Saturday, February 8, 2014

Langkawi for the First Time

We just came back from a 4D3N family trip to Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah last night. I went to Langkawi for the first time with my husband's core family members last Tuesday as part of my husband's annual family trip. It was also the kids' virgin trip to Langkawi but I am quite sure all my in-laws had gone there at least once before.

This Langkawi holiday involved 9 adults, 4 kids and 3 toddlers so we went to Langkawi as a pretty big group. As the flying time from KL to Langkawi took only about 45 mins, we had almost stress-free flying experience this time around. Once landed, Brother-in-Law had to rent 2 MPVs for us during the whole trip in Langkawi as 1 MPV was just not enough to contain all of us touring the island.

Overall, it was happening trip - fun sightseeing experience, crazy ultra-cheap duty-free shopping spree (cheers to bags and bags of cheap Bounty bars) which put both your greed and wallet to the test as well as full-time demanding kids management on the move, especially the toddlers. The girl toddlers, Naomi included, were probably the most challenging and active young kids we had to handle during the entire trip. Naomi had runny nose on the first day of our trip and the next day, her cousin had terrible flu and she was incredibly fussy during the trip. Endless unnecessary screams, river of mucus, cries, loud gibberish yells plus toddlers' tantrums coloured our Langkawi trip this year. Since day 1, I strongly demanded my husband to turn off the music or radio in the car he drove during this trip because my head could only handle that much noises coming out from the two kids and two toddlers in our car. More noises than those, I was positive that my head and Sister-in-Law's head were ready to explode. Seriously, there were many moments when I almost turned my head to the noise-maker suspects who screeched a storm, gave them a knife-sharp stare and roared "Can you shut the hell up for just 5 bloody minutes?"  *...pause for effect...* Luckily, this sinister plot never turned into reality.

Food wise, I must say that Langkawi doesn't really have local food that I can specifically brag here. Their seafood is probably famous but they are so expensive. We ate normal Chinese food from hawker centres and restaurants and the food we had were similar to those sold in other places in Malaysia. In addition, most places in Langkawi would ask you to pay for using their public toilets. The most expensive entrance fee for toilet I encountered thus far was RM 1 for one time toilet use in Chenang Mall.

Anyway, here are some places and activities that we checked out in Langkawi this week.

Panorama Langkawi Cable Car

Langkawi Cable Car or Sky Cab is apparently one of the major attractions for tourists in Langkawi. I have ridden cable cars in Switzerland, China and Singapore before and for RM 15 per pax, the one from Langkawi is definitely not bad and long. The whole journey covers a total distance of 2.2km from the Base Station to the Top Station at the Machinchang Mountain Summit.

Naomi's first ride on cable car.

Once we reached  the top station, visitors can witness the magnificent views of Langkawi Island, Southern Part of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Did my little munchkin fear of riding the cable car? No, not at all. I guess she was just too young to realize any height phobia. She acted jolly and remained pretty active inside the moving cable car to the point that I had to force her to sit quietly so I could hold her tight.

Big hello from the Summit!

By the way, I really wanted to buy the souvenir photo when we rode the cable car but my husband told me not to because the RM 25 price tag was just too ridiculous for one photo print. Somehow, I still regret not buying it anyway. Dang.

Ending the trip at Panorama Langkawi with some souvenir shopping and ice cream.

I love the ambience inside Panorama Langkawi. There's also this big pond with lots of fishes where you can buy the fish feed and feed them. Why every time Naomi sees water she wants to jump into it and swim? She literally wanted to jump into the fish pond at Panorama Langkawi and made a scene when we took her away from the pond. Side effect of swimming for the first time last month?

Underwater World Langkawi (UWL)

Underwater World Langkawi is one of the largest marine and fresh water aquaria in SEA. This place is well maintained, clean and not too crowded. When I first brought Naomi to see fish and other aquatic animals at KLCC Aquaria, she was too young to understand what's going on around her. Now that Naomi has gotten bigger and can understand more stuff, she gets really excited when we bring her to zoos to see animals.

Mesmerised by the ocean fishes.

At UWL, Naomi loved watching the various fish gracefully dancing inside their large tanks. She jumped and screamed with excitement in her baby stroller when she sees the fish. For few seconds, my husband was worried that her baby stroller would not be able to handle the pressure Naomi was giving it if she kept on jumping like that every time she saw fish.

One favourite photo spot at UWL.

On another note, I guess the penguins and seals attracted me the most during my visit to this place. Not to say that I don't like the other aquatic life forms collection at UWL but I seldom see penguins and seals in many zoos I have visited in the recent years.

Tanjung Rhu Beach

To conclude the fun on our first full day in Langkawi, we visited the Tanjung Rhu Beach so the kids can enjoy the water, sand and sun-kissed sky.

One of her happiest moments.

The waves at the time we checked out Tanjung Rhu Beach were too big and dangerous for small kids so we encouraged them to play with the beach sand instead. Trust me, make sand toys in your must-bring items list when you are travelling to a beach with your tots. These toys are so fun for the kids and you too will have fun watching them having so much fun dumping, scooping, building sand castles and pouring beach sand to their hearts' content.

Gotta love the beach sand!

Tanjung Rhu Beach was potentially Naomi's first beach visit. She got to feel the ocean waves and beach sand for the very first time. She was an absolute happy little girl when she was playing at the beach. I guess she just loves playing water so much. As for playing with beach sand, Naomi was mostly interested in destroying the sand castles that her cousins built and transporting some beach sands with her hands instead of her plastic scoop.

A summary of our evening at Tanjung Rhu.

I just love all the pictures of Naomi that we took at Tanjung Rhu Beach that day. She just looked so happy.

Crocodile Farm Langkawi

In my whole life, I never thought of visiting crocodile farms before. I find that crocodiles are just creepy reptiles and I don't really like to have direct interaction or even see any reptiles hanging out around me for a long time. Watching their actions on TV is more than good enough for me. However, my nephew wanted to visit this place so bad and Bro-in-Law thought that we might as well include this place in our itinerary in Langkawi. Needless to say, on our third day in Langkawi, off we went to visit the crocodile farm in Langkawi which hosts thousands of these giant reptiles.

Looking touristy for the crocs.

Not long after entering the compound, we saw the crocodile show which featured the oldest croc in the farm named Bujang Kawi. OMG, this old chap is seriously so big. He weighs 1 ton for Christ's sake! During this show, one of the farm's staff pet Bujang Kawi, sat on his back and put his hand onto this croc's wide-opened mouth.

Bujang Kawi.

After watching this show, as we waited the crocodiles' feeding show to start, we checked out some of the giant greyish crocs silently gliding beneath us. The feeding session commenced when the staff came out and whistled from a metal door behind the pond and slowly threw many dead chicken to the giant beasts in the large pond. I kid you not, these crocs swallowed the whole chicken like they are swallowing mini gummy bears. I think in one gulp, the whole chicken went straight into their gigantic stomachs.

On top of the crocodile ponds.

Moving on, the kids also got the chance to feed baby crocodiles and they were not afraid of them at all. We then toured the whole farm which had many different caged ponds with many crocodiles categorized by their age. At this point, I already lost my interest with all these crocs because I almost melted under the scorching sun. Glad I slathered my sunscreen lotion and put on my hat and oversized sunglasses during this visit.

Anyway, this trip ended with a presentation from a staff in the farm where he explained lots of facts and revealed trivia about crocodiles in the farm. Surprisingly, while I thought this farm was built to protect crocodiles, it also 'professionally' slaughters crocodiles for their skin and meat. Seemingly crocodile meat is medicinal and its skin can be transformed into some RM 20k bags and RM 150 key chains to name a few.

Island Hopping 

Island Hopping in Langkawi was kind of an impromptu agenda in our itinerary. My Brother-in-Law initially wanted to visit Pulau Payar but the tour on Pulau Payar would take at least 7 hours and it was fully booked until next week. In the end, after a quick check by phone with the travel agent on other island tour that we could have on last minute booking, island hopping by fast boat was an option and it's available for us in the next hour or so. So, done deal.

After a quick lunch at KFC, the travel agent picked us up at Chenang Mall and not long, we're already on our life jackets and hopped onto a boat. Island hopping by fast boat in Langkawi took about 4 hours in total and it covers 3 lush green islands. Before I tell more story about each island that we visited, let me tell you more about my experience in riding speed boat. I had before ridden speed boats in a small lake in Indonesia but while I thought that was really fast; the speed boat in Langkawi was just super duper fast for my liking. I was shocked and in the beginning this fast boat did scared the sh*t out of me. Nevertheless, I tried my best not to lose my cool during this ride because all the kids, including Naomi, looked so excited and none of them looked panicky with the speed nor strong wind that blew our faces and hair until our hair looked like Fido Dido's. Later on, we were given 1 hour to explore each island during island hopping. I think after the first stop, I got used to the speed boat and could handle my fear with the speed boat better.

Now you believe me that all kids were so happy riding a fast boat?

The first island that we stopped over was Pulau Dayang Bunting (Island of the Pregnant Maiden). This island is home to only God knows how many hungry and aggressive monkeys. Therefore, visitors were advised not to get too close with or feed the monkeys. We're also told not to bring food or anything that looked like food as the monkeys would be attracted to the stuff we carry and attack us. This was true - some wild monkeys tried to attack my Sister-in-Law twice as we tried to reach the Pregnant Maiden Lake inside the island because my Sister-in-Law carried a backpack. We had to walk up and down stairs that seemed to be never ending to get to the Lake inside this island. Naomi refused to be carried and with her baby steps speed, it took me a looong time to finally reach the Lake where everybody already gathered.

Island hopping in Langkawi.

Once we reached the Lake, Naomi insisted to jump into the lake water because she thinks every still waters are kids' swimming pools. My husband, father-in-law and I tried hard to guard Naomi so she would't throw herself into the green water. My husband passed me all his precious belongings in his pockets in case he needed to jump into the water should our persistent Naomi attempt to go into the lake. Thank God, this worst case scenario did not happen but we did face some dramas when Naomi vigorously wanted to jump into the lake for fun again and again.

Post the family drama at Dayang Bunting Lake.

Done with the lake, I huffed and puffed climbing the stairs to get back to the jetty where our boat waited. This was not an easy feat because I had to carry Naomi too as I struggled with the stairs.

Next, we were brought to Pulau Singa Besar where we witnessed flying eagles in the sky from our boat. Langkawi does have lots of eagles. When I saw eagles flying in the sky, I thought they are not that big. However, when I finally see one of them in a cage in the Wildlife Park, I was quite surprised to see that this eagle is really a huge bird of a kind.

Our final stop over was Pulau Beras Basah. Passengers were given a chance to swim and sunbathe in this island. All of us didn't plan for any beach activities that day because half of the kids fell sick; hence no towel, extra clothes or sand toys prepared in our bags. Who knew that this island hopping offered the kids another crazy time to get wet in the beach which they could not and would not to resist? In less than 10 minutes, all of the kids got all wet and beach sands were all over their bodies when we headed back to the boat. Anyway, it was a really beautiful island. Its beach, studded with white sand and clear water, indeed stole my heart. As expected, cheerful Naomi didn't want to get back to dry land so imagine again how we dragged her out of the beach to get back to the boat.

Pretty scenery, yes?

Unfortunately, my husband and I lost our hats on our way back to the main island as I forgot to zip our bag.

Dataran Lang

On our last day in Langkawi, my Brother-in-Law arranged us to have a quick look at Dataran Lang or Langkawi Eagle Square which hosts a large eagle sculpture. There's nothing much we could do at this place other than taking some group pictures at this place with the eagle statue and let the kids run around in the square.

Finally there's one interesting Dataran in Malaysia for tourists.

After snapping some pics with the eagle statue, I browsed the souvenir shops around the area and came home with some 3 for RM 10 magnets for my sister and Mom.

Langkawi Wildlife Park

Right before we ended our trip in Langkawi, another tourist attraction that we checked out was Langkawi Wildlife Park. Personally, another trip to a zoo or its sort didn't really interest me because over the past few years I have gone to see animals in zoos or birds/aquatic parks more than I ever did during my entire childhood.

Posing in front of the waterfall.

Nevertheless, I guess a trip to a zoo always means something to children - it's amusing and at the same time educational for them. Thus, yesterday I didn't mind another zoo visit and just happily tagged along so Naomi could experience something new too.

Mesmerised by the long-legged birds.

Langkawi Wildlife Park is considered quite clean and it offers animal feeding activities for visitors, which is great. Everybody loves feeding animals from close distance in general and kids got to learn about animals's diet to. My nephews and nieces had a great time when feeding the animals but they also fought with each other for the animals' feed because we only bought two costly bags of animals feed for all of them to share. Since Naomi is obviously too young for feeding animals, she just saw different animals from her stroller. She had a joy being so close with the flamingos and watching some other big birds in their cages.

Feeding the large flightless bird, Ostrich.

That's all for our Langkawi trip this time around. Langkawi's beaches are certainty must-visit and its duty-free shopping experience heaven is not to be missed. Just don't forget to pack your hat, sunglasses and sunscreen when you go to Langkawi. Well, extra cash too! You'll need them.

Last but not least, travelling with kids definitely adds flavour to our trips. While it's not easy to take care of them during the trip, especially when they fall sick, seeing their happy and contented faces is truly worth all the troubles. Not to mention, that the kids enjoyed special bonding moments with each other during the trip. Naomi is now so attached to her elder cousins, especially the girls, and she always wants to be around them. Every time my husband and I brought Naomi back to our hotel room, Naomi immediately sensed loneliness, screamed and cried. She just wanted to be around with the other kids.

P/S:  The aftermaths of this trip are my husband's sore throat, mild muscle pains for me and Naomi's runny nose (again). But.. We now have pretty good stock of real nice chocolates for the coming months at home.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Chris,

    Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy New Year and Happy Valentine's.. You have a lovely family. But the weather is a bit too hot for me to bring the baby out in a stroller now. The weather is killing me and the aircond in our house is basically on for the whole day.. Behtahan..

    Out of topic I know, but please do post up more simple-to-bake cookies (or cakes).. I am always very interested in all your baking (and cooking). I need simple ones as I have 2 babies to take care of (sometimes 3 when I babysit the neighbor's girl too)..

    I might try to attempt your doggie cookies this weekend, or anytime soon. I have all the ingredients ready.

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    1. Haha.. I haven't found the time to bake anything since these cookies.. Will surely update my blog with recipe once I do successful bakes again. Good luck with testing the doggie cookies' recipe. Cheers!

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  2. Langkawi food? I think Langkawi food would be more towards Thai food

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  3. Hi, mind to share which hotel you stay during the trip? Is it kids friendly or near beach?

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    Replies
    1. Bro-in-Law booked budget hotel in town called Hotel Asia... No facility for kids but we were out all day long when we were there.

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