When we walked into the Travel Agent, we had no idea what we were in for. The brief was:
“We have both worked on Cruise ships, between us we’ve travelled much of the world. On our Honeymoon, we would like to go somewhere that neither of us have been before. Oh and by the way, we’re having two weddings, one in New Zealand, the other in Glasgow, 2 weeks apart. So if we could minimise time flying & move through time zones at a sort of relaxed pace, that’d be great.”
(Not a big ask, right?)
That place, was Koto Kinabula, Borneo, Malaysia.
After a quick (adrenaline filled – THANK YOU Universal Studios, snaps at the bottom of this post) stopover in Singapore, we grabbed a short flight to Malaysia, was greeted by a transfer shuttle and arrived into the MOST luxurious and friendly (overwhelmingly so – which is A LOT coming for a couple of ex-Disney Crew) Shagri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa to the sound of a gong, as their custom to greet all of their guests.
Whilst I could try to explain every little detail, you would probably find yourself still reading this post in a week. Instead, I’ll post a few photos and give you a few impressions.
Whilst there were a lot of activities to do, Hubby and I decided that we would spend our seven days actively relaxing – something that neither of us do an awful lot or very well. We walked along the beach splashing in the waves, lay by the pool & read (I think I went through 4 books in 7 days, mostly Historical Romances by Natasha Lester, an Australia Author), swam in the pool, sat in the coffee shop and enjoyed the beautiful Malaysian warmth (note: not the sunshine, we didn’t really want to get burnt, however I somehow manage to burn with a double layer of sunscreen whilst sitting in the shade – go figure!)
The food was great – lots of choices in different cuisines. The restaurant that specialises in Malaysian food was going through an upgrade, so instead they offered some of the foods in their “Asian Cuisine” night in ‘Coffee Terrace’ (which offers a themed buffet dinner each night) along which a special cultural performance of drums and traditional dances.
I did email the Resort before we left, looking for menus as we couldn’t find anything online to check their allergy-friendliness. They sent me back the à la carte menu for their Teppanyaki Restaurant, ‘Kozu’. This along with the Indian Restaurant, ‘Naan’ were best able to cater for my food-weirdoness. The buffet and Italian restaurants did have options, though not as flexible. Key tip that we didn’t find out till our second to last night: you can arrange a gluten free pizza base for the Italian restaurant, ‘Oceano’, you just need to arrange it prior to dinner service, but as they ask you to make reservations for dinner (to prevent the entire Resort showing up at just one of their restaurants), just ask then! They also have Gluten Free pasta (I think they said they had penne at the time) along with risottos, salads, grilled chicken and soups.
Rasa Ria was completely wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed our week of doing nothing; of listening to the waves gently hit the beach, the birds singing in the surrounding forest. Of wandering through the open corridors, listening to the wind whisper through the columns and the sounds of an ancient rain forest telling us it’s secrets. Greeting everyone with a hand on your heart and a big smile your face. Closing our eyes, taking a breath and letting everything slide away.