Sunday, January 7, 2018

Dinner and dancing in Langkawi with the Queen of Malaysia

The last time I was in Malaysia, living a Travelife, I went just for a short visit to have dinner with the Queen at a luxury resort by the beach in Langkawi. I flew to Kuala Lumpur first for a few days as a guest of Malaysia's dynamic Minister of Tourism then, Dr. Ng Yen Yen, and then headed onwards to Langkawi to attend the private dinner hosted by Dr. Yen Yen for the Queen of Malaysia.

The heads of the different states of Malaysia become King and Queen of Malaysia by rotation, so the queen I am writing about is not Queen of Malaysia anymore. And neither is Dr. Yen Yen the Minister of Tourism of Malaysia anymore. Nevertheless, this quick trip to Malaysia certainly is one for my memory books



WEEKEND IN KUALA LUMPUR

The invitation to fly to Malaysia to have a private dinner with the Queen of Malaysia came out of the blue over dinner with Dr. Yen Yen in Manila. She suddenly just said, very simply: "What are you doing next weekend? Come to Malaysia and join a dinner I'm hosting for the Queen." 

Of course, I dropped everything on my schedule to fly to Kuala Lumpur for several days and then journey onwards to the island paradise of LangkawiEverything was impeccably arranged so I certainly got the royal treatment


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My visit to Malaysia began with a very nice weekend in Kuala Lumpur, shopping for my favorite silk gowns and attending a dinner on someone's yacht.  Then, after two nights, I was back at Kuala Lumpur's ultra-modern airport early in the morning to catch a Malaysian Airlines domestic flight to Langkawi.



IS THIS A SMALL WORLD, OR WHAT?

On the plane to Langkawi, I bumped into my Malaysian friend Mr. Monopoly who I’d just had lunch with the previous day at a luxury hotel he owned in Kuala Lumpur. I call him Mr. Monopoly because if the city of Kuala Lumpur were a Monopoly board, he would literally own half of it. 

I kid you not.



ALMOST EVERYTHING OUTSIDE MY HOTEL WINDOW

If I looked out of my suite at the Ritz Carlton in Kuala Lumpur then, for example, it would not be exaggerating things to say that he owned most of what I could see from my window. And he also happens to own one of the most beautiful resorts in Malaysia – if not in the world – as well.

Well, Mr. Monopoly was attending the same dinner with the Queen of Malaysia that I was going to in Langkawi, as he's a good friend of the Tourism Minister, so at Kuala Lumpur airport we had a nice chat about just how good it must be to live in Malaysia.



A WARM LANGKAWI WELCOME

In Langkawi, my official Langkawi welcoming committee was in place and a reception fit for a queen -- pardon the pun -- immediately sprung into action. 

I was very kindly provided with a very impressive limo with state-of-the-art stuff I'd not yet seen in other cars, a great driver who was an excellent resource on life in Langkawi, and the most patient guide in the world. In fact, the general manager of one of the best hotels in Langkawi said there was only one of these limos in Langkawi -- and I had it.

This is where I stayed in Langkawi, living a #Travelife


SHOPPING IN LANGKAWI

After I’d checked into my hotel in Langkawi, you see, I had a few hours before dinner and my welcoming committee was ready to take me anywhere I pleased; so I took out a map of Langkawi out and pointed to everything I wanted to see.



I was going on someone’s yacht the following day to see Langkawi’s famous surrounding scenery -- apparently this is similar to Vietnam's Ha Long Bay -- so that afternoon, all I wanted to do was shop. I have a penchant for the handpainted silk kebaya gowns that are so characteristic of Malaysia, you see; and I pick up a few pieces on every trip. 


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BEAUTIFUL MALAYSIAN KEBAYA

No two kebaya are alike since they're handpainted, so it's almost like a treasure hunt to find the most beautiful silk kebaya. My hunt for unique kebaya has taken me to stores all over Malaysia, including to traditional craft shops and designer boutiques in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Malacca, Penang and finally, in Langkawi

In Langkawi, these two gentlemen took me everywhere I wanted to go -- so off I went kebaya hunting before dinner with the Queen of Malaysia. We were asked to come in a formal black and gold gown, by the way, so I'd brought a black gown with gold trimmings from Manila for the honour of dining with the Queen of Malaysia

SHOPPING GALORE


I went to a couple of crafts places and ended up in Langkawi’s largest duty-free mall just to see what it was like. 

The whole island of Langkawi is duty-free and I was given a list of best-buys in Langkawi by well-meaning friends in KL, so I decided to check these out at the Langkawi mallThat took care of the afternoon. 

BLACK AND GOLD THEME FOR DINNER


In the evening, I had just enough time to get into a long gown as the the theme of the dinner was black and gold. Then I needed to head for the party before the arrival of my host, and the arrival of the Queen of MalaysiaA princess from a neighboring state was joining the party as well.

The hotel put out a yellow carpet from the driveway all the way to the venue, and staff spent all afternoon keeping it spic and span until the arrival of the Queen. Apparently, no one is supposed to step on this yellow carpet while the Queen is walking on it.




MALAYSIA'S CHARMING ROYALS


When I met the royals, they all seemed curious that someone had flown all the way from Manila to join them for dinner that night. But the royals were all great conversationalists – as many royals the world over are – and equally great dancers. 



After dinner, a band came on and I soon found myself line-dancing next to the future Queen of Malaysia while the Princess went up on stage to sing a few songs. We actually did the line-dance together with the future Queen of beautiful Malaysia until 130 AM. 

The Queen of Malaysia was so charming, and she certainly danced wonderfully. What an evening that was to remember, in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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