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Old 14th February 2013, 17:53   #1
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Default Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur - A Pictologue

Before I begin, I must put in a few disclaimers and warnings. First things first, I'm not a very good writer. Furthermore, much of what we experienced on this trip cannot be recreated through words as weak as mine; neither will our photographs do justice to those memories. Coming to the pics, we had only two mediocre point-and-shoots and an old semiprofessional with us, besides our modest cellphones. It is therefore likely that you will find my effort very amateur.

The idea of a trip abroad came up towards the end of our final MBBS exams. (The hours spent planning the trip between frantic last-minute prep did eventually bring my marks down a notch. ) Malaysia was chosen because it's relatively inexpensive, and visa norms aren't tight. Parental permissions came surprisingly easily, though they were rather wary of us planning the whole thing ourselves. If it weren't for Ashish Pallod's (15 RAJABABUes in Malaysia and Singapore)15 RAJABABUes in Malaysia and Singapore thread, and the quick replies to all my queries by fellow BHPians, we would probably have wasted a lot of money on a conducted tour which would not have been half as fun.

Anyway, the exams got over in the second week of November, and by then ticket rates for December - our preferred time - had gone up. So we decided to fly in the last week of November. This left us only 9 days to make bookings and get visas. It didn't help that four of these nine days were holidays; one of us had to go to Chennai to get the visas.

We made the COK-KL-COK reservations through Air Asia's website. But, since I had exhausted my mother's credit card limit in the process, had to book the KL-Langkawi-KL tickets through a travel agent. But in the meanwhile, the rates for the 10:00 am Langkawi flight went up, so we had to settle for the 12:00 noon flight, meaning a 6 hour wait in the airport.

In all, airfare cost us ~27k and visa ~1k.

Air Asia
Flew them for these reasons:
  • About 10k cheaper than Malaysian Airlines for a round trip
  • Fly direct to KL from COK (Malaysian Airlines flies from Chennai)
Here's my take:
  • Value for money, especially if you book a few weeks in advance
  • Legroom just about sufficient for a 5-foot 10-incher
  • Seats not that comfortable
  • On-board meals are awful
  • Their domestic flights are nowhere close to punctual
Now getting on with the trip..

Day 1


Touched down at KL by 6 in the morn. There was hardly any customs/immigration check. The whole thing took less than 10 mins.

Got a Malaysia SIM card, and proceeded to the public concourse of KL's Low Cost Terminal (LCCT).
Now this is not the airport where you would want to spend a long time waiting for your next flight.
  • Almost entirely managed by Air Asia. They have about 5 flights taking off every 5 minutes from here.
  • It's many times busier than the railway station in my town.
  • No aerobridges
  • Hardly any seats in the public concourse
  • Lots of eateries (Thank god!)
Our Langkawi flight was at 12, so this meant a 6 hour wait. And boy was a long one. Anyway at 11, we went to check-in our baggage - only to learn that our flight had been cancelled and we could only board the 3:00 pm flight. We had planned on a sunset cruise on our first day in Langkawi, but Air Asia had other plans for us!
We finally boarded our flight at around 3:30 pm. There was some further delay for take-off due to heavy traffic at the airport. Anyway, this was the sort of flight that you'd want to take when on a vacation. The air hostesses wore jeans and were friendly. Almost everyone on the plane was a tourist. The speakers played rock.

We touched down at Langkawi at aournd 5. Rented a Nissan Sentra AT from the airport, and set off for our hotel.

Renting a car is the best way to get around in Langkawi. You can tour at your own pace, soaking in all the glory of the island. You can stop wherever you'd like and take pics. And it's dirt cheap - both car rental and petrol comes at less than half of what it's cost in India.

We had booked rooms at a place called Hotel Asia. We needed a spotlessly clean place to sleep in, and this perfectly fit the bill. Reservations were made through booking.com. It's located in the main town, Kuah, and is a 20 minute drive from the airport.

It was almost 7 by the time we had showered and there wasn't much time left for anything, so we went down to the Eagle Square down the road. Post-sunset we drove down to Cenang, the main beach, and had dinner at T-Jay's, and Italian restaurant.

The long wait at LCCT...
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With some respite at the restaurants like the Chocolate Lounge
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At the small but very pretty Langkawi Airport
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Almost reminds one of Kerala
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The road from the Airport to Kuah
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A modded Civic outside our hotel
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Eagle Bay at sundown
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Langkawi means "brown eagle"
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T-Jay's Italian restaurant
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T-Jay's. Dinner cost us around 120 MYR.
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T-Jay claims his is the best pizza in Malaysia. We agree.
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Drove back to the hotel and hit the sack.

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Old 17th February 2013, 00:48   #2
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Day 2

The day began with breakfast at a small place opposite our hotel. Our first taste of real Malaysian food.
Actually, it turned out to be quite a lot like Indian food. But they do tend to mix our dosa with meat, and eat biriyani for breakfast.
And I must mention Malaysian coffee, though extremely strongly brewed, tasted better than any coffee I'd tasted before.
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Post-breakfast, drove to the airport to exchange the Sentra AT for a manual, as we weren't used to driving an automatic, and ran the risk of getting rear ended. Got a Proton ?Saga in exchange, and proceeded to the Langkawi Cable Car and Skybridge.
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To the airport in the Nissan..
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..and to the Cable Car in a Proton. For a homegrown brand, we felt Proton does make some nice cars.
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En route, was the Telaga Harbour Park, one of the prettiest spots in Langkawi.
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The only pic from the entire pic with all four of us.
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Some of these beauties were for sale. Next time?
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Saw a lot well-fed felines in Langkawi
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At the Oriental Village, from where the Cable Car starts. The Village itself is just an ensembe of shops selling overpriced curios.
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The Village - bird's eye
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The Cable Car was sublime. Has quite a gradient.
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No prizes for guessing the reason for that grin!
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Middle station
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Top Station
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The Sky Bridge, which was unfortunately closed for repairs
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Telaga Harbour Park and Kok Beach as seen from top station
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Telaga
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Kok Beach
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Would love to come here once more, just for that.
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Our Proton
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Drove to Kok beach next. This was the only time in the entire trip that Google Maps misled us. Drove past the beach - strongle suspecting that we were doing so - and turned back after a few kilometres after asking for directions. Taught us to put our instincts before technology.

Kok, to me, is the most picturesque beach in Langkawi.

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Old 17th February 2013, 01:38   #3
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From Kok, we drove to the Cenang beach, where we had been last night. Cenang is the epicentre of tourism in Langkawi. It's where all the restaurants are. Watersports too are restricted to Cenang. It also happens to be the most crowded and the dirtiest of the many beaches in Langkawi; having said that I'd like to reassert that by Indian standards, Cenang is neither crowded nor dirty. It's just that the other beaches in Langkawi are virgin and almost deserted.

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At Cenang
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Met up with one Mr.Faizal on the beach, who got to lend us sporting equipment for the evening, and the next day.

In his beach ride.
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We were taken to the other side of the cliff at Cenang for parasailing.

Buckling up for take-off.
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Launch and landing were from the beach itself and the flight lasted some 10 mins. The view was breathtaking.
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We were then taken back to the main part of the beach for the jet-skis.

Waiting for the skis to arrive
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Jet-ski lessons:
"Rule 1: See that boat? (Points to a catamaran a mile away). Ride only beyond that"
"Rule 2: Two jet-skis must not come close. A crash will set you back by 5000 MYR.
"This is the accelerator"
Thumbs up. Grins.

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This was 1800cc of sheer power. I've never experienced such acceleration on anything I've ridden earlier. Guess this is what superbikes feel like?
Got to know you can rent a jet-ski for a day and go around the archipelago. Next time?
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With Faizal, our man in Langkawi.
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Watched the sunset on the beach sipping some cold coffee.
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Found this little place specializing in satays by the roadside. I was initially apprehensive owing to past experiences of wayside eateries in India.
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But these were to be the best satays we would have on the entire trip.
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Drove back to Kuah and had dinner at the Wonderland restaurant. Team-BHPian Lukeskywalker highly recommends this place in his Langkawi threads, and we discovered why. This is the place for sea-food in Langkawi.

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Old 17th February 2013, 14:48   #4
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Day 3
All roads in Langkawi are well-kept and scenic. But my favourite was the drive from Kuah to Cenang. This road with its gentle curves and a view of the sea beneath reminded me of old NFS games.

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As had been planned, at 9 we met Faizal's wife in front of the Underwater World in Cenang. We tailed her car to the Tengah beach/ port from where the Island Hopping tour was to begin.

Waiting for our boat.
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And off we go!
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One of the 104 islands that make up the archipelago.
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Snorkeling gear
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Another boat speeds past.
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Enjoying the spray
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First stop: Beras Basah Island
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For a swim
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And some snorkeling
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And some pointless pics
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Attachment 1052305
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Off again
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A pitstop
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For some Eagle Feeding
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En route the Pregnant Maiden Island, some spectacular landscape
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The lake is a 1km walk from the small jetty. There are options to swim and go boating in the lake, but we tried neither. The lake seemed quite deep. Having no experience of swimming in a "real" pool, we gave it a miss. There were lots of primates on the island, and as we were returning to the boat, we saw a huge monitor. No pics, though at it had begun to rain by then.

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The boat ride back was perhaps the most exhilarating of our experiences in Langkawi. We sat right in front, and as the boat cut through the water full throttle, cold rain lashed our faces. Visibility was only a few dozen feet ahead.

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Old 17th February 2013, 20:54   #5
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All drenched, we returned to our hotel for a shower and a change of clothes. After a rather late lunch, we decided to drive to the northern Tanjung Rhu beach.

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It kept raining all along, and these two slept like babies as I drove.
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Stopped at Ayer Hangat aka Hot Springs en route.
This place had a few geysers, public jacuzzi and baths, a very well kept park, and a small emporium.

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Reached the Tanjung Rhu beach before sundown.
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The beach was deserted except for this couple taking a stroll.
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The waters there was shallow. You could see sand beneath the water a long way out to see. Didn't venture forth, though.
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Photographer at work.
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Sunset at Tanjung Rhu
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Drove back to Kuah and went to the Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall. Bought some handicrafts.

Saw these beauties parked inside.
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Dinner at Wonderland once more.

The man in charge.
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Flirting, long distance.
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I must say service at this small place can put to shame many five-star hotels back home. The waitress knew our preferences by the second time we went there, and the chef came and exchanged pleasantries on both nights.

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Old 17th February 2013, 23:16   #6
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Day 4

Dropped the car off at the airport, and discovered that our 11:00 am flight was delayed by 3 hours owing to bad weather in KL.

Another long wait thanks to Air Asia. The Langkawi airport is much nicer than KL's LCCT, though.
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Reached KL around 3:30. Took a bus to KL Sentral as we discovered that would be five times cheaper than hiring a taxi, but just as comfortable. It's an hour's commute between airport and town.

We had reserved rooms in Hotel 1915, through booking.com. The key attraction was that it was only a minute away from Masjid Jamek, the metro station where KL's two main metro lines and the monorail intersect. The rooms were a tad small, but were extremely well kept. And since we'd be using them only for sleep, this didn't matter.

Decided to check out KL's famed Chinatown/ Petaling street. We were told it's only a short walk away. But we discovered that in Malaysia, a short walk = a couple of kilometres.

Anyway, we asked an elderly gentleman for directions, and the good soul actually walked us to Chinatown before turning and going his own way!
I must mention the Malaysians are a friendly people. Especially the stouter ones. They always have a smile and a thumbs up for you.

Outside Petaling Street aka Chinatown
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Where you can find replicas of anything under the sun. A few minutes into this place, you start doubting the authenticity of even the Coke you see with venders there.
Just looked around a proceeded to the nearest Monorail station.
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Quick ride to Bukit Bintang, the main tourist/ red light districk - the place with all the cheap hotels and shops. Our destination tough was Jalan Alor, the eat street.
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The KL tower between us. :P

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Had a go at some of the stuff. Mostly Chinese. Rather inexpensive. And mediocre.

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Hrishi sampling an ultra hot meatball. Burnt his tongue, literally.
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Walked along Bukit Bintang and found ourselves near the Berjaya Times Square Mall.
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One of the largest buildings in the world by floor area, we were told. The place was all done up for Christmas.
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Hopped on the metro - the halt's right across the mall - and got back to our hotel.
The Masjid Jamek, seen from the metro station that has its name.
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Back at our hotel.
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Tired after a long day.
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Old 9th September 2013, 22:56   #7
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th September 2013, 23:26   #8
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Default Re: Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur - A Pictologue

Nice snaps. Looks like you guys had a blast there. Initially I planned to go to Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi for my honeymoon, but ended up visiting Thailand due to change of plans.

Planning to visit KL and Langkawi this December. Your travelogue will be helpful for planning the itinerary. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 16th September 2013, 18:33   #9
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Default Re: Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur - A Pictologue

The one thing I love about Singapore and Malaysia is the delicious food at the open air eateries.

This travelogue has really whetted my appetite to go back there soon
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Old 17th September 2013, 07:10   #10
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I had missed an opportunity to visit Malaysia on a business assignment due to some personal reasons. But your beautiful travelogue has shown me the country I wanted to visit the most as I have few friends there. Hope my promise to meet them in their own country comes TRUE one day. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 17th September 2013, 12:11   #11
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Lovely Travelogue. Seems like the fun was doubled because it was friends only trip i.e. Dil Chahta hai style and that too after your exams! You guys will cherish these memories for a lifetime. It reminds me of my first trip to Goa with friends.
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Old 17th September 2013, 20:16   #12
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Default Re: Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur - A Pictologue

Lovely Travelogue and who said you don't write well!! Thanks for bringing back fond memories of Pulau Langkawi, 3 visits and I don't mind going back there to drive on those roads and taste the fantastic local cuisine. Good pictures too.
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Old 19th September 2013, 08:02   #13
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Default Re: Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur - A Pictologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpion_blore View Post
Nice snaps. Looks like you guys had a blast there. Initially I planned to go to Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi for my honeymoon, but ended up visiting Thailand due to change of plans.

Planning to visit KL and Langkawi this December. Your travelogue will be helpful for planning the itinerary. Thanks for sharing.
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Originally Posted by JoseVijay View Post
I had missed an opportunity to visit Malaysia on a business assignment due to some personal reasons. But your beautiful travelogue has shown me the country I wanted to visit the most as I have few friends there. Hope my promise to meet them in their own country comes TRUE one day. Thanks for sharing.
You should give the place a try. We missed Georgetown and Penang, which are also great, and little more relaxed.

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Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
The one thing I love about Singapore and Malaysia is the delicious food at the open air eateries.

This travelogue has really whetted my appetite to go back there soon
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
Lovely Travelogue and who said you don't write well!! Thanks for bringing back fond memories of Pulau Langkawi, 3 visits and I don't mind going back there to drive on those roads and taste the fantastic local cuisine. Good pictures too.
Thank you!
Yes, the food was great and was a prominent and recurring element in this strip.
We mostly gave chain restaurants the skip and preferred to eat at local eateries. The street food turned out to be delicious and more importantly safe when compared to fare in India.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rahulsharma2008 View Post
Lovely Travelogue. Seems like the fun was doubled because it was friends only trip i.e. Dil Chahta hai style and that too after your exams! You guys will cherish these memories for a lifetime. It reminds me of my first trip to Goa with friends.
Yeah, tripping with friends you get to do a lot of things your parents would never permit you to.

Will update the thread soon. It's been almost a year since the trip, but the memories are vivid as if it were yesterday.
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Old 19th September 2013, 13:55   #14
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Default Re: Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur - A Pictologue

One-177 ! Man this is one heck of a photologue. This is the complete Langkawi Tour Guide even the Malaysian Tourism Dept. can't rival ! The pictures and the beaches were just wow ! More than 5 stars folks ! The most eye-catching Team-BHP travelogue in recent memory ! Great job....
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Old 25th September 2013, 22:35   #15
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Default Re: Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur - A Pictologue

Day 5

Had the hotel arrange a taxi for us to go upto Genting Highlands that day. The driver Sulaiman "Uncle", as he would have us call him, was a local who happened to know quite a lot about Kerala - even the fact that it was the most literate place in India.

First stop en route was Batu Caves, where one of KL's landmarks, the golden Batu Murugan stands tall. The caves houses a small temple dedicated to the diety.

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By the time we'd climbed to the top, I could hear my knees creak. Sulaiman Uncle tells us the next time we're there, a cable-car will take us up. And I believe him. This isn't India after all.

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The main temple. The temple was a first for Hrishi, born and bred an atheist.
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KL as seen from atop Batu.
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Spotted this bling Altis parked downstairs.
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Got back in the car and proceeded toward Genting.

The terrific Malaysian highways.
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One of the guys who built these won the bid for the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP), went bankrupt, and took his own life.

The exit towards Genting.
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The pretty hill road.
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Sulaiman Uncle dropped us at the cable-car station. His fee for the 1 hour/ 55km ride was MYR 120. We later found out an air-conditioned public bus would offer us the same for MYR 7 per person.

Anyway, at about 4 kms, Genting Cable Car is the longest in Asia. But after Langkawi, it was.. yawn.

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Genting Highland
This is Malaysia's very overrated tourist haven. Basically just some humongous inter-connected hotels atop a hill. Hotels so huge they house entire theme parks inside them. It's sort of like being inside some mega carnival.

Utterly boring unless:
A. You're ten years old or younger, or
B. You're into gambling

Tempting...
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... but over-priced food.
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Since the cable car takes you into one of the hotels and we were curious to know what it was like outside, we found our way to one of the hotel exits. This is what we discovered.
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The Outdoor Theme Park.
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One of the largest hotels in the world.
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We just walked around the place. Didn't click any pics.

One thing did interest us, though: Simulated Skydiving. But we couldn't get slots for that day. We also discovered there's is a crash course offered in skydiving, where, after a week's training, you can actually jump off a plane. But requires pre-booking. Next time?

Anyway, our bus wouldn't leave until evening so we watched a movie to kill time.
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Took the cable car downhill, and the bus back to KL.
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A little past five, after walk through KL's magnificent air-conditioned pedestrian tunnels, we found ourselves inside Aquaria KLCC.

But late for Piranha Feeding.
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Though it's supposedly an aquarium, it houses all sorts of strange creatures.
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Last edited by one-77 : 25th September 2013 at 23:03.
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