Stranded in Penang-Part 12- Langkawi
Updated: Mar 15
Langkawi and Penang, for their close proximity, could not be more different than let's say; 'chalk and cheese', (for some reason). As mentioned earlier, Langkawi has a strong commitment to sustainability and ecotourism, so it is largely undeveloped. Whilst Penang wreaks of nostalgia, Langkawi feels more contemporary and in parts, kind of superficial. It is super chilled out as it is all about the tourism. Instead of being lined with choc-a-block, few generations-old street-food hawkers as Penang is, Langkawi's streets are streaked in vibrant colours of 'grokel' shops selling cheap, eye catching, bohemian-style clothing and buckets and spades. Instead of the quaint, unique ceramic artwork and intricately designed plaster renderings characteristic of the fusion architecture of Dutch, British and Chinese found in George Town, Langkawi has the names of hotels in neon lights high in the sky and restaurant after duty free shop, after restaurant. Best of all; Langkawi has protected rainforests, mangroves and a typical brochure-stunning coast line, vast white sands and warm seas and an interesting nearby archipelago of smaller islands. I would love to go back.
After several blissful evenings of beach frisbee, warm sea swimming and ambling through silky white sands whilst the pink, glowing sky slowly dropped the neon sun beneath the ocean horizon, it was time to return to Penang. The wind was fresh as we boarded our ferry this time and white horses frothed across the deep azure. Although quieter, it was even smaller than the the outbound one and we weren't allowed out on deck, because there wasn't one, just a narrow, unprotected ridge. All the baggage was piled into the centre of the boat and passengers were distributed across the upper and lower seating parts. About 15 minutes after leaving the shore, the rocking began and it became every second a tilt of about 45 degrees to the left, then 45 degrees to the right and so on, water splattering against the windows as we ploughed through the sea. Not yet far from the shore, the open sea loomed. Being confined inside, knowing we couldn't escape onto deck, knowing the journey would be three hours more, I was feeling quite worried. Unlike the previous boat episode near the national park, the jellyfish won this time, and closing my eyes, I grabbed both children's hands beside me and quietly prayed. Thankfully the children thought it was all such fun. And about half way through, the rocking did subside, thank you Lord. It was such a relief to be upon solid ground!