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The Temple Tree Resort Langkawi review: Experience the authentic kampung life with warm hospitality

These heritage homes were transported from different states in Malaysia to the resort's grounds here in Langkawi.

All food, accommodation and tours were sponsored by the resort.

Temple Tree Resort Langkawi is located just ten minutes from Pantai Cenang (Cenang Beach), the island's main tourist location with two beautiful beaches and a mere ten minutes from Langkawi Airport. (PHOTO: Temple Tree Resort Langkawi)
Temple Tree Resort Langkawi is located just ten minutes from Pantai Cenang (Cenang Beach), the island's main tourist location with two beautiful beaches and a mere ten minutes from Langkawi Airport. (PHOTO: Temple Tree Resort Langkawi)

Langkawi, a tropical gem in Malaysia – just an hour away from Kuala Lumpur and two hours away from Singapore by plane – boasts of some of the best geological, biological and cultural heritage finds in the region. The Langkawi archipelago is after all, a complete Palaeozoic geological region or often referred to as the Trilobite Age (dated 540 million to 250 million years ago), and was awarded UNESCO Global Geopark status, the first Global Geopark in Southeast Asia.

Recently, I travelled to Langkawi upon an invitation by Temple Tree Resort Langkawi to experience a stay at one of their well-known preserved Malaysian heritage houses. Nestled within a century-old rustic coconut tree plantation and enveloped by lush, leafy greenery, the resort boasts 21 rooms and suites, each one distinct in character, set within eight lovingly preserved Malaysian heritage houses.

Interestingly, the designers behind Temple Tree Resort found these heritage buildings from across Peninsular Malaysia and decided to carefully take each house apart piece by piece (we're talking about each plank and each tile) and relocated them to Langkawi, and rebuilt them following the same shape and style to preserve these historical abodes. The gorgeous houses, each between 80 to 120 years old, feature styles as different as the cultures they represent, including Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan and Euro-Asian.

Book your stay here: Official site | Booking.com | Agoda | Trip.com

What we like and what could be done better at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi
What we like and what could be done better at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi

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Travel guide: 48 hours in Penang, Malaysia

Reasons to stay in this hotel

The writer working on an article at the verandah area of the Negeri Sembilan house at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)
The writer working on an article at the verandah area of the Negeri Sembilan house at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)

I stayed at the charming Negeri Sembilan house, which was once a family home in Negeri Sembilan, a Malaysian State just south of Kuala Lumpur. Built over 80 years ago and restored and conserved at the Temple Tree Resort, the raised single-storey house is now a luxurious 120sqm two-bedroom suite that comfortably sleeps up to four guests. The stained-glass windows are another charming facet of the house as the colours are reflected by the rays of light.

The lounge and dining area were surprisingly airy and spacious, and I was happily filing my stories daily while being surrounded by the sounds of nature. If you're travelling in a family of four, the Negeri Sembilan house is perfect as there is an adjunct room with two single beds. What makes this house also special is the in-room luxury wooden bathtub, if you're looking for time-off by soaking for hours. The bathroom amenities are refillable, thus offering a better sustainable way to reduce plastic usage.

I must say, the Negeri Sembilan house is one of the most good-looking houses on the resort's grounds if you're looking to experience authentic kampung life.

Book your stay here: Official site | Booking.com | Agoda | Trip.com

The Colonial House at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Temple Tree Resort Langkawi)
The Colonial House at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Temple Tree Resort Langkawi)

Growing up, I had the chance to visit my grandparents who lived in simple kampung houses, and the feeling I got from staying at the Negeri Sembilan house reminded me of that simple life. The elderly would hang at the patio and look out to nature; the sugarcane bush was just ripe for harvesting; and chickens would be clucking away. As we forgo these kampung houses for skyscrapers, I was fortunate to experience the rustic kampung life and spirit here at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. Furthermore, this piece of heritage is now preserved on this land for everyone to experience and enjoy.

Another interesting house facade belongs to the Colonial House. Built by Arab goldsmiths in the 1920s, Colonial House is a grand home that once stood proud in George Town, Penang, and boasts a rich mix of East and West with its Peranakan floor tiles and intricate European cornices.

Housing three one-bedroom suites and one two-bedroom suite the Colonial House can be rented as one house, a perfect venue for family gatherings, sleeping up to 10 guests, or each suite can be rented individually as the suites can all be secured as private rooms with their own entrances. The house also includes shared spaces with a dining room that seats 10 persons, a living room with a bar, and comfy lounge spaces. Of the suites, two one-bedroom suites are located downstairs, and the two-bedroom suite and a one-bedroom suite are located upstairs.

The main swimming pool at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)
The main swimming pool at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)

There are also two lap swimming pools on the resort's landscaped ground, with the main one beautifully positioned in front of the 110-year-old Johor house, so you can experience the sunsets in the evening.

Food-wise, how can we fault Malaysian cuisine? Together with other invited media guests, we dined at the new Paloh Restaurant & Bar aptly named after Perak’s state capital which was fondly known as “Pa-Lo” and located inside the lovingly restored 120-year-old Ipoh House. Outside guests are also able to dine here but reservations would be recommended as hotel guests take priority first.

Savour Nonya Laksa and mango sago at the new Paloh Restaurant at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)
Savour Nonya Laksa and mango sago at the new Paloh Restaurant at Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)

Foodies would enjoy the various signature dishes from states like Johor, Melaka, Penang and Negeri Sembilan. I would highly recommend the Nonya Laksa (RM48) that's made with signature spicy coconut milk soup; the Asam Pedas (RM25) that's served with basmati rice; and daging kerutuk, which is slow-cooked beef in chili (RM40). There are also scrumptious western cuisine such as grain-fed Brazilian rib eye steak (RM78); New Zealand rack of lamb (RM72) and grilled tiger prawns (RM55). Don't forget to order the local dessert like the mango sago and pisang goreng.

Say hello to one of the resident cats at Johor House in Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)
Say hello to one of the resident cats at Johor House in Temple Tree Resort Langkawi. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Life Singapore)

As Temple Tree Resort Langkawi is pets-friendly, you may also spot some of the resident cats like Tofu and Ginger roaming around and making friends with hotel guests. Italian resort manager Irene Vairo, who's married to a local fisherman and has been with the resort since 2020, is also the caretaker of the resident cats.

If you're itching to explore the island, you can head to Dream Forest Langkawi, the latest storytelling family-friendly attraction that details the folklore tales of Langkawi. Nearby, there is the Temonyong Night Market that opens every Thursday, offering both locals and visitors to savour delicious local foods at affordable prices.

And if you're lucky, sometimes you may even catch the squid boats riding out into the sea at the Jeti Pendaratan Sg Cenang, which is ten minutes by foot.

Get Langkawi attraction tickets from Klook

What could be done better

While the hotel eliminates one-time use of plastic bottles and straws in the houses, there isn't a full-fledged sustainability program here at the resort. Perhaps, the new management that took over the resort's operations could expand this further – for example, a smart food waste tracker that turns food scraps into fertiliser.

Book your stay here: Official site | Booking.com | Agoda | Trip.com

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