“Honeymooning” in Malaysia
Tioman Island, Malaysia. My friend and longtime travel partner Maddy (sometimes called Fireball here) will soon be betrothed to a wonderful man. Reflecting on her upcoming nuptials, I was reminded of a “honeymoon” that Maddy, her mother Lilly, and I took in the spring of 2014. We were visiting Lilly while she was on location in Malaysia shooting the first season of the Netflix series Marco Polo. After we had exhausted the tourist attractions around the movie studio (namely, Legoland and a Hello Kitty theme park) Lilly took us on an adventure to Tioman, a mysterious dragon-shaped island in the South China sea. We joined the honeymooning set at the Japamala resort where we amused ourselves by photographing monkeys, playing cards, eating heaps of mango sticky rice, and flopping about in a sea as warm and calm as a bath. Here are some photos from that memorable trip:
Maddy and I embarking on our annual adventure to visit her mother wherever in the world she is shooting a film. This sidetrip to a resort on Tioman island was the most relaxing trip we’ve taken yet.
Lilly gazes out the window, waiting for the dragon-shaped Tioman island to come into view.
The first views of Tioman island, obscured by wake
Our private vila at the Japamala resort
Climbing up the steps to our two-story vila
Beds for two in one of the guestrooms
Our bathroom came with the finest of amenities: a giant boulder.
Charming elements in the loo
Fresh fruit, replenished daily and occasionally pilfered by sneaky monkeys
The backside of the headboard featured a built-in desk. I wonder if a sex therapist designed this.
Lilly luxuriating in the second-story master bedroom
Cabana at the Japamala Resort
This monkey had made it across the pool area, into our bedroom, and inches away from the mini bar before we caught him and shooed him out. He sat brooding on the perimeter of our patio, contemplating his next assault.
A long dock extended from the reception area to the boat dock and the bar area.
Maddy and Lilly on patrol
Looking back from the floating bar to the resort
Maddy awaiting an order of mango sticky rice, which we ate every single day
Cheeky choice of playing cards
I’ve now been on several mother-daughter-plus-me vacations with these two lovable firecrackers.
Lounging by the sea
Night falls over the Japamala resort
Sexy lighting along the paths at the resort
Leaving Tioman island and the Japamala resort
Dragon-shaped Tioman island slinks out of view