By Jeremy Khalil on August 19, 2016
Gaya Travel team was recently invited to experience a hideaway gem called Mangala Resort & Spa in Gambang, Pahang, located only two hours and a half drive from Kuala Lumpur. The two-night stay at the resort proved worthwhile because the team did not just feel relaxed, but also reconnected with nature.
Mangala Resort & Spa is a 60-acre contemporary tropical all-villa resort set upon what was a former surface mining land that is now amazingly rehabilitated and full of greenery comprising various plants and trees, including palm oil (which we didn’t realise before how beautiful and shady they are) and fruits, which the Gaya Travel team was told that the owner has hands-on involvement in cultivating them.
Besides vegetation, the land is also home to countless birds and wildlife like beavers, lizards and snakes. The property has two sizeable lakes: one is where the water-facing units called Jala Villas are located, while the other is used for recreation where guests can enjoy picnicking, kayaking and archery, activities that come highly recommended when staying at the resort. Those who prefer less strenuous undertakings could opt for a rejuvenating treatment at the Mangala Spa instead, particularly the Spa Signature Massage, which utilises candlenut scrub to smoothen the skin and long strokes with thumb pressure to remove tension and enhance blood circulation.
Based on our experience staying at the resort, we can deduce that Mangala Resort & Spa is about building and strengthening the primordial essence or foundation of the place, which is nature itself. The resort’s owner Dato’ Franky Chua and his team conscientiously focusses on substance rather than cosmetic by ensuring that form follows function and that durability and timelessness remain paramount. The resort seems to be an extension of Dato’ Franky’s own persona: practical and down-to-earth yet forward-thinking and environmentally-savvy. The resort is indeed the reflection of Dato’ Franky’s character, who is a man of substance.
One important thing that make us fall in love with the resort is actually its literally cool atmosphere. The air at the resort actually drops significantly in late evening, at night and early morning; we learned that the area records one to two degrees centigrade less than the city of Kuantan, which is around 40 minutes’ drive away. The presence of the nearby centre for Vipassana meditation is also believed to have contributed to area’s positive vibes, besides nature. All of the aforementioned attributes contribute to Mangala’s ability to live up to its motto: naturally relaxing. We suppose it is safe to say that the existence of Mangala adds value and enriches life, offering benefits at many levels: ecologically, physically, mentally and spiritually. Without doubt, the resort truly lives up to the spirit of the namesake Sanskrit word mangala, which means ‘auspicious well being’.
The resort is an interesting study on exemplary contemporary Malaysian tropical architecture. All units of accommodation within the resort, except for the Sara Cottages, are generally built to face eastwards so that they can receive the invigorating morning sunlight and shade away from the midday and afternoon swelter. All units are also airy with high ceilings for effective thermal comfort, besides receiving ample natural light. Speaking of Sara Cottages, they are recommended for avid birdwatchers since these accommodation units overlook the wetlands, the habitat for various types of indigenous birds. Wi-Fi connectivity is also available at the accommodation units and public areas. Mangala Resort & Spa therefore invites guests to commune with nature without having to sacrifice creature comforts.
We suggest that guests wake up early morning to take in the refreshing atmosphere during dawn and listen to the endless chirping of the birds of various types while they actively swoop around foraging for food. Our team discovers that one of the best spots to enjoy sunrise at the resort is by sitting on the balcony of a Jala Villa listening to nature as it awakes.
When it comes to holding events or functions at Mangala Resort & Spa, the deck by the resort’s all day-dining food and beverage outlet called The Lakeside is an ideal setting for intimate dining and gathering, while the Banquet Hall offers efficient space for corporate functions and large scale receptions. The resort is also disabled-friendly since there are not too many steps for the guests to traverse in accessing the resort’s main parts; wheelchair-bound guests could navigate around the resort without much friction.
With lush surroundings, positive vibes and refreshing atmosphere, it is not surprising to see that Mangala Resort & Spa has been attracting travellers in droves especially during weekends though it has just been opened for less than six months. The Mangala experience is as much about following the conscience in getting connected to the earth (in a luxurious way) as it is about improving our well being. By staying at the resort, it does feel like you are part of a movement that helps to rehabilitate the earth – guests would not just be ‘naturally relaxing’, but also be doing a good deed by supporting a property that is noble in its cause and inspirational in its existence.
Lebuhraya Tun Razak
26300 Kuantan, Pahang
T: +6 09 505 7788
F: +6 09 505 7799