Our first and only stop off in Malaysia was fantastic. We stayed on the island of Langkawi in the very North of the country for just under a week so had plenty of time to discover all of its nooks and crannies. As it was our last exotic destination before our final layover in Singapore we even decided to treat ourselves to a lovely hotel. Actually, two hotels (we couldn’t make our minds up). Our first was near the main touristy beach area of Pentai Chenang and the second was a gorgeous resort in the middle of nowhere. Both had swimming pools (one literally outside our bedroom), amazing rooms and top quality breakfasts, giving us the feeling of being on a luxurious holiday, which after staying in about 90 hostels was very much appreciated.
We rented a scooter for the entire time we were there allowing us the freedom of discovering the island easily and independently, and with an area of approximately 480 km squared it was a necessity. After a couple of days of pool chilling, sunset gazing and book reading, on day 3 we went to discover the steepest cable car in the world. The view was simply incredible. As cherry on the cake, our entry tickets gave us access to a few more random entertainment opportunities: a 3D graffiti exhibition, a 4D dinosaur simulator and, best of all, a rabbit petting pen.
Rainy season starts invading South East Asia in April / May so we occasionally got caught up in torrential rain, so heavy and strong it almost hurt (poor Annalie was always the one behind the wheel when hell broke loose). Luckily the rainstorms only tend to last 10-20 minutes leaving behind a bright blue sky and a beach ready to be enjoyed. Our first beach experience was after the cable car; we ended up in a cute little port that connected to a very small bay surrounded by lots of small islands. Delightful. After a swim and a crossword puzzle we set off home to get ready for an amazing evening of cooking! Annalie’s birthday was on the 21st of April and this was a first gift from my family.
We arrived at a huge traditional Malay house where we were greeted by Jonny (82 year old German who vaguely looked like my Italian grandad) and Shuk (Malay, in his late 70s, advertising exec turned professional chef) who hosted us for the evening. Jonny toured us round the house and garden talking us through the building’s traditional features, while Shuk, with help from his son, played chef and showed us how to prepare and cook a number of Malay dishes (including: beef randang, sea bass and a chicken curry). They entertained us, wined us, opened up to us, and offered us a genuine evening we’ll never forget. Turns out Jonny and Shuk were also a gay couple which made us warm to them even more.
The following day we took it easy as a few bouts of rain kept appearing out of the blue, but as Langkawi is a duty free island we happily dipped in and out of a few malls finishing up our last minute shopping. Our afternoon was spent moving from one hotel to the other and swimming in our new pool which oddly dyed the bottom of our feet blue. A spot of street food for dinner (no idea what we ordered by it was nice) and it was soon time for some reliable Netflix.
The weather was generally quite temperamental but on our beach-hopping day we were in luck. We drove to the northern side of the island and found a film worthy bay with an enormous beach made of bright white sand peppered with broken shells. The surrounding lush green islands made for a pretty spectacular view, till a few boat loads of tourists showed up bothering our paradise. We took that as a clue to move on so drove to see the Durian waterfall which came with a little uphill walk through nature and a cold dip under the waterfall. Another gorgeous view and a nice way to cool off before heading back to the pool for more down time (what a hard life ay?).
With only 2 evenings left we decided to have some seafood for dinner and found a very low key fish restaurant which was packed from head to toe; always a good sign which didn’t let us down. Our light dinner consisted of crab, steamed sea bass in two sauces, squid, two platters of greens and rice (obviously), and a few games of cards while we waited for the rain to blow over. We got home and eagerly tried to wait till midnight to celebrate the arrival of Annalie’s birthday, but with only a few minutes to go the birthday girl fell fast asleep.
The following day was a special one filled with fun and games. Some birthday beach time, a very local lunch of nasi goreng (fried rice), a failed attempt to get a pedicure, and then an hour horse riding through the jungle and on the beach. Annalie had the crazy horse but managed to keep him at bay rather well!
Our last few hours on the island were spent by the pool and enjoying sunset at our resort, before heading for a romantic birthday dinner at the beach. The restaurant even gave Annalie free cake! Sadly it was cheesecake which she doesn’t like, but it’s ok cos I do 🙂
Langkawi turned out to be a gorgeous island with a good mix of chill and adventure, and an excellent spot for birthday fun. With less than a week to go, our next stop was Singapore, and this is officially my last blog entry (not sure if I’m happy or sad about this yet!)
Ciao for now! xx