Lorna and Kev's slightly extended holiday
Surprisingly our journey, although delayed by a day, was uneventful and pleasant. We opted for a direct shuttle and cut out the hassle making it to Kulaua Kedah in an impressive 4 and a bit hours with even enough time for much appreciated fruit and coconut buns. On board our ferry we were treated to The Mask on DVD. So still giggling like idiots we arrived in Langkawi and the onslaught of taxi drivers all trying to catch your business. I read some where that in Langkawi the taxi's are run like a well oiled mafia operation, its very true, there is no public transport so its either hire something or get a taxi. We opted for a smiley man with a pretty Taqiyah (hat) who took us to our hotel for a not so cheap RM25. We decided to stay somewhere nice over christmas so a few months ago i booked Pondok Keladi a pretty little haven back from the main tourist area's. We instantly took to the place with its lovely owners Dee and Mark, their 4 dogs and Melissa the cat. We had managed to get the last room which was a twin but the beds had been put together making a huge bed and.... our own bathroom. Its a little thing but it makes so much of a difference. We had been travelling nearly the whole day so after making some simple food we got to know the people we would be spending Christmas with. Over the next couple of days we explored the local area. Pantai Chieng is the main tourist strip with 3km of shops, bars, accommodation and the all important beach. Most of the shops are selling pretty much the same thing cheapy dresses and fake Raybans, but they serve there purpose. One advantage to the boom in tourism to this little island is the variety of food available, being majoritively Muslim the bulk of the street food is Indian, some with a Malay touch with noodles and lots of chilli, very tasty and very cheap. The best we found was on the north coast in front of a little stretch of beach i had hot Tom Yam soup with huge prawns and squid for RM6 just over £1. But more to suit the tourists are the restaurants who fill the gaps for up market Indian, Western, Thai even Mexican food. One of our favourites was Red Tomato, pizza's, pasta, salad's made by a lovely German lady and her Malay husband, they even have a very cute pink beetle parked outside. Although i wouldn't bother with the Mexican pretty over priced for what it is. Oh and if you fancy a cocktail it has to be The Cliff, not cheap by Malaysian standards, but definitely worth it. We were invited to spend Christmas day evening on the beach arranged by Mark and Dee who had booked into a restaurant for the guests and a few friends. We brought along Laura and Gavin (spooky eh?) who we had met in Cameron Highlands and had a lovely meal. Kev went traditional with turkey and i had the duck. After some tequila heavy Margarita's we set off down the beach to find some music and a few more drinkies before calling it a night. It was a lovely evening and a highly recommended why of spending Christmas day. After a lazy boxing day sunning ourselves on the beach ending with a beautiful sunset the decision was made to rent a car and explore the island. So dragging ourselves up early we arranged a cute little white something or other and set off to pick up Laura and Gavin. First stop was the cable car but the 2 hour queue put us off so we vowed to try later in the day. Following the north road round the top of the island we stopped at the 7 wells waterfalls, would have been pretty had it not been swarming with tourists and covered in litter, was a shame. We stopped for a yummy lunch next to a little beach and couldn't help sharing our seafood with a p**** cat who looked skilled at getting peoples leftovers. We had planned to submit to a little retail therapy but had a little carpark issue (we got lost, yes in the carpark and no i wasn't driving by this point thankfully!) however we did stop at the Billions (duty free shop that sold pretty much everything) and stocked up on colgate and a few other necessities. This left us just enough time left in the day to visit one last little beach, entirely by accident but it was a good find, and get to the cable car whose queue had reduced to an acceptable 20mins. Unfortunately we didn't get chance to go on the skywalk although once seeing it i'm quite glad it looked terrifying. As it turned out poor Laura was scared of heights but she very bravely made it all the way to the top. The view was amazing, we did stop off on the first platform with ooh's and aah's at the ready but decided against the highest point as the queue had swapped ends and i'm not sure Laura's nerves could have coped queuing at 1100m. As it was our last evening in Langkawi we stopped in town at a tasty Indian place. I don't remember the name but they served fresh seafood, the kind you can pick from a tank and an amazing pineapple rice dish that i'm going to have a go at when we get back, although might leave the root beer floats in Langkawi, kev has strange tastes sometimes. Our last day, as always, was a complete faff. We had gotten an e-mail from the ferry company saying the the tickets i had booked and paid for were no longer available at the ferry was full so in a slight panic we rang the ferry port and sure enough they had released more tickets but we had to go and get them. With some stroke of luck we still had the hire car so dashing off, and forgetting the map, we headed off across the island. After getting lost, running out of petrol, going to the wrong port, and having a slight melt down we eventually made our ferry getting the car back an hour late and have decided to have some yoga classes when we get back.. our inner calm really needs to work. It was an emotional end to our island break. Overall i liked Langkawi. I've read lots of things about why people don't like it and i can see their point. It is not a place you can go to and find perfect, unspoilt beaches with no-one around for miles, there are a lot of tourists, the kind that come for a two week holiday and the duty free. But for christmas week i was happy for that, sometimes we all need a little cheeseyness.