All of your heart's desires

DRAWING back the curtains, I take a moment to lose myself in the view from my 11th floor window. The sun has risen above Malaysia and revealed a spectacular sight.

Sprawled in front of me is 1.6 kilometres of white sand making up one of the world's largest man-made surf beaches.

An artificial volcano in the distance threatens to erupt with fumes, smoke and fire every few minutes. To my right is a 430-metre pedestrian suspension bridge connecting four theme parks with more than 70 rides and to my left is a zoo.

A pyramid-shaped shopping mall, where you can find about 800 speciality stores, a 48-lane bowling alley, 10 cinemas and an ice skating rink, shoots towards the sky.

Beyond that is a university, a night club and a medical centre complete with a 350-bed hospital.

And all that is just within the resort grounds.

The Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa is a “mini city” established on about 324 hectares of land about 25 minutes from the bustling heart of Kuala Lumpur and 35 minutes from the international airport.

For the next 48 hours, it is my new playground.

First up, a refreshing dip in the ocean. With the temperature soaring towards 30 degrees, a melting pot of races has gathered to cool off and a chorus of laughter can be heard as animated children splash about in the shallows.

For many it is their first seaside experience. The surf beach is capable of churning out perfectly shaped waves up to 2.5 metres but, luckily for the youngsters and me, it can be adjusted to suit the strength of swimmers.

Next on the list is conquering my fear of heights. After considering whether to take on the 360-degree rotating pirate ship, swivelling 24 metres above the ground, for all of five microseconds, I decide Everest was not meant to be conquered in a day.

The 206-metre flying fox will ease me into it.

The toughest decision of the day was shaping up to be which of the five resort restaurants and cafes to choose for lunch.

The West Lake Garden Chinese Restaurant wins this round because it smells amazing.

There is a huge range of Cantonese dishes but I would recommend the crab seafood soup and dim sims, washed down with a ginger tea.

Now, time to feed the animals.

The zoo has 150 species of wildlife, including bears, tigers and elephants. It is interactive, so visitors get a “hands on” experience.

I made friends with an albino python, a cheeky monkey and 100 or so birds which ate out of my hand.

The rabbit enclosure is a source of great fascination for the Asian holiday-makers, who delight in feeding them lettuce leaves.

Exhausted from the day's activities, I pay a visit to the Balinese-inspired Mandara Spa.

After an hour-long massage with aromatherapy oils, any tension from the rollercoaster ride at the theme park has gone.

With a belly full of pasta and pizza from the Avanti Italian restaurant, it is not long until the faint “dooff dooff” beats from the Ministry Of Sound nightclub lull me to sleep.

The next morning I devour a four-course breakfast to fuel what will be an epic shopping expedition at Sunway Pyramid mall.

The architecture on the exterior of this building is amazing and hundreds of snap happy tourists pose for photos in front of it.

It is Egyptian-inspired with an eye-catching lion standing guard at the entrance.

Inside, this place has everything from designer clothes to music and home furnishings. For ease, the four million square feet of retail space is divided into five precincts.

At Fashion Central you will find brands such as Marks and Spencer and Topshop.

Give Asian Avenue a miss unless you are a size six, as it is unlikely any of their fashion will even fit over your head.

Marrakesh is a colourful bazaar with intricate handmade Malaysian crafts and prices are not set.

Kidz Zone speaks for itself – shop after shop of toys and more toys.

In Oasis Boulevard you can replenish your thirst and top up your energy at an array of franchised or local eateries such as Wong Kok Char Chan Teng, which have hearty meals for 3RM ($1).

Malaysia is famous for its assortment of delicious cuisines.

Bargain buys include make-up, electrical goods, leather handbags and Converse shoes.

With aching feet, an extra five kilograms of luggage and an empty wallet, I head back to the hotel.

Despite all the hustle and bustle of the resort, you can still escape into your own world.

What an incredible 48 hours.

The writer was a guest of Malaysia Airlines and Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa.

GOOD TO KNOW

Malaysia Airlines flies to Kuala Lumpur direct from Brisbane daily.

The monetary unit of the country is Ringgit Malaysia and is written as RM. About $1 Australian buys 3RM.

Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa has 1234 rooms ranging in price from 380RM. If you have more time check out Central Market, the night markets, Chinatown and StarHill for shopping. You can buy a t-shirt from the markets for about $12, an original Chanel handbag from StarHill for $3000 and high heels from Central Market for $20.



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