Friday, 19 June 2015

The Jewel of Kedah

Athiei and I paid a visit to Pulau Langkawi (Langkawi Island) which is located in Kedah, which is one of Malaysia's states that is famous for rice paddy fields! We managed to snag ourselves cheap flights that were only RM70 for a return ticket. Yay for AirAsia, the Ryanair of Asia.

As Langkawi doesn't have public transportation, opting for taxis to commute around the island was too pricey an option. Instead, we pre-booked a Proton Saga from Kasina Rental for a total of RM208.80 for 48 hours which was a pretty good deal! Athiei was the driver as I haven't driven much since I began my degree.

While driving to our motel, we saw signs for Makam Mahsuri, which is a museum explaining the legend of Pulau Langkawi. Basically, the island was supposedly cursed to be unfruitful for 7 years by Mahsuri before she died. Mahsuri was a beautiful woman who was framed to seem unfaithful by the jealous chief's wife. This resulted in her execution despite her pleas, however, white blood flowed from her stab wound signifiying her innocence. In actual reality, after her death, the island experienced great misfortune which made the locals to believe the legend.

Within the Makam Mahsuri grounds, there were beautiful traditional Malay houses and greenery as well.

There was even a large congkak (a traditional Malay game) up for display. I remember the days I used to play this game numerous times with my siblings.

We checked in at the Best Seven Motel which is just a stone's throw away from Kuah town, and got a splendid room with an extra bed, our own bathroom and the friendlist receptionist ever. He gave us a run through of possible things to do in Langkawi and was very eager to help. Thankfully, as we arrived on a Wednesday night, the night market was on in Kuah so we drove down there and bought some fried kuay teow, nasi dagang, crab balls on a stick, tao fu fah and drinks all for only RM14.

After digesting the goodness that is market food, we drove down to Pantai Cenang (Cenang Beach) and headed to Little Lylia's Chillout Cafe which is located roughly behind Best Star Resort. They had chairs out on the sandy beach with little candle lights. Prices were quite affordable and I was able to try the "Langkawi Sunset" cocktail - a mix of red wine and mango juice for RM12. However, as we got there at a late hour, there wasn't much to see so we made plans to go there the next day instead.

On the recommendation of our receptionist, Athiei and I went on a boat tour which involved a visit to the Kilim's Geoforest Park. This included beautiful mangrove trees, tiny mudskippers, Gua Kelawar (Bat Cave), fish farm and eagle feeding. Lunch was also included in one of the floating restaurants and we stopped by the Tanjung Rhu beach. Altogether it was quite worth it for RM90 per person.

Life jackets, the essentials of survival when you and your partner are both incapable of swimming...
The man in the middle was our great tour guide, Khairul, who incorporated much humour into his comments. Little puns and references to songs were much appreciated and he did a magnificent job in creating a great atmosphere.

First of all we visited the Bat Cave, or as stated by Khairul, the Malaysian Gotham City. 
Fruit bats were hanging all around us and we were warned to keep our mouths closed and hands off the railings to avoid their little gifts from above. 

We were also able to watch in the feeding of the fish and stingray at the fish farm. One of the staff asked for a volunteer and I managed to feed one of the stingrays. Definitely not the easiest of aim when its mouth was on the underside.

We also went through the Crocodile Cave (there weren't any crocodiles really) just before the water level got too high. It was high enough that we couldn't come out through the other side of the cave, so we had to make a u-turn back through the cave entrance. Kudos to our very skilled boat driver.

Monkeys have become much of a common denominator in all our trips outside of Subang Jaya here in Malaysia. Langkawi was no exception.

In the eagle zone, we were able to snap photographs of them as our tour guide released chunks of chicken into the sea for them to swoop down and grab what they could.

Finally, we relaxed by the Tanjung Rhu beach for half an hour. There wasn't much time to go in for a dip so we just strolled along the shallow waters while playing with the sand between our toes.

On the way back to the jetty, we found the world's largest and natural shoe too!

We quickly drove off to Langkawi's Skycab and were given our own gondola as there weren't many people there! Great news indeed. 

The view from above was spectacular and we had good weather that day too!

As it was the first day of Ramadan, the bazaar was open just opposite the One Helang Hotel nearby the airport. Four rows of delicious aromas were awaiting us and our eyes were definitely bigger than our belly.

The traditional kuih-muih (cakes) were so cheap and were extremely delicious so Athiei and I bought our fair share of omnomnoms and headed towards the beach to have a little picnic. On our way to Pantai Cenang we found a little more deserted beach area and decided to just have our picnic there anyway.

After that, we went further on to Pantai Cenang for a dip and to watch the sunset. Unfortunately it was slightly more cloudy than anticipated, but we had a great time regardless. 

Just before leaving the island, we made a stop at Dataran Lang to take photographs with the famous eagle statue. 

It was fun being a tourist together with Athiei at Pulau Langkawi since I, myself, haven't been there before till now. Had a great time there! I'd recommend going there with friends and booking a rental car beforehand as it's cheaper and much more convenient. We only spent RM30 on petrol for the entire 3 days there so it was definitely worth it!

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