Of Eagles and Padi Fields

Langkawi Travel Blog

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The mangrove coast boat ride

On our  second day in Langkawi, after a very late brunch, we took a leisurely 30 minute drive to Tanjung Rhu where the beautiful Four Seasons Resort and Tanjng Rhu Resort are. Looking for a nice beach we found a little enclave of stalls and an exit to the beach.

By chance we parked the car next to a booth selling boat rides and were 'duped' into going for a RM 200 (USD 57) boat ride..the phrase 'Taken for a ride'  was never more apt than in this case! hahaha.. For a boat ride to 3 spots it would be RM 180 (USD 51). Fair enough we thought , but the boat operator insisted we take an optional tour... the deal was for an extra RM 20 (USD 7) we could go and see a cave called Gua Cerita (Cave of Stories).

In the Bat Caves
It seems during the World War (but which war I wonder?) , a Chinese princess and a Roman prince lived in the cave and ancient remnants of their stay like pieces of furniture can still be found there. Since he had written RM 200 on the receipt we reluctantly agreed...

The four of us boarded  a speed boat and passed mangrove trees on our left and right. The topography here was very much like what you'd see in Southern Thailand, seeing its a mere few hundred  kilometres away. Very mindful of mangrove snakes having the most venomous bite, I had to keep my eyes open and alert at all times!  Our first stop was to the Crocodile Cave, but since it was high tide, we couldn't go down inside the cave. We then proceeded to see the eagles - really the highlight of the boat ride! 

The boatman scattered chicken skin and meat and down came the eagles flying really low.

The rip off lunch in the 'Hole in the Wall' restaurant
. it was a photographers dream! (In this case my husband's!)  but also an ecologist's nightmare! I know ecologically what the boat man did was wrong - feeding wild raptors with food - and fatty chicken skin at that. We had never seen so many eagles up close - there must have been close to 30 birds flying about. Alfred Hitchcock must have gotten his inspiration from some similar experience when he wrote 'The Birds'. It was something I'll never forget!

We then went to the Bat Cave - we were given a torch light and took a walk on a boardwalk into a cave - good lesson for children on stalactites and stalacmites beside seeing bats in their natural habitat...there were also monkeys who were quite aggresive - something I don't particularly like! I felt sorry for one though who was tearing a mineral water bottle to bits, thinking it was food I guess - why do people litter indiscriminately I asked myself for the 100th time.

At the Laman Padi (Rice Gardens)..its fields of rice behind us!

We then went to a fish feeding boat house - there were several fish cages of various types of fish such as grouper, barracuda, stingray etc...this chap then proceeded to show us the stingrays' dangerous tail and other bits of trivia. All this activity had made us a bit hungy and so we asked the boatman to drop us at a nearby jetty for lunch but he insisted that we had to eat at this joint called the 'Hole in the Wall' (how appropriate!) - not only was it twice the price of what you'd normally pay elsewhere, it wasn't that great either... A plate of fried rice was RM 10 (USD 2.80) ...expensive for a hole in the wall!

We then proceeded to the promised Cave of Stories, but were suddenly told by our boat man that the sea was too rough to proceed - going to the cave meant we had to go out into the open  Andaman sea, so we turned back - once on shore we realised that the boat operator was missing .

The Mediterranean looking Casa del Mar
..so no refund for us!

On the plus side, this  area is now a marina for yachts and boats which have moved down here to escape Phuket's more expensive marina fees..hence many foreigners can be seen doing repair works and upgrading on their yachts. This has added a certain beauty to this spot.. 

We then proceeded to Pantai Cenang a good 30 minutes away from Tanjng Rhu but a mere 10 minutes from the airport, to visit the Laman Padi (Padi Gardens). Entrance was free but unfortunately it was badly kept - a pity really because they could have made it into something quite good. I personally love the look of green padi fields and at this place which shows various stages of padi growth and types, the potential was there - but it needed a new coat of paint, it was grimy and the toilet was gloomy.

The entrance to the Casa del Mar Spa
...you just need to ignore the unkempt part and enjoy the greenery! There are 2 restaurants and a spa and its open daily from 0900 to 1700 hours. I loved the scarecrows and the little rustic huts in the middle of the fields, but for my 2 sons this was the worst part of their Langkawi trip. Hahaha...

Just across the road is the Casa del Mar, a hotel which has Spanish/Mediterranean influence in its architecture - very pretty and such a contrast to the Padi Gardens it faces! Its Spa has a pretty entrance facing the main road and it has a great pool and beach - room rates start from RM 650 per night (USD 170) per room.

Next to it is a German owned resort, The Beach Garden Resort. Very laid back looking, it has a little pool and reminds one of Bali. The restaurant serves extensive German meals besides the normal pizzas and sandwiches.

The beach restaurant of the Beach Garden Resort
Here the room rates start form RM 230 per night (USD 65). It has a great beach and a relaxed restaurant.

The beauty of Pantai Cenang is that there are many restaurants, shops  and resorts here - it just depends on your budget. The downside though is that its hard to find a public beach - you have to go in between resorts and shops to find a spot...thats the price of development I guess, but is it worth it? I do wonder what the locals think....

KeikoCreative says:
O i c:)
Posted on: Jun 13, 2009
nanie05 says:
Hi Bernard,
Oh no...Its still very rural in many places...but major hotels are trying to take advantage and building right on beaches ...what used to be public beaches now belong to hotels.:(
You must make it a place to visit next time..:)
Posted on: Jun 13, 2009
nanie05 says:
Hi Keiko ,
yes I stayed up late last night because I was waiting for my son to come back from his outing with friends..then I got carried away with TB..:)
Try to have a holiday in Langkawi and other parts of Malaysia next time - cheap for Singaporeans!
Posted on: Jun 13, 2009
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The mangrove coast boat ride
The mangrove coast boat ride
In the Bat Caves
In the Bat Caves
The rip off lunch in the Hole in …
The rip off lunch in the 'Hole in…
At the Laman Padi (Rice Gardens)..…
At the Laman Padi (Rice Gardens).…
The Mediterranean looking Casa del…
The Mediterranean looking Casa de…
The entrance to the Casa del Mar S…
The entrance to the Casa del Mar …
The beach restaurant of the Beach …
The beach restaurant of the Beach…
The Beach Garden resort entrance
The Beach Garden resort entrance
wooeee...eagles flying just above …
wooeee...eagles flying just above…
413 km (257 miles) traveled
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photo by: Mezmerized