Friday, June 28, 2013

Malaysia Diaries - The beach haven - Langkawi

     After strolling the streets, enjoying the food, exploring markets, interacting with the locals, understanding the history, culture, art, going in awe of the architecture and the skyline, bridges, metros, trams and all things that give cities a face - walking all the time with a 'what next plan' - all we wanted to do was to sit back, relax and unwind. You are smart if you have figured our final destination of the Malaysia Diaries. If you're still thinking - it is Langkawi!!

How to get there:
Langkawi is undoubtedly a perfect beach holiday destination in the country. We traveled from Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia (dirt cheap if you're lucky to grab a deal) to reach Langkawi International Airport in less than 1.5 hrs. To get around, one can rent a car or use the taxis (to my surprise taxi rates were way too cheaper than in the KL city, well it is a duty-free island you see).

Where to stay:
The Pantai Cenang Beach area is the perfect central location that houses plenty of lodging options from hostel, hotel, motel and resorts. I used to book a place to stay as they provide you with plenty of options ranging from budget hotels to luxury resorts at reasonable rates and some freebies/coupons to plan your next holidays.
I booked the Landcons Hotels & Resorts in Pantai Cenang - situated right opposite the Underwater World - Malaysia's largest Aquarium and the duty free shopping centre. Walkable distance to the Pantai Cenang beach with plenty of eating/dining options.

My list of things to do in this gorgeous island are:

1. Langkawi Cable Car Ride

We headed directly to the Oriental village in the wee hours of morning to enjoy the Cable Car ride which is just 15 minutes drive from the Langkawi International Airport.
The ride was breath-taking as you're taken to the top of the second highest peak in Langkawi -  the Mt Cinang. From the base station you're dropped to the second station that offers a splendid view of the surrounding forests, mountains and the wilderness. The third and the final station is at 700 meters above sea level. You're treated to an even higher view of the island's skyline, seas, skybridge and the wilderness. We spent more than an hour at the final station admiring the nature at it's best. Oh and did I mention we could not stop raving about the excellent mechanism of the cable cars. Kudos to the brains behind this brilliant accomplishment.

Cable Bridge

Topmost point of the peak

Sky Bridge

An awesome view of the mountains and the sea

700 meters above the sea level!!

2. Island Hopping

Ask your hotel reception for packages/deals for Island Hopping. We managed an excellent deal on the Island Hopping package inclusive of hotel transfer at just RM 30. The tour included boat ride to a couple of Islands - Island of Beras Basah and Dayang Bunting along with a stopover at the Lake of Pregnant Maiden, Eagle Feeding and some beach activities. The highlight of the tour was the Lake of Pregnant Maiden - there are several stories one of which holds that a certain princess (I cannot recollect the name) burried her dead child by the lake and the locals believe that the lake water possess some mystical powers and many childless couples have been able to conceive with a dip in the lake waters.
Personal tip: Beware of the ferocious monkeys at the Beras Basah Island stopover. One of them even snatched away my coke can.

Beras Basah Island

Do you see the Pregnant Maiden lying within the mountains? Look closely at the shape of the mountains

Stopover at the Dayang Bunting Island

3. Lazing around
Lazing around watching the sunset and bonfire by the Pantai Cenang Beach, and shopping and more shopping at the plenty duty free shops in the Pantai Cenang area.

4. Underwater World
Malaysia's largest aquarium houses more than 200 species of marine life including seals, penguins, sharks and the biggest freshwater fish in the world!! A must visit!!

5. Mangrove Tour - Day2 in Langkawi
We urged the hotel receptionist to help us connect with the local Mangrove tour dealers and managed a deal of just RM 50 (there was a discount offer during the Chinese New Year holidays). The rates I am told are usually between RM 80-120 during normal days.

Arrived at the Jetty terminal

Heading off to the Bat Cave - our first destination

There were innumerous bats hanging up there. Bats sleep in this cave during the day and use one of the exits to head out in the night whilst birds use the other entrance to get inside to rest during the night. An amazing example of effective 'traffic' management & communication between these speechless creatures. Oh and did I say the cave was stinking?

Do you see a crab there?

Towards the exit of the Bat cave

Deeper into the Mangroves

Crocodile Cave

Crocodile Cave

The tree that caught my attention ;-)

A monkey that swims with a baby latched to it's stomach tightly sprung into our boat from nowhere and was offered some bread

A Fish Farm for a unique fish feeding experience

A horse-shoe crab

A tiger snail

Different species of marine life

Fish feeding

This beauty is named Marina. She entertains her guests by popping out of the water and smiling every now and then

Lunch at the Floating restaurant - yet another incredible experience of life 

The floating restuarant

A stopover at a crystal clear beach for some water sports and chilling out

On our way to the hidden Island

And there it is!

A Mangrove tree dissected!!

A gorgeous view from the hidden island

As our boat sped across the KILIM GEOFOREST PARK

Yet another splendid postcard from Mangrove Tour

A Mangrove tree in all it's glory and do you notice the crystal clear water?!

Mangrove Tour is a unique experience - provided you are a fan of wilderness and the nature.

As I conclude this post - I am yearning for yet another funfilled, adventurous, educational and an awesome experience - so the question is when and where next?! For now, I will 'keluar' the blog and get some sleep!

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