We are staying in Pantai Cenang which apparently is the tourism capital of Langkawi. It is basically a street with shanty looking buildings made either of wood or the world’s oldest bricks. We are here in the low season and its practically deserted. Monsoon season hits Langkawi hard and right now we are the peak of it – You would never know though. Though there was a huge thunderstorm during our first night. The room was like the good old days at Gatecrasher in the late 90’s, all that was missing was Paul Van Dyke and his resident six hour set and a few laser beams.
The first day we arrived and I got us a car, a tasty looking micro machine-wanna-be Kancil. It’s a squeeze just getting my arm in Charlie is almost the height of the car. At 0.6Litre it is going nowhere fast and does 0-60 in about a month – Which pretty much is like everything/one else on Langkawi which is so relaxed and slow paced I’m convinced we should all be drinking Bacardi and looking for Lobsters on South Beach from the comfort of our hammock swung from coconut trees.
Langkawi is duty free and as such a beer costs about 5 times less than elsewhere in SE Asia, a 4 pack of Heineken is 12MYR (£2.40) and 200 Lambert and Butler cost 35MYR (£7) I of course don’t smoke but even I know that is cheap. It is paradise in paradise 🙂
The first day and we decided to explore the island. I got an island map and along with Wiki travel, Lonely Planet and the Malaysia Tourism website set about making a plan of action. The thing about Langkawi which for me is a major plus is that really, other than beaches, island hopping and some of the best wilderness and nature on the planet there isn’t much else to do. It is where people come for paradise and to get away from the world. It is everything Bali wishes it was with enough wildlife to keep David Attenborough at the Kleenex isle in Asda for the rest of his life.
We was driving along and suddenly spotted about 30 monkeys all walking along the side of the road in file, then we saw some chilling on a guys car, actually one was sat looking at himself in the wing mirror whilst he did things to himself that would have been better done in private, he was loving it and so were his mates who by now were sat in the guys car through an open window. As we sat looking in amazement a huge lizard about a foot long just strolled by without a care in the world.
Whilst navigating our way through the jungle to a waterfall that seemed to be an eternity away we spotted a huge black scorpion, another tourist assured us that it had a sting in its tail, but not to worry – it wasn’t deadly. Yeah, thanks mate, bye.
That was the first thing we did on day one, the walk to the waterfall was just ridiculous. I got well and truly blagged by “its a 15 minute walk” No it wasn’t. And it was up about a million steps. Still, looking over the fringe of the waterfall and seeing the jungle covered mountains in the background was great.
We saw the most beautiful monkey in existence sat inspecting us from the tree above, it was 9am and already we were dripping in sweat. Even now, after seeing what we have and doing what we have things still seem surreal to us.
From the waterfall we headed via a few beaches to the crocodile farm, we were told the show was in 15 minutes and so paid in. The first few enclosures made me feel physically sick. Out of probably 30 crocs I didn’t see s single one that wasn’t deformed or had a tail. There was one that was so deformed I felt nothing but sadness for it, even the kids looked sad. I refused to see anymore and so we got a refund in absolute disgust. I have never seen animals in such a state in my life, it was genuinely sick how them poor animals are inbred. We have been fortunate enough to see Alligators in the Everglades in Florida from an airboat and it was amazing, this was not what we wanted to see. I am absolutely disgusted this place is allowed to operate.
From the sickening Crocodile farm we got lost and then eventually got found and ended up at Langkawi’s highest waterfall. It was gorgeous and the kids loved drinking the fresh mountain water from the 200 meter high force and it was a welcome refreshment from the heat.
We drove right around the island and saw amazing natural beauty that we haven’t seen since Borneo. Cows roam freely and monkeys just walk by whilst Buffalo bathe in the sea. For much of the day we felt like the only people on the islands steep windy roads and it was fantastic.
Even cyclists were shamed when we finally managed to overtake them in our pathetic little car, but when I realised we had used a full tank and filled it up for £4 I didn’t care and got yet another reminder of how we are shafted in the UK (my car cost £60 to fill up in Jun 2010)
The last place we ended up was a Rice field that we walked around and got an idea of the effort that goes into Asia’s staple food; Hard work, low wages but absolutely stunning fields of rice in fields of water.
We managed to find the Oriental village which sells crafts and has a few places for the kids to visit like the deer park where they fed deer, the rabbit park where they fed rabbits, the elephant park where they saw elephants and then the Tiger park where literally we got within a foot of a tiger.
We finished the day at the Cactus cafe which was basically a shack surrounded by Cacti, for cheap beer, good food a great atmosphere and to reflect on the awesome day we had had.
Langkawi is one of the few places where I could live, I’ll probably get a holiday home here one day. An amazing little island and we have only been here 2 days so far. We can’t wait for the beaches, island hopping and Eagles!