With its stunning beaches and vibrant cities, it's unsurprising Malyasia tops many a couple's honeymoon wish-list, however you don't need a diamond on your left hand to make the trip. With fabulous wildlife, purse-popping shopping and some seriously good spas, it's also a brilliant location for an alternative girls-only holiday.
WHAT TO DO?
Kuala Lumpur (or KL as the locals call it) is great for a one or two-night stopover, especially if you like shopping, but the true beauty of Malaysia can't be fully appreciated until you've visited some of its islands. Langkawi is one of the most popular, but if it's wildlife you're after, Borneo is also an absolute must-visit.
WHERE TO STAY?
In KL, you'll find all the usual suspects, including the Mandarin Oriental, Ritz-Carlton and Sheraton. Once you hit the islands, however, it's all about the Shangri-La resorts. The Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa in Kota Kinabalu (the capital of Sabah in Borneo) is the perfect place to watch a Malaysian sunset, or hire a boat and enjoy some snorkelling off one of the uninhabited islands nearby, while the nearby Rasa Ria Resort has one of the best spas we've ever experienced and its very own orang-utan sanctuary.
WHERE TO EAT?
There are plenty of fabulous foodie spots in KL, including Bijan - a Malaysian restaurant, which serves huge, meaty prawns, delicate spring rolls, delicious spiced beef, and even more delicious coconut ice cream - served with chocolate sponge and palm oil. For the best banana leaf curry in the city, Raju's (+60 (0)3 7956 1361) is the place to visit, and for the best fresh crab, Fatty Crab (+60 (0)3 7804 5758 ). If you're in the mood for chicken wings, Wong Ah Wah, a brightly lit, little café on Jalan Alor - a bustling throughfare, which comes to life at night and is a must-visit spot for good street food - is so good, even the Prime Minister gets his chicken wings there.
WHAT TO BUY?
The malls in KL are works of art, complete with every international designer brand you could possibly want, however, one home-grown label to seek out is Lewré shoes, created by Jimmy Choo's close friend and contemporary, Lewré Lew. Celebrity fans of the label include Laura Bailey and Kate Moss, although it's almost impossible to get hold of in the UK so stock up while you can. For handicrafts, local foods and produce, don't miss one of the numerous night markets ('pasar malam'), which pop up in towns across Malaysia.
Malaysian Airlines flies from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpar daily, with prices starting from around £580 return.
FOR MORE INFO…
Log onto www.tourism.gov.my.
By Carla Bevan - Sunday 2 March 2008