Date: 30th September 2010
After a great first day in Langkawi, today morning we were up and ready for our island hopping tour.
For breakfast, I had 'roti canai' which is similar to Kerala parota, but fluffier. To drink, Milo, which is waaaay more popular in Malaysia than it is in India.
We were picked up by the tour operator at 8am and dropped off at a pier where other tourists were gathered as well.
These were the kind of boats we were going to be driven around in
It was a lovely sunny day to be out on a boat trip
All the tourists were divided into groups and we got into our boat
Given my past experience going on a similar trip in Krabi, I was more careful this time in protecting my camera equipment
Our first stop on the tour was to get a glimpse of the Pregnant Maiden Island, called so because it looks like a lady lying down with a pregnant tummy.
Took me a while to make out where the 'pregnant maiden' was
This is a panorama comprised of 6 shots. See if you can find her. (Hint: Head is on the right)
We moved on
Soon after, we arrived at our first major stop on the tour
We were at the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park, which is located inside the Island of the Pregnant Maiden.
Our welcoming party. The monkeys, not the old guy.
Needless to say, there were going to be a lot of monkeys here
The stop was for us to check out a lake inside.
But I was more amused watching monkeys
The lake inside is famous because despite being in an island located in the sea, the lake's water isn't as salty
You can also swim here
... or jump in, like Loi did
There are also paddle boats for hire
They also have one of those “fish spas” here with small catfish ever ready to nibble away at your feet’s germs.
Plus it's free
The water is cool, but the nibbling at your feet can be ticklish... and slimy
But when people throw bread crumbs near your feet.... it can get a *little* too much!
We had nearly an hour to spend here
They have changing rooms for men and women here itself
... but it kinda helps to know English
45 minutes in, we made our way back to the pier
Like I said, lots of monkeys here
You have to be a bit careful though. Yes, they are more afraid of you than your are of the monkeys. But if they see anything enticing in your hands — like juice bottles or food packets — sometimes they will come at you and just grab it. Also, I saw some idiots throw things at them. Please don’t do that.
2 seconds ago, that Coke bottle was in that old man's hands. He didn't fight for it back... because that would make human race look inferior.
We got into our boats and moved on
Our next stop was a short trip away.
Next up was a fish feeding farm...
... which was also a restaurant. Hmmm.
The thing was, you had to pay to feed the fishes. This isn’t exactly included in the package.
But we didn't go for it
We didn’t opt to feed the fishes because, 1) all 3 of us weren’t interested 2) the concept of paying to feed fishes, fatten them up and who then (possibly) end up on the restaurant menu didn’t sound right to me.
Fortunately it was only a 30 minute stop, so I continued clicking
We moved on
Our boat driver, smoking
We rode up to what looked like a mangrove forest, where we would witness an eagle feeding session.
Langkawi gets its name from eagles. Malay word 'lang' = eagle, kawi = reddish brown colour
The island is inhabited with a lot of eagles of that colour
The eagle feeding session works as such. The boats all float apart from each other and the drivers/guides throw some eagle feed (bread bits or some meat) into the waters, and the birds of prey come sweeping in with their beaks ready to eat.
Problem was, I didn’t have the right lens for this part of the tour. The most zoom I had was with my Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, which as a macro lens is great, but isn’t much when it comes to photographing fast moving birds.
Here are a few shots Ramesh got using his Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens.
(Photograph by Ramesh Iyer)
(Photograph by Ramesh Iyer)
After the eagle feeding session, we moved on to our next and final stop on this tour.
Beras Basah island
If you wanted to swim in the sea or just hang around on the beach, here is where you are allowed to do it
We were all keen to hit the water!
But I didn't feel like leaving my camera on the beach
So I took it with me into the water! But I trod very carefully so as not to get a drop of water on the lens.
Loi and Ramesh found broken corals
So I asked them to make use of them and pretend to be reindeers!
Because you know, reindeers in water are... ermm...
Couldn't help but turn this into an ad
Attempting the 'head floating in water' shot
After some time, we made our way back to shore
Overcast skies in the distance
Not sure if this was a hotel or not
After drying ourselves up, we headed back to the pier
Monkeys inhabit this island too
Amazing how they survive on the island, considering there are no human residents here.
We left Beras Basah island
We got a bit of rain as we neared the pier from where we set off in the morning
Pretty cool looking resort
The rain was mostly a drizzle once we got back. They were selling memorabilia plates of everybody who went for these boat trips and since they were only RM10, we all picked up our respective plates.
This was a half-day island hopping tour and it only cost us RM30 (Rs. 450 approx.) per person. I’ve done a similar tour like this last year in South Thailand. Of course, that trip didn’t start of well, with my camera getting wet and all, but I doubt I’ll ever get sick of seeing clear blue water and less crowded beaches far away from civilization.
As we were walking to our vans, Ramesh and I were talking about visiting the Langkawi Underwater World, just when one of the Sri Lankans who was on our boat overheard us. He turned back and advised us against it, saying that the Aquaria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur is “much better”. So we decided to take his word for it and dropped the idea of going to Langkawi Underwater World.
The tour company dropped us back to our hotel.
The lobby downstairs at Sweet Inn Motel
One of the many cats that visit Sweet Inn
It had just finished raining
We stepped out again, this time for lunch.
We stopped by a restaurant to quench our throats first with some chilled beer. I tried SKOL which I never had before. It was average in taste.
Unfortunately, looking at the menu, it offered very little in terms of vegetarian for Ramesh. So after beer, we sought some other restaurant.
So we went further down Pantai Cenang road to check out other restaurants
This is Underwater World Langkawi
We sat down at a restaurant in front of Underwater World after Ramesh found something he could eat
But the food wasn't particularly good. I didn't like my chicken curry rice.
Post lunch, we checked out some Duty Free stores. Langkawi is a Duty Free shopping destination, so one would assume you would find some great bargains. But as we hopped from one shop to another, that wasn’t the case. Especially with electronics. We walked into the Canon store at a mall adjacent to Underwater World and found the prices to be far higher than that of Singapore. We were aware Malaysia isn’t as cheap as Singapore when it comes to electronics, but still, the prices we came across were a bit exorbitant. Some even higher than prices back in India.
I feel Langkawi businesses were taking advantage of the “Duty Free” label and jacking up the prices because you never know, some less-informed tourist would buy into the whole gimmick and assume they got a good deal here.
At this point, Ramesh and Loiyumba wanted to head back to the hotel for some rest. This being our last day on Langkawi, I didn’t feel like resting, so I told them I wanted to roam around a bit more.
I was contemplating heading to Kuah, Langkawi’s main town, just to see what that side of the island had to offer. But since we had already walked quite a bit, I decided to head further on and visit Pantai Tengah beach. In the process, also share some more beachfront hotel options on Pantai Cenang in case you wanted to know where to stay (I highlighted some places in the previous post).
Langkapuri Inn to the left; the yellow building is a BBQ restaurant
Sugary Sands Motel
Tanjung Malie Beach Motel
Green Hill Beach motel is the one with the green sign
Sunset Beach Resort (http://www.sungroup-langkawi.com/sunset/)
The Cabin Langkawi (http://www.thecabin.com.my/)
Aseania Resort, not on the beach though (http://www.aseanialangkawi.com/index.html)
Durian (similar to Jackfruit), is the national fruit of Malaysia (I think)
Head straight down this road to get to Pantai Tengah beach
This is Pantai Tengah beach
It isn't as big as Pantai Cenang... and the sand isn't as soft either
In fact, the sand was mostly broken shells. Not the best for walking barefoot then.
At this point, it began to rain
Fortunately, I had my umbrella in my backpack. So I walked back instead of taking cover.
This nice looking resort isn't open to public
Upon research, it belongs to a bank and is meant only for its employees. Posh.
Debbie's Place Irish pub on Pantai Cenang
There's a laundry shop very close to Sweet Inn, very reasonable rates for service
I went back to the room to drop off my laundry, and to see what the other two were up to. Ramesh and Loi were taking a nap and so, I decided to step out again.
I wanted to explore the area behind the motel
Some of the houses here have been turned into budget accommodation for tourists. Good income for villagers.
Apparently all water buffaloes do is stare at you
I had reached a main road at this point
I saw this market by the main road...
... and since there was a lot of food on display, I had to check it out!
I forget if these were fish balls or cheese balls... or fish balls with cheese powder coating
Apom Balek, sweet stuff. I sampled a few of these. ('apom' sounds like India's "appam")
'Nasi' is Malay for rice and 'Beriani' is well, biriyani (RM 3.50 = Rs. 50)
Seemed like this was some sort of weekend market, not a mainstay
Guess I knew where to bring Loi for dinner
Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables on offer
Dried fish... lots of it!
'Cempedak' is a type of fruit, 'goreng' I'm guessing means fried
Not sure what these were
All these colourful juices made me thirsty
So I had corn milk juice. Weird choice, I know. But I didn't come all the way here to strawberry milkshake.
You got budget accommodation out here as well
After spending some time at the market, I knew I was coming back here for dinner. Great street food at very low prices — who am I to complain? I headed back to let the other two know about my ‘discovery’.
Once I got back to the room at around 6pm, Loi was still napping. So we forced him to get out of bed and get ready. We set out by 7:30pm.
It was pitch dark and there weren't any street lights on this route
'Susu' is the Malay for milk (yup); 'kelapa' means coconut and 'air' is water (seriously)
Wondering what this is?
Keralites, looks familiar?
Puttu! Albeit, a slight variation
This is how they make lots of it
This is fish apparently
I ordered a seafood mini-pizza from here
Mostly crab meat and prawns; RM 5 (Rs. 75) for one
A lot of the food was already sold out
You take the basket and tongs, pick up whatever you want and you will be charged accordingly
After you choose, you cook it in boiling water
... even stuff like this (Yuck)
Picked up some chicken samosas and vegetable spring rolls (RM 2 = Rs. 30)
Was tempted to get some fried chicken too but I didn't want overeat
Picked up a beef burger as well. 'Daging' = beef, 'ayam' = chicken, 'benjo' = egg (RM1 = Rs. 15)
The night market was a lot more crowded than earlier
Unfortunately, everybody except Ramesh got what we wanted. There was very little in terms of pure vegetarian on offer at the night market. So we headed back to the main road so that Ramesh could pick up his dinner from a proper restaurant.
Since this was our last night in Langkawi, we hit the beach to the feel wet sand on our feet one last time.
This is the restaurant from where we had lunch yesterday and breakfast today morning
After checking out a few restaurants, Ramesh ended up picking up a vegetarian pizza from Italian coffee chain illy Cafe, which cost as much as all the food myself and Loi picked up from the night market .
While we waited, Loi petted stray kittens
As it is this post has over 200 photos, might as well squeeze in one of me. (Photograph by Ramesh)
Wonder what animal this cat fought with
Back at our motel, this guy was hooked on Hindi movies
And just when you thought we had seen enough cats for one day…
This came to our door. We had to share our food with it too.
We kept referring to the cat as 'it'. So, Loi felt the need to check. It was a 'she'.
Dinner and drinks done, I ended the night satisfied with all that I saw today. Actually, I did want to head to Kuah town after we came back from our island hopping tour. But given that it ended up raining in the afternoon, it’s a good thing I stayed put in Pantai Cenang.
With 208 photos and over 2000 words, this is the largest post I’ve worked on. There were still some more photos I felt like using because they looked good, but in the end decided not to.
It was good day today, but tomorrow onwards, it’s four days in Malaysia’s capital — Kuala Lumpur.
Other posts in this series:
Singapore & Malaysia 2010: Planning and preparing for the trip
Singapore 2010: Day 1 – Little India, CBD, Clarke Quay, China Town… and a lot of walking
Singapore 2010: Day 2 – Orchard Road, mall-hopping… and already shopping
Singapore 2010: Day 3 – Singapore Zoo, Marina Bay Sands; leaving Singapore for Penang
Malaysia 2010: Day 5 — Langkawi (Ferry ride from Penang, Cable car & Sky Bridge)
Malaysia 2010: Day 7 — Kuala Lumpur (Low Yat Plaza, Petronas Towers, Jalan Alor)
Malaysia 2010: Day 8 — Kuala Lumpur (Batu Caves, Petaling Street/China Town)
Malaysia 2010: Day 9 — Kuala Lumpur (KLCC Aquaria, Merdeka Square, KL Tower observation deck)
Malaysia 2010: Leaving Kuala Lumpur… and about going back