Getting up at this, deemed as, normal waking up time of 7.15am, to catch the ferry at 8pm, is pretty torturous if you've been using the student daily life cycle generally (12pm get up times for the average). Ditched the soup from the previous night, as it tasted pretty nasty cold, grabbed my gear together, checked out, and high tailed it as fast I could to the ferry terminal for Langkawi. The time had really caught up with me, and I really feared that i'd miss the boat. After a mis-calculation of where the ferry was (I went to the car ferry 200m down the road). A mad sprint and bucket of sweat later I made it just in time, for them to begrudgingly sell me a ticket after the early book in time.
And then we were away on HMS Vomita, I was seated near all the sea sick bags and they went in the first five minutes. Are no Malays good on water? Here's me happily reading away (to the envy of my mother if she was there), and there's a symphony of BLEUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRGRGGGGGGGGG!!! going all around me. The approach to the ferry terminal was very scenic, many forested islands littered our approach, looked pretty similar to the Film "The Beach". One guy in the seat in front pointed out the massive eagle statue across the bay, so huge that it could have summoned by Gandelf for the final Orc battle. The guy and I chatted some more about the area and what were the better things to do on it and this is where I got my first guide for the islands. Can't quite remember his name as it was a funny sounding one, but he was quite useful to get info on the island. He worked at the local resort on the south west side (although he pointed to the north side of the map, which got me a bit confused for a while), we found his taxi mate and took us over to where this place was.
Pantai Cenang is probably the liveliest place on the island, with one long road running parallel with the wide and long beach, loads of restaurants, tour businesses, bars, shops, motels and resorts going down it. Quite a few people about, not packed though thankfully, thought it would be busier because of the kiddies holidays. Booked into a motel called Melati Tanjung, which had a 3 story chalet apartments around the back which looked out over the beach. A little more expensive than the hotels in Penang, but the location sold it, and also the fact I haggled a slightly better deal later on when I had checked out the prices and quality of the other motels down the road, both by going down to them whilst touring the area and then checking out trip advisor, my motel was one of the best cheap ones.
Spent the rest of the day checking out the rest of the motels in the area for prices, and promenading up and down the stretch. Got my chomped on by those Doctor Fish in one place, very weird feeling have a ton of tiny fish sucking and nibbling all the rough skin on the base of my feet. By the end of it, they were all rolling around the bottom of the tank with content looks on their faces.
Next day grabbed a cheap brekkie at the convenient breakfast bar across the road. A beach shack style, which helped with the tropical island vibe. The coffee were very good, but I think a few adjustments are needed for the cooked breakfast option, sliced sandwich ham on toast with a battered egg on top is still palatable but come on people, more imagination and flair needed!
Rented a bike for a couple of days, cheapest way to see the island at only 30rm a day, amazing! Plus it's a safer place to ride in, not too many kamakazi drivers and riders about. Did a lap of the whole island, about 47km, some very dramatic sights to see. Stopped off and went up the sky car, or cable car up the 700m mountain, amazing views from the second level down, but cloud cover got in the way at the top, booooooo! Met 5 Indonesian ladies whilst goin up in the six man cable car, Shree and Carmilla were two of the names I can remember, chatted to them for a bit and took loads of photos with them before they had to dash off to catch a ferry to penang. The Carmilia girl actually friend requested me the other day, so I may see her over in the UK in the future. On the way round the north side of the island, buzzing along without a care in the world, I decided to go and officially visit the beach cove area of Tampung Rhu, the one the guy initially told me that was where I was staying. It was again very dramatic with the mini islands, forested cliffs and rocky out crops around the cove. The weather was a bit gusty with spots of clouds threatening to come together to block out the blue skys and sun, but decided to sunbathe there for an hour before heading back around the island. Got back to Cenang beach just as the sun was setting. Later on in the evening patrolling,around the stretch for some decent not overly priced food, I suddenly stumbled across the four girls i'd bumped into a couple of times in Penang. They were having a meal together in one of the restaurants i'd been to the day before, I'd initially thought they may have moved on from the island, but had liked it too much there to go early. Wow! It must be fate, I thought, thinking that it might be cool to see if I could try to join them for the evening. But the preceeding "Hello!" and the awkward 2min conversation seemed to denote to me that it maybe better to bail because they might have been scared i'd been following them around.
The next day was spent on the noisey hairdryer with wheels going into Kuah, the capital of the islands. I wanted to check what time the ferry times back to Penang, and also to take some snaps of the massive eagle monument near by. I'd also ear marked going to a shooting range and a snake sanctuary up the road as well. It took a while to find the shooting range, up some winding road away from the main highway, but when I got there the guards at the gate said you needed to bring your own shot gun. I'm sure if I had the foresight it would have obtained a 12 bore and skip merrily past customs at the airports for the next time on the island.
Hopped back on the scoot and headed up to find the snake sanctuary. Once I found the place, it was as dead as a grave yard, you might as well have been 500miles from any civilisation, in the jungle for the lack of people about. Strangely though, it was still open with one guy seeming the only one manning the whole place from the ticket booth. Once bought the ticket, I entered the sanctuary through a snake head entrance, and hoped it was worth coming out here. At first glance at the first couple of round glass house pens it wasn't to be, as they were lacking in the limbless ones. Only a few smaller glass cases had a couple of them, and weirdly one contained a Hedgehog! It was doing what i'd do if I was surrounded by hungry predatorial fanged creatures, and trying to lodge itself deep under a pile of stones. Such a random place to have one them here. But then it started to get a little more interesting, when I discovered a pen with two massive, none to happy to see me King cobras. Who promptly stood up and displayed their hoods and eyed me from the other side of the perspex windows. It got more thrilling when I found a chicken wire topped tank with a very pissed off hooded viper, who took exception to having his mid afternoon nap disturbed. Hissing it's head off I was very happy that there was some sort of barrier between me and it, as it kept springing at me. Would have been better to have a glass roof, could have leant on it with realising it was in there.
The rest of the time on the week end was very chilled, and one added amusing note was the taxi ride back to the ferry on the last day. The guy had souped up his car with bone melting powerful sound system, with speakers everywhere, and subwoofer that took up most of the boot. Good fun bouncing down the road partying to some club pop anthems, he was loving it.