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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Langkawi Trip

Sigh. My blog has been abandoned for so long, I’ve lost the touch to write. I have many stories and pictures to share. My Bali trip Day 3 and 4 entries are half written but I’ve chosen not to continue coz details are a bit hazy. Maybe if I’m out of ideas, I’ll write more on my Bali trip and share some interesting facts about the place and the people.

Last week was a short one for me in the office. I took leave from Tuesday until Friday for our family much-postponed trip to Langkawi. We all spent Tuesday night at my parents’ place as we intended to leave for Kuala Perlis early the next day. We left home around 8.30am, a groundbreaking record as previous plans for “leaving early” for previous family trips meant “anytime before 12 noon.” This usually meant 11.59am.

The road trip up north took us around 6 hours. Fortunately the girls were complete angels, hardly complaining at all. Once we arrived at the Jetty, we parked our car at the covered parking lot. Charges were RM8 per day per car (we had 2 cars) so that added up to RM64. Our only concern was that we had to give our car keys to the attendant, which turned out to be untrue. We booked tickets (8 adults and 1 child; Dina got on for free) for the 3pm ferry so while waiting we negotiated with a Mr. Rosli for a rental car and an Island Hopping outing. We wanted a Toyota Estima or similar but all they had was a Serena, so we took that. Ayah negotiated the price to RM90 per day so we got a great deal. We decided to book the Island hopping at RM35 per person (regular price is RM45) and put down the time as “open”.

The ferry ride to Langkawi Island was extremely exciting for the girls. I feared that they might get seasick but they were thrilled by how fast the ferry was going and commented on every little thing they saw on the way.
We reached the island around 3.45pm and called the guy who was holding our MPV. We found out that the previous renter was still holding the Serena so we had to use their Mitsubishi Space Wagon. It was a tight fit coz everybody had their own bags, plus we brought Dina’s stroller and bottle carrier, but we managed to squeeze everybody and everything in. Luckily everybody in my family is quite slim, heheheehe.

It was a 20-minute drive from the jetty to our hostel. It had started to rain so while unloading all the bags, we all got a little wet. We were given the two units on the far end of the grounds so we had to make a dash across the volleyball court to get to them. The units were OK, but needed some maintenance. Paint was seen peeling off in some of the rooms, while in my unit, the dryer was not working. The hot water wasn’t working in Nisa’s room, or in my brothers’ room. However, the rent was cheap (RM660 for 2 units for 3 nights; each units had 2 rooms) so we didn’t complain much.

Since we had had a long journey, not much was done during the first night. We went out at around 8.30 for some dinner. After driving around, we decided to eat at a nice looking restaurant called Rasa.
BAD MISTAKE!! The food was terrible and overpriced. We ordered white rice with steamed fish, mixed tomyam, kangkung with fried belacan, lala cooked in soy sauce and chicken percik. The serving was supposed to be for 4 people but when it came, it looked enough for just one. My youngest brother alone devoured the chicken percik; it cost us RM15. Most of the lala dish was the empty shells; even those that had some flesh in them were minuscule. The tomyam was actually watered down ketchup, it was that bad. The fried mee we ordered was too salty and the drinks were too sweet. We ended up paying around RM140 for a very bad dinner. I just had to add in a picture of the place; you have been warned. If you eat here, be prepared to eat bad food for exorbitant prices!!

It rained slightly the following morning but by 9am, the rain had let up. We decided to go out for some breakfast before going for our Island hopping outing.
I called up the lady at the jetty (it was right behind our hostel) to let her know we were coming at around 10am. Fortunately we were a large group, so we didn’t have to share out boat with anyone else. Although Dania was excited by the boat ride, Dina was a little freaked out at first. The strong wind and the sound of the engine made her a little anxious but after a while she relaxed and started pointing to all the fishing boats we passed by.

Our first stop was at the Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden). Legend has it, the pregnant maiden used to be a princess from the heavens. On one of her trips to earth, she met and fell in love with a local fisherman. Because of their differences, their relationship was doomed a failure but somehow, the princess found herself pregnant with the fisherman’s child. The princess’s family forbade her to return to the heavens, so the princess had to stay on earth. The fisherman also married another woman so the princess was left heartbroken. As she lay down to weep, her body turned to stone and her tears formed the lake. Legend goes on to say, barren women who drink from the lake will become pregnant within a year or so.

We spent an hour or so at the lake, enjoying the sights and playing with the semilang fishes reared there. The fishes were so tame, if you put your feet in the water, they would come up and nibble your feet. It felt ticklish at first but after a while it felt like hundred of tiny suctions giving your feet a massage. Very nice!! Beware of the monkeys though, especially if you’re carrying plastic bags as the monkeys assume you have food on you. Dina was fascinated with the monkeys and tried to make friends with them. We had to hold her tight for fear the monkeys would accidentally bite her.

After that, we headed back to the boat. Our guide took us next to Pulau Singa (Lion Island). Of course, there weren’t any real lions but there were eagles. Hundreds of them. We watched them fly over us as our guide threw chicken skins in the air. It was a wonderful sight.

After spending 30 minutes just gazing at the eagles, we headed to Pulau Beras Basah. Loosely translated it means Island of the Wet Rice, whatever that might mean. Again, the name didn’t reveal much of what the island had to offer but the kids had a blast just playing and swimming in the ocean. Alang and hubby tried parasailing, pictures as below. It looked like fun but the cost was quite expensive (RM80 per person) that I decided to forgo my chance. Maybe next time.

After 4 hours of island hopping, we decided to head back to the hostel. Everyone felt rather sticky from the seawater so we all decided to freshen up before heading out for lunch. We had lunch in Kuah, the main town. After filling up, we walked around the town looking at the shops. We bought a few souvenirs and checked out the prices for chocolate. We shopped till we dropped (literally). Ibu was raring to shop some more but the rest of us had had enough. Ayah was ready to just sit on the sidewalk and wait for us to finish spending everything we had.

As luck would have it, our hostel experienced a blackout at around 10pm. Great!! It got rather hot and stuffy so we opened all the windows and doors, trying to get the sea breeze to cool us down. We got attacked by mosquitoes so it was a great relief when the electricity came back two hours later.

The next day, everyone woke up late. We headed out for brunch at around 11am. We headed back to Kuah then drove to the place where they had the cable car. We had to stop for directions twice (need better signage!!) and another time for the guys to perform Friday prayers.

When we arrived at Macincang Mountain, it has just stopped raining. Mist was surrounding the top of the mountain, giving it a mystical view. After buying tickets (RM15 for adults, RM10 for children 3 and above), we took 2 cable cars up. The ride took about 20 minutes but my mom’s maid felt like it took forever. Being terrified of heights, her knuckles were white by the time we reached the top of the mountain.

The view was astounding. The temperature was just cool enough to walk around without a jacket. Ayah even bought ice cream to enjoy while taking in the view. At the topmost place, the height was about 705 meters above sea level so you could see most of the bay and the surrounding islands. Beautiful pictures as below.

We headed next to Underwater World. We arrived at around 5pm and were told that the aquarium closes at 6pm. However we were assured that once we had tickets, we could spend as much time as we wanted to inside.
Ticket prices were a bit steep (RM28 per adult, RM18 for children 3 and above) but we had already put this as part of our itinerary so we decided to head on in.
It wasn’t a waste. Dania had a blast, often shouting “Ibu, look at what I found.”, while pointing at the many fishes and other aquatic animals exhibited there. The highlight was a giant tank housing large marine species such as sharks, stingrays, groupers and green turtles, with a 15-metre tunnel for visitors to walk through and enjoy a spectacular view of the exhibits. We took in a movie on whales and sharks at the 3D theatre, much to the kids delight. After taking tons of pictures, we left the aquarium at around 7pm. We had a late night dinner at one of the warongs nearby, thank god the food was delicious. We played cards until 1am and then retired for the night.

The day we headed back to KL, it rained heavily. We had decided to do some last minute shopping so everyone had to dash from the car to the shops to avoid getting wet. I bought a bunch of kitchenware, including that thing that has the bowl for soup in the middle and six smaller bowls around it. I have no idea what you call that. I bought one for my mother-in-law. Hehehehe, you gotta score points wherever necessary.

The ferry ride back to Kuala Perlis was chaotic coz we had to take the same trip as a tour company. I was counting the minutes until we reached the jetty. Once there, we called up the guys from the covered parking lot and hauled ass back home. We had dinner at the Sungai Juru R&R. We reached my parents’ home at around 12am. Poor ayah had a golf tournament the next day. I have no idea how he fared on the green.

All in all, our Langkawi trip was a great vacation. Despite a few hiccups, we all had fun and really enjoyed ourselves.

Next trip, Beijing?!! Ahhhh…where am I going to find the money for this?


hamdi said...

Lost touch at writing eh??! mak oii... penat aku nak baca :)


Zakiah said...

jalan sakan mama sorang ni!!!. Lama tak update sekali tulis ha amik kau. Heheheh.

G langkawi dah 3 kali. Sekali trip after grad, second time honeymoon (sebab dah aim nak duduk datai), last skali bawak in laws. Argh tak mo pi dah.

Along said...

Hamdi: Hehehe..memula berkarat, dah start tulih, banyak lak yg tertulih.

Zakiah: Dah lama tak pi Langkawi, tu yg cadang nak pi. In laws dapat tau kitaorg pi Langkawi, depa pun nak pi jugak. Hehehehe, maybe kena pi ngan depa lak.

ila de cute said...

lama along tak update, sekali update panjanggggggggggg yg amat..bestnya along selalu dpt gi holiday... bila lah ada chance cenggini...

Along said...

Ila: Hehehe..manade selalu cuti. Setakat ni baru 2 kali cuti; pi Bali sekali, pi Langkawi sekali. Cuti pun banyak lagi...ada 30 lebih hari. Dah selalu kena keje on weekends, tu yg banyak book off. Tapi kekadang tak terambik pun.