Friday, 21 February 2014

Luscious Langkawi

Good Day Everyone,

Since our move to Singapore, almost three years ago we’ve been trying to make the most of being so close to some amazing places (when I can get my hubby to take time off from work!).

Langkawi is the main island of a cluster of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, off the northwest coast of Malaysia. It is officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of the Kedah (Kedah being a state in Malaysia) and is a lovely place that we’ve been to a couple of times just for laid back long weekends when we want a change of scenery. It’s just a two hour flight from Singapore (or an hour from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and is a great contrast to the uber modern city state that is our current home. The island still has that rural, back in time, feel about it and isn’t too over developed other than a few hotel resorts situated around the coast.

Langkawi Island was given a World Geopark status by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 2007 which seeks the promotion and conservation of the Earth’s geological heritage as well as encouraging sustainable research and development by the island itself. This was reflected in the hotel resort we stayed at, Berjaya, which is sandwiched between the sea and the edge of a rainforest sanctuary with lush green mountains making for a stunning back drop. 

The Berjaya hotel resort is situated on the west side of the island (making for beautiful sunset views) and the resort offers accommodation in the form of wooden chalets, some of which are situated on stilts in the water of the Andaman Sea itself and some in the tropical rainforest, providing beautiful views of the jungle. The décor of the chalets strike a lovely balance of fresh modernity blended seamlessly with rustic Malay architecture. The resort spans a huge 70 acres and has over 400 rooms which means it has facilities to match its vast size. There are six restaurants and three bars (including a sunken pool bar) as well as a spa and a whole host of other recreational activities including water and beach sports to keep everyone entertained. 
Rainforest chalet at Berjaya resort
Rainforest chalet at Berjaya resort
Rainforest chalet at Berjaya resort
Due to the vast area that the resort is spread over the hotel has several little green shuttles, like large golf carts, to transport you around the resort. Therefore, if you’re staying in one of the chalets further away from the main part of the resort, you can simply call for the shuttle to come pick you up and take you to the main building. We actually enjoyed the morning stroll to breakfast from our chalet and I’d also recommend taking a stroll around the resort itself on foot just to take in the stunning views. 
Shuttle transport around Berjaya resort

As the resort is at the edge of the jungle it is quite common to see monkeys around the resort especially if you’re staying in one of the rainforest chalets. The hotel does advise you to keep your chalet windows and doors closed especially when you’re not there as monkeys are known to come into the chalets and create a bit of havoc in the rooms. When we checked into our rainforest chalet we saw monkeys hanging off the chalet roof and some would even come and play on the patio decking. They’re clearly accustomed to having people around.
Water front chalet on stilts
Berjaya private beach

I would definitely recommend having breakfast at the beach restaurant for beautiful sea views rather than the main indoor breakfast room. We also dined at the beach restaurant one evening which provides extensive Western and Indian cuisine and had a lovely meal. We spent mornings chilling on the private beach where my hubby and brother went kayaking and played beach volley ball with some of the other guests. In the afternoons we entertained ourselves with exploring the island and all the different tourist activities on offer.
Berjaya resort private beach with water front chalets on stilts
The Oriental Village which is just a few minutes walk from the Berjaya resort, situated at the foothill of a large mountain, is home to many activity providers, places to eat, souvenir shops, spa and galleries. The main attraction is the cable car ride up the mountain. The base station of this is located within The Oriental Village and the cable ride is over two kilometres to the top station. There is also a middle station where you can get off to admire the views before continuing to the top. At the top station there are stairs to two viewing platforms as well as the amazing sky bridge, a 410 foot curved pedestrian bridge above Mount Mat Chinchang.
Stunning views
Langkawi Sky Bridge and the cable car viewing platform at top of photo
You do have to walk along a stepped path from the top cable car station to get onto the sky bridge and so I’d recommend you wear your trainers but once you get there the views are simply breath taking. I, personally, did find the path a bit tricky to walk as I’m not very good with heights, have a fear of falling (not like off the mountain as obviously there are barriers but just generally in everyday life) and I'm not the most steady on my feet due to the arthritis in my knee and feet but the views did make it worthwhile. Just a cautionary note, as we found out the hard way, if you ever plan on visiting Langkawi and want to do the cable car ride and the sky bridge then be sure to check the website as they are both routinely closed for maintenance and during bad weather. 
Langkawi Sky Bridge
Cable car ride down to The Oriental Village (the orange blob)

In addition to the cable car ride and sky bridge, we rented Segways and went on a Segway guided tour along a jungle path. The first time we visited Lankawi I refused to go on the Segway tour as I don’t feel stable with my feet off the ground (and as you know have a huge fear of falling). So I sat it out as my hubby whizzed off into the jungle with our friend and came back covered in mud as he did fall off, but according to our friend, it was because he got a bit too confident on the Segway ;o). On my second visit I did go on the Segway, primarily because my hubby somehow managed to persuade my mum (who doesn’t even wear high heels and is a very nervous shy individual) to go on it and so there was no way I would be able to live it down if my mum went on it and I didn’t – I’d be called chicken for the rest of my life by my brother ;o). I was surprised as to just how rocky some parts of the trail were but the instructor does let you have some practice on the flat ground within The Oriental Village before you head of into the jungle, and of course you wear a helmet, and elbow and knee pads.

My hubby tried the fish foot spa at The Oriental Village but couldn’t bare it for more than a few seconds and so opted for some foot reflexology. Our friends thoroughly enjoyed the fish foot spa whereas I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The thought of little fishes nibbling at my feet was just too freaky for me!!!

We went to the main town, Kuah where the jetty point is located with ferries to mainland Malaysia. The main tourist attraction in Kuah town is Eagle Square where there is a huge brown eagle statue. Langkawi means island of the reddish brown eagle in colloquial Malay, hence the statue. As Langkawi is a duty free island, you can stock up on chocolates and perfumes etc from the stores at the jetty point mall. There is a Starbucks in the mall…for those of you that are feeling a bit to disconnected with the Western world ;o). There are several shopping malls in Kuah town and night markets which make for a pleasant evening out where you can try some local cuisine and peruse around the different stalls and their offerings.
Eagle Square in Kuah Town

There is the Underwater World which is located at Pantai Cenang, a beach area to the south of the island which is worth a visit and a good way to spend a few hours if you need a break from the heat. There are a large variety of animals from penguins to stingrays to jellyfish and reptiles. There are also daily feeding sessions so it’s worth checking the times of these if you want to see cute penguins having their lunch ;o). Pantai Cenang seems to be quite popular with backpackers as there are numerous bars along the beach, cheap accommodation and many independent shops offering sarongs, swimwear, massages, clothes etc as well as market stalls. The beach at Pantai Cenang is west facing and makes for the perfect location for sitting back with a cool drink, and watching the colours of the sky change as the sun sets.
Pantai Cenang beach
Pantai Cenang is about 20 kilometres from the Berjaya resort but the taxi prices are very reasonable by Western standards and are a fixed price which is great for those of us that don’t like to barter. Other ways of getting around the island are to rent a car or moped which a lot of people do. We didn’t like the idea of being responsible for a hire car / moped and just relied on taxis. One of the main benefits of staying at the Berjaya was its proximity to The Oriental Village which houses the main tourist attractions. 

Just 3 kilometres from the Berjaya resort is Telaga Harbour Park which has some lovely restaurants along the marina making for a romantic setting with all the lights and the yachts. There’s a wide range of cuisines on offer from Japanese to Spanish to Italian to Russian restaurants. We dined at The Loaf restaurant a couple of times which does European and Asian fusion food as well as a variety of pastries and baked foods. It’s great for breakfast, lunch or supper. We also had lunch and supper at the Spanish restaurant, Tapaz a few times which is just a few doors up from The Loaf on the marina front. On all occasions the food was pretty good but it was the waterfront setting that made both of these restaurants a wonderful experience.
Tapaz restaurant
Telaga marina

The above are just some of the places we visited and ate at during our trips to Langkawi. In addition to the above there are many more tourist attractions such as the wildlife park, waterfalls, craft and culture complex, rice museum, diving excursion which go to the nearby islands and the list goes on and on but I hope the above has given you a bit of an insight into what this Jewel of the Keddah has to offer.
Have you ever been to Langkawi? What did you enjoy the most? Where did you stay / eat and what activities / touristy things did you do?

Love Sheen xxx  

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  1. That looks like a beautiful place to visit! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster award! :D
    You can view it here

    Take care,
    Ayesha xxx

  2. That was interesting! Keep up the good work! Would You like us to follow each other on GFC? Let me know on my blog! :)
    Much Love!!!

  3. I followed you on Bloglovin' and I added a badge to mine on my blog so you can follow me if you like! :)



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