tanjong jara take two.

20 Sep 2012 § Leave a comment

After spending a wonderful weekend at Tanjong Jara back in February, we decided to head back for another trip during the Malaysia Day weekend with the little one in tow, together with another family and their two kids. An early morning flight saw us yawning all the way to the airport, only to be greeted by the unusual sight of a long queue snaking all around the domestic check-in counters at KLIA – at least half of KL must have decided to fly off for a short holiday! Lucky for us, we arrived just as the gate was closing – this meant that we could skip the queue and head straight to a dedicated counter for late check-ins and family traveling with kids!

The 55 minute flight to the Sultan Mahmood airport at Kuala Terengganu was pretty uneventful – the little girl had travelled on a plane before so she had no problems with seatbelts, take-off and landing. We’d earlier decided against booking the airport transfer service from the hotel (which costs RM300 per car per way, gasp!) and hired a cab from the airport instead (RM100 per cab). The one hour drive took us through small towns and gave us a glimpse of the charming East Coast beach, though my girl was more engrossed with reading e-books on my phone rather than the picturesque scenery outside as we journeyed to the resort.

We were greeted with a warm welcome upon arrival at Tanjong Jara, and personally greeted by Ms. Wai Gin, the guest liaison manager that we met during our first visit. Check-in was quick and easy, accompanied with cold towels and a refreshing cup of roselle juice which had my girl insisting that it was Ribena, heh! I had put in a request when I booked the trip for adjoining rooms located near the swimming pool as we were traveling with young kids and not too keen on the long meandering walk from one end of the resort to the other. However, those rooms were also situated near an area that was undergoing construction and apparently, my previous comments in the guest survey regarding ongoing construction after we’d stayed at Gaya Island had been duly noted as we were given an upgrade from the Bumbung rooms I’d originally booked to bigger Serambi rooms which was located away from the noise, and had a connecting door between the rooms. I thought this was a really nice gesture, and I’m impressed that YTL does take their guests’ feedback and requests into account even amongst their resorts. Thank you, YTL!

The resort was running at full occupancy due to the long weekend, but to be honest, I hardly saw other guests except at the pool and during meal times when we were greeted with the sight of a fully packed restaurant. Here’s a tip if you decide to visit during peak periods: do pre-book your table at Di Atas Sungei for dinner – in the words of Chef Ann, the resident menu master, “What’s important is that you get a table!”

The breakfast buffet had a really good spread of food – pastries were baked fresh on-site (do try the croissants), and I happily satiated my cravings for nasi lemak on both days with a huge plate of coconut rice, anchovies, sambal and pickled cucumbers. We could also order off the breakfast menu, and I highly recommend the pancakes with bananas – it’s oh-so-fluffy and light and tastes delightful with the caramelized bananas. My daughter enjoyed it so much she had the same dish two days in a row. As for dinner, rest assured that the food quality was not compromised despite the crowd. The food arrived promptly and the portions were so generous that we could hardly find room for dessert! We had two types of starters and a veritable variety of dishes for our mains. The men enjoyed the butter milk prawns so much that we ordered a double helping on the second night, and other notable dishes were the ‘foo yong’ egg, deep fried calamari (which was served as a starter), sizzling Japanese tofu as well as the chocolate lava cake and deep fried banana fritters with ice cream.

We arrived on Saturday which meant we could bring the kids to take part in the ‘Kampung Life’ activities that was set-up just a few steps away from our rooms. We indulged in coconut juice and delicious ‘apam balik’ while the kids watched in fascination as the monkey climbed the coconut tree to pluck fresh coconuts and tried playing congkak before we headed off to the beach.

The beach is perfect in the evenings as it isn’t too hot and there’s plenty of space for the little ones to run around. There were plenty of little seashells scattered all over the beach, more than enough to keep my girl happy as she went off ‘treasure hunting’ – burying and digging out her little treasures.

I’d also brought along a kite and the weather was just perfect for kite-flying – no effort was needed as the kite was immediately swept up by the strong winds! My daughter was squealing in delight as she watched the kite flutter and fly in the breeze and couldn’t wait to have a go.

On the second day, we headed down to the pool next to Nelayan restaurant. Mummies should take note that there isn’t much shade at the pool side if you go in the afternoons, and it can get quite hot if there isn’t any breeze. I slathered on sunscreen on both myself and my girl and kept her properly covered up. As she was recovering from a cough, I only let her paddle in the baby pool for a short while. She probably found the weather too hot as well as she soon asked if we could go back to the room. The restaurant staff kindly packed our lunch for us and we ended up enjoying a picnic on the daybed in the cool relief of the room instead.

After dinner that night, the staff helped to set up a projector at an open area located near our rooms that looks like it was built for a ‘cinema-under-the-stars’ experience – there were chairs and a raised platform for us to sit on, and we happily munched on snacks that I’d brought along as we watched Shrek 4 – it felt like a personalized experience as we were the only two families there.

The other activity that the kids truly enjoyed was being able to feed the fishes that resided in the big pond located next to the reception. “Mommy, I want to feed the fishes” became an oft-repeated phrase and it was delightful to see them excitedly clutching cups of fish food and exclaiming in excitement whenever the fishes gobbled up the pellets.

The weekend passed too quickly and before we knew it, Monday morning dawned and it was time to pack up after a short early morning, post-breakfast jaunt to the beach. I knew my girl definitely had a good time when she kept on asking me if we could stay on longer when I told her that it was time to go home. As we had to leave the resort by 1.30pm, we didn’t have time to eat lunch and the F&B staff kindly helped me to pack some cheese sandwiches for the kids to eat during the journey from the resort to the airport. We had a wonderful send-off – everyone came out to wave us off – as well as an unexpected gift that was presented to us right before we left: two copies of a photo – one for each family – that the resort photographer had taken of us during the kampung life activity. What a lovely personalized touch!

It was an lovely weekend away, and more importantly, I managed to spend lots of quality time with my little one. We’re already planning another trip back to Tanjong Jara once the upcoming monsoon season has passed; the hospitality that we’ve experienced here surpasses all the resorts and hotels that I’ve visited thus far…without doubt, Tanjong Jara’s charm has truly found a permanent place in our hearts.

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