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Malaysia 2017 - Langkawi

Malaysia | Monday, December 11, 2017 | 60 photos

After having island hopped in southern Thailand's Andaman Sea during two previous trips, we finally gave a good look to Langkawi island, just over the border in Malaysia. Three weeks. Three different beaches.

We arrived in a downpour after midnight at the little Cactus Inn just off Pantai Tengah beach... so we didn't notice until morning that the neighbouring jungle shown on Google walk had been replaced with eight floors of a sprawling concrete hotel in the making! Our new friends, the guesthouse owners Lip and Liew, were originally told the new development was to be well designed garden bungalows... But the construction action didn't stop us from enjoying our host's wonderful food and hospitality as they took us on nature walks and invited us to parties.

We swam in such warm ocean water at Pantai Tengah, with vistas of gorgeous lush islands spanning the horizon. Although we would eventually be forced ashore by the tiny stings of what might have been jellyfish or possibly salps.

Being the tail end of the rainy season, the humid air greatly slowed our pace during our daily walks. Thankfully thundershowers usually ended each day, bringing a welcome respite after our month in Thailand with temperatures consistently exceeding 30 degrees.

Langkawi has an impressive terrain of jungle clad mountains amidst broad plains of rice paddies. For us animal lovers this was prime habitat and we luckily spotted Dusky Langurs (Spectacled Monkey), Macaques, Pied Hornbills, Racket-tail Drongos, Black Hooded Orioles, Collared Kingfishers, Cattle Egrets, Black and Little Herons, Bitterns, Bee eaters, Water Buffalo, "frilled" lizards, giant water monitors, and more. Unfortunately no Slow Loris sightings. Did you know that those little cuties are the only venomous primate? In Thailand, unscrupulous street touts pull the Loris' dangerous teeth with nail clippers and then offer photo opps to tourists. Another sad example of callous human behaviour toward animals.

Next up, Pantai Cenang, the Waikiki of Malaysia. We had to take a look at Langkawi's famous drawing card to see for ourselves... that popular tourist places are inevitably transformed by overdevelopment. However, once firmly planted in the sand, slowly dissolving thoughts with the sound of waves, we were able to smile away a sunset or two. And eat a yummy Syrian meal too!

Time then for the fabled northern beaches, with Tanjung Rhu our destination. Ahhh... tranquility, a smattering of tourists, and smiling villagers to greet us during our meanderings. After days of oceanfront living on the rougher side of a river mouth (which we forded to access fabulous grilled fish), we moved across to a perfect beachside bungalow, right beside the Scarborough restaurant... oh yeah. Blissful swims (sans stings) and fresh barracuda in the bellies. Nights of mesmerizing wave sounds and the green lights of squid boats along the horizon.

We rolled on rented bikes along narrow paths between rice paddies and found the quiet landscapes which we had hoped still existed. We also discovered, after a beautiful forested 5 km ride, the most spectacular beach on Langkawi. Lumpy limestone mountains and islands and clear warm water with very few people. Wow... it too still exists! On our return ride Laura's sharp eyes spotted another troupe of the super cute Dusky Langurs languering along the palms and hydro wires, offering us a close up view of their style and character.

It was hard to leave Tanjung Rhu and Langkawi, but southern Thailand beckoned once again... Our alternate choice after Air Asia cancelled our flight to Bali, due to Mt Agung's grumblings. And there are still more Anadaman islands to explore...

Pantai Tengah - Cactus Inn
Pantai Chenang- Tokman Inn, Syrian restaurant
Tanjung Rhu - Tanjung Puteri, Primrose Seaview, Scarborough Fish & Chips

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