Monday, January 30, 2012

Day two Langkawi

Continuing our Langkawi wildlife theme, look what I found in our outdoor bathroom last night! Rob gently tried to "move him on" and this is where he moved to, until Rob found a better place for him. It was a good lesson to us that in an outdoor bathroom always make sure the toilet seat is closed!!

Our hotel arranged a hire car for us today so we could explore the island (it cost us AUS$27 for the day and was delivered to our hotel for us - we paid an extra AUS$10 for a half a tank of petrol which proved to be a bit excessive). We headed north up the coast first (looking for a petrol station) and then onto the famous Langkawi Cable Car base station.

The crowds were light this morning so we were in our cable car very quickly, on our way to the first viewing platforms at 625metres, high enough that the air even felt a lot cooler.

Although cloudy and hazy today we had amazing views from this level of the whole island/s that comprise Langkawi. This view is looking SSW down towards where we are staying at Pantai (beach) Cenang.

The photo below shows how tiny this island is. In this one shot you can see the north coastline, the south coastline, and if you look hard enough you can even see the east coast too. That's how small it is!

This gaggle of girls befriended us. They were our excitable cable car companions, who were all from Nanjing China. We initially thought they were Japanese; they were so refined and stylishly dressed, with such white skin ('scuse the stereotyping!). They wanted their picture taken with us???!!

This suspended walkway from the 652m level was an eye opening experience - quite an engineering marvel. Rob and I both remarked that there is no way you would find engineering marvels like this in Indonesia (and if you did you would NEVER be game to use them).

We went up to the highest level (700mts) and really enjoyed the whole experience. Even with all the haze today you could still see north far enough to see the landmass of Thailand over the sea and though the haze. It's that close!

Then it was back down to nearby Telaga Harbour for lunch overlooking the gorgeous yachts moored below us. That's "Sassy Bikini" in the left of the picture, a very opulent new looking yacht flying the Australian flag.

Rob always assumes any ritzy looking Australian yacht we see belongs to our Russel (Crowe).

But we forgot about the concerns of rich yacht owners when lunch arrived: garlic prawns (a salad), green chicken curry, beef rendang and a bok choy dish. Everything so fresh and flavoursome - we have not had one bad meal here in Malaysia!

We set off on our driving adventure again This time to the furthest NW you can go, to the 5+++ Andaman, Langkawi. Unfortunately we'd just had lunch so we couldn't even fit in a drink at the Andaman today. I did like the look of its reception area though.

This gentleman (could it be George Clooney?) was seen arriving at the Andaman in his gleaming black "sports car".

A little further on the NW coast we stopped at Pasir Tengkorak Beach, very popular with local people but looking disgusting today with mounds of rubbish everywhere and ugly metal shade structures in the "park" fronting the beach.

From Teluk (bay) Ewa on the mid north coast we got a great view of the massive Langkawi cement factory and along the road we got great views of the rubber tree forests which also provide a good living for many Langkawi locals.

But this was my favourite beach that I saw today: Tanjung Rhu on the far NE coast of the island. White sand, very clean, uncrowded, blue blue water, pretty limestone outcrops like in North Vietnam's Halong Bay.

Typical of Asia most of this beach was fenced off for the express enjoyment of the guests of the Tanjung Rhu resort. There were no adequate change facilities or stylish restaurants or cafes on this public section of the beach, making it quite difficult for tourists wanting to spend a day at a lovely beach. Although we found the ice coffees (kopi ais) very nice at this little local cafe (and only AUS 65c each).

It was very easy driving on the quiet roads of Langkawi today. It only takes two hours to drive right around the island (if you don't make any stops). It's an island of small (fairly unattractive) villages scattered with funny little tourist "attractions" and mostly charmless hotel developments (with some exceptions of course). You would have to be very careful where you chose to stay here. It would make all the difference.

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