sampling authentic roti canai at a roadside café.
Alternatively join the guide on a Jara Walk into the jungle for the opportunity to learn more about the wildlife and foliage surrounding the resort and get stunning views across the coastline.
After an active day of sightseeing, head back to the resort to relax and refuel. Tanjong Jara offers a wealth of dining experiences, with a private beachside barbeque proving one of the most picturesque and romantic options for couples. Seafood is in abundance thanks to the resort's location, so take the opportunity to tuck into a delicious feast of fresh sea bass, scallops and shrimp all served up by one of the talented chefs.
The Anjung rooms offer stunning sea views
An alternative is the 'steamboat dinner' at the resort's Teratai Terrace, giving diners the chance to cook their selection of ingredients in a chicken or Thai-style Tom Yum broth at the table.
Sampling the local cuisine is a big part of the experience at Tanjong Jara, and there's no better way to do it than with a traditional Malaysian cooking class with the resort's 'menu master' Chef Ann. Within a one-hour class guests will rustle up and enjoy two Malaysian meals, before being given the recipes to recreate back at home.
Of course a big part of the resort's appeal is in the accommodation itself, and the staff pride themselves on their spacious and relaxing rooms which all offer views of the sea or tropical landscaped gardens. With comfortable double beds and a huge bathtub to unwind in at the end of the day, expect a real home away from home experience that you may well feel reluctant to leave.
Tanjong Jara Resort offers nightly rates from £180 on a B&B basis. For more information and booking visit tanjongjararesort.com.