Ever dreamed of staying in an overwater villa – but thought it was too expensive? Think again.
Staying in an overwater resort is on most of our bucket lists.
But wherever the word overwater appears, so too does the threat of too many zeros on the credit card bill - and it remains all but a dream for most of us.
The spiritual home of the overwater bungalow is the Maldives. There you won't get much change from $NZ700 ($A644) a night, and often you'll be forking out more than a $NZ1000 ($A921).
But there's a way to tick it off your bucket list much cheaper – for just $NZ155 ($A143)!
Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort is one of the biggest overwater hotels in the world.
Instead of heading to the Maldives, you'll be boarding a plane to Malaysia.
Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort is a colossal palm tree-shaped hotel which extends almost a kilometre into the Malacca Straits – the stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra.
It has a gob-smacking 315 overwater villas, just 40-minutes from Kuala Lumpur's airport.
The moment you set foot in the resort, there's the buzz of a small city. Golf carts continuously ferry guests down the "trunk" of the resort, and out along one of eight branches with dozens of villas along each one. Two bars and five restaurants heave with holiday makers, so too the pool and spa.
But as soon as you're inside your room, that buzz completely disappears. It's almost silent - just you and the ocean.
I really thought, given the price, the rooms would be underwhelming – small and dated. But they were large, modern, and lived up to its five-star rating.
The resort has an emphasis on relaxation. You can spend an entire day indulging at the large ball-shaped building at the centre of all the branches.
There you can start off with a coconut by the pool, before having lunch at one of three restaurants, then head for a spa treatment (the best massage I've ever had).
You can finish the day watching the sunset from the bar, where live music plays until late.
A group of guests even took the relaxation vibe to a whole new level, and wore dressing gowns to breakfast.
It can take more than 15-minutes to reach reception if you walk - and while golf carts continuously loop around offering rides - the most fun way to get around is taking segways, which are available for rent.
Or you can take a free bike.
With budget airline AirAsia flying daily from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur, it's possible to stay four nights including airfares for about a tenth of the price of doing it in the Maldives.
But there are a few big differences you need to weigh up.
Most overwater villas in the Maldives are a much more intimate affair and allow you to jump straight into the turquoise water from your room. At Avani, your room is built much higher on stilts and you're not allowed to jump in. The water is also a greeny brown colour from the mudflats.
But if you're keen to tick off an overwater holiday without breaking the bank, it doesn't get much better.
More information see www.minorhotels.com
The writer was a guest of Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort.
Last year Brook Sabin (@brooksabin) and his partner Radha Engling (@globaladmirer) quit their jobs and sold everything to travel. They started a blog www.onflightmode.com and now call themselves fulltime travellers, making a living selling travel photos and video all around the world. Each week Kiwis in Flight will take you on their adventures.
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