Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Destination: Langkawi (Part 1)

Some of the islands of Langkawi, an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman sea, in a part of the state of Kedah, Malaysia.
Image from Tourism Malaysia

It's the year-end school holidays in Malaysia right now, and the hubby and I are planning our vacation. We haven't decided on where to go yet, but I'm thinking it would be nice if we could go to Langkawi as I've never been there ever in my 32 years of living.

So what's fun and exciting in Langkawi? Of course, there's the beach, but I would like to visit other places as well.
Underwater World Langkawi, Pantai Cenang

Apparently the Underwater World has more on display than just underwater creatures. In addition to fishies found in the Tropical Rainforest and Freshwater sections, like the Knifefish, Giant Gouramy, Arowanas, Arapaima, Stingrays, Catfish, Garfish and the Bala Shark, you will also see on-land animals that live near water from all types of climates. These include the Rockhopper penguins in the Sub-Antarctic section, the Southern fur seals and Blackfooted penguins in the Temperate section, Albino Turtles and Snapping Alligators in the freshwater section, and the Asian small-clawed otters in their own pond section. If you've never seen a real-life Sea Dragon before, you might see one here. This is my first time hearing about this non-fairytale-related real-life organism myself.

The Sea Dragon and the Sea Horse
Images from Underwater World Langkawi

Opening Hours
Daily: 10am-6pm
School/Public Holidasy: 9.30am-6.30pm

Entry Fees
Adults: RM28 with MyKad/ RM38 without MyKad
Kids: RM18 with MyKad/ RM18 without MyKad
Seniors: RM22

Buffalo Park, Kampung Nyior Cabang

Buffalo steaks! Enough to get any meat-lover to give this a try, I'll say. Of course, you'll get to see a buffalo up-close (how many of us have done that if you don't live in a village?), see the milking process and get to ride on one of these beasts, too. Follow up by trying and buying their buffalo milk ice cream, yoghurt and cheese. 

Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, feeding a buffalo calf at the Buffalo Park.
Image from Langkawi Island page 

Buffalo milk ice cream and buffalo steak

Entry fee to the Buffalo Park is RM3 per person. I couldn't find info on their official opening hours, but many recommend going there in the morning if you want to catch most activities like feeding and milking time.

Dataran Lang and The Legends Park, Kuah

Langkawi wouldn't be Langkawi without its legends. From the legend of the white-blooded, wrongly-condemned damsel Mahsuri to the tale of the fighting giants Mat Raya and Mat Cincang that led to the formation of the town of Kuah (meaning Gravy in Malay) and the village of Belanga Pecah (Broken Pot), almost every inch of this island is touched by myths and legends. Apparently, the Legends Park aims to present these mythical tales through the monuments and sculptures in the park. According to reviews, it's worth a visit if you're already visiting Dataran Lang. Otherwise, giving it a miss won't be a crime as it's just a normal recreational park with pretty statues and decorative landscaping.

Similarly, it seems that all Dataran Lang has going for it is the 12-metre tall statue of the bird that gave Langkawi its name. However, it is still a nice spot for photo-taking or a relaxing stroll, and a shot with the eagle is the ultimate proof that you've been to Langkawi, so it earns a place on my must-visit list.

Dataran Lang
Image from Tourism Malaysia 
(hence the smiling family that isn't mine)

I thought about going to the Crocodile Farm, mainly to see the world's oldest crocodile born without teeth, Bujang Kawi, but after reading how poorly maintained the place is (borderline animal-cruelty, some said) on TripAdvisor, I think I'll be giving it a miss. Plus, they sell croc-skin products in the gift shop! How twisted is that?

Of course, you can't not go to the beach when you're in Langkawi. The most popular here is Pantai Cenang, so to avoid the crowds, many travellers recommend the adjacent Pantai Tengah, or Pantai Kok, some 12 kilometres away, for more exclusitivity. Any beach is fine by me and the kids, though, so whatever's attached to the hotel or resort we'll be staying at should be A-OK!

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