Jackie M’s Travel Diary – Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort, Penang

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Most Westerners who’ve travelled to Malaysia will almost invariably have covered Penang, so they’re often surprised to find they know the place better than I do. I have to admit being a “southerner” – I was born and raised in Seremban, 40 miles south of Kuala Lumpur – Penang has always been a little outside my radar.

My recent trips back to Malaysia have allowed me to spend a bit more time up north, and I hope to build on that with future visits. During my shoot with Mediaprima’s Asia:Food.Travel.Mystery, we were hosted by the Shangri-La chain of hotels, including Penang’s Rasa Sayang Resort.

Unbeknownst to me, it was a big selling point when I put the word out that I was looking for a nanny/PA to travel with me for the entire duration; the candidate Chrys’s eyes positively lit up when I rattled through the accommodation arrangements and Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort came up.

Is anyone old enough to remember the 1973 movie, Lost Horizon? I loved it as a kid, but didn’t draw the connection until I checked into my suite and saw a copy of the James Hilton book on the dresser – it is about a utopia called Shangri-La.

The Lost Horizon in my Shangri-La Rasa Sayang suite.

The Lost Horizon in my Shangri-La Rasa Sayang suite.

We arrived very late at night and I could see once we stepped inside the lobby, why it’s held with such a high degree of reverence  among Malaysians I’d spoken to prior to my departure. Such an elegant, old-world charm that instantly makes you feel like you never want to leave. Much like this (fast forward to the 27-sec mark) –



Late-night check-in by our crew at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort.


#babyNoah comfortably settled into his bed.

Sadly we only had 2 days at the resort (plus 2 days at its sister property, Golden Sands), and a jam-packed filming schedule, starting first thing after breakfast the next morning. We filmed 2 segments with Rasa Sayang Resort’s Chef Chai, plus several others for the show we were making.

Filming a segment for Asia:Food.Travel.Mystery in the resort grounds.

Filming a segment for Asia:Food.Travel.Mystery in the resort grounds.

We ate some wonderful food during lunch at the resort. The Mediaprima crew gravitated towards steak, whereas  I stayed faithfully Malaysian –


When in Penang, eat Penang Char Kway Teow, I say. My scrumptious lunch.


My PA Chrys’s Indian Butter Chicken.


My gigantic meal-in-itself Ais Kacang, ie. shaved ice dessert.

One of the segments we shot was of the show’s presenters ie. Syai, Robb Demarest and myself, attempting a game of Sepak Raga on the beach behind Shangri-La Golden Sands Resort next door.

Screenshot of our Sepak Ragi (traditional Malay game) segment from the show.

Screenshot of our Sepak Raga (traditional Malay game) segment from the show.

Rasa Sayang Resort's lounge area, where they served refreshments throughout the day.

Rasa Sayang Resort’s lounge area, where they served refreshments throughout the day.

A behind-the-scenes outtake from one of our Penang segments –

My thanks to Chrys Voon, my PA and baby Noah’s nanny during the trip, for taking most of the photos/clips I’m posting.

Next up – recipe and cooking segment with a fellow Hakka – Rasa Sayang Resort’s Chef Chai 🙂

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