Travel & Hotel

The Datai Langkawi – a hotel in Paradise.

The_Datai_Langkawi_photo_by_Little_Big_BellHow do you define paradise? Look no further than the Datai Langkawi.

Slow living is all the rage now, so this is the perfect place to start. Although I must admit, I love the fast paced life, but fast paced types have to unwind and recharge too right?The_Datai_Langkawi_pool_Little_Big_BellIt is an idyllic hotel nestled amongst, but sustainably built on the fringe of the rainforests of Langkawi.The-Andaman-sea-The-Datai-photo-by-Little-big-BellLangkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands based in the northern part of Malaysia, where the straits of Malacca meet the Indian Ocean.

The hotel faces the emerald green Andaman sea, and the land you see across is none other than Thailand.The-Datai-hotel-Langkawi-photo-by-Little-Big-BellThe wood from the buildings were allowed to weather naturally in their environment, to achieve its own aged patina.
The_Datai_Langkawi_photo_by_Little_Big_BellWe had two adjoining Deluxe rooms, overlooking this lush and tropical green. Surrounded by the sounds of nature, we could hear the gentle break of waves, to the calls of Hornbills and the hypnotising harmony from the frogs and cicadas.Banana-tree-flower-photo-by-Little-Big-BellI’ve never seen one before, but this is a banana tree flower.

Love its pinky hue and the contrasting yellow.
water-lily-photo-by-Little-Big-BellRemember those harmonious frogs I mentioned? Well, they lived in a pond at the lobby area amongst these gorgeous pink water lilies.
Giant-tropical-leaf-photo-by-Little-Big-BellI Could not believe the size of the leaves in the tropical rainforest. They were gigantic.Monkeys_in_The_Datai_Langkawi_photo_by_Little_Big_BellThese cheeky fellas were regular visitors just before sundown. It was a good thing I always remembered to lock the glass doors.

It must have been the sight of those colourful bowls of fruit, that were there to greet all guests on arrival.

No doubt about it right? This gorgeous hotel was definitely in the thick of nature.Green-paper-umbrellas-photo-by-Little-Big-BellThese green wax paper umbrellas reminded me of my childhood in Kuala Lumpur.

They look great as a decorative feature in these large terracotta pots.

There was no rain whilst we were there but they’re perfect too as sun shields during long walks.  Smoothie-The-Datai-photo-by-Little-Big-BellThis is more like it. I couldn’t not post colour.

This is a fresh peach and mango smoothie. The poolside smoothie menu was amazing.

Even better, sometimes the waiters would walk around giving guests free ones. Now, that is wonderful guest service.Breakfast-at-the-Datai-photo-by-Little-Big-BellThe breakfast buffet varied every morning and was an absolute delight. There was something there for everyone. There were papaya danishs served from a book case toNasi-lemak-at-the-Datai-photo-by-Little-Big-Bellthe traditional Malaysian favourite, Nasi Lemak. It’s a coconut rice with a spicy sweet anchovy chilli, peanuts and eggs, all wrapped up in a leaf.

Indeed, many Malaysians have curry and rice for breakfast and this dish was truly delicious.Sprinkle_donut_photo_by_Little_Big_BellThen there was this donut covered in colourful sprinkles that just sang my name.Satay-in-Malaysia-The-Datai-hotel-photo-by-Little-Big-BellIf you go to Malaysia, you have to try Satay. They are skewers of chicken or beef that have been marinaded and seasoned. They are then cooked over an open flame fire. Dip them in a spicy peanut sauce and they are heavenly.

This was what I had one day for lunch whilst lounging by the beach.Blue-curacoa-cocktail-at-the-datai-photo-by-little-big-bellCocktails at sunset is a must. How could one resist a cocktail as colourful as this?The-Pavilion-The-Datai-Langkawi-photo-by-Little-Big-BellThis is the Pavilion, the delicious Thai restaurant at the Datai. It is built on 30 meter high stilts, floating in the canopy of the rainforest with a view of the Andaman sea.

The food was amazing and I highly recommend the sticky rice with fresh mango pudding.

We were actually spoilt for choice with the eating venues at the Datai. There was also our favourite Gulai house restaurant which served up indigenous Malay and Indian cuisine.

We were very lucky to have been invited as a family to a Thai cookery class at the Pavilion with chef Somkeat Lok, under Richard Millar, the overall supervising executive chef at the Datai.

Before I forget, I must say that Richard has done an amazing job with the food and beverege at the Datai hotel, one of the pulling factors during our stay.

Anyway, back to the cookery class…

Thai-restaurant-The-Datai-photo-by-Little-Big-BellA traditional Thai greeting as we entered the pavilion.Thai_cookery_class_The_Datai_photo_by_Little_Big_BellThere were four cooking stations, all beautifully set up with the prepared ingredients. We made two dishes.

The starter was Yam takrai bai chaplu pla which was a poached fish salad with Lemon grass and Betel leaf and the second dish was Nue Phad bai harapa which was a stir-fried minced beef with chilli, garlic and sweet basil.

I will share the fish salad recipe below.Cookery_class_Datai_hotel_Langkawi_photo_by_Little_Big_BellHere are the ingredients for the fish salad for 4 people:

Snapper or your favourite fish 240g
Shallot or red onion 60g
Lemon grass 50g
Tomato 60g
Betel Leaf ( if available) 30g
Kaffir Lime leaf 4-5 leaf
Coriander root 10-20g
Coriander leaf 15-30g
Red chilli large 10g
Bird eye chilli upon your taste
Garlic 5-6 cloves
Fish sauce for taste
Palm sugar 1-3 table spoon
Lime large 4-5 pieces
Thai-Citrus-Chilli-Summer-fish-salad-by-Little-Big-BellHere are the instructions:

Poach the fish in very hot boiling water till cooked, then set them aside.

Mortar garlic, red chilli large, bird eye chilli together with Coriander root till it’s roughly paste then to required taste add palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice together, mix well.

Finely slice lemongrass, Betel leaf, large red chilli,shallot, tomato Kaffir lime leaf and Coriander leaf. Mix together with the dressing.

To finish, arrange fish on a warm plate and pour over sauce.Thai-Summer-Fish-salad-by-Little-Big-BellSo easy to make and absolutely delicious. A perfectly exotic dish for Summer. Thai_stir_fried_mince_beef_chilli_garlic_basil_The_Datai_photo_by_Little_Big_BellThis was the minced beef dish we made. It was delicious, savoury and tangy.

We then had a private lunch of what we made, served up with rice and wine.Tropical-fruit-platter-at-The-Datai-photo-by-Little-Big-BellThen we were treated to this,Dessert-the-Datai-Langkawi-photo-by-Little-Big-Belland this.

The kids really enjoyed the culinary class and tasting the food they cooked. They felt like they were on a series of Masterchef, a programme we all love watching as a family.

All guests at the Datai can book for these culinary classes and I really highly recommend enjoyed the Datai so much, we didn’t really venture out of the hotel much.

The only place we visited, which I highly recommend is the sky bridge. It is one of the longest free span curved bridge in the world. Sky-bridge-Langkawi-photo-by-Geraldine-Tan-Little-Big-BellIt hangs about 100 metres above the ground and the view was amazing. The-Datai-Langkawi-going-to-the-spa-photo-by-Little-big-BellHowever, I would happily walk on this mini bridge any time. The walkway to a tropical paradise at the Datai, actually it’s also the walkway to the spa.

I would really like to thank the staff at the Datai for making our stay the most wonderful ever and we can’t wait to return again.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I will be back soon with a new styling post soon, featuring a talented designer. Happy weekend all.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan. The cookery lessons were complimentary from the Datai).


  1. Dear Geraldine, thank you for the beautiful pictures and kind words! We hope to welcoming you again at The Datai Langkawi soon!

    • littlebigbell

      Thank you so much! I really enjoyed the cookery class and will definitely visit again soon. x

  2. This looks so idyllic! I have never been this side of the world, must make a point of going one day.

    • littlebigbell

      You definitely should. If you do, email me and I’ll let you know all the cool and fun places to visit. Lovely to have you visit the blog Katy. 🙂

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