Sunday, June 18, 2017

Thatched Hut on Concrete Poles Avani Sepang Goldcoast Church Camp Mitsui Outlet

Church Camp 2017 

Colossians 3:16 (KJV)
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." 

Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort.  According to their website, "AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort offers guests the ultimate over water escape amongst an untouched gem of natural beauty.  Stretching over 1 KM of water, the contemporary villas face the sheltered waters of the straits of Malacca, perfectly balanced accessibility and seclusion."

Just where is this resort?  The location is just south of KLIA, in the state of Selangor.  I drove there via the 2nd link and this is the route we took.  First, we drove to Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA, which is north of the resort.  That journey took us about 3 hours, with a stop in between.  The absolute distance as shown in the map below was 324km via the highway, from 2nd link. (Tuas)  Clearing the 2nd link took about 45 minutes, and after that the drive was very smooth.

We arrived at Mitsui Outlet slightly after noon and spent about 2 hours there.  The outlet was not small, but rather quiet.

Prices Not Low
There were many outlets shops, but as you can see the prices were not low, even after discounts.  We checked out the Timberland and Geox stores. Only window shopping for us.

Food not cheap & No Supermarket
By Malaysian standards, food wasn't cheap.  It wasn't too expensive either (if you compare to Singapore standards) but at least the place was clean and pleasant.  Our lunch was in two parts, first at a Japanese eatery called Don Don Tei, and then we had coffee at this cafe called The Loaf, a premium restaurant/bakery that started in Langkawi and owned (in part) by Tun Dr Mahathir.

The Loaf Signature Iced Coffee
We had some iced coffee (pour warm milk onto ice coffee cubes) at the Loaf.  Interesting experience.

Video of Mitsui Experience
The full video of our Mitsui Outlet Park experience here, including our lunch at Don Don Tei, as well as snippets of the various shops available at Mitsui.  Not cheap.

Drive from Mitsui to Avani Sepang
The drive took about 45 minutes.  Here is the route.  Drive was easy with GPS.  I must say that the resort was rather ulu (secluded).  There was a small town, about 10km out.  The biggest shopping center would be Aeon Seremban 2, which we stopped by on our way home.

Arrival at the Resort
We arrived before 3PM.  Unfortunately, our rooms weren't ready.   Many other church members had already arrived before us (including several coaches).  So we walked around the resort to 'look-see'. This photo below summarizes my main picture memory of the resort - Thatched Huts on Concrete Poles!  LoL.

Main Lobby & Parking - 25RM
Before I forget, what about parking?  You had two options.  First, pay 25RM so that you can park within the compound.  They call this valet parking, but in reality it is a 25RM fee to park your car, and they will charge you a re-entry fee of 10RM every time you drive out and come back in.  So, what happened was that most of us just parked for the entire time we were here, for 25RM.

Parking outside was free, but at your own risk.  At night, the whole place was very dark.  If you car disappeared, nobody would know.  None of us dared to risk it, well not for 25RM.  Here is how the parking looked like.  I realised it could get full, if too many people drove.  Parked cars from church almost reached the gantry! (But still some space on the right side)

This is the layout plan, shaped like a Palm.  I think when this place was first built, it was called Palm Resort, for obvious reasons.

The layout of the villas as seen from a top view.  There is a trunk which leads to the mainland (where the lobby and conference rooms were).  The center of the palm tree is the Bila Bila restaurant, pool, and other restaurants.  Then there are 8 other smaller branches (they still call it trunks).  Our Family Villa was 817.  In this video, I show you the buggy ride from our Villa (call the buggy by dialing 0 on the room phone, Free-of-charge) to the main lobby.  The buggy goes quite fast.  Hold on tight!

Family Villa
Our family stayed in this villa, which was very comfortable for the 4 of us.  There was a sitting area, plus two separate bedroom areas, with movable partitions acting as doors, all under this one thatched roof.  Two toilets, two balconies.  It was a unique experience to wake up to the sounds of water. During low tide, there was only mud though.  Check out the video.

Fitness Centre 
Check out the fitness centre (also located in a hut) plus the infinity pool.  The weather was very hot and the fitness centre was air-conditioned, which was good.  Not a big place, just two threadmills.  Hardly anybody used it.  The infinity pool wasn't very big either, and it could get crowded.  You could get pool towels, but they had to be returned at the pool, i.e. could not bring them back to our rooms.  Be careful if you have kids.  It would be quite easy to climb over the edge of the Infinity pool and fall over.

Infinity Pool
This is the edge of the Infinity pool. The pool was not deep at all.  My kids could stand throughout the pool, so I don't think the pool was any deeper than 1.2M at all points.

After some swimming, we decided to get a pizza to share.  This cost RM 33, 12 inch pizza.  Freshly made, taste wasn't too bad.  Good for sharing.

Room Service Menu
We went to the Bila Bila cafe to order the pizza, waited for it (about 15 minutes) and brought it back to our room.  Later on, we realised that we could have ordered room service, through the interactive TV in our room, and get it delivered.  Price was the same!  I decided to make a video of the room service menu, to give you a sense of the prices.  It wasn't too bad, given that this was room service.  Nasi Goreng for RM 30.

As this was a church camp, our meals were fully catered, so we didn't have to spend additional on food.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, all at the same place (Bila Bila), buffet style.  Overall, the food quality was decent, but not spectacular.  Then again, we did not expect spectacular stuff, just good-to-eat would suffice.  I didn't do many videos of the food this time round, just this one during a breakfast.

Thank God for Church Camp
Overall, it was a pleasant stay and a good break from the hustle and bustle of Singapore.  Even though getting around the resort took a bit of time (waiting for buggies, or walking, or cycling), campers were very co-operative and by and large, very few people were late for the official events and church messages.

The church camp committee wisely arranged for the older campers to stay on the main trunk, so as to minimize the distance of travel.  For the younger families, it was more fun to stay on the branches, because it was quieter.  The main trunk gets busy with plenty of traffic.

The overall feedback was positive, as we enjoyed a very different experience as compared to what we have in Singapore. This place was also popular for church camps, as we know of other churches which have had their camps here, and right after our camp, there was another church coming in for their camp.

Thank God for a safe and pleasant camp, and for the wonderful fellowship and the messages.

Colossians 3:16 (KJV)
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." 

Address of Resort
No 67, Jalan Pantai Bagan Lalang, Kg Bagan Lalang, Sungai Pelek, 43950 Malaysia

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