My Life In Travel: Jimmy Choo, shoe designer

'I have always drawn inspiration for my designs from travel'

Saturday 26 December 2009 01:00 GMT

First holiday memory?

Going to Penang Hill, in Malaysia, with my parents when I was a kid. I was taken by the energy and its beautiful flora and fauna.

Best holiday?

Definitely Malaysia, I always enjoy going home. I love visiting Langkawi (pictured below) and the Cameron Highlands and I usually include a visit to my home town of Penang.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I find Bath to be exceptionally beautiful. I also enjoy visiting Scotland; it is a breathtaking place and I love the landscapes.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I have always drawn inspiration for my designs from travel; from the culture, architecture and people of a country. A lot of my designs are inspired by nature, particularly birds and flowers.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife and family. I am a family man and they are very important to me. My wife often accompanies me when I travel for business.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I am a combination of beach bum and culture vulture. I like the beach if I can hold someone's hand and walk along the sand in the morning, in a rare moment of peace. But I also enjoy the cultural and architectural influence of a city.

Greatest travel luxury?

Flying first class with Malaysia Airlines. When I'm travelling back home the crew treat me so well. They always come and talk to me – and they serve the best chicken satay.

Holiday reading?

I usually take books of poetry by Buddhist Masters.

Where has seduced you?

I recently discovered the Cameron Highlands Resort, which has a strangely British feel. So even when I am in my native country, I can still enjoy the home comforts I get in Britain. The Tudor-style buildings and green countryside wouldn't look out of place in the Cotswolds.

Better to travel or arrive?

I love coming home; while Malaysia is a part of me, I consider London my home.

Worst travel experience?

Last year, on a fishing trip, I got a hook caught in the palm of my hand. A doctor had to push it right through to stop the barb catching and it was very painful. I talked to my spiritual teacher and decided it must have been a sign that I shouldn't fish any more. Best hotel?

The Shangri-La Rasa Sayang in Penang holds a special place in my heart.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

If I'm in Penang, I like to get up early and take a long, slow walk along the beach. Sometimes, I'll sit quietly on the sand for a while and meditate, or I might watch the sun rise.

Best meal abroad?

I like to go to Mama's Kitchen in Georgetown. It serves fabulous nyonya cuisine, the home-style cooking that combines the traditions of Chinese and Malay food. My favourite dishes are the curry kapitan and clay pot fish curry.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Ensuring the right balance between work and play is very important. I like to make the most of my time.

Dream trip?

I would like to travel on the Eastern & Oriental train from Bangkok to Singapore. I am also keen to try the new river cruise along Sarawak's rivers. I hope to have more time to travel for leisure in 2010.

Favourite city?

Kuala Lumpur has fantastic shopping, from malls for top brands to boutiques and markets for bargain crafts.

Where next?

Malaysia for Christmas and Hong Kong for new year.

Jimmy Choo OBE is the Tourism Ambassador for Malaysia (

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