After our two nights in Singapore, we took a short Air Asia flight up to Langkawi. Langkawi is an island on the northwest side of Malaysia. It is mainly known for tourism because of its beautiful beaches. It is actually extremely close to Thailand, which is also known for beautiful beaches. We had a few days in between Singapore and the wedding in Penang, so we had finally decided that a few days of relaxing in Langkawi would be the perfect use of our time, especially since it was actually over our 2 year wedding anniversary! Wow, we have really been spoiled over the last two years. First, we had our honeymoon in the French Polynesia (Bora Bora!), then we spent our first wedding anniversary touring around Spain, and now our second anniversary we managed to travel to Singapore and Malaysia. We are really lucky and I’m so grateful for all these experiences. Somehow I imagine that our next anniversary once we’ve moved back to the States won’t be quite as exotic.
During most of our travels, Doug and I try to look for budget accommodation. However, since this was our anniversary and since we discovered that Malaysia is incredibly cheap, we sprung for a nice resort. We stayed at the Frangipani Resort, which is Malaysia’s only ‘Green’ resort, and also had an amazing nice, private beach as well as two swimming pools. Definitely worth it! It was so nice to have some relaxation time. There wasn’t too much sightseeing on the island, so most of our time was spent at the pool, beach, or in the spa. Yes, I say spa because the island was covered with spas. Well, I guess it is a tourist island after all. Oh and I did I mention that it is duty free as well? Just another way to lure the tourists! Anyway, we booked in for a full body massage at a spa nearby the resort, and after figuring out it only cost about £20/$30, we decided to get another one the next day! Talk about splurging! However, we tried out a different spa on the second day and the massage was not nearly as good, in fact it was pretty painful, so maybe we should have just stuck with one after all.
The island is known for its beautiful beaches, and I’ve seen some lists that list it in the top 10 in the world. It was definitely nice, with beautiful, white sand, and all the tropical plants that you would expect. The water was bathtub warm, which I like, although I know some people might not find that refreshing. However, there was one terrible thing about the beach: the jellyfish! Just like most beaches fly flags to tell you the water condition (red = too dangerous, green = good to go), Langkawi had an extra color: purple. When the purple flag was flying, that mean the ocean had a lot of ‘sea pests’ aka jellyfish and it was not advised to go swimming. Well, unfortunately, 2 out of our 3 days in Langkawi had a purple flag flying. And the green flag came on the first day, which was the day we arrived, so we didn’t really take advantage of swimming that day because we didn’t realize that would be our only chance.
Langkawi is also a popular scuba diving destination, and although Doug and I are PADI certified, we didn’t go diving on this trip. Not only would the jellyfish have been a major deterrent, but we also didn’t have any of our scuba gear, including our certification cards. We had left all our stuff in our storage unit back in the States. When we were in Indianapolis in August, we actually tried to locate our scuba gear, but when we opened the storage unit, we realized it was going to be a fruitless mission. We dug around in some of the top boxes, but there was no hope of finding the scuba stuff. So that meant no scuba diving for us in Malaysia.
On the day of our wedding anniversary, November 12th, we rented a scooter and had a day of adventure. If you remember, we tried to rent scooters in Greece, but they wouldn’t let us due to no experience. However, in Malaysia, they didn’t even ask if we had ever driven a scooter before. I don’t think they even needed to see a license. Insurance was also never mentioned. So we got our scooter and off we went to explore the island. We headed to the island’s cable car, which offered scenic views around the island at a height of 708m from the top of Machincang mountain. Langkawi island is actually made up of 99 different islands, so the views were really incredible to be able to see all different islands surrounded by teal water. The cable car was a lot scarier than the ones we took in Switzerland, and I’m not sure if it’s because it seemed to go nearly vertical at some points, or because we weren’t quite sure of the safety practices in Malaysia. Luckily, we made it up and down safely. Unfortunately, the SkyBridge, which is a really high single-span suspension bridge, was closed for maintenance, but it’s probably for the best.
We did more exploring around the island on our scooter, including going to some markets and handicraft shops. I really enjoyed seeing some more of the local life rather than just the beach resort. We drove past a roadside shop that was frying up some food, and as soon as the smell hit me, I made Doug turn the scooter around. Turns out that they were frying bananas, sweet potatoes, and prawns (shrimp). We had that for lunch with some fresh lime juice and it was probably one of the tastiest and cheapest meals of the trip. The whole meal only cost the equivalent of $2!
That evening we took the scooter to the night market, which was basically a bunch of people serving food or selling junk out of the back of their trucks. This was definitely a locals hangout, and we stood out a lot. Not only were we the whitest people there, but since Malaysia is a Muslim country, I was one of the few women not covering my head. We stuck around long enough to try some of the cheap, delicious eats, and then headed back to the resort.
On Wednesday we were headed to Penang via ferry, and on our last night in Langkawi there was a huge storm. In fact, our resort lost power for about 2 hours. I slept through most of it, but since losing power meant we lost air conditioning, Doug was too hot to sleep through it. On Wednesday morning I had been planning to try out my skills at driving the scooter, but the rain was still coming down heavily. I didn’t want to risk my first time driving in the rain, so Doug sucked it up and drove the scooter back to the rental place without me. How sweet of him. 🙂 He looked hilarious all wrapped up in the resort towels. And apparently he had quite the ordeal, not only with the rain, but with a broken umbrella and a dead scooter. Somehow he managed to return the scooter and get back to the resort in one piece.
Finally, the skies cleared up and we headed off to our ferry to Penang.
We had a lovely time in Langkawi, but I doubt I will ever go back. The beach was nice, but I think I could get just as good of a beach in the Caribbean, or even just in Florida. I’m glad to have the experience, but I don’t think travelling there all the way from the States would be worth it.
Oh, and can’t forget about the food collage.
Up next: the Indian wedding celebrations in Penang!