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A Little Weekend Escapade to Langkawi

Written By: jipp - May• 23•13

Finally, after spending so many years in the Peninsular of Malaysia, I finally set foot in the last state of Malaysia that I had never been to yet – Perlis. Having said that, I can finally say that I have been to all the states in this country – like each and every one of them. So what do I feel now? I feel truly Malaysian. Heh.

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Thanks to my trip to Langkawi – which was my very first time there, it was actually a trip that covered four states in one go, or rather five since I started off from KL then Selangor before dashing across Perak and later Kedah all the way to Perlis. 8 hours were all it took. Thanks God, it was an overnight ride so I didn’t really feel a hell of a ride since I slept through most of the hours.

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And before I knew it, I was woken up by my ride-mate and I was in Kuala Perlis, from where we’d take a ferry to one of the most visited islands in the Andaman Sea, Langkawi! The ferry was nothing like I had expected. It was very accommodative, comfortable and complete with air-con although I didn’t expect the seats would be all occupied.

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I mean seriously, when I first saw the crowds, I could not believe that they’d be so many people visiting the island all at  once and we are talking about a ferry leaving from the jetty every one hour almost all throughout the day – not to mention those leaving from other stations. I was like, where the hell these people were going to stay in that lil island?

1 hour didn’t really feel like one hour, thanks to the comfortable ferry ride. Before I knew it, I was already stepping out of the ferry together with hundreds of others and there I was, stepping out into the land of Mashuri – the lady whom the island is most known for.

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Going there with 30 others, it was more like a tour package. We were herded into a bus which then took us to places. Of course the tour operator knew exactly how to make some money out of groupies like us so he took us to some places that we didn’t even plan to go to.

He first took us to some shop that sells minyak gamat (some oil with medical values – or something) and we were shown parts of the process of producing it. I was least interested.

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Then we were taken to some shop that sells Javanese batik which I had no interest at all too. But of course, coming with a group of people, I had to be a little bit tolerant. Again, I didn’t buy a single shit.

The third place that the bus took us to was one of the things that I really wanted to come to in Langkawi. Growing up watching those classical black-and-white Malay movies, the story about the legend of Mashuri who was a very beloved lady in the island but later fell victim to lies and conspiracy kinda stuck in my head.

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Her curse before she was executed to death is said to have made the people of Langkawi suffer for seven generations. The legend was so stuck in my head that now that I was there, it really felt so surreal to be visiting her grave and seeing for myself the famous water well from where she is said to scoop water from to bathe herself.

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They have now turned the graveyard into some kind of museum that exhibits among others traditional houses of Kedah, local costumes and music instruments. The museum was still undergoing some extensive face-lift so it did not really look nice. In fact I felt like visiting some kind of construction site or something.

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My only complaint is probably the toilet which they charge 30 cents per entry despite the RM7 entrance fee to the museum itself. But that was before I found out how some visitors would leave their shit at the toilet like the museum belongs to their fathers or something.

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Andaman Sea is known to have some of the most beautiful islands in the world. They have a unique pattern of their own which makes them truly unique and amazingly beautiful. Langkawi, being one of them, is a no exception. The peculiar shapes of the karst-laden hills coupled with the turquoise blue seawater makes Langkawi so breath-takingly beautiful.

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We were taken to one of the latest attractions in Langkawi to see for ourselves how it deserves the recognition of being inscribed in list of UNESCO Global Geopark Members. I was on the verge of crying in frustration when we first arrived at the jetty and hells came pouring in the form of heavy rain.

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Even from the jetty I could see how beautiful it was and my frustration grew bigger and bigger when the rain showed no sign of stopping. With a little bit of prayer, we took our lunch at one of the canteens and hoped for the weather gods to show some mercy by instructing the rain to stop bitching. And hellalujah, they did, just before I shoved the last spoonful of rice into my sorry mouth.

The rest as they say, is history. The sun began to show itself, brightening the earth with beautiful after-rain shines. I tiptoed myself to the waiting boat and watched in excitement as more and more of the beauty came unfolding as we sailed away, first in a slow motion and later speeding up along the river that led us right to the open sea.

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That was when I realized that Langkawi is nothing short of the likes of   Phuket or even the world-famous Halong Bay. The peculiar shaped islets are scattered all over, demanding some thoughts on what God had wanted them to look like.

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If there was one highlight at the Kilim Geopark, it would be the eagles. There was one place at the Geopark where eagles come in hordes to hunt for fish. I was first frustrated when we arrived there and saw only a couple of eagles hovering around as if totally uninterested with our presence there. In fact it remained so for the next 10 minutes or so that I was so close to asking the boatman to get the hell outta there before we melted under the now hot sun.

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My back was facing to the spot where the eagles were supposed to come so I didn’t realize that more and more of them were actually coming from out of nowhere and began to do the plunging and dipping acrobatics.

I turned around to look and they there were, so many of them, plunging down and dipping right into the water before bringing whatever it was that they caught up to the air towards wherever they wanted to savor their catch next. It was one of the most amazing things that I had the privilege to witness while I was in Langkawi.

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One last visit was to a cave called Gua Kelawar a little bit further up the stream where we caught sight of beautiful stalactites and stalagmites which took hundreds if not thousands of years to grow into how they are now.

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Having been to the likes of Mulu and Halong Bay caves, Gua Kelawar had nothing much to offer but I gotta say the mangrove there was one of the most beautiful that I had ever seen.

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Langkawi is one of those places that can make shopaholics go berserk and nuts. I saw it with my own pair of eyes. The ladies shopped like there was no tomorrow and I don’t blame them.

I told myself that nothing would ever make me buy things in Langkawi but then that very thought disappeared almost instantly when I arrived at this place called Idaman Sari. I caught myself off-guard. Before I knew it, I caught myself nipping over things and carrying them over to the counter to pay and left off from there poorer. Damn.

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I think I don’t have to tell you that Langkawi is a duty-free island together with Labuan and probably Tioman if I’m not mistaken so you have to be so good in saying no when you want to say no to shopping in Langkawi. I mean, you have to be really really good and it was there that I learned that I was not that good in saying good to shopping. LOL.

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I wasn’t really in the right company so I didn’t have a single sip of beer although my mouth was watering like crazy. In the end, I bought two bottles of wine to be brought to KL and saved them for a party at home over the weekend. 😀

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The amount of things both in number and weight that people scoop out of the island every day is just so unbelievable. When we are talking about Langkawi, we are talking about a very massive business. Carrying them to the main land can get pretty much daunting though.

Seriously, with the massive amount of things that people are transporting out of the island in one go, it’s very easy for people to lose grip and sight of their stuff and all. You have to be very careful. I think tagging your stuff is quite a smart move.

Every island has its own signature beach where most activities take place. Phuket has its Patong Beach and Bali has the Kuta Beach. For Langkawi, it is definitely the Chanang Beach. I was actually quite disappointed that we were not going to stay anywhere nearby Chanang Beach but then the trip was more like a shopping trip which fits better with Kuah – the main town of Langkawi.

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We did sneak out of the hotel to go to Chanang Beach at night, just to see for ourselves how it fares compared to the likes of Patong and Kuta. Well, I would say, it was nothing short of those two. They might not be any of those fleshy shows that you’d see at Bangla Road in Phuket but it is a vibrant beach nevertheless.

Of course there were the usual rows of pubs and nightclubs and tables with candle lights lined up on the beach. Then there were the music and live band performances. I actually surprised myself by not drinking a single shit of beer and returned to the hotel fully sober. LOL

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I did come back to Chanang Beach the next day to see how the beach was like during the day and holla – it really is a beach that offers a real beach life. We were there when the Water Festival was taking place so the beach was so lively and vibrant with so many activities going on and hordes of people were present.

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If there was one thing that disappointed me more than anything else in Langkawi, it would be the fact that I could not get on the cable car because of the bad weather. Weather in Langkawi is quite unpredictable. It was so hot when we left from our hotel in Kuah and suddenly raining like shit when we arrived at the cable car station.

I was so excited about getting on the cable car and even more so when I looked up at the hills over which the cables were dangling and sow how blessed Langkawi is with beautiful natural landscapes. The view itself was already a wow to look up at from the station so I could imagine how beautiful it would be to be viewing it from the famous extended viewing platform up there.

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We did actually wait for another hour or so just in case the gods of weather would show some mercy on us and stopped the rain like they did back at the Geopark but they never did – not this time. We left in sheer frustration, promising to myself that I’d be back there again sooner than later.

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Of course, Langkawi is too big and it is not possible to cover everything in just three days. I was pegged to a schedule too, so I had to say LAIN KALI LAH to the island-hopping escapade and let myself be stripped off the chances of going to the likes of Pulau Dayang Bunting and Pulau Beras Basah. Many people told me that they found heavens on these two islands.

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But of course, like I say always, some things are better left unvisited so that we have a good reason to come back again in the future 😛

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6 Comments

  1. After Phi Phi we had to make the long, ferry, bus, ferry, taxi trip to the gulf of Thailand island of Kho Samui. As it almost always goes here, we bought a combo package of tickets that included every leg of the journey, which sounds great because they promised air-con buses and comfortable digs, but the reality was so far from what we were told that it is actually comical. I mean, who wants to spend 2 hours on a shitty ferry that has sagging seats and smells horrible, only transfer onto a tiny bus with rude bus driver who takes you to another stop, throws your bags on the ground, tells you to stand in line and wait for a ticket that puts you on an even crappier bus for four hours without air-con, drops you off at an industrial peer that is housing a ferry that looks like it may actually sink, smells like gasoline in the cabin, and then drops you off at the ugliest and most inconvenient peer in all of Kho Samui? Be prepared to get scammed, not matter what anyone says, or what the pictures look like on-line, and so on…it is just part of traveling in Thailand. The funny thing is that no matter how angry you get, how much time you waster swearing that the ticketing company is going to get a piece of you mind, and what other feelings of anger that may be inspired by such experiences, by the time you get to the next amazing location, the who thing is forgotten and you move on. Thus, the companies will, and continue, to advertise one thing while doing another. But like I said, by the time sitting on another beautiful beach with cold beer in hand, all of the hard work is worth it.

  2. It had been raining the first day we arrived, but the skies cleared up and we immediately decided to hit all the beaches in Langakawi. We hired a car and driver (20rm/hr) and he showed us all the beaches in the island. First was the Andaman hotel. The hotel was secluded but we got a chance to relax at their private beach. The beach was nice, but nothing great..for such an extravangant hotel. Next we went to Tangjung Rhu hotel – the hotel was stunning, and the beach was particularly nice (its a public beach). The view was also very nice as you could see 2 smaller islands nearby off the coast. You could hire a kayak and go to these smaller islands for a small fee.We also went by to visit the Four seasons hotel on our way back – although the hotel was amazing, it was absolutely emtpy!! The beautiful priviate beach was along the same coast as the Tanjung rhu , but you could get a glimse of a huge cement factory which sort of spoils the whole experience. Other beaches are the Pentai Chenang which is very nice and many hotels share the beach. Pentai tengah is also nice. Conclusion : Langkawi does have some nice beaches, but the waters are a little too rough to swim in. The hotels in Langkawi are stunning, and relaxing.

  3. This entry was posted in Attractions Review , Travel , Travel – Malaysia and tagged black sand beach , eagle square , holidays , langkawi , makam mahsuri , malaysia , Pantai Pasir Hitam . Bookmark the permalink .

  4. Grant Willis says:

    WOW what a place, everyone should experience it at least once, this rain forrest on the beach is absolutely beautiful and the staff were AMAZING.The Datai is a little out of town. We Hired a car for the week from the airport, there is very little traffic and this allowed us to see the island as we have never been there before. The food and drink at the Datai is expensive although the meals we had there were exquisite, that is the only down fall but as we had a car there are plenty of restuarants approx 15min drive, and the driving is easier than driving anywhere in Australia.

  5. Ora Benton says:

    Pentai Cenang is Langkawi’s most popular beach, and naturally quite busy with hotels and watersports. We took taxis up to the north coast to Tanjung Rhu beach, which is much quieter for being a bit out of the way. I don’t think I have ever been to such a beautiful beach. Half is owned by a hotel, but the beach had perfect sand and looks out to a large bay, with small islands dotted around. Kayaks were available to rent, so we got 3 kayaks between 7 of us. We had a good paddle around, and had various splashing fights. I managed to climb out of the kayak onto some rocks to jump in, avoiding the many crabs which were well camouflaged… As the day went on the light was so beautiful, and I walked along the shore collecting some pretty cool shells. 5-7pm is my favourite time of day, especially if you are on a beach. The sun is not strong enough to burn you, and somehow everything becomes still. Love it!

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