Together with 6 other bloggers, I was lucky to have been presented with the opportunity to embark on a sponsored trip to Langkawi over the last weekend. For 4 days, we went from normal folks who lead an ordinary life with a day job to travel bloggers, armed with a camera, raring to explore what the legendary island has to offer. It has always been a dream of mine (in fact, it still is!) to become a travel host; Alas, the supply precedes the demand and I’m left finding comfort in my 9-6 job. Hence, when I came across the caption on in2it regarding a chance to win an all-expense paid trip and enjoy perks as a travel blogger, I was sold!
To the team at in2it, with special mention to Shaun, I would like to thank you for giving this plain Jane with big dreams an experience of a lifetime! 🙂
Often known as the jewel in the crown of Kedah, the 99 islands of Langkawi immediately conjures up an image of azure blue waters flanked by pristine shores and white powdery sand. A typical must-do activity as a tourist to Langkawi certainly includes a day trip to Pulau Payar Marine Park where you’ll get the opportunity to frolick with plenty of colourful fishes. Be enthralled, like I was, by the variety of colourful tropical fishes and hard corals as you swim alongside with the schools of fishes.
In search of something more thrilling? Many have considered the close encounters with the black-tipped reef sharks (yes, we are referring to wild sharks here!) to be an absolute highlight of their trip! To quote them, it was an ultimate adventure and an experience of a lifetime!
Be enthralled by the marine creatures at Pulau Payar Marine Park
Caves are aplenty in Malaysia but for a city-dweller like me, it is a sight that can only be found when I’m away from my own country. Having seen fruit bats within close proximity in the Singapore Zoo, I have to admit that these often misunderstood creatures do not strike fear in me. However, things can’t be said the same when I’m faced with a cave filled with these mysterious creatures of the night. And, I mean hundreds of them!
Gua Kelawar, meaning The Bat Cave in Malay, is home to hundreds of its inhabitants (fruit bats). Located at the heart of the mangrove swamp, a visit to this cave is only possible if you were to join a mangrove tour as the area is only accessible by boat. Besides the up-and-close encounter with the bats, it was also fascinating to be educated about the formation of these limestone caves, most of which existed millions of years ago.
Brace yourself for the creatures of the Night with the Kilim Mangrove Tour
Despite our face-to-face encounter with the (fruit) bats, we survived and made it back to the boat, all in one piece!
RICE = The staple food in Asia. The state of Kedah in Malaysia (home to Langkawi) is known to be the country’s main rice producer as it provides an estimated 50% of rice to meet the country’s needs. WOW. Nevertheless, one does not expect to be seeing any padi fields when visiting the touristy town of Langkawi. Thus, we were in for a shock when we realised that our power-packed itinerary decides to venture off the usual touristy track and includes a short trip to the Laman Padi.
Appreciate the effort and hard work that goes into harvesting these tiny grains of rice as you walk through the museum and padi fields and gain a better understanding of rice planting. Want to make rice planting come to life? Why not participate in some of the activities (like gungho fellow blogger, Joanne Marie and writer, Eleanor) and get a first-hand experience of working in a rice plantation?
Learn about rice farming at Laman Padi
* free admission
If the idea of bumming around at the beaches sounds like a bore to you (although I cannot imagine why anyone would think of this), then you might be surprised to learn that extreme forest adventure awaits you at the Agropark Adventure Camp. Pump your adrenaline rush and get it going by taking the step to live like George of the Jungle!
Feeling empowered (thanks to my previous experiences at Megazip Adventure Park, OBS and Via Ferrata at Orchard Central), the dare devil in me managed to conquer the high element obstacle course pretty swiftly before being rewarded with a flight of my life by zipping through the forest on a flying fox! What a climax! Having said that, you would have to work it out before you enjoy the rewards of zipping above the canopy of trees… No free ride in the world, yea? :p Your adventure begins with a climb up the Burma Bridge (which is essentially a hanging bridge made of nets) before you zig-zag your way through the dangling and narrow crazy stepped wooden planks and traverse on a rope that hangs mid-air like the tightrope walkers do in the circus! Now, ready for the adventure? Should be a piece of cake for the SAFRA guys, right? :p
Excitement guaranteed at the Agropark Adventure Camp
A combination of torrid weather and strong winds had made it impossible for us to take a ride on the cable car to the top of Gunung Machincang to enjoy the breath-taking aerial view of Langkawi and its islands. Nonetheless, a trip to the top of Gunung Raya made all the twists and turns during the ride up the hill worthwhile as we were rewarded with sweeping views of the island set against the backdrop of dreamy and wispy clouds. Located 3000 feet above sea level, D’ Coconut Hill Resort and its Peak Tower (1 of the tallest observation deck in Langkawi) is one of the rare spot to marvel at the beautiful landscape of the island. By perfecting the skill of blending nature with luxurious living, the quintessential resort offers you the chance to wake up to the amazing hues of the sunrise, frolick in the pool that overlooks the jungle below, take in the fresh mountain air and get as close to nature as possible.
Recapture romance at its peak at D’ Coconut Hill Resort
* room rates start from RM400++
Frankly to speak, I went to Langkawi with zero interest in bird-watching and was rather disappointed to see jungle trekking/bird-watching listed in our itinerary. Whilst I have embarked on various hikes before, I have soon come to realise that trekking in a hot and humid environment is definitely not one of my forte. Ironically, the birdwatching/rainforest after dark tour ended up becoming one of the most unforgettable moment of my vacation.
Our guide, Irshad Mobarak – who was rewarded with the DiGi Amazing Malaysian award in 2007 to acknowledge his efforts in the preservation of Langkawi nature – is nothing short of amazing. Unlike many tour guides who tend to rattle off like a recorder, our learning session with Irshad was not only informative but also highly entertaining as he tried to re-create the scenes for us with his very animated actions and body language. Essentially, learning comes to life for us, even enthralling those who have absolutely zero knowledge about birds and nature. His passion and love for nature was evident as he paused every now and then to listen to the symphony of sounds made by the different wildlife species, plucking the leaves of various herb plants … All for the sole purpose of educating us about the value and beauty of nature. In short, I went to Langkawi as an ignorant tourist and returned with a slightly better appreciation of our mother Earth.
Birdwatching and nature walks might not be everyone’s cup of tea but sometimes, you might just be amazed with what the nature has in store for us. If you’re ever in Langkawi, I strongly recommend that you sign up for a nature walk with Jungle Walla for an experience to get close to nature.
Story-telling comes to live with Jungle Walla
After a long day of fun-filled activities, it is finally time to unwind and relax at The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa. At first glance, the resort (which, by the way, is my favourite out of the 3 hotels that we stayed during our stay) looks like the usual tropical resort with lush gardens and beautiful swimming pools (there’s even a saltwater pool for your swimming leisure). A second glance at the accolade of green and environment awards that are plastered on the walls at the reception showed us a resort with a difference – A hotel that prides itself in its quest to be dedicated to environment preservation.
Tucked in a corner of Pantai Cenang, the resort is within minutes from the most happening streets in Langkawi but also carefully hidden such that it offers much peace and tranquility, thus offering guests the opportunity to revel in an idyllic getaway.
Be eco-friendly at The Frangipani Resort & Spa
All guests staying at the resort are also given a complimentary eco tour around the resort and its 0-Waste Eco Farm (where you get to meet farm animals such as chickens, ducks & geese roaming around freely). Learn more about the different green initiatives that the resort has taken in order to sustain its efforts in supporting responsible tourism.
There you go! A summary of some of the highlights of my short but definitely memorable trip to Langkawi. Will be coming up with a couple more posts on the few places that warrant a separate blog entry in the coming weeks… So, stay tune!
* All group pics credit to the very talented Darren of Explore Life Lah!
This short getaway to the island gem of Malaysia is made possible, courtesy of Tourism Malaysia, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) and in2it.sg!
Want to have an adventure of your own? Well, you guys are in luck! SAFRA is currently having an exclusive promotion for its Facebook fans. Get 50% off a 3D2N package at only $189 (usual price: $378) and enjoy perks such as 10% discount off F&B and Spa treatments! Now, all that you need to do is to simply click the “LIKE” button to like the page and you’re off for a vacation at the island paradise!