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Weekend Escapades

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Model and content creator, Bay Doucet shares with us two of her favourite weekend experiences in Malaysia as we focus on domestic travel and rediscover our own backyard.

There’s no better time than now to explore what our unique country has to offer. With international border closures and surges of COVID-19 cases worldwide, domestic travel is the way to go, and it feels like everyone is scrambling to plan their ‘Cuti-Cuti Malaysia’ trips.

This past year I’ve been fortunate to be able to go on a few trips to escape the mundane work-from-home life, discovering fascinating corners of our country that I may not have otherwise travelled to if not for the strange new circumstances that have affected the world in 2020.

Keeping Cool In Kuala Lumpur

Starting with something perfect for a city day trip or weekend adventure, I’ve been loving the recent changes to Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur (KL). The emergence of eccentric new event spaces, experimental cafes and the general pedestrian-friendly layout of Petaling Street and the surrounding areas make it the ideal way to spend the weekend while rediscovering our capital city.

Using the recently restored Kwai Chai Hong lane as a starting point, a stroll around nearby areas will take you to some interesting cafes, restaurants and bars that have just popped up this year. Small Shifting Space is a new favourite of mine. This cafe and wine bar is an eclectic space that just launched recently, serving up a variety of coffee and pastries in the AM, then transforming into a sleek but fuss-free wine bar in the PM.

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Kwai Chai Hong (L), Small Shifting Place (R)

The Hungry Tapir is another great restaurant in the area. They’re a vegan/vegetarian restaurant that serves up great local cocktails made with Lihing, a Sabahan pulut-based rice wine. Their food is a mix of East meets West, with flavour combinations that are delightfully local with a twist, so you could definitely bring your carnivorous friends here without any complaints!

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The Hungry Tapir

A short 7-minute-walk away from Kwai Chai Hong is another space worth exploring, REX KL. This building was once an iconic old cinema, but after years of neglect, it has now been repurposed into an arts and cultural space that houses an assortment of pop-up stores, restaurants and exhibitions. While the pandemic has slowed down the number of large scale events being held in the space, it still contains a number of tenants in The Back Ground, an all-day urban food hall and marketplace located within REX KL that breathes new life into the once abandoned building.

While the city is all about discovering exciting new places to go, my next favourite destination is one where you get to kick off your shoes, relax, and do absolutely nothing (doesn’t this sound like a dream?).

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REX KL
Chilling In Cherating

The Kasturi Resort, located in Cherating, Pahang is a secluded, private and quiet retreat away from the city. The 3-hour-drive it takes to get there from KL brings you through the winding and scenic roads of Gombak and Bentong, before a long stretch of highway takes you straight to the coast. My advice is to take your time with the drive, stopping in Bentong for a late morning snack at Kedai Kopi Kow Po or Kopitiam Thong Kee.

Kedai Kopi Kow Po is a family run business that has been passed down through generations. Famous for their home-made ice cream and shaved ice desserts, it’s a great place to stop for a refreshing treat before continuing on your journey. If the drive has worked up your appetite, Kopitiam Thong Kee on the other hand, is a great place for some noodles, toast and kopi to re-energise you for the rest of the trip.

When you arrive in Kuantan, make sure to stop by Kula Cakes to take away their highly celebrated Classic Mango Cheesecake! Their display cabinet, filled with cakes of every kind, will leave your mouth watering. If the weather is good and the cafe isn’t too busy, take a seat outside to take in the view of the Kuantan Tower and enjoy the breeze. If the cafe is packed, as it usually is, I like to take away a few slices of cake to store in the hotel fridge so I can have a sweet treat at any time of the day.

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Kula Cakes

Finally arriving at The Kasturi Resort, the hotel staff are attentive to help you unload your car, and welcome you with a nice cold drink while you check in. I highly recommend their Beach Front Villas, which are perfect for couples or friends looking for a tranquil escape. The villas are nestled within a shady coastal forest, each with their own private pool complete with deck chairs for you to lounge the afternoon away in the sun. Order some keropok lekor (fried fish cakes) and teh tarik (pulled milk tea) from their room service menu, lay back, and enjoy some peace and tranquility only 3 hours away from the bustle of city life!

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The Kasturi Resort
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These little detours out of my everyday routine remind me just how lucky I am to call Malaysia my home. From pristine beaches, to lush rainforests, to big city excitement, this country has it all, so everyone is sure to find a ‘Cuti-Cuti Malaysia’ itinerary that works for them!

Bay Doucet is a graphic designer, model and content creator living in sunny Kuala Lumpur. She’s a mom to two rescued stray cats, loves milo ais, and is probably planning her next beach trip. Follow her adventures at www.instagram.com/baydoucet.

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