It was my first time visiting Malaysia, and to be honest it was very long due already. That is why when I got an email invitation from The Bergaya Hotels and Resorts team to explore Redang Island and discover Taaras Beach and Spa Resort, who am I to say no.
I have a handful of friends who are based in Malaysia and I have been hearing / reading so many things about the Philippines neighboring country. To say that I was excited to explore Malaysia (and not only KL) is an understatement.
I guess like me, your first plan is to look for a destination then look for a place to stay, right? The Taaras Beach and Spa Resort gives you the best of both worlds as this resort is already a destination by itself. More about this at the later part of this blog. Let me bring you first on my journey, traveling 4 hours from Manila to Kuala Lumpur and waiting more than 12 hours before we travel to Redang Island.
PRE PARADISE TRIP (FIRST IMPRESSION)
I had a very smooth travel from Manila to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. I took a budget airline flight via Air Aisia where I got a 20% fare discount just by using their mobile app. I arrived around 10am at the KLIA (airport name), at first, I got confused to the location of the immigration area as the farther I walked the lesser people I saw, at one point even, I found myself walking alone in the airport.
Immigration done and I am out! Yey! So, first order of business, exchange money and get a sim card, which by the way, don’t do it in the airport. As an avid traveler, I should have known already that the exchange rate at the airport area are ridiculously low (I did anyway cause—yeah, I need money). Also the sim card deals are better when you reach KL Sentral. If you have a credit card, use it to book for your Uber or buy your Express Train ticket to KL Sentral and change your money (USD) there.— just a tip but not a rule ok?
To get out of the airport you can either get:
KLIA Express Train: 55 rm (I took this option)
BUS: 12 rm (if you are not in a hurry, I suggest you take this)
UBER/ Grab : around 85 rm (well, if you have cash to spare who am I to stop you?)
My first agenda for the day is to have a lunch date with the Berjaya Hotels and Resorts team. They knew that I will arrive early and they were so sweet to invite me over (aaaw).
As a typical first timer in a big city, I got lost inside the KL Sentral. I didn’t realize it to be so huge and at one point I found my self inside a mall where the monorail station can be found.
The monorail is so easy to navigate and I found myself at the Berjaya Times Square (just a few minutes late) for our scheduled lunch.
We had lunch at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel’s Big Apple Restaurant. It was a perfect first meal in KL as the view from the restaurant showed a little overview of the whole KL town center. I ordered the Grilled Chicken with Mash which was AMAZING!!
Ok done with lunch and a little chitchat with the team but I still have 7 hours to roam around and kill time before our official trip launch. From Times Square, the best place and closest to visit for a first time tourist, is Bukit Bintang.
Bukit Bintang is known at KL’s shopping district. I got overwhelmed with the number of shops in the area. For someone who didn’t have any plan to shop, I got tricked to buy a few items from Uniqlo (haha).
A few minutes walk (depending on your pace) you can reach KLCC. I didn’t know it then, but when I reached KLCC, I just realized that I was standing at the foot of The Petronas Tower. YEY! It is also a shopping mall, so pretty much I went from one mall to another. I saw one of my Bruneian friend there who was covering a story of the KL Shopping Festival.
It was an interesting kick starter of my trip around Malaysia (why around? You’ll find out at the end of this blog haha).
Time to go back Berjaya Times Square and meet the other participants.
THE TRIP TO REDANG
11pm, we gathered at the Berjaya Times Square Starbucks, a total of 35ish influencers, blogger/vloggers and editors. I met a handful during a brief chitchat over a cup of coffee and quiche (so hipster haha).
1am, off we go! It was almost a 7hour bus drive to Kuala Terengganu where we had our breakfast at China Town (note that most of the food here are not halal). After breakfast, we roam around the cute colorful town. Very different from what I saw back in KL. Little houses painted with bright pastel colors and shops offering a quick snack to visitors.
We drove a little more to reach the Merang Waterfront Jetty. This part was very interesting. I have been in countless boat rides. My home country, the Philippines is not a stranger to motorboats. In fact, whenever you get out of Manila to explore south of the Philippines, most likely your itinerary will involve riding a small motorboat. But even if you think you are immune to sea-sickness, we were strongly advised to take 2 tablets of sea-sick pills……
….right so, I almost got nauseated. I think, if we will last another 10 minutes, I might loose it. The reason was, the time of our visit was the end of the monsoon and the waters were still very choppy. To put it into words, we were flying up and down for 1 hour and a half. I guess it wasn’t only me who will say that I am glad it was over. (watch my vlog below to have an idea).
Surely the way to paradise ain’t easy, and rightly so, we arrived in PARA-PARA-PARADISE.
TAARAS BEACH AND SPA RESORT
The Taaras Beach and Spa Resort is Berjaya Group’s most prized possession. The name Taaras came from a Sanskrit language meaning “Goddess of the sea”, “the Star”, and “The Apple of My Eye”. It is definitely the star of Redang Island.
Situated on a concealed area of Redang Island, away from the busy port, you can easily feel that you are in your own private beach.
We were greeted with a glass of pinacolada and right away ushered to our designated rooms to change our wet clothes.
My room looked amazing. Everything spells TROPICAL PARADISE. My room was located at the 2nd floor of a 2-storey chalet. The room has its own living area, I got 2 beds (so I can invite people for a party haha) and a shower complete with a tub. Also, because I was at the 2nd floor I got a good view of our part of the resort.
Our visit or should I say, ‘rediscovering trip’ was pretty chill. Most of our itineraries involved eating and free time (just the way I like it).
Let’s start with the generous buffet spread. After freshening up, we immediately went to the buffet area and had our big lunch. This is also the same place where we had our daily breakfast where they offer continental and Asian cuisines.
For dinner, we stayed away from the normal buffet option. For the first night, we had it at the Beach Brasserie, where a set menu were prepared for us, complete with a designated table with our names on it (so fancy).
The 2nd night, we had dinner served in the luxury private villa. We were also given a tour around the villa worth 23,000rm/night. Talk about luxury. Situated at the edge of the property (not really sure if this is the correct description), but it is on a cliff over looking the Taaras Beach. The view is A+mazing!
We were so happy that we got a chance to explore (and experience) @thetaarasmalaysia luxurious villa! This is the most expensive accommodation in the island! (For more interior design posts on the Taaras Villa, check out @flat209). #berjayahotelsresorts #redangtaaras #rediscovertaaras #rediscoverredang #thetaaras #malaysiatrulyasia #malaysia
For our last night, and also sort of our send off dinner, we joined the hotel’s barbecue night. Think of satay, steak, seafood! YES!
THE BEACH, POOL, SNORKEL and DIVE
During our free time (which was most of the time), we chose to chill by the beach. Either play with the waves and body surf or just lounge around the nearby beach bar. We also had a chance to snorkel while those with license went scuba diving.
Redang boasts as one of the best diving spots in Malaysia and Taaras as a 5-star Padi Dive Resort.
Part of our activities and also the main reason why we got invited was to be a witness to the signing of the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between Berjaya Hotels and Resorts and Prima Air.
Remember our scary boat ride? If you are planning to visit Taaras, you now have an option to skip this and hop on a chartered flight via Prima Air. YEY!! You can book this option directly when booking a room at the Taaras Beach and Spa Resort, as easy as that.
The few days I spent at the Taaras, gave me a view of a different side of Malaysia. Something I am familiar with back home but somehow still very different. I guess the luxurious experience that is not very intimidating gives it a relaxed tropical feeling that everyone will surely enjoy.
Will I recommend this place? Definitely! In fact I already did and some of my friends will be visiting this summer.
Watch the full Vlog on my experience at the Taaras Beach and Spa Resort below (also subscribe to my youtube channel ^^).
This is my first blog of my trip around Malaysia. My 4 days trip turned into almost 1 month and I have explored other attractions and states around the country. Watch out for more blogs and vlogs about Malaysia soon.
This trip was in collaboration with Berjaya Hotels and Resort.
Berjaya Hotels & Resorts is a member of the Berjaya Corporation Group of Companies, a public listed Malaysian conglomerate. Presently, the group manages Berjaya properties in Malaysia, Asia Pacific and UK. From the exotic island resorts of Langkawi, Tioman and Redang, to the city hotels of Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang in Malaysia, Berjaya Hotels & Resorts’ prominence extends across borders with the establishment of international hotels and resorts in Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Seychelles and United Kingdom. The group also owns and operates a commercial airline, service suites and exclusive golf & country clubs in Malaysia. Visit online at www.berjayahotel.com for more information.