Monday, December 05, 2005

Rediscovering Langkawi & Loving It

I haven't been to Langkawi for ages. The last time I was there was back in 1996, I think. So when I had the opportunity to visit again recently, I really looked forward to the trip, if only to see how much the island had changed.

Langkawi has indeed changed a lot and all for the better. I enjoyed my short trip so much that I wished I had been able to stay on longer to explore the island. The cable-car ride to the top of the highest mountain was very memorable, not least because it was quite a thrilling steep ride up. For some, it was a harrowing experience because it was REALLY steep going up. But the view at the top was simply gorgeous and my only regret was that I could not take a leisurely journey down on foot along the well-laid out tracks because it started to rain heavily soon after.

Then, there's the Telaga Air Panas where entrance to the hot spring was pleasantly free-of-charge. And it felt really good to dip your tired feet into the available buckets filled with the hot spring water flowing from the wells. Traditional foot massages are also available for those who are game to give it a try, but you will have to pay a small charge for it.

Another worthy visit was the museum which houses Dr Mahathir's various treasures and gifts collected during his 22 years in office as our Prime Minister. Some of the precious gifts are really astounding, especially those from heads of states of foreign countries. Some are simply mind-boggling, like the one leather bag made from a whole uncut piece of baby crocodile skin with the crocodile head hanging in front functioning as the flap of the bag! You can easily spend half a day browsing through the huge collection and learn so much about foreign culture and handicrafts at the same time.

Also, there's so much more to see at the Mahsuri tomb now compared to in 1996. The above picture was taken inside the newly designed enclave housing the tomb and various artifacts. I even managed to catch a "live" stage performance enacting the tragedy of Mahsuri which lasted a good hour. The only strange thing about this show is that the dialogue was understandably in Malay but there were no subtitles in English for the benefit of foreign tourists. I could see that most of the tourists who watched the show with me could not enjoy it as much as we did, which is a real pity.

Langkawi remains a charming and unspoilt island, only with so much better infrastructure and well-managed tourist attractions, thanks in no small part to Dr Mahathir. Now, if only AirAsia would start to offer discounted rates of RM19.99 to Langkawi so that I can go back again soon. I heard that there's a great place for diving and snorkelling activities where you get to see magnificent corals and marine life in all its natural glory.

(Postscript: I've found a link here on some recommended food joints in Langkawi. Hope the prospective traveller will find it informative!)

Note: Langkawi will be featured in a travel documentary programme hosted by the RSN channel's HOT SPOTS which will be broadcast in 100 affiliated stations across America. Hopefully, more people from around the world would come and see for themselves the beauty and charm of our own island of legendary magical enchantment.

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5 Comments:

Blogger johnleemk said...

My experiences in Langkawi have not been really enjoyable, and the last time I was there (a couple of years ago), we were hit with cut-throat prices from the proprietors of restaurants and retail outlets (imagine paying RM12 for a glass of orange juice concentrate mixed with water!).

On another note, my father was one of the engineers who helped build the cable cars. I haven't rode on them yet, though - didn't have the time to the last time we were there.

6/12/05 00:18  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Wow, that was some impressive engineering work from your dad & his team. That cable-car experience was really something. Are you sure you missed that ride not because your dad told you not to?? (hehe ... just joking..)
I find the food outlets near the cable car station okay in terms of pricing. Of course, I factored in the slightly higher than normal charge considering that it is after all built to serve tourists. Then again, there's always the KFC & McDonalds.
From your point of view as a teenager, did you find the tourist attractions not interesting enough to warrant a 2nd visit? I'd like to know coz I'm experiencing my holiday as a *sob* auntie ... (but I'll have you know I'm VERY young at heart). Then again, what would you have like to see & experience in Langkawi?

6/12/05 12:40  
Blogger johnleemk said...

I hated the tourist attractions, actually. The hotels were quite enjoyable, but the attractions didn't merit a further look, IMO.

6/12/05 15:23  
Blogger |dAia| said...

cool..i'm going to langkawi this weekend.Been there already but i was still a kid and didn't remember much bout it..heheh.

6/12/05 16:19  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Daia darling, have a really good trip and I DO hope you have lots of fun there. I'm sorry John didn't like it as much though. Maybe guys want different stuff, eh?

6/12/05 19:37  

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