11 April 2009


On Sunday we left Singapore and flew along with my parents to the Malaysian island of Langkawi. Langkawi is a fairly mountainous tropical island in the Andaman Sea, close to the where the Malay peninsular boarders with Thailand. The flight over was the worst we've had as we flew through and landed in the storm that caused the Malaysian grand prix to be cancelled.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel called Pelangi Beach Resort on Pantai Cenang. As an early birthday present my parents very kindly treated us to our room and it is by far the nicest place we've stayed on this trip.

After the cramped conditions and shared bathrooms at Sleepy Sam's we felt a little bit like impostors at first. The hotel was stunning; beautiful surroundings, great staff, 2 lovely swimming pools, there were even little golf carts for ferrying the guests around in. It's a world away from our normal standard of accommodation.

Although Pantai Cenang is the main resort on Langkawi it was still incredibly quiet. It's also a slightly odd place. There's a fantastic beach there but virtually all the restaurants in town face the road at the back rather than the sea.

After a lazy Monday around the pool, we hired a car on Tuesday to explore more of the island. In this instance the word "car" is a rather generous description for our heap of a vehicle, a Perodua Kancil. It was easily the worst car I have ever driven, and I used to own an Austin Metro! It had the handling characteristics of a pig on stilts and was so under powered that when the air-con was switched on the car would shake violently enough to dislodge your fillings.

First of all we made our way (very slowly) to Telaga Tujuh which is a 100m high waterfall in the jungle.

From there we headed to the Langkawi Cable Car, a ride to the top of the 710m peak of Gunung MaChinchang. However the top of the mountain was clouded in so we couldn't go up. Instead we made our way to Pantai Pasir Hitam, a lovely beach which has had its natural beauty enhanced with the addition of a cement factory!

We ended the day by trying to get our hire car up the 850m high peak of Gunung Raya, the tallest mountain on the island, stopping on the way to play with a troop of wild monkeys.
I'm no expert on breast feeding but I think this may hurt a little . . .
After much thrashing of the car's lumpy engine and grinding of its tiny gear box we eventually made it to the top of the mountain. The drive up and the views from the top were quite spectacular, although we only had a few minutes to enjoy them before a massive thunder storm rolled in.

The following morning we headed back out to have another try at getting on the Langkawi Cable Car before the hire car had to go back at 12. It turned out to be a fairly eventful morning. After being shook down by the police for driving without my passport, we got to the cable car station for their opening at 10 to find that due to maintenance they weren't opening until midday. So we drove back to Pantai Cenang, extended the lease on the hire car, drove back to the cable car and 3rd time lucky, got to the top.

It was worth the effort in the end as the views over the island were really spectacular.

Also at the top was a curved suspension bridge which spanned a jungle clad 100m deep chasm.

The rest of our time on the island was spent eating too much (the breakfast at the hotel is great!) and trying to sunbathe in between the tropical storms.

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