Stranded in Penang- Part 11- Langkawi
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
When our third air b&b ran out, we decided to go across the water to the other major island off the Malaysian coast: Langkawi, for a long weekend. Malaysian Mike had raised his eye brows somewhat when we mentioned going by ferry, which in hindsight we should have paid more attention to. I don't know why we were were expecting some massive Brittania Ferries cruise liner, but we were, and so we were quite surprised as we hand- passed our suitcase over to the crew and straddled the watery gap between jetty and sea to board our little boat.The outbound crossing wasn't so bad, taking just under 3 hours, and we were thankfully allowed out on deck, and arrived early evening by Langkawi's famous statue of an eagle. Langkawi actually means 'reddish-brown eagle' in the local language.
One of the beauties of Langkawi, (along with the duty free alcohol and chocolate, minor irony in it being heavily Islamic with most restaurants being alcohol free), is it's dedication to ecotourism. It was listed as a geopark in 2007 by UNESCO. We stayed in the south-western corner in Patai Cenang and didn't travel far from there but if we ever return, it would be great to kayak in the man grove in the north east and snorkel around the archipelago of small, neighbouring islands.
Gideon and Emily were very happy with the hotel's long, winding swimming pool with waterfalls and slides and it was great to see Gideon confidently negotiate the speedy water flumes. Felt a bit sorry for the sign saying; 'children under ten must not enter the water slides', it was 100 % ignored by the young family-dense guest population. Poolside there was an appealing Yemeni restaurant, which had one member of staff of varying levels of availability. It's leaflet claiming to be open 7 days a week, 9 am -7 pm, we learnt needed to be taken with a pinch of salt, after Mike and I had a tail chasing session when one of us had tried to place an order and he had replied with friendly smile 'open in 1 hour', the other returned one hour later to be told through an even friendlier smile the same thing; 'open in 1 hour'. There was something about his smile that made you want to smile back and so we just let it go. We actually discovered an amazing alternative further in land called the Cactus bar, a super friendly, rustic, great value venue with the same busker every evening serenading with John Denver, Cold Play and the Beatles classics. You have to go, even if just for a pineapple fritter, (battered pineapple with vanilla ice cream).
The most famous tourist attraction in Langkawi is the cable car and we duly paid tribute on the Friday. Without queuing, we climbed the steepest cable car gradient in the world to 708 meters. And wow, as if that hadn't been enough exposure to height, upon arrival at the summit, we strolled over the sky walk bridge. I'm thankful not to be particularly fearful of heights, I make up for it with claustrophobia, not sure which I'd pick if I could. I could tell Gideon was quite tense on our descent, not helped by me standing up at about the 650 meters mark to poke my hand out the window, causing the car to wobble incessantly. But we made it back onto stable ground. To be continued...