Tuesday, January 2, 2007

An escape to Langkawi from hectic work

Langkawi Island, 11-13th Nov 2006 (Part 1)
After havinng a fantastic experience snorkeling in Pulau Payar as part of my company team building activities, 7 of us dispatched ourselves from the group and headed to Langkawi Island.

It was not our first trip to this island so we have decided not to be hectic spot-visiting intensive one. Lazing around and enjoying the seaview and cosy environment are what we sought of. After all, we are in vacation not tour. A little bit of out topic, a lot of people don't really understand this concept. Many go on vacation but really what they are on is tour. At the end of their "vacation", their exhaustion would demand more resting time. But, really a real vacation will give you refreshing mind and energy to carry on after it has ended.

We were swamped by car rental brokers the moment we stepped out from the Langkawi ferry harbour. We got ourselves a 7-seater Nissan Serena - 2 days for a toal RM240. So, splitting the cost among 7 friends. Not a bad deal.

The first night stay was crappy despite the well-versed description about the value-for-money of this hotel. I am not going to bore you with the detail of how uncomfortable I was after my sleep there here. Unfortunately, I got some bug-bite :(

Next morning, we were busy checking out other alternative. Luckily, we found a good deal!!
So, if you like looking for budget hotel but yet its value-for-money is great, I would personally recommend you the Best Star Resort, Pantai Cenang. For ~RM135 per night, we get a private twin ensuite room. It is air-conditioned with TV. No fridge unfortunately.
Address: Lot PT 892, Jalan Pantai Cenang, Mk. Kedawang, Langkawi, Kedah
Disclaimer: The condition of this new hotel may deteriorate if the management is not doing a good job (as most of the local operator do ... sadly). However, I was completely satisfied during my recent stay.

Where to go
Pantai Cenang (Beach)
Pantai Cenang is a hot spot where most tourists will stay in the hotels along the beautiful beach. There is a lot of activities that one could do here such as beach volley ball, foot ball, parasailing, island hopping, jogging, taking photos around the beach especially during sunset and in the afternoon or just laze around on the beach. Hehe... playing fresbie on beach would be nice too!

Jogging along on the coastline between two ends of Cenang Beach is fantastic! The beach is generally clean with occasionally small shells. So, watch out for them. Ya, you will not be alone jogging there. In fact, you will see a lot of joggers (mostly foreigner) on the beach. The locals are mostly engrossed in beach football with small make-shift goal post. Occasionally, you will be approached by tour agents promoting you for the 5hr island hopping activities for a mere RM35. Couple of my friends who have gone before said it was not a bad deal to fill the days exploring other islands of Langkawi considering the small fee. However, don't expect too much though....
I jogged along the beach in the evening and the next morning as I wanted to trim some waistline :P Felt guilt after over-indulged in food during the year end feastive season. Ha ha ... Perhaps you should do some jogging as it is good for you!!! I know it is a vacation... bla bla (all the excuses... ) :P

The best time to take some snaps are in the morning and evening. In the morning, the weather is not hot and the white beach and blue sea will serve as a good backdrop for your lovely photos here in Cenang Beach. In the evening, the sunset view here is romantic. Make sure your camera is set to ISO 400 for better picture quality and effect.

Langkawi Oriental Village & Mat Chinchang Observatory
Some personal observation and thought..
The next morning after our breakfast, we headed to Pantai Kok where the Langkawi Oriental Village is. Along the way from Cenang beach to Kok beach, I noticed some under-managed or abandoned projects. Amongst these projects are the go-kart arena, the water theme park next to Langkasuka resort, the UTM univeristy college that was once populated with students staying in a village house-like dormitory. Sadly, developing this island to be the "Hawaii of Asean" was the brain child of the great Malaysian leader, Dr. Mathathir and today this dream is no where close.

As we were approaching Kok Beach, lying in front of my eyes are the newly developed area that mimics the popular New Harbour area in Copenhagen, Denmark. The constructions and layout are impressive. In fact, a 6-star resort is coming up soon. While one part of my mind is applausing on the this great concept, the other part of it was wondering on one question that I often ask myself:

5 years down the road, will this area just like any other project before and end up as one of the many poorly-managed, run-down tourist "attraction"? I sincerely hope not.... Malaysia Boleh!! Ok??!!

Are we Malaysian are to be acknowledged as the master builders but viewed as as a lousy keeper of the once heavily-invested idea?

Alright, I know that I have gone way out of the topic. It is the time to talk about the Langkawi Oriental Village.. ;) [Excuse me for mind wondering here.... ke ke :P]

Oriental Village, Burau Bay
Langkawi Oriental Village is a newly developed shopping, culinary and cultural destination. Admission is free. The beautifully landscaped Japanese Garden and Lake is surrounded by various shops and restaurants with good variety of local and foreign cuisine such as Thai, Japanese, Malay and convenient food court for those eager to grab a light snacks. The shops offer a good collection of souvenirs.

To match my good mood for the day, I got myself a necklace madeof colourful wooden beads as noticeable in the photo below. :) [My very first you know? :P, So, if you think it looks nice on, comment abit la :p]

Cable Car to Mat Chinchang Hill Observatory
The cable car station can be easily spotted in the Oriental Village. Round-trip fare is RM15 for adult and RM5 for children, for Malaysian. It is a good deal!!! So, you Malaysian who has not taken a good look of the many isles of Langkawi, flash your IC card, get the discount and get yourself up there for a thrilling sight-seeing ride.

After we bought the tickets, we went up one level to take a cable car up the mountain. The first half of the ride is pleasant with awesome view of the Langkawi coastline and forest. The Seven Wells Waterwall became clearly noticeable on the right hand side as the cable car inclined to 42 degree up the cliff of the mountain. Perhaps, this is the only thrill ride one can have in Langkawi Island. :) But, seriously it can get rather scary for the "small-heart" type.

After 12-15 minutes, the cable car reached the first station which has one observatory platform. Unfortunately, it was closed for renovation when we were there. No problem!!! The cable car continued its way to the second station which has the two higher observatories.

Another great spot is the awesome boomerang-curved suspension bridge that connects between the first and the second cable car stations.

There are two observatories in the higher cable car station. Both offer a fantastic and break-taking view of Langkawi Island and its isles. In fact, the famous Datai Beach (listed in "The 1000 Places You Should Visit Before You Die" book) is clearly seen from the highest observatories.

To access to the suspension bridge, we have to do some light walking down the hill slope. The pathway is somewhat badly laid and extra care must be taken for small children and old folks. The inconvenience caused would certainly be rewarded by a breezy walk across the suspension bridge which offers some good spots for photography.

My personal thought: It would be great if the management will offer a more friendly mean for old folks to access to the bridge.

The Loaf, Harbour Park off Burau Bay

The Loaf, Japanese Bakery is the first shop opened by Dr Mathathir after he has retired. This bakery serves high-end, tasty, freshly baked pastry in a restaurant environment. I must admit that to pay Rm6 for a bun is way out of my spending behaviour. As most of my friends know that I am quite a thrifty man.. :p But, that day, I spent RM10 for two buns which were simplu irresistible. Yummy. You can see from my big smile that I am contented with the buns. 10% is charged for in-house dining. It has comfortable couch though. Hehe..
My couple friends bought the big loaf of compact bread which cost them RM20 each. It was too expensive for a loaf of bread for me... Well.. this was at least my initial thought. After listening to their description about how great this bun is, I know that day I miss something tasty. Yeah.. I will be coming to this special bakery again. So, friends, if you want to try these delicious Japanese pastry, don't be like me ok... regret not trying it is not acceptable to you after you read my blog here... :P
So, after the tea-time in the Loaf, we were lured to the USSR restaurant next to The Loaf. I will tell you more story about this great restaurant in my following blog page.... stay tuned.

Elvin Ong
12th Jan 2007 11:41pm


HuiHui said...

looks nice. ;>

selva said...

Alpine Peaks restaurant
Comfortable really pleasant favorite leve
Amazing restaurant once realization relaxitation energetic permanently