Redang Island, Malaysia: The Taaras Redang - Eat. Sleep. Swim. Read. Repeat.

...because what else is there to do when one finds themselves on a cliff, overlooking the marine park island of Redang with sweeping views of the South China Sea, beaches, and mountains? 

What need is there to leave your villa, when it comes with everything you could need; your own gym, sixteen metre infinity pool, vast wraparound sun deck and numerous balconies, your own staff to cater to your every whim, need, and desire, your butler to bring you the local delicacies and your chef to whip them up into supper for you? 

What else can one do? 

Survey your dominion from up on your lofty perch, like the (lion) king you are. Everything the light touches is ours. 

The Taaras Villa hit the nail on the head with 'barefoot luxury'

Disregard the photos on the The Taaras website, they are not of the villa. Instead let these photos illuminate upon you the joys of staying indoors even when surrounded by the splendours of a tropical paradise. The Taaras Villa is RM30,000 (or was it 20?) a night but when you realise that it easily sleeps ten people, it works out to 3k each, so this little jewel isn't entirely unfeasible, more so if your currency is especially strong against the Malaysian Ringgit (euros and pound sterling, I'm looking at you).

I shan't post the amenities and room features from the website here as they are so simply described that they fall laughingly short of the true luxury and comfort of the villa

The sun drenched living room, whose blinds were kept down all morning, every morning, by the rest of my party. I was the only person under 30...40 really, and you know what my parents' generation are like. One freckle, one tan line, God forbid a tan and you are a disgrace to the Overseas Chinese race. Did anyone else of my generation have Hazeline Snow slathered on their faces to negate the fierce Malaysian sun's unforgiving (and darkening!) rays? Yes, I see you! 

Now I am overcome with nostalgia and feel an urge to dash out to the nearest pharmacy and buy a pot of Hazeline Snow, spread it all over my face and enjoy the soothing coolness...aaaaahhhhhhhh that wonderful sensation I'm feeling on my skin? That's childhood, right there.


So this was more or less all I did during my stay at The Taaras Villa in Redang.

 #ChiggasinChateau is so last week, it's now all about #VillaLyf.

Try to wake up early every morning. 

It's a real struggle when the bed is so thick and fluffy, like sleeping in a tub of whipped marshmallow.

But you need to find the strength to hit the button and open the curtains. As they slowly part with a soothing whirring sound, the tropical light floods in and your eyes slowly adjust to the glare, mercifully softened by the sheer curtains. The turquoise waters and azure skies of Redang slowly come into view and you chastise yourself for staying in bed for as long as you have.

I try to avoid the dressing room and bathroom in the morning because the mirrors lit by the unforgiving morning light, hides no flaws and frankly I can't handle the sight of my unmade up face this early in the day.

Headed downstairs using the lift instead of the stairs, even though it's only one flight, because, well, it's morning.

And of course everyone else is already at brunch. You can always count on the older generations of Asians to be awake early, it's a survival skill born out of necessity. What is the proverb? '富不过三代' Wealth lasts three generations; the first makes it, the second spends it, the third squanders it. I disagree. Why am I even talking about generational wealth and inheritance? I'm in a strange mood.

Breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, etc. is served.

Thanks to our hardworking team of chef, cooks, and butlers.

Well look who made a rare appearance for breakfast...usually the only thing I eat in the morning are the flies that find their way into my open, snoring mouth.

Lunch is always local delicacies, and as organic or free-range as it gets because it's from the sea. Or the forests. 

The catch of the day. I find it hilarious that my genteel non-Asian friends recoil in horror at faces on their food. To say nothing of how disgusting they find chicken's feet served at the table. Hahahaha, did you think that your fish filet grew on a tree? An animal died for your meal for goodness sake, look it in the eye and offer it your thanks for its sacrifice.

Satay. I am reminded of Damian who had satay in Bali and didn't realise the sauce was made of peanuts. Serious swelling occurred, poor lamb.

Squid, my favourite.

My Frankenstein's monster; a mashup of nasi lemak, noodles, satay, and goodness knows what else.

I am sadly allergic to pineapple and my life is lacking for it. But then again I can eat durian, so there is justice in this world after all.

Lunch selfie with my twin, hello mummy! It's like looking in a mirror.

Take an outfit of the day photo for Instagram before quickly shedding it all for a bikini under a bath robe. I'm sorry, crisp white linen shirt, you are terribly photogenic but you just can't beat a fluffy bath robe for lounging around the villa like a stoned manatee.

The deadly combination of the midday sun and food coma kicks in, joining forces to hypnotise the unsuspecting into a stupor. One can either succumb to by taking a nap which I did at least a couple of times, only to sleep until dinner and waste a whole day. Or one can try to stay alert by being active.

Only after a couple of days did I realise we had a gym in the basement. Say hello to the most unloved and unused room in the villa.

I did try to use the day bed as my little quiet place for reading. I love that it was underground with the floor to ceiling windows affording spectacular views of the tropical rainforest outside, it was like being in an air conditioned tree house. I love sheltered hidden corners with low ceilings and great views, like lagoons, coves, waterfalls...I think I've mentioned this before in my spa post.

Or one could get creative and do some flower arranging.

If flowers are unavailable make do with whatever you can find in the house, sorry, villa. Don't think too much about what you're creating---overthinking is the enemy---just go with the flow, follow wherever your hands go, and let your subconscious take you down a path of exploration.

Step back to take a look at your creation, it's symbolism, and analyse what it says about your state of mind. 

In my instance it is clear that I spend too much time on my own, allowing my mind to be the devil's playground. So perhaps take oneself outdoors and bask in the sunlight?

My nickname is iceberg, because I'm huge, I'm white, and I float.

Genuine question; can you be a mermaid if you are fat?

No? Dugong it is.

Testing a disposable underwater Kodak film camera in the pool before taking it out to snorkelling.

It would be a shame to soak up only the sun when such a leisurely trip affords a busy person the rare opportunity to absorb some reading.

One of four Murakami novels that I bought ten years ago but shamefully never got around to reading. And I will shamefully admit, that again, I didn't finish any of them this time around. 

So I'm taking them with me to Cuba where I'm sure they will again fester, unloved, in the dusty recesses of my suitcase. Or I could post photos of myself in a bikini, pretending to read carefully staged against the most photogenic corner of the villa, to craft myself as the Pinterest dream girl whose interests are as broad as the horizons she meticulously photographs her thigh gap against. 

But I'll come clean, really I was in my gym clothes (that have never been to the gym), constantly changing positions to find a comfortable way to recline and read (there are none) before eventually giving up and taking a nap.

As the sun sets, it dawned (shouldn't it be dusked?) on me that I've spent an entire day doing eff-all, so I try to balance out the slovenly indolence with a few half-hearted attempts at pilates. Or yoga.

Or whatever you call this.

Whatever my physical limitations; too fat, too flabby, lacking wings, I can at least be assured that despite my best efforts at avoiding exercise I will always be flexible. You'd think that'd mean I can fly long distance in economy class without much discomfort, but that isn't so.

The day ends, as it should, with a romantic dinner (for ten) on the beach. Strictly speaking this is outside the jurisdiction of the villa, but sometimes you just have to venture out. And venture out I did do, to the marine park and surrounding islands for some snorkelling, turtle stalking, fish feeding, and dugong impersonating. More about that tomorrow.

Dugong, out.


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