Life is funny. A few months ago I was desperately yearning for a beachy vacation and was scouring the web for Caribbean locations. Of course, I wanted to plan it around our wedding anniversary timeframe in May. I was this close to finalizing stuff when the husbadoo clearly said the timing was not going to work out for him at all and I remember sulking about this a few months ago and accepting that a beach holiday was not going to happen this year maybe. Then stuff happened in a few quick weeks – we found ourselves moving out of NYC and this whole one month in Malaysia opportunity came our way. And as we are in Penang , Malaysia my co workers suggested Langkawi as the perfect weekend getaway and I ended up getting my beach vacation after all.
Of course, it was just 48 hours from Friday evening to Sunday evening, but it was fun filled, relaxing and perfect in every way that I can bottle up this weekend’s experiences and memories for the next few months or so. In short, I am so glad we went ahead with this little getaway, even though we questioned the practicality of the expenditure for just two days. Lesson to self : Sometimes practicality needs to be put aside and fun needs to be had!
So we set off on Friday evening and after the shortest plane ride found ourselves in Langkawi. We didn’t know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised. The beaches, the tours and activities, the vegetarian food options, the resort we had booked – mostly all exceeded our expectations. It is a tourist hotspot, but we don’t particularly mind that much. But if you do, it’s something to consider. We found ourselves comparing it a lot to say Maui for this reason, and not the quieter, untouched Kauai from our Hawaii vacation a few years ago.
We rented a car which I think is nice to have on this island if you want to get out and explore without being dependent on cabs. I saw a ton of tourists on motorbikes and scooters, but then we aren’t really bike people, we always travel with far too much luggage and have a toddler. So the car option worked well. Once we were in the arrival hall of the airport , we had different tour operators and car rental companies calling out to us from their counters with deals! Such a funny, only in Asia experience if you know what I mean. We struck a deal with one operator for the car rental, a group Island Hopping tour and a private Mangrove tour to make the best use of our time.We had picked these activities beforehand from a quick review of a huge list online and had taken into account the fact that we had less than 48 hours on the island and a toddler. But I think these were the right choices for us.
We stayed at the Berjaya which was a fun experience. I thought I had booked a sea front chalet , but alas it was only seaview. The sea front ones of course seemed awesome (grass is greener, haha) but availability and costs are quite prohibitive. The sea view chalet we had was nice though. The décor was nice, the rooms large, and we had a decent partial sea view.Not bad as we had the rainforest behind us, the sea in front of us. On stepping out of the room, you heard the constant chirp of crickets and screeching of tropical birds. We saw a huge family of adorable monkeys too which was so much fun.
We tried the Thai restaurant on site for the first night and the food was good. We now order steamed veggies and white rice for Bandar everywhere that they offer it (most places are ready to customize) and it makes eating out easy. She is not getting much protein of course , but guess it can’t be helped sometimes. It was fun and relaxing to sit by the sea as we ate on that first night of the vacation. Those are the best, aren’t they?
On Saturday morning, we awoke just in time to drive to the pick up spot for the group Island Hopping tour. Lots of bits of this pick up were poorly organized but as it was at a low price, I was okay with it. At the jetty, we were put on a speed boat with maybe 10 others and went off to the first spot. It was Bandar’s first time on a speed boat and her screams and expressions were hilarious and we got some good videos. “Take me home now. Please stop this”, was one that she shouted quite a bit! We got to the Pregnant Maiden fresh water lake and it was quite interesting to read the legend about it. The hsubadoo and Bandar seem to share the same love for jumping into strange water bodies without any worries . This stuff is seriously genetic- my MIL who is an excellent swimmer does the same anywhere she goes. Bandar has been initiated into swimming only these last 10 days or so in Malaysia for the first time in her life, but appears to love the water so far. We had a hard time convincing her to get out. The one hour they give you at this spot is barely enough to get to the lake, take a dip, get changed and get back to the jetty. There are several steps but we made it back on the boat and had a pissed off boatman to deal with as we were the last ones on.
The eagle feeding happened next – you don’t get off the boat for this one and just watch the eagles soar down to get the food in the water. The final spot was a niceish beach and we all played in the waves . The one hour here too seemed too little. The monkeys and their antics were a fun distraction too. This tour ended at the jetty that we boarded and lasted about 3.5 hours in all.
We found a nice place for lunch – Red Tomato and I wholeheartedly recommend their pizzas and pastas if you are in Langkawi. Delicious non guilty thin crust pizzas. Oh and the fun part about eating out in Asia is the fact that there is a spicy version of everything – even pasta. Perfect! After a relaxed lunch, Bandar slept off in the car and we spent a fun two hours getting lost on our way to the next tour! But there is a certain fun in the uncertainty and getting lost on vacation on an island for some reason. With the baby asleep and all the time in the world, we made our way slowly to the location.
We really tested Bandar’s endurance that day with two back to back tours, but she was such a trooper. This tour was a Mangroves tour and was a unique experience for us. The sea caves especially were thrilling. We were a little shortchanged on this tour – we were not shown a few spots that were mentioned and the “monkey feeding” that we were excited about did not happen and the tour ended suspiciously early in under 1.5 hours. Anyway, we didn’t particularly spoil our day or trip fretting about this like we usually would.
We stopped by a pretty beach on the way to the hotel. We didn’t change and get back into the water this time but just lazed about in the sand, stealing Bandar’s sand toys to play with ourselves, sipping coconut water, collecting shells. A very relaxing one hour.
Our day ended with a swim in the hotel pool. Poor Bandar has been asking for me to come swimming everyday, but as I am usually at work when they go I hadn’t seen her in the pool until then. Boy, was she in her element. Not much swimming happened but a lot of fun overall.
We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in the resort that night. Good veggie options, food for my toddler taken care of and very satisfying overall.
Some pictures from the day here.
Sunday started late with the resort overpriced breakfast. Our car gave us some trouble, but we made it to the cable car ride. What views!!I could stand and stare at the blues of the ocean for hours if I could.
We then hurried to a desi food lunch at one of the island’s numerous desi/Arabic/middle eastern restaurants and bundled a sleeping Bandar and ourselves into the car for a final ride to the airport. We were back in Penang by 6 pm , so a very short trip overall. Yet, a totally unexpected and fun weekend getaway just a few days short of our 6th wedding anniversary this week.