Langkawi: Oui oui!!!:P

I wasn't happy to leave the Cameron Highlands behind, but the show must go on, right!?! But the cool weather was such a welcome change from the heat and the humidity of the last few weeks that it was hard to let go!

The first pic is from the Bharat Tea Plantation near Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands, while the other is from Patai Cenang beach in Langkawi!

Spent my last day in Tanah Rata hiking jungle trail 9A. Got lost on my way there, of course. I'm telling you, had I met one of the local guides during my stay, I would have beaten the living shit out of him. Removing signposts can be quite dangerous when you're talking about jungle trails. Anyway, I made my way to Robinson Fall, and then through the jungle for about 90 minutes till we hit the nearby farmlands. But their irrigation systems make the trail quite slippery in some portions of the hike, and at times it got downright hazardous. Hence, no hiker wanted to go back that way, especially since most of the going would be uphill on the return trek. So we got a taxi who got us back to Tanah Rata (a 10km journey) for less than a dollar!

Took the bus and ferry to Georgetown, where I would only spend a night so I could catch the morning ferry to Langkawi. I've heard a lot of good things about Pulau Penang, but Georgetown is a decaying city on the way down. Man, it really sucks. Decrepit doesn't begin to describe Georgetown. And other than the Heritage Trail, with sights mostly limited to the Colonial District, Georgetown has very little to offer other than good and affordable food. I was glad to leave after only one night, though it's a shame I didn't get to see the rest of Penang.

The sea was choppy, so it took the ferry more than three hours to reach Kuah, Langkawi. The sun was out and the heat suffocating. But my digs on Pantai Cenang are right on the beach, so it's all good! If ever you are in Langkawi, then I recommend that you stay at the Sunset Beach Resort, which offers great value! I booked the Sunset I chalet, and at about 75$ a night due to the Chinese New Year surcharge, it's still a steal compared to what you'd pay for similar accomodation anywhere else in the world! And it's near the meeting point of Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, so it's a more tranquil spot.

Langkawi is a bit like Phuket, Thailand, but minus the crowds, the package tourism, and the sleaze. It's a bit more expensive than elsewhere in Malaysia, but quite cheap by Western stadards. It's always been a Malaysian playground, so Westerners are a minority. It's packed with tourists from most Asian countries, and Swedes.

Some destinations bring out the worst out of some tourists. My fellow French Canadians have been making fools of themselves in Cuba and the Dominican Republic for the last 4 decades. The Baltic states bring the worst out of Brits who go there for their stag parties. You may recall that I elaborated on this while traveling around Estonia and Latvia in 2008. Well, Langkawi brings the very worst out of the Swedes, it seems. Prior to my coming to Southeast Asia, I would have told you that along with Australians, Swedes are among the best kind of people you want to meet while backpacking. Fun-loving, always ready to have a good time, there is seldom a dull moment in their company. In case you don't know, booze is heavily taxed in Sweden. And I mean heavily. So when they get a chance to booze on the cheap, no one -- and I mean no one -- can drink like Swedes when they go on a drunken binge. Duty-free Langkawi means that you can get a beer for about 50 cents. Even less if you go for the cheapest stuff. I'll let you do the math. . . Suffice it to say that Swedes in Southeast Asia are nowhere near as fun and interesting to meet as they are in Europe and North America. It's a shame, really. But what can you do???

Since the Sunset Beach Resort has its own private stretch of beach, I've been relaxing and reading quite a bit. Went up the cable car for splendid views of the island yesterday. I also made my way to Seven Wells Fall, but the dry season means that it's little more than a trickle of water. I was supposed to go island hopping this morning, but I overslept and that plan went down the crapper. So I went parasailing instead, and it was great! And at less than 20$ for the ride, how could I say no!?!

Flying back to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow morning, from where I'll make my way down south to Melaka in the afternoon. Sadly, this Southeast Asian adventure is coming to a close. . .=(

2 commentaires:

CJohnson said...

Be prepared to be pretty depressed when you get back. Coming back from my 4 weeks in asia, from hiking and climbing and kayaking, swimming, beaches.. to a desk job, it's really depressing and all you want to do is go back!

Sounds like you're having a pretty awesome trip. Better weather too! When my travel buddy and I got to Malaysia at the beginning of January this year, it rained for a week straight. Everything was flooded!

Basil said...

Woot! Aussies have clearly beaten the Swedes in the best-fellow-backpackers race!

I hope your return to normal life isn't too disappointing - Asia is, for lack of a better word, addictive. The culture, the architecture, everything is so different and exciting.