Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Hello, Langkawi! - Day 1

Feeling the pure bliss of happiness and contentment after my trip to Langakawi. Despite the short duration stay of 3 days and 2 nights, it was still a memorable one. I've tried so many different things and explored various sights. If you love the kampong, outdoor, nature and seaside feel; then you should definitely head down to Langkawi. Anyway, I'll just breakdown my time spent there.

Day 1: 28 June 2013

Okay, so to start off, this trip was more special as my grandparents were coming with us. They were saying that they hadn't been to Langkawi for about 20 years and so we decided to organise this trip in the first place. Anyway, we called this driver that my brother got to know from flagging down his MPV taxi. The guy was a friendly middle-aged man. It was really funny when he personally picked us up from under the block cause as it turns out, the guy had only live a block away from ours. haha, small world. The MPV was really comfy and spacious, being able to fit a maximum of 8-9 people. After picking my brother at his workplace, it was a nice 45 min ride to Changi Airport. After checking in and getting a wheelchair for my grandpa, we rushed to our gate which was closing in like 10mins. So yeah it was a panic, my grandma even fell from all the hustle. Moving on, it was a first time flight for both my brother and my mum-really it was a first time flight together as a family. My brother had motion sickness so he was really scared if he was gonna start puking and what not-but seriously, sitting beside him, I was more worried at that point. My brother practically grabbed my arm and shut his eyes, shrieking at the sudden takeoff speed of the plane. haha. When the plane was steady and my brother had calmed down, we decided to watch a Bleach movie which I had downloaded on my phone earlier. When we finally reached, I was so excited. The weather was so windy and cooling, so much better than the currently hazy Singapore. We actually had to get off the plane and to the landing port, something I had never done before. It was really cool to just walk on the plane landing port like that. Once we got our baggage, we went to rent our ride for Langkawi. Yes, the best way to get around the island is by land vehicles. There are various counters you can rent cars, MPVs, vans and even motorcycles from. Normally the prices are higher during peak seasons like school holidays ranging from RM150-300 depending on the vehicle and number of days rented. But on off-peak season such as now, prices are slashed at 50%. All in all, we paid RM240 for our 3 day stay- RM100 for the first 2 days and RM40 for the half day. So we rode our rented MPV to Citin Hotel our stay for trip.

If you have done your research, you would find that most of the accommodations in Langkawi are mainly made up 3-4 stories high buildings that are more like motels in the town areas and beautiful beach side resorts. Since we only plan to stay at the hotel for mainly sleeping and showering, we settled for something cheap and comfortable. For our stay at Citin Hotel we only paid about RM70 per night which is less than SGD40! However, if you have very high standards for lodging and are very meticulous about service, facilties and what not, I suggest going for a slightly more pricey hotel like Bayview or Grand Continental Hotel. Because, frankly speaking, you can expect much from a 2-star hotel. We were lucky to be able to secure a ground floor room for my grandparents. Unfortunately, the rest of us were given a room on the last floor (3rd level) and yes, there are no lifts. But we remained positive and saw the whole climbing stairs situation as an opportunity to lose weight. haha. The rooms on the other hand are really comfy with the essentials stuff like tv and a cupboard. The toilets are pretty small that only one person can fit into the toilet at one go but there's a heater which is all that I needed to feel satisfied. Oh and on a special note, the doors are tinted glass and have no locks. But we're all family so that was just a minor setback. The ground floor rooms generally are larger and more well furnished while the room upstairs were slightly smaller. On the bright side, our room upstairs had extra beds; which is really comfortable since we had 4 people in a room. The lobby, was pretty dark- barely any lighting and the air-conditiong was either off or spoilt. So it was quite stuffy there, leading me to the benches outside the hotel. Thank god Langkawi has great weather, the air feels so fresh outdoors. The free Wifi on the other hand was a plus point for me since I was able to access it from sitting outside. Parking is also right in front of the hotel and its free too so it was really convenient.Anyway, after settling down we decided to make way to Pantai Cenang; one of the popular beaches which provides various water activities such as boat riding, banana boating, jet skiing, snorkeling and of course my most-look-forward to activity, para-sailing.

On the way to the beach, we decided to stop by a restaurant for lunch. The roadside restaurant laid out plenty of dishes by the corner from fried chicken to savoury crabs. There were more than 20 dishes to choose from, to be eaten with rice of course. According to my parents I picked out a lot dishes, mainly seafood. My personal favourite was fried crabs. That's right! Gigantic fried crabs! Yum! After satisfying our stomachs, we continued our way to the beach. There was alot of heated discussion on which way to go and what road, but generally Langkawi is just one whole island with roads connected and its really easy to get around. Meanwhile, my brother's motion sickness had kicked in and he was already knocked out cold in the back seat of the car. haha.When we saw Underwater World, we assumed we had reached our destination so my grandma and I decided to just go explore the roadside first. The place felt like a whole other town; the streets bustling with people and several shops covered the sidewalks. There was Macdonalds too! My mum soon joined us, and the three of us tried our luck at an alley way that seemed to lead to the beach. The scenery was so breathtaking. Personally, I really really really love me my beaches. I love the touch of sand and the feel of the windy breeze. We ask some locals at nearby and turns out we were at the wrong beach. The dude told us to head further down where all the activities were at. After heading downwards, ending up at different parts of the beach and asking around, we realised that further down is really further further further down. Finally, after driving down, we eventually found the place and what I saw just had me bubbling with excitement. People jet-skiing, people flying in the air, people capsizing on banana boats, people lepak-ing on the beach and people sipping coconut drinks by the beach. GAHHHH.. ! I was smilling widely just from the sight of it all. I just love the beach so very much!

I hurriedly woke up my brother and forced him out the car, squealing with happiness. Somehow, after my persuasion, I managed to convince my brother to try parasailing with me. Its not as fun when you do stuff alone. So we went to talk to the guys in charge. Cant believe the guys running these things are mostly young tanned adults in board shorts. Must be nice to do something so fun for a living. Langkawi is such a carefree place, I swear. Anyway, the parasialing costs about RM120 per person which is kinda pricey but the guy say we look like a bunch of nice people so he only charged us RM140 in total. THAT'S RM70 PER PERSON!! My grandma told them that we were Malaysian too, from Johor, which I think played a part too. We had to speak Malay all the time and wow was that hard. Coming from English educated family, it was so weird to speak Malay. Most of the time, we ended up speaking a mixture of the two. My grandma said it was okay cause alot of people in Johor can speak in English. Furthermore, she said we weren't exactly lying since grandpa really is Malaysian and they are living in Johor. haha. Unfortunately though, there was alot of people waiting for their turn. We waited for about an hour but I don't really mind. They guy told us that it rained yesterday, so the whole bunch who paid but couldn't ride were given a ticket to come the next day. We were nice and understood the situation. Besides, seeing all those people fly and fall or roll when landing was quite entertaining. It made me even more pumped up. Meanwhile, my parents and grandparents had decided to make themselves comfortable by the shade, sipping their coconut drinks which was refreshingly nice by the way.

Soon, it was finally our turn. My grandma said she had an urge to try para-sailing too- which I totally supported; but she said she was worried for her health. The dude in charge told us that a grandma of age 80 once para-sailed before. Wow! I totally salute that lady, so hardcore! So first off was my brother, then me cause, well, I wanted to build up the anticipation of it all. hehe. Without further ado, see the videos below for our spectacular takeoff! Credits to Daddy.

My brother's take off

My turn for takeoff!

Me, flying by the islands

Yes yes, as you can see, I was just beaming with happiness. When I was up in the air, it felt so heavenly. It felt like I was flying in the skies and that I was just a stretch away from touching the clouds.  I would have to say that was sincerely the best moment in my life. The clear waters below looked so calm and welcoming. There was a tiny urge for me to dive in the waters right then, at that height. Funny thing is, I can barely swim. There were a few points in time where I just let go the ropes and waved my hands up high. For that one moment, I felt like I was truly free. Like an eagle soaring in the sky which so coincidentally is a Langkawi thing. The guy that flew with me said I was really brave. He said most people, my brother included, would not dare to look at the waters below or wave their hands in the air. He told me my brother was really tense just now. No surprise there since he was a little afraid of heights. The view of the surrounding islands and the small little villages was just breathtaking. The speed boat must have realised that I was enjoying my time so he brought me further and around the islands. My grandma thought the guy wanted to kidnap me. haha. As I flew above the buildings and trees, I waved happily to my parents, swooping down in a perfect landing. The crew were shouting merrily as I land. SO MUCH FUN!!!! SO SUPER SATISFIED. One of the things I wanted to do in life has been fulfilled. Some of the other things would be skydiving and bungee jumping. hehe. By then, it was already evening and we had to follow on with our plans even though I wanted to try out the other water activities too.

We decided to catch the sunset at Eagle Square where that humongous eagle was at. Located by the jetty, the scenery of ships, seas and sunsets was just captivating. We bought snacks and KitKat icecream at the nearby shop and enjoyed the stunning view before us. The eagle is 12m high and is facing the seas, seemingly preparing for take off. Langkawi is derived from the Malay word for eagle, 'helang'. So incase you didnt know, the eagle is really a symbol of Langkawi and thats not all. You can literally see eagles soaring freely in the skies and fee them too. But I'll talk more about that later. When the sun finally set, we decided to check out the shopping. Unfortunately, it was a Friday, which is a non-working day in Langkawi. Meaning most of the shops were closed for the day. After roaming around though, we were able to find some open shopping area near some mall. The stuff were really nice. My grandma bought lots of things while I, on the other hand, was only able to pick up souvenirs for my friends as most of the shops had closed by 9pm. One of the shop keepers told us to try the nasi lemak stall next door. Since she recommended, we went and give it a try. It was only across the road after all. I have to say, there were definitley no regrets. The food was delicious. Their nasi lemak had lots of variety you can choose from and the service is just amazing. Run by an old couple, they were really generous with their servings and had willingly cooked for us sunnny side up eggs for us upon request. Oh and I forgot to mention one thing about food and drinks in Langkawi. They really like them sweet. Their teas and milos are slighlty more than a quater of condensed milk. I don't know about you guys but I have a sweet tooth so Langkawi food was really scrumptious for me. When we were done with dinner, my brother and I visited the souvenir shop next door. They have really cute things! From badges to voodoo dolls and the scented bread my brother my bought. Afterwhich, we headed back to the hotel for some relaxation. I had brought facial masks. So the night was spent with the whole family with their masks on and watching some good old movie.
My family, w/o me in it. -_-"

Well, that concludes my first day in Langkawi. Well, I kinda realised I kept rambling on on and the post somehow ended up being super long; even though I was just taking about a day in Langkawai. Guess that means I shall finish this up in another post; Hello, Langkawi! - Day 2. And if I end up rambling in that post too, then I guess I shall continue with Goodbye, Langkawi! - Day 3. Hopefully it doesnt come to that.

For more adventures to come, stay tunned. :)

Wanna see more photos, click HERE

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