The last time we went to the Tanjong Jara Resort was about 15 years ago but amazingly, the place is so well maintained that it is still the same quintessentially Malay luxury Haven in 2017. If anything has changed, it has been for the better!
On our Chinese New Year visit back to Kelantan, whilst on the road, at whim we called the resort to checkoff they had the Sea Villa Anjung available for us on our drive back because we were in need of a beach stop. The girls love the beach and have been asking to go back to Singapore Shangri-La ever since. They are obviously deprived because if they can like a Singapore beach then they would just want to live in one of our own amazing beaches on the east coast islands! It was quite funny trying to negotiate a room whilst on the road because the Maxis signal kept dropping so I kept having to call back. The internet rates at that time were really high or I would have just booked it via the internet because as I recall, in 2003 or whenever it was when we went, we stayed at the same Anjung Sea Villa and it cost only RM1,200 or so then. Surely the prices couldn’t have jumped till RM2,200 per night? I managed to negotiate it down to RM1,800 per night and although they said that the Anjung Sea Villa were for Honeymooners and not for kids, I insisted that we wanted exactly that and nothing else. So after a few calls here and there, we finally managed to get our little beach holiday booked. Yay!
On our way there, we kept stopping at little shop lot hotels to prank the kids saying OK, we’re here! And you should have seen the look on their faces. LOL. My kids are TOO spoilt!!! Anyway, when we finally drove through the majestic resort of what is called the Tanjong Jara Resort, they finally screamed. “I told you! I told you they were lying!”, my little T2 squealed. “You’re so mean to us!”
Oh, we just love pranking our kids……
We stopped at the driveway where there were 3 welcoming Tanjong Jara Resort staff of which one banged the loud gong to announce our arrival to the rest of the resort. They have this tradition where 1 gong is hit upon anyone’s arrival and when you leave, they hit the gong 3 times – once to thank you so much for staying with us, twice to wish you a safe journey home, and the third to welcome you here again……..I am a sucker for little details like this.
Whilst the Hubs went off to park, we checked in and were served ice cold Rosella and a lovely scented cold towel. The kids LOVED the Rosella because they said it tasted like gummy bears. Soon, the Hotel General Manager came out to greet us and we had a long chat about the resort and I related my fond memories of it. We really need to go back more often! We then proceeded to the Anjung Sea Villa of the Tanjong Jara Resort, they actually call it the Anjung Room but it really downgrades the magnificent set up. It’s not a room! It is a stand alone semi-detached bungalow! And it is huge to run around in with individual pockets of space to play hide and seek! It is just WONDERFUL because there is even the outdoor bath and really so much space for the 4 of us to move around in freely and happily.
As soon as we put our suitcase down, the kids were off to the beach leaving me to unpack but not without first having a bite at the seaside Nelayan resort. The Hubs had a cold beer and I had an apple pie with real vanilla sauce. Heh. That afternoon whilst the kids were at the beach, I just RELAXED in the cold of my villa. I don’t do beaches. It’s too freaking HOT. Thank Heavens for a great husband who makes my life as comfortable as comfortable can be.
That evening, we had dinner at the Di Atas Sungai Restaurant and were pleasantly surprised that the Chef that was there 15 years ago was still there! The Hubs said he remembered Chef Ann and I was curious, how does one remember a Chef at a Resort one has visited 15 years ago! He said it was because she was Malay yet had a Christian sounding name. Huh? Chef Ann means Ann could be short for Anita or Ana, right? Chef Ann came personally to our table of which the kids were also tickled that I had my name on it, to take our orders and the lovely thing is that they can customise our dishes to pretty much anything we want. Dinner was glorious. We were famished. I think the beach makes you hungrier. And so we had starters, mains and dessert and could not walk after LOL. On the way back to the Anjung Sea Villa of the Tanjong Jara Resort, we stopped to watch a movie under the STARS for a bit but T2 was too tired by 9pm so we proceeded back to our abode for the night.
Things to Do at the Tanjong Jara Resort
Honestly, my idea of a holiday is to do NOTHING but for those wanting to do stuff, the Tanjong Jara Resort spoils you for choice:-
- Malay Cooking Classes Daily
- Morning Yoga Daily
- Cycling Trips
- Walking around the Markets tours
- Reading from the many Hammocks scattered around the Resort
- Playing Chess (or anything else) by the many Day Beds that fit 4 pax scattered around the Resort
- Swim!!! At the beach or at the many pools (although one pool was an Adults ONLY pool for romantic couples)
- Watch movies under the STARS – at 9pm daily, they run a movie by the pool and everywhere has bean bags and pool beds etc.
- Eat to your hearts content and enjoy your food with a beautiful view
- Spend your time at their glorious SPA VILLAGE ( I did!!!)
- Nature Walks
- Look for oysters in the rocks
- Try your hand at kampung Batik painting
- Practise your hand at being a pro photographer because you have THE perfect backdrop in SO MANY PLACES!
- Soak in the outdoor bath for hours just looking at trees and sky (only if you book the Anjung Sea Villa)
- Get to know the staff, mostly local Terengganu folk – WONDERFUL!
- Have a morning beach walk picking up sea shells
- Go to the gym (YAWN!!!)
- Run on the beach for exercise against the cool sea breeze
- Watch the beautiful Tanjong Jara Resort sunrise and sunsets
- Learning the Malay culture from around the Resort, they have little snippets of history
- Make Sandcastles at the beach with your kids
- Learn and Enjoy playing in the treacherous Tanjong Jara Resort waves
- Play more boardgames around the wonderfully serene resort
- Stay indoors in the AC and watch the idiot box!
- PS – Dig your nose and flick it into the sand and ponder how many beach goers do the same. Kidding!!!
Cuisine Choice and Prices
We tried 2 out of the 3 restaurants at the Tanjong Jara Resort being Nelayan and Di Atas Sungai, both were good enough for me, no complaints. It is hotel/resort food. You could never compare it to the gerai outside for example, but for what it is, it was of good quality. Each meal came up to about RM300-500 depending on what we ordered which is quite heavy on the wallet considering what we get but I guess they need to make some money also because they lose out on the monsoon season. If you took on a Resident’s Package however, some of the meals are included so that makes it more affordable. We had apple pies, sambal dishes, burgers, noodles, rice mostly with various dishes and Chef Ann was a delight to accommodate our every request. What they serve as starters for dinner is little cute Chinese Mantaus (paus) to dip with the best chicken rice type of chilli sauce. Awesome!!! And then for desert, they had banana fritters (so-so), chocolate lava cake (good), ice-cream (OK), and they usually have some desert of the day specials. When we were there, Chef Ann prepared this Pandan Creme Brûlée to die for. Initially you would think eweeee……Malaysian creme brûlée? But it was REALLY GOOD. The Hubs had the green bean dessert. T2 had chocolate lava cake and ice cream every night. Seafood was extremely fresh and we got to savour huge fresh scallops every night – SCORE!!! The squid was also so fresh, OMG!!! I LOVE IT!!!! A freshly squeezed juice cost about RM20++ if I remember correctly so you have a guide on prices. Breakfast buffet was RM35++ per kid (which was very reasonable) and included not just the usual continental breakfast fare but had local Terengganu food like Nasi Dagang, Laksa Terengganu, and such. Loved it.
SPA VILLAGE at the Tanjong Jara Resort where I spent 5 hours on Day 2
I had a 2 hour massage first and foremost by a local Borneo girl that was fantastic. And then I went for lunch and returned for another 2 hours massage this time with a cream bath for my hair! And with a different lady called Yunni? The massage was not as good as the first lady but perhaps because the first lady had already removed all the knows within so I didn’t feel so much effect on the second round but the cream bath was lovely and the best part??? The Mandi Bunga!!!! OMG, I LOVED IT!!!!!! It started with me wearing a sarong which was going to get wet with me anyway. They placed me on a concrete stool and then started pouring flower water on me with fresh flowers and lime I think it was and with each pour, she wished me a host of blessings such as this is to bring you Happiness, Health, Prosperity, Joy, Abundance, and I cannot remember what else but it was all good and spiritual and so I really loved it. Because I felt it right in the middle of my soul. I am just so damn lucky. Prices at the Spa start at about RM450 to RM900 for various spa treatments. For what I got, I spent just under RM800.
Tanjong Jara Resort is a place I hold close to my heart because the last time we were there, we left with amazing memories and this time now with kids, albeit an impromptu trip, it was still special. We will certainly go back again soon and not more than 10 years time this time as we promised the GM. I forgot to mention, he sent some wine over with canapés on the day we arrived and daily they would send fresh fruit in syrup for our tea snack. Absolutely wonderful. It was perfect. If there was one complaint that I would be forced to make, it would be the creepy crawlies around the resort. The kids spotted a huge Monitor Lizard by the beach and we also saw quite a big chameleon running around on the garden grounds, when I went to the SPA washroom, there was a gecko on the ceiling – YIKES!!!!!
Still, the Tanjong Jara Resort was truly spectacular. Most special…….