"We're leavin on a jet plane!" View from the plane as it prepares to make its way to the runway and take off.
I was looking forward to my trip to Langkawi. It was my third visit to the island. I didnâ€™t plan much by way of activity, as I really wanted to just veg out and do pretty much nothing. I mean, whatâ€™s the point of a vacation if youâ€™re going to tire yourself out?
At 8am, I was done at work, and my supervisor offered to drop me off at the train station, but we only left at 815am. By the time I reached the station and rushed to the platform, I had missed one train to the city, and had to wait about 6 minutes before the next one arrived. I was at the KL Sentral station by 9.05am, and after spending five minutes in the queue for the ATM, there was no way I could make it to the airport on time if I had taken the shuttle bus.
The trip alone took 75 minutes! So I had to go off my budget a little bit (the bus cost MYR9) and took the shuttle train (MYR35) to the main terminal instead, which left at 9.20 and got me there half an hour later. After spending another 5 minutes rushing to the bus stop in the airport, I jumped on another shuttle bus that took me from the Main Terminal to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (or better known as LCCT) just in time as the driver took off just a minute later. Another 15 minutesâ€™ drive and I was at the LCCT, looking for the check-in counter at exactly an hour to departure time, which was at 1125am. My friend, Joann, was ten minutes away.
Beautiful sky above Sepang, where the KL International Airport is located.
After waiting for Joann to complete her check-in, we barely had twenty minutes before boarding time, but a hungry Joann had to have breakfast, so we made a beeline to McDonaldâ€™s.
Ten minutes later, we were wolfing down our egg muffins, and then headed for the gate. Itâ€™s a good thing I paid the extra USD1 for express boarding (we took AirAsia ďż˝ďż˝" a budget airline) as we queued up just behind this elderly couple and a friend and got to board the plane first. When you fly a budget airline, itâ€™s free seating, and if you are at the back of the line, chances of getting a comfortable enough seat or even being seated with your travel buddy are slim. Express boarding allowed us a two minute window to get in to the plane first and choose our seats. We decided weâ€™d sit in the front row, as there was ample leg room and I wouldnâ€™t feel so claustrophobic (we were flying in an Airbus 320!).
More pretty clouds!
The weather was gorgeous throughout the flight! Sure, there was some minor turbulence, but the colors of the sky and the cotton candy clouds were just too beautiful to ignore.
However, when we arrived an hour later, we found the weather to be gloomy with overcast skies, darn it! As we headed towards the exit, there were the usual touts for cabs and car rentals. I didnâ€™t want to rent a car initially, as I thought itâ€™ll be cheaper to just get a cab whenever we needed to get around. However, now Iâ€™m glad that we did. For a 3-day, 2-night stay at the island, you pay MYR100 for an automatic transmission Proton Wira (local model). Joann was very hesitant about driving an auto, as sheâ€™s a stick shift kinda gal! To be fair, we did ask for a stick shift, but after waiting half an hour, we were offered the auto (which would have cost us an additional MYR40), as the manual transmission had a flat that couldnâ€™t be fixed soon enough. So essentially we got a deal, and Joann got a lesson on driving the automatic transmission from the rental agent, who took us around the block once to show us how much easier it was to drive.
A view of Perak state (I think!) as we fly over and get closer to landing in Langkawi.
Part of Langkawi's 99 islands as we get closer to the airport.
After getting over her initial nervousness at driving the automatic car (what if I bang into the car in front of me? What if this happens?? What if that happens?? The girl was petrified!), we left the airport and headed to the nearest gas station to fill the car up. Sigh... MYR50 gave us only a half tank of gas. Ah well, that would be enough for the three days that we were going to be there. It took about 10-15 minutes to get to the resort where we to stay. One thing I enjoyed about being in Langkawi is the fact that I was pretty familiar with the roads there (well, more like the roads that led from the airport to the beach and onward to the town) and I could pretty much navigate without the need for a map.
It wasn't long before we were on the street behind Cenang beach, and I couldn't believe how small or rather, how short that stretch of street was.
It was about 3 years ago that I was there last, and compared to today, there weren't as many restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels then. My sister was right about it being very much a tourist market. We were to discover later that there were hardly any local diners or hawker stalls where we could enjoy local food and instead, have had to pay exhorbitant prices for international cuisine at the numerous themed eateries.
Seconds away from landing and the greenery that first greets us.
When we got to our resort, we were informed that we could not check in earlier than 2pm as the rooms were being cleaned after the last guests left. Lucky that we had the car, so we drove to the town of Kuah for lunch and shop for tax free chocolates and alcohol. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get to Kuah town, where the main jetty was located.
Here, you can take a ferry to the island of Penang as well as Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah. The Eagle Square is located next to the jetty. It is home to the island's landmark giant statue of an eagle.
Touch down! The huge welcome sign just outside the Langkawi terminal building.
After lunch (I paid MYR6.50 for economy chinese rice!!), we made our way to the One Stop shopping center, one of just three supermarkets located at the cross junction of one of the more popular Kuah shopping locations. Local tourists don't normally leave Langkawi without bars of chocolates and at least a bottle of liquor a person, which was what we got, before heading back to the resort, which was just before 3pm. We were practically dragging our bags up to the first floor, where our room was located, as exhaustion kicked in.
I took some pics of the room, and the view before jumping into the shower and then right into bed for some rest.
On our way to the resort in our rental. This is the view of the street along the airstrip, lined with casuarina trees and close to the ocean.
Unfortunately, two hours sleep was all I had, so I switched on the tv, but to my dismay, there were only two viewable terrestrial channels available for 'enjoyment'. I kept myself busy for another hour, texting my other friends, before Joann woke up from her slumber and we were getting ready for a night of booze and Euro soccer!
We decided to go for dinner at the Tomato Nasi Kandar Beach Cafe. For the uniniated, Nasi Kandar is a meal of rice served with a mix of curries, such fish, chicken and mutton curry gravy, which are poured onto the rice and then served with your choice of vegetables and a main dish of fish, seafood, chicken or lamb.
Historically, Nasi Kandar (nasi meaning rice) was sold by Indian Muslims in Penang, who would cycle or walk around neighbourhoods, carrying a long, large stick across their backs with pots of curry and rice hanging on either end.
Sigh... gloomy weather on a Thurs afternoon. Enough to make you want to curl in bed and sleep, which was exactly what we did, hee hee!!
However, we decided to have fried rice and fried noodles instead. I can tell you that I've tasted better food at hawker stalls in KL than at that restaurant, yuck! It was then time to wash down all that tasteless grub with a beer or two and we were in our rental looking for a quiet pub we could get drunk in. So we drove up to the next street, where Tengah beach was located, just adjacent to Cenang beach, to find the new location for the Reggae Bar.
The Reggae Bar was, the last time I had been to Langkawi, located on Cenang Beach, not far from where we stayed last weekend.
It had an island bar and simple wood furniture - tree stumps were made into chairs that surrounded large and small rough wood tables - as well as a small stage, plus the beers, spirits and cocktails were cheap. Sometimes, there'd be live inpromptu percussion performances, courtesy of visiting percussion band Aseana Percussion Unit, as well as entertainment from the partners themselves. The bar had since moved to another location on the street behind the Tengah beach, which was where we headed to look for, but despite driving up that road and back again, we couldn't find it, and decided then to drive back to our hotel and ask the reception for its whereabouts. Well, we were on the right track, but according to the reception, the bar closes on Thursday nights, since Friday is a holy day of prayer for Muslims.
The empty dancefloor of De'Enigma Fun Pub in Aseania Resort Langkawi.
Disappointed, we had little choice but to look for another bar that we hoped was opened and headed out to De'Enigma Fun Pub, located within the confines of the Aseania Resort at Tengah beach.
Walking in at 11pm, it was a little surprising to find it practically empty, with the exception of two German soccer fans who were obviously there to catch the match between Germany and Croatia. About 5 minutes after ordering our drinks (what??? These are KL prices, dammit!) - a Golden Volcano for me and a glass of red for Joann - we were entertained by the house band. After what seemed like hours, but was in fact, a half hour later, the place slowly started filling up, with tourists, and later local youths. By this time, we moved ourselves to the table in front of the wide screen tv to watch the match with the rest of the football fans. By the time the match ended (I can't believe Germany lost to Croatia!!), we got out of there as quickly as we could and made our way back to the hotel and crashed on our beds!!
Chin chin!! My Golden Volcano cocktail consisted of apricot brandy, vodka and er... I forget!