By Gaya Traveller on January 16, 2016
As we step into a brand new year, our minds are very much occupied with endless possibilities of travelling to various destinations. It is always an exciting time for us, brainstorming and dreaming about our 2016’s travel plans.
We’ve been keeping a mental note of our friends and family members’ travel photos throughout 2015, for our future reference. Truly, travelling requires a lot of research and planning, but of course the most important factor to consider is cost! With our Ringgit depreciating and cost of living increasing, we must be smart in stretching our ringgit.
2015 have seen the rise of travelling buddy groups, allowing like-minded budget travellers to discover faraway and exotic destinations at affordable rates. People are travelling now like never before. Seems like many have been infected by the travel bug; we suspect that the advent of social media triggers such phenomenon.
In 2016, we aim to discover more of Malaysia, and perhaps venture out of the country as the year progresses. Who knows, perhaps we will even hit our goal of visiting our 50th country this year.
Malaysia is abundant with interesting destinations, and a quick search on the web yielded that 2016 is the Visit Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu year. Roadtrips are always fun, especially with the anticipation of local delicacies waiting for us at the destination of choice!
We have never been to these three states for quite some time; perhaps revisiting them would be a wonderful idea. When roadtripping in Malaysia, we must be smart in picking the best travel dates to avoid being on the road longer than necessary, due to seasonal traffic congestions. We always try to steer away from the school holiday season, the first and the last weekends especially. We should also be mindful of the monsoon season as well.
Discover your backyard!
The neighbourhood where we live often gets overlooked, especially when it comes to getting away from it all. Let’s be honest: since the Malaysian economy doesn’t look too promising, travelling out of the country might be restricted due to budget constraints. Since a traveller can never be grounded for a long time, we figure that finding that gem within the neighbourhood may be a wonderful idea, for mini mind breaks. We urge that you also do the same!
Lucky for us, The Saujana Hotel is just a short distance away from where we live. This hotel has been around for as long as we could remember, and has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment. This is our go to place whenever we need to have a “quick escape”. This 250-room newly revitalised retreat is adjoined to two 18-hole championship golf courses belonging to the Saujana Golf & Country Club, undeniably a haven for business and pleasure.
The Saujana Hotel has several food and beverage outlets – our favourites are Kogetsu, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant, and Charcoal, the hotel’s unique open grill restaurant. The ambiance of these two restaurants are superb. Kogetsu is located next to a lake in a standalone building that resembles a Japanese house. We simply love Kogetsu’s weekend brunch! We are huge fans of Japanese cuisine, and their buffet spread let us savour their wide range of delicacies. We had a hard time choosing from their selection of Yakimono (grilled dishes), Agemono (deep fried dishes), Nimono (simmered dishes), Teppanyaki, Menrui (noodles), Gohanmono (rice dishes), Suimono (soup) and Wagashi (dessert) menu! The buffet is available every Saturday and Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
What’s unique about Charcoal is its menu; chargrilled meats and seafood galore, and Aunty Belle’s authentic Peranakan dishes. We used to have to travel all the way to Melaka to satisfy our Peranakan food cravings, but ever since we discovered Charcoal, we do not need to do that anymore! Besides the delicious food, Charcoal also sells bottled Peranakan sauces lovingly made by Aunty Belle, which make great gifts as well. Both of us can never resist a good barbecue, so Charcoal is indeed a happy place for our tummies. Fresh and succulent seafood and good cuts of beef and lamb up are also offered – it is hard not to get greedy and wide eyed when standing in the buffet line.
Next to the hotel is The Club Saujana Resort. Being part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World alliance, it is considered as one of the best hotels in the world. The ambiance at The Club is secluded, and has a very “secret hideout” feel to it.
Our favourite part of this quaint hotel is its spa. Step into The Spa at The Club Saujana Resort and enter a therapeutic haven dedicated to restoring your body, mind and spirit through ancient healing techniques and treatments that are competitively priced. Breathtakingly set amidst the lushness of a tropical rainforest, The Spa has the air of luxury retreat featuring eight spa villas and a spacious yet intimate relaxation room, all set around a vast reflective pool surrounded by forest green landscape of that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into another world.
Besides The Saujana Hotel and The Club Saujana Resort, another place worthy of discovering is The Oasis, a new watering hole located in the new township called Ara Damansara. Many restaurants and cafes have mushroomed within this year and we are very pleased that we do not have to go far (and save our petrol money at the same time) for entertainment.
Our Thoughts and Hopes
As far as our travel wishes go, we hope to find better appreciation of our own local surroundings in particular and Malaysia in general. Admittedly, we had been travelling locally a bit less than previous years since we had been grossly occupied with work and being stuck behind the office desk!
With this realisation, we hope to find a healthier balance in 2016. Best wishes from us Gaya Traveller to our readers and followers!