February 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
“Bagalan mo kumain please lang”, Kat told me from across the table.
I ended up finishing first anyway. In my defense, my order was smaller. This was where we found ourselves after a 6 hour bus ride from Singapore and a 1 hour taxi ride – eating nasi lemak in KLIA2 while waiting for our flight to Langkawi. In retrospect, we should have bought straight flight tickets from SG to LGK, but we both had an appetite for adventure and saving, and so the adventure was to begin but the saving was going to be replaced by spending.
Our flight departed around 8:30AM and we reached Langkawi in less than an hour. Kat had booked all the plane and bus tickets while I booked the 3-night accommodation and prepared the itinerary. We checked in at Tubotel, which was tucked at a quiet place a few minutes away from the busy Pantai Cenang beach. The only downside was that we literally had to live inside a tube, not much space for anything else besides a bed. The shared bathroom could have also been improved, but the redeeming factor was the view and the lounge area by the beach which was relaxing both in the morning and the evening.
Our first agenda upon arriving was to eat lunch and head out to Panaroma Langkawi for the SkyCab (cable car) and the SkyBridge. It was a cloudy day which was good for our skin but not so much for getting great pictures. I didn’t know Kat had a serious fear of heights until we were there, but she conquered it by letting me take charge of the itinerary. The view and the altitude was better and higher than I expected (and to think I had always downplayed Langkawi in my list of places to visit in the past). Even if it was a Saturday, we just had to wait for a little over an hour – which we killed by taking pictures and eating ice cream. I ACTUALLY ATE ICE CREAM. I don’t usually do this given my lactose intolerance and the fact that we had the entire day ahead of us – but I did. I felt carefree that I was with Kat and that I drank a charcoal tablet before leaving. Kat didn’t mind my incessant burps too much…I think. In addition, the ticket had a complimentary viewing of some 3D and 4D shows. With the recent weakening of the RM, it was very much worth the price. The only thing to note here is having to walk through a dirt path with haphazardly placed rocks as stairs from the SkyCab to the SkyBridge. It was cheaper than taking a lift to the bridge, but it was honestly very tiring and dangerous (if slippery).
After this, Kat wanted to drop by the Telaga Harbor when she saw the parked yachts while we passed by. Despite the fact that it was raining, she wanted pictures beside her dream vehicle (which she will take back after our boat ride the next day).
We spent the rest of the afternoon in town feasting on seafood (Happy Happy Cenang Seafood) (oh how I missed real fish) and relaxing by the beach. The water and the sand wasn’t remarkable, but the atmosphere was relaxing enough. We did notice though that cars freely drove through the sand at the beachfront – not a safe practice in my opinion. The streets in Pantai Cenang was dotted with multiple restaurants ranging from local, to Thai, to Syrian, to Turkish food, along with miscellaneous stores, a tailor, souvenir shops and spas. I wasn’t able to determine the time they close since we pretty much were home by 10 at the latest everyday. Good girls.
The next day was the supposed highlight of our trip – scubadiving! My last dive was 6 years ago and it was Kat’s first time so we opted for the intro dive. We booked our trip with East Marine Holiday and paid quite a sum thinking it was of good quality as we read from reviews. I was disappointed with the boat they used to bring us there though because there was around 100 passengers. As Kat described it, we were like refugees in a boat. It was great we didn’t opt for snorkeling or we’d be part of the unaccounted majority of the passengers who were simply ferried to and fro Pulau Payar Marine Park. The ones on the dive tour thankfully got preferential treatment upon disembarking the ferry. The waves were quite strong (we both got seasick and Kat said she didn’t want a yacht anymore) that day so visibility was poor. I still had a good time though because I was surprised I pretty much knew how to dive still. And we got to see a huge moray eel, groupers, parrot fishes, trigger fishes, angel fishes and lots of other fishes I couldn’t identify. Macro viewing was impossible however because of the poor visibility. The coral reef was not that impressive either. But I was glad Kat enjoyed as well considering she was a bit apprehensive initially. In afterthought, I don’t think I’ll recommend East Marine because of poor briefing, the mass transportation issue (which ate up a huge amount of our time) and the unappetizing lunch.
Since we were tired that day, we treated ourselves to meat at a Syrian restaurant (Yasmin), which was good. I had been drooling for kebab the moment we got there and I got lamb kebab that night. Service and food was great.
The next day, I had minimal expectations for the tour save for the excitement of kayaking, but this will turn out to be the highlight of our trip for me. We booked a Mangrove Kayak Tour with Dev’s Adventure Tours and from the moment they picked us up til they dropped us off, I was impressed with their service. Our guide, Jerome, was a naturalist who emphasized the importance of protecting the environment. All activities were environmentally-sustainable and friendly, and we learned a lot – things like bats always turn left upon leaving the cave, what mangroves are, that the eagle feeding activity at Langkawi is not good (it’s akin to the whaleshark feeding at Oslob), macaques mate a lot in a day, and so many other things. The view of the mangroves at Langkawi was spectacular, and to kayak itself was an experience – our shoulders were tired as hell in the end. We had lunch at a floating restaurant (Hole in the Wall) and ate the local fare. Overall, it was really a great experience and I would give them 5 stars. It’s totally worth the extra money compared to just having gone around the mangroves in the boat, even if it required more muscle work.
After the mangrove tour, we were contemplating on skipping on our plan of parasailing (since we couldn’t do it together…we’re not really clingy but yeah haha) and just spending more on food. We went back to Tubotel first to rent bicycles since we were getting tired of riding the taxi. We ate at a local restaurant (Bella Restaurant) which was okay, and on the way home Kat suddenly had the urge to try the spa which we initially planned on but decided to cancel to stick to a budget. Since we had extra money from the canceled parasailing, we headed to Alun-Alun Spa and were amazed at the affordable price considering the excellent place, atmosphere and service. Kat got a shoulder massage while I got a head massage and earwax candle (which when I researched afterwards was supposedly dangerous according to western standards haha). If only we had another day and more money, I think we would have gone back there. We cycled home in the dark, which was quite an adventure too since the streets were not well lit. It wasn’t a brilliant idea, but the most memorable moments are seldom well-thought.
We spent the night hanging out by the beach one last time and talking to Charlie, who was a British guy with an interesting story and working part-time at Tubotel. He gave us free pizza, which was really nice of him. The next day, we woke up late and went back to KL via Airasia. We spent the rest of our money there on food, our bus got delayed but it was surprisingly really comfortable, complete with an entertainment tablet per seat and dinner (and the price of KL to SG was actually half of the SG to KL bus) (Nice Bus Liner).
Kat busy taking our selfie while I was preoccupied checking out the Entertainment Tablet (she got separate seats because she knew we would be tired of each other by the 4th day).
We spent a total of 600 SGD each for our trip including all transportation costs, which I think is okay considering the activities we did and also the fact that it was during the Chinese New Year Holiday. This trip is special because Kat and I have always celebrated the day we first met each other (8th of February). This is our second year anniversary (the first one we spent getting a food coma at a Korean buffet) and I’m already excited for our next one. :D We literally spent several weekends working out for this trip, which was useful not for the bikini but for the kayaking and the walking up the SkyBridge. Kat was a great travel buddy, as long as I didn’t get on her nerves. haha, peace Kat. :p I’m proud and happy you did a lot of firsts with me! :D (kasama na yung “tayong dalawa sa kama” hahaha)