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Old 19th November 2009, 18:50   #1
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Default Langkawi- Paradise Regained

Twisting and turning on an uncomfortable airline seat, I look at my watch for the umpteenth time, it is 5 am Singapore time, I glance out of the window and like what I see, the dawn breaking over the ocean while I am at 11000 m above terra firma and travelling at some 840 km/hr.

Dawn Breaking
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This was a trip that almost never happened, my wife was to attend a conference at Singapore for two days and she wanted us to take yet another break, initially I was against it but then the temptation to travel always wins.
So began the hunt for some destinations in South East Asia which we have not seen yet. But the limitations I had set for myself like short duration, low cost and the acute shortage of preplanning time meant there were not too many places we could choose.

So we decided to go to some place we have already seen but will definitely not feel that a second visit is not worth it, LANGKAWI- the name screamed at us, the little piece of paradise on earth.

Now the hunt for airline tickets and places to stay started, I had less than a week to decide and book, so kept the broadband lines hot trying to book air tickets and hotels. I suddenly discovered that a ticket which was available the previous day suddenly showed as not available the next, so it seemed like curtains for the trip, but then a colleague of my wife suddenly discovered a flight which was within our budget and rightly timed, so instantly booked it and we were on. The hotels were the easier choice, we had seen some places in Langkawi and knew more or less as to which part of town we wanted to stay.

November 13- Day 1

My flight from Bangalore took off at 5 minutes past midnight and reached Singapore at 6.55 am, I disembarked and wandered out through the magnificient Changi international where I had to kill around 4 hours before boarding the flight to Langkawi. But airports are interesting places, I never get bored watching people.

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The Skytrain at Changi
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My wife joined me at the airport and we checked in together. The Air Asia flight was full and left on time. An hour and 15 minutes later I peeped out of the window and saw the islands approaching.

View of Langkawi from the air
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Landing at langkawi international airport we went straight to the numerous car rental booths in the airport and hired ourself a car- a Toyota Vios, it cost us 240 RM for two days of usage.
I drove out of the airport carefully as I am not used to driving an automatic, but quickly got the hang of it and drove to our resort. Enroute we stopped at the Telaga Harbour which is a beautiful and scenic quay.

Telaga Harbour
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Me by the quay
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We drove into our beach resort - Mutiara Burau Bay and checked in.

Mutiara Burau Bay
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The reception
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The pool at the resort
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The Villas
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We took an hour long nap and decided to drive around town.

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Old 19th November 2009, 18:55   #2
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Our first stop was the only happening beach in town - The Cenang Beach, beaches in Langkawi are never ever crowded and the busiest beach looks like this on a weekend evening.

Pantai Cenang

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Parasailing at Cenang
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Jet skiing
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The beachfront
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This beach is where we have all kinds of water activities like parasailing, jet skiing, banana boat rides and shacks by the beach for food. The road along the beach has colourful shops selling all kinds of souvenirs.

It started pouring and we decided to drive the 20 odd kilometers into Kuah town which again is a duty free paradise (The whole island of Langkawi is duty free).

The Toyota Vios enroute Kuah
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We went shopping for chocolates and other sundry stuff and ended off having dinner at the Wonderland Food Cafe which is a must do on a visit to Langkawi. Returned to our resort by around 11 pm and it was already end of day one.

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Old 19th November 2009, 19:11   #3
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November 14- Day 2

Woke up leisurely at 8.30 am went for a sumptous breakfast where we were entertained by some monkeys who had this marvellous ability to distract your attention while another swoops down on your plate to grab your food. Some kids were having a blast watching the primates who were only too happy to oblige.

The monkeys at the Resort
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We then set off for our first excursion of the day- The Langkawi Cable Car. This again is a must do in Langkawi.

The steep ride up
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View of the ocean from above
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Telaga Harbour as seen from cable car
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The cable car station atop the mountain
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The hanging bridge
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The Oriental Village is a theme park at the venue of the cable car where we came across a boy with a pet python, my wife shocked me by agreeing to wear the python around her neck.

The Oriental Village
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Around the village
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The snake boy
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and she looks totally unperturbed
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Old 19th November 2009, 19:16   #4
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Hi Hari,

man, i was wondering where you have vanished
now i know.

looks like you had a great trip, i would be hooked to your travelogue
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Old 19th November 2009, 19:18   #5
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Thats awasome report, Looking forward to see more pictures. My wife is watching too!!

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Old 19th November 2009, 19:22   #6
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We then decided to go beach exploring, all the roads in Langkawi are so scenic it is difficult to choose which one to take.

By the road
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On the way to Datai
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We drove to Datai Bay, a remote beach which is more or less owned by the Datai Resort and The Andaman resort. On the way back we saw this beautiful beach which drew us irresistably towards it, this was the Pasir Tengkorak Beach or Pantai Tengkorak, Pantai in Malay is beach.

Pantai Tengkorak
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Offshore Fishing platform
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Ship at Anchor
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Peaceful beach
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Clear waters
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Firm white sand underfoot
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Chalets by the beach
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A fishing boat
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We spent close to 2 hours in the water and only the pangs of hunger made us walk out.

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Old 19th November 2009, 19:31   #7
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We decided to go back to the resort to change as we had not carried a change of clothes (a cardinal mistake in Langkawi), in Langkawi one never plans to get into the water, you see a lovely beach you just jump in. This is what happened less than a kilometer from out resort, we saw the amazingly picturesque Pantai Kok, or Pantai beach and were again drawn to it magnetically.

Pantai Kok
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Here's where a photoshoot turned out to be more than I had bargained for.
My wife went in to walk along the beach while I decided to click some snaps, I parked the car on the edge of the sand and got some beautiful snaps.

The Lighthouse
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Amazingly beautiful beach
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The Car Photoshoot
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A Yacht
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Boats yonder
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When it was time to leave, I got in and tried to gently move out, but the car wouldn't move, I got out and saw that the front wheels which seemed to be on firm sand were actually not, I was digging in with every attempt to move.
A sunbather who was watching us came and suggested that I reverse back towards the water where the wet sand is "firmer", it may have been the heat and the hunger or plain foolishness that I agreed and backed into the beach, now all the four wheels were ploughing into the sand and the tide was moving in.

The guy, his wife/girlfriend, my wife and I managed to push it all of 5 feet before it got stuck completely and would not budge, I then approached another family having a nice day at the beach, this person turned out to be a local and I asked him if I could get a tow service over the phone, the poor chap immediately made numerous calls and to our bad luck most of the tow service people he had called were unable to come at that particular time, and all the while the tide was moving in inexorably towards the car and looked like a thunderstorm too was approaching. I asked the local if he had some kind of rope in his car or if he could drive me to a store where I could buy some rope to pull the car out.

This is when Lady Luck showed up and we found some old weather beaten rope used on boats tied around a tree carelessly, we managed to untie it and then discovered it was just the right length for pulling the stuck car using another car which was on firm land. So asked the sunbather's wife/girlfriend to sit in the car and drive while the rest of us would heave and shove it out. So, we had this lovely bikini clad lass in the driver's seat and we guys panting and heaving alongside and finally managed to pull the car to firm ground. I offered to buy them all lunch, but they declined and finally agreed to have a drink, so we all trooped out to the marina nearby for a well deserved drinks break.

The retrieval crew having a break after the OTR
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Old 19th November 2009, 19:45   #8
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We went back to our resort and rested for a while before setting off to Kuah town along the most picturesque drive in all of Langkawi, the road through Air Hangat or Hot Springs. But our drive was marred by a heavy downpour which made taking snaps impossible, it stopped raining by the time we reached Kuah town and we asked for directions to the Eagle Square, the famed entry point of Langkawi island, this statute of a white headed eagle is what gives Langkawi it's name, this statue is placed at the Kuah Jetty where the boats come to the island.

View of Kuah Jetty
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Sail Boat
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The Eagle Square
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Another view of Kuah Jetty with mountains in the background
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Outside Jetty Point
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We drove back to the lovely Casa Del Mar resort situated on Cenang Beach for a romantic dinner on the beach, again I would suggest this place as a must do while in Langkawi.

Chef's special
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Chicken Rendang
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The pool at Casa Del Mar
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The Berjaya Belle
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At The Yatch Club
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Old 19th November 2009, 19:55   #9
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November 15th -Day 3

Why is that the days fly past when you are on a holiday whereas they drag on unendingly while you are at work?

This was the day we would leave Langkawi with yet another promise to return. Had a good breakfast and spent some time on the resort's beach taking some snaps before we checked out.

A view of the Berjaya Beach Resort from Burau Bay
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A lonely tree
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The beach at our resort
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A view of the Cable car station covered in clouds
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Berjaya Resort's sea villas
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Restaurant on the sea
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Jyo and I
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We checked out and drove the 10 odd minutes to the airport returned the car and waited for the one hour flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Langkawi airport reflects the laid back nature of the island, people manning the counters are friendly, the security personnel have a sense of humor and generally things seem carefree. We have to walk the few hundred yards to the aircraft which seem parked as lazily as we feel while on the island.

The Air Asia flight to KL
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As the plane took off, I clicked the go karting track near the airport.

Langkawi Go Carting Track
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An hour later we were above Kuala Lumpur and air traffic congestion made us wait in the skies for well over 10 minutes, I got to see the Petronas Twin Towers from the sky.

Aerial view of KL with Petronas Towers
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Old 19th November 2009, 20:00   #10
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Car on a beach is amazing. I love snaps of cars on beaches. Especially jeeps and convertibles. Here's a 4* just for the snaps of the car on the beach.
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Old 19th November 2009, 20:04   #11
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We reached the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) to be met by my friend of old, Gowry who is a resident of Malaysia, this was the first time I was meeting her in all the eleven years I knew her virtually. She took complete charge of us and drove us to our hotel which she had booked for us. In the evening we were joined by Wani, Gowry's cousin who had met us the last time we were there and all of us decided to become Mall rats for the evening.
We went to the huge Sunway Pyramid mall which resembles a theme park.

Inside Sunway Pyramid
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We had nothing in particular to do so went window shopping till our feet ached and then decided to try our hand at local Malay cuisine for the rest of our stay. So we were taken to a local restaurant on the sidewalk where we were treated to some amazing local food, I don't even remember the names of the dishes, only that they were really tasty.

A novel way to present our humble tender coconut
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A unique signboard
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Streets of Kuala Lumpur
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A view of the city skyline from our hotel
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Old 19th November 2009, 20:12   #12
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November 16 - Day 4

Initially the plan was to visit some local places of tourist interest like Batu caves or maybe do a road trip to Genting Highlands, both Gowry and Wani had taken the day off from work to be with us, but the morning saw a heavy downpour and Gowry had some urgent work at office which made her pick us up only by 11 am, so we changed plans and asked her to just take us around and have some more of the local cuisine. We went to Mr. DIY a store chain which is a guy's dream come true, then we went riding the KL Monorail system into the heart of KL - the Bukit Bintang area.

The KL Monorail
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Christmas decoration in Lot10 mall
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Rainy street of KL
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Some colourful food for thought
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Bukit Bintang at Night
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Back to the Monorail
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Old 19th November 2009, 20:21   #13
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We visited some malls there and generally loafed around. We wanted more of the local food so asked our hosts to take us to yet another food centre for dinner, again we were treated to some exotic sounding cuisine which we relished,
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the night was complete when I had a taste of the local fruits, the Rambutan which resembles our Lychee and the Durian which is both relished and repelled in equal quantities by people.

Rambutan, which I liked
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Durian, which I did not like so much
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Thus we ended our last day at Kuala Lumpur and we bid goodbye to our friends after we got dropped at our hotel around midnight.

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Old 19th November 2009, 20:29   #14
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November 17 - Day 5

We left the hotel early to catch our flight to Singapore, we reached Singapore by lunch time and took a cab to Hotel 81, which is a budget hotel as were only using it in transit. The room is undoubtedly one of the smallest hotel rooms I've ever stayed in, the whole room measured about 8 ft by 7 ft and was immaculately clean and furnished with a wardrobe, Lcd Tv, and a queen bed, the bathroom too was tiny but had all the amenities.

Since we only had an evening to spend in Singapore we went shopping for perfumes in Orchard road and then in the evening I called Raghu (Gowda79) and we agreed to meet for dinner,

Orchard Road Singapore
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Raghu came to our hotel and we took a bus to Little India which was about 2 bus stops away and sat at a "Chettinad" hotel for dinner, we caught up on the happening on the forum as well as outside it, but with Raghu, conversation is incomplete without the mention of "Safari" the King. So I was ribbing him that had there been a road, he would have been driving it back and forth between India and Singapore. It was a pleasant evening spent with a friend and he dropped us back to our hotel. We decided to catch up when he visited bangalore soon for his engagement.

The Micro Tbhp meet, note how zoned out Jyo and I look,
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We had a 7.40 am flight to catch back to Bengalore and so checked out of the hotel at 5.30 am and reached the airport. We had another empty flight back where we could sit anywhere we pleased. Thus ended another memorable trip for the both of us.

Entering Indian shores over Chennai
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My earlier travelogue on langkawi can be read here

Last edited by Lukeskywalker : 19th November 2009 at 20:38.
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Old 19th November 2009, 20:34   #15
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First congratulations for you on selecting a fantastic destination. A good place to be with family and enjoy. I hope you went for snorkeling in the beeches in addition to what i see in the photos. Langkawi has one of the worlds best coral reefs which are a treat to watch.

I was in Langkawi during 2004 and enjoyed every bit of it. I have been in Malaysia many times(at least 10) as it was a weekend destination during an years stay in Singapore.

It is sad that you missed Battu caves and Genting Highlands. Battu caves are fantastic and need a bit of energy to walk up. Also monkeys there are cruel. Personally i would not rate Genting Highlands much as the only thing there is a Casino and a bit of mountain view, which you can get in any himalayan destination. Only good thing about Genting Highlands is that the driving roads are good.

Rambutan is fantastic, I am with you. Well seeing the Durian photos i can feel the smell here...Good pics, but i did not like the taste of it. (For those who dont know Durian, it is a fruit which is banned in Singapore public transport. It is that smelly)

Nice Photos and hope you will cherish this trip for years to come.

Last edited by ksethuram : 19th November 2009 at 20:35.
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