The trip actually a wedding gift from husband’s friend, which his syarat the place must be LOCAL. Among first being shortlisted was Rawa Island; unfortunately clashes with office deadlines & wedding jobs had postponed the trip earliest by December where boat operation being risky to rely to since most local islands will be on monsoon. Our search continued with Tioman which accessible by flight and found this beautiful site of Japamala, a boutique resort housing 12 villas (they called it Sarang) altogether with own private beach. Pictures in TripAdvisor not that interesting and far from any YTL’s luxurious resorts to be compared to, but reviews were telling otherwise made us evenmore tempted to check out the place. And true, we never regret since.
The good about traveling during monsoon, most will offer you huge discount for room. Japamala had this Low Season Package (available in their website) starting RM1.2k+ for couple, including 2N accommodation, airport (boat) transfer, massage etc. For short 3D2N escape, we rather ticked off all outdoors & spend more intimate time for each other...so all we need was nice room! ;) We booked the Seaview Sarang, apparently the one and only there and the most lavish villa they have for couple..kata sponsor kan...
Took Berjaya’s morning flight from Subang Airport. Upon arrival, paid RM5 marine conservation fees and two hotel staffs already standby for our next boat transfer to Japamala. Jay the staff handed us cool towels and lemongrass welcome drink (one of Japamala’s signature) during trip – very refreshing, especially after 55 mins (unpleasant) flight experience. By the way, the speedboat not a tiny we used to imagine, it’s cabined type with twin motors which pretty luxurious by our standard. Mind you, return boat trip will cost RM300+ per couple if you not taking the package.
Finally reached Japamala’s very own jetty, the water beneath so clear that we could see colorful fishes swimming in it. The jetty also serves as one of their dining place, Mandi Mandi Restaurant where you can dine under the sky, or better, stars if you’re lucky! we then brought to reception area; no counter or whatsoever frills found in usual grandeur hotel lobbies…only one low table with laptop and two round-wooden seats for us. Loved the effort-less designs they have here, it brings more rustic feeling to the resort.
Belle the staff walked us to our Sarang. Not that we know we had to climb (long) wooden staircase all the way to our room; thought the room was Seaview..shouldn’t it be closest to ground or pantai as possible? Hehe. Along the way, we were greeted with ‘Good Afternoon’ and warm smiles from each Japalama staff, made us felt so welcomed. The moment Belle opened the door we had to agree the Sarang worth all the climb & wait! It was uber hugeee, about triple size of their smallest villa and very secluded to offer us utmost privacy.
From info we read, very minimal trees being chopped during construction of this resort and to not disturb the natural landscape, you’ll find each and every villa is rather designed to fit their original location. One obvious example seen in our Sarang, the big rock was not moved but instead made a nice, natural hide for our small plunge pool :) Guess the pictures do better talking..
our huge nest ;)
same seat found at lobby *wink
Took quick shower, then head to Mandi Mandi Restaurant for our first dinner. Setting of jetty restaurant itself is unbeatable; it was built up on stilts above the sea with meters away from beachfront. For the first time, actual looked a lot better than pictures especially after the places all been lit up...now I know the TA reviewers were speaking truth hehe. BBQ was cancelled unfortunately, so we had everything ordered. They served Italian/ western cuisine and we’ve been told to fork out at least rm100/couple per meal. Not that friendly to pocket, but I guess fair considering its remote location.
chef at work!
Had our breakfast the next day at Tamarind Terrace (serving Indo-Chinese & a sister restaurant to Tamarind Spring, so you can expect the taste). With small occupants, they only prepared small buffet with basics like bread, fruits, cereals etc and we’re allowed to order (as many we want) from their menu – another personal touch :) Be it everywhere, Mango Lassi (or any yogurt drink I guess!) is something you shouldn’t miss including here in Japamala. Their homemade chicken porridge was fabulous, had to tapau some food cos hubby overly ordered – good thing, jimat our lunch! Hehe.
Belle came to remind our complimentary Thai massage appoinment. Unfortunately one of their therapist was on leave so we had to forego any couple treatment offered. Massage took at one of the hut upside overlooking the sea, with breezy waves as background. Done by a skillful lady from Bali…the pressure was damn good, unbeliavably backpain I’ve been suffering has now gone!
We didn’t get to celebrate husband’s birthday earlier due to my brother’s wedding held on same date, so our final night at Japamala would be perfect time to make up with just the two of us :) Mike setup simple private dinner for us by the beach, at one of their beach hut. Funny that we start off having nasi and all sort for a supposed-romantic dinner hehehe..what to do their western jetty restaurant was closed due to heavy wind :p
I only arranged them that 3pm and left all the creativity to Mike and amazingly, they manage to pull out a cake for husband’s belated birthday! The taste? Think Haagen Daaz Belgian Choc, better version! And the best of all – it’s FREE. Husband was completely touched (Who doesnt? You got surprise cake on remote island okay) and never expect it as I was busy with weddings of lates. No nice card, only simple birthday note written on Japamala letterhead..lousy, i know!! :p