Wednesday, September 9, 2015


After contemplating between a hill station or a beach for months, I and my wife decided Langkawi as our honeymoon destination. A destination which has become a hot tourist spot, Langkawi, until about a decade ago, was one of Malaysia's hidden gems.

This was back in December 2010. We started our journey from Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur and onwards to Langkawi. We arrived at the Langkawi airport in the evening. It was already dark outside so we hired a cab and reached our hotel near the bay.

The hotel was right next to market and the bay was at a walking distance. After checking-in, we went outside for grabbing dinner. While roaming around the market, we found a restaurant which was much busier than the others on that street. Thinking that it must be better than the others, we took a table. We wanted to try some local cuisine and asked for recommendation. The staff suggested to go for stew fish. On the rate card it said Malaysian Ringgit 15 against that item. So we ordered it along with another side dish, potato wedges. Our decision to pick that restaurant was right as the fish was very tasty. The only catch was that I missed to read the menu card in detail and when the bill came the amount was around Malaysian Ringgit 60. I was surprised and when I looked at the menu again, I read the lines written on the last page, "all fish prices are on the basis of the weight per 100 grams of the whole fish." So we took our lesson to be more diligent while ordering food or for that matter while shopping.

The next morning, when we looked out of window of our hotel, we could see the bay.

Good morning view from the hotel room
View of sunset from our hotel room
It was a bright and sunny day. We went to the market and rented a scooty (two wheeler). That time, we got it for Malaysian Ringgit 35 (excluding petrol) for 24 hours. It was a pretty good deal. We planned to go to the Pantai Cenang beach that day. It is the most famous and commercialised beach in Langkawi. We started at around 11:30 am for Pantai Cenang. The road was amazing. We did not feel even a single bump on the road. All throughout the route, the boards were placed to guide the tourists (in English and in local language). In about an hour's time, we reached Pantai Cenang beach. It was difficult to get a parking slot right next to the beach. We reached almost the end of the parking area and parked in the Underwater World complex.

Underwater World @ Pantai Cenang
We could hear the waves coming ashore and as we came closer to the beach, it became louder. We were at the beach in a couple of minutes. It was beautiful!
Pantai Cenang
To begin with, we took a stroll along the length of the beach. After a few rounds, we found a nice spot and just sat down looking at the waves come and go. Then it was time to be in the water. We spent about four hours on the beach before hunger was upon us. On our way back to the hotel, we grabbed a burger at a road side restaurant.

The next day, we planned to go in the other direction to cover the Mangrove Tour. For this activity, we headed to the Tanjung Rhu beach. While we were on our way, there were various sights that forced us to park the scooty and take a few snaps. We started early in the day and were at the beach before 10:00 am. We were first to arrive at the beach and some of the vendors were still opening their shops as we reached. We decided to hire a boat for the mangrove tour. On this tour, the plan was to cover, the bat caves, fish farms, eagle-feeding, and the mangrove forest.

View from the Tanjung Rhu beach
Some part of the journey was at the the sea. As we left the shore, we were guided about the route. We could feel the cool breeze and the only sound was that of the motor boat sailing through the water. On this route, we covered the fish farms at open sea and the bat caves.

Gateway to the sea
Soon we were in the winding river and as we sailed through it, we saw the the local flora and fauna and the natural inhabitants such as the over-hanging 'Bogak Trees', Brown Eagles, Tree Crabs, Monitor Lizards and Macaques. Then was time for eagle-feeding. The boatman had a bucket full of chicken which he randomly threw in water. Eagles would start coming in from all directions and grab the food. The swiftness of the birds was a sight which is tough to describe.

Macaques on Mangrove 

Mangrove forest and eagle-feeding

Close-up on the royal bird
Famous cave

Kilim Geoforest Park

Horseshoe crab in the open fish farms
We returned to the Tanjung Rhu beach and after spending some time on the beach returned to the hotel. That evening, we planned to visit the famous Eagle Square. It was walking distance from our hotel.
Eagle Square
Ship at Eagle Square
Langkawi Wildlife Park and Bird Park

The next day, we visited the Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise. They had many species of birds, parakeets, eagles, hornbills, ostrich, peacock, etc. The park is beautiful and one can spend the entire day here. You can also feed the animals in the park.

The next day, we went for the island hopping tour. It started from Pantai Cenang beach. We were given a life jacket and we started our journey in to the sea. The key attractions covered on this route are the Pregnant maiden island, Dayang Bunting, eagle feeding and finally soft white sand beach Beras Basah. If you start early, you can avoid the crowded beaches. Last tip regarding the price for the tour: all the tour operators have the same route and spots to be covered. So ensure that you are not paying a huge sum for this. Back in 2010, we paid MR22 per head for this.

Pregnant Maiden Island

Dayang Bunting 
It was raining the next day. The only major thing now left in Langkawi was The Langkawi Cable Car. So we hired a cab for the Langkawi Cable Car station. It was crowded and there was a long queue for the tickets. We were informed that the cable car is not operating for the next two hours due to bad weather. It was very windy and also drizzling. After waiting for three hours, it was announced that the cable car will not operate on that day due to bad weather. We were disappointed but then someone told us that we could go to seven wells waterfall which was pretty near by.

This was a trekking route and soon we were on our way through the jungle. The route was all laid out and we could also see people returning from the trek. It was a long trek but all worth it. We crossed bridges, mini streams and came across wide variety if fauna that we had never seen before. It was exciting. Last, but not the least, the waterfall was huge and was fenced for safety.

Bridge in middle of nowhere

We crossed this during the trek
Trek route

Seven Wells 
Following is a glimpse of food experienced in Langkawi.

Road side

In the main city market net to the bay

Chicken fried rice - Langkawi style

Make your own platter 1

Make your own platter 2
Langkawi is a duty free zone and one can do some serious shopping here. However, be mindful of your baggage allowance.

With the white sand beaches, water sports and the local flora and fauna, Langkawi is an amazing choice for a budget vacation.

Best time to visit: All throughout the year; the peak season is from October to February

How to reach: Take a connecting flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi; there are cruise operators from Singapore and Thailand as well

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