The month of December in most part of Malaysia and all of Singapore is smack in the middle of the south east monsoon season. Many, like us, assume that it’s pointless going to a beach holiday in Malaysia during the end of the year school holiday, until we were informed that Langkawi, an island located at the Andaman Sea, at the west of the Malaysian peninsula, is not affected by the monsoon. Indeed, it was four days of sunny sky during our 5-day trip there.
Langkawi has developed from a sleepy fishing island into a bustling city. Rather than be in the mercy of taxi drivers, we were advised to rent a car, which is easily available at the airport upon landing. Our 7-seater Nissan MPV cost S$60 a day. It wasn’t in the best condition, with scratches everywhere, but since we paid in cash and was to return the car at the airport with the keys inside, we were not too worried about liabilities for these scratches or damages.
There was no GPS in the car and the tourist paper map was no help. The friendly lady at the rental had told me that it’s impossible to get lost. – One can drive anywhere in Langkawi with just one hand, one foot and one eye. We got lost a few time though and had to rely on google map. Langkawi is bigger than expected, and city area like Kuah may be confusing.
With a car, we could explore off the beaten track, to far away deserted waterfalls; to kampongs (village) for roti canai breakfast; or to Kuah for the best seafood.
It was fun getting lost, driving all the way up a manicured road to Istana (Sultan’s Palace), only to be chased away by the guards; or simply to chance upon a restaurant by the beach serving cold beer and fish and chips.
To get the best sunset, we drove up to the highest peak on the island, Gunung Raya, deserted except for another family, and wait in the mist for that glimmer of hope of a sunset. Complementary pepper tea (self served) was included in the entrance fee while you enjoy the view.
Five days in Langkawi flew by and we didn’t even get a chance to go island hopping and snorkeling. A trip out to sea required us a book a boat (RM300) for three hours and we didn’t have that much cash for so many boat trips especially when we wanted to go fishing and to explore the mangroves. (Many places do not accept credit card, including the car rental.)
Although it was leisurely (we spent most hot afternoons snoozing away in our rental apartment), we managed to squeeze in many sight-seeing as well.
More in my next blog.