29.12.2012 - 29.12.2012 33 °C
We decided yesterday that we should probably try and see some more of Langkawi than just the beach three minutes from where we are staying. We saw a boat trip advertised in our guesthouse for five pounds each and woke up early this morning to make the nine o'clock minivan that picks you up and takes you to the jetty to catch the boat. We didn't know what to expect, and when we were the only people on the minivan all the way to the jetty we thought we might be in for a lucky personal tour. How wrong we were.
There were hundreds of people getting on dozens of boats, the only way to differentiate each other was the sticker the minivan driver slaps on your chest. We were like branded cattle been sorted out and ploughed onto different boats and it was total chaos. There were about a dozen of us on our boat by the time we were ready to set off, a very diverse group of people, and once we were handed our very reassuring life jackets we were good to go.
Langkawi is part of a huge group of 99 islands in Malaysia, some are really small and just look like a mound of trees poking out of the sea while others like Langkawi are larger. We sped along through the archipelago zooming past some of the islands and admiring the view which was just a vast array of sea and greenery. Most islands are very small green humps, covered in rock and dense jungle and the view of them on the horizon with the sea was amazing.
Our first stop was a geoforest on the island of Dayang Bunting. It is a small island which is the home of a freshwater lake called lake of the pregnant maiden. The story goes that a women who couldn't get pregnant finally did after drinking from the lake. Anyway we walked from the shore up to the lake in the centre of the island. We were not the only boat, many more had left when we had and come here too so there were hundreds of people around. At the lake a large buoyant jetty allows you to walk part way across, there is a hut selling T-shirts, and pedalows that can be rented. Most people found a place at the edge of the jetty and sat down with their feet in the water, a few others swam about in the lake. We joined the people sat down until Liam decided he was not coming all this way to not go for a swim in the lake, regardless of what lives in there (and there were plenty of signs telling you, plus a myth of a large white croc). He dove in and swam about a bit before making the most undignified exit and heaved himself back onto the jetty like a seal which Chelsea and a few Malay people found hilarious. We sat there for a while but only had an hour before we had to go back to the boat.
The second stop was incredible. Langkawi's national symbol is the eagle, and there are a lot living on the island. We have seen them fly over while laying on the beach, so much so that Chelsea is on constant look out for them, it is like being on holiday with Bill Oddie. It was amazing to see them flying around in the air whilst laid on the beach but the boat stop was something else. The second stop took us to a bay full of mangroves, overhead dozens of eagles were soaring around. There were so many, even with the vast amount of boats in the way, that we thought the people who organise the boats must feed them to keep them around but we then saw the largest of them dive bomb the water and come away grasping a fish. You could see them so clearly, white heads with a huge wingspan and huge talons. It was an incredible sight, unfortunately we didn't have much luck with the photos, they were too quick. We just have a few blurry shots of them flying in the sky.
The last stop was the least impressive of the three but we had had our money's worth by this point so it was not much of a big deal. It was a secluded island, Beras Basah and another beach for us to spend the final hour on before we head back. The problem was the sheer amount of people, the other places had been able to cope with the volume, this place couldn't. Hundreds of people lined the small picturesque beach, there were loads of litter and we felt sorry for a tiny complex of beach bungalows where people were spending ther holiday. Must be terrible to have hoards of people descend on your paradise twice a day. We walked along the beach which could have been stunning, the sand on the beach was the finest and whitest we have ever seem and the sea was turquoise and warm with loads of fish swimming around. We had a paddle and a drink and sat in the shade of a tree until it was time to go back.
We were back at the guesthouse for half past one. We didn't have any other plans for the day so we sat on our veranda until the midday day sun had eased off a bit and went for a swim in the sea. We are now paranoid about jellyfish so it was not as relaxing as you may think but it was fun.
We came back spent another hour or so on our veranda before getting changed and going out for something to eat. We called at the Indian we had visited earlier in the week, it is the best place we have found and it is also within our budget unlike most other restaurants here . Chelsea had a mix of vegetarian curries and Liam had Tandoori chicken and we shared a naan bread. We strolled along the front for a while, Liam has been hunting for a cheap T-shirt to replace the one that was shrunk in the dryer in Melaka. Whilst looking he came across a turtle t-shirt that he knew Chelsea would love so bought her it.
After that we came back to the veranda with a couple of beers, the trip took up most of today's budget so we have had to watch our money. Also Chelsea has been well and truly attacked by sand flies so we wanted to avoid the beach tonight. She has over 60 bites mostly on her feet and legs so as a warning to anyone visiting Langkawi, wear insect repellent when going to the beach! On the other hand it seems we have not lost the £100 from our ATM mishap a few days ago. We have decided once we have done on Langkawi to head to Koh Lipe. A tiny Thai island an hour north west of here that you would struggle to find on a map. Another few days relaxing before we head onto mainland Thailand.