Friday, April 6, 2007

Langkawi, Malaysia

We came to Langkawi on the recommendation of Frank Schliewinsky. Some of you will remember Frank as a housing expert in Vancouver who published the Condominium Handbook. Over the years, we did a lot of work together, although nothing matched the slide presentation we did on ‘Bathrooms-then and now’ at Universal Plumbing’s 1995 Client Appreciation Dinner! Others may remember Frank from our 1985 Halloween Party ‘In the Kitchen’, when he arrived in a military jacket with half a kettle on his head, and coiled telephone wires in his epaulets…He was General Electric.

Frank decided to take a few years off to sail around the world and seems to have got stuck in the waters around Thailand and Malaysia. When he heard we were traveling in SE Asia, he wrote that we had to come to Langkawi. “You’ll like it Michael. They even have a nice Sheraton and a golf course”.

Sensing the sneer in his voice, I decided not to book the Sheraton nor the Four Seasons on the other side of the island. Instead, we picked a resort in the jungle a short distance from the airport. On Frank's suggestion we rented a car. After completing the paperwork, the clerk explained the company’s somewhat unusual gasoline arrangement. You return the car empty, since it is rented empty! But she assured us there was enough gas to get us to the petrol station 3 km away. 15 km later, we still hadn’t found the station, and were getting truly lost. Eventually we found a petrol station, but drove around for an hour and a half looking for the resort. I kept assuring Sally this was an adventure, but after driving past the same building for the third time, and getting conflicting directions from everyone we asked, the adventure started to wear thin. Sally said perhaps we should have stayed at the Sheraton!

We finally found Kampung Tok Senak, a traditional Malay resort spread out over 43 acres of tropical jungle. Not wanting to do any more driving, we decided to have a drink at the Fun Bar, and dinner in the restaurant. Unfortunately, there was no one in the Fun Bar, and we didn’t feel like sitting alone under the flashing disco lights. There was only one other group in the restaurant, but we stayed. The menus arrived. With a couple of exceptions, the dishes were under RM9 ($3 CDN). We had a feast for RM40. There was no wine list, but Sally managed to arrange for a bottle of white. It turned out to be from California, and yes, cost more than the 5 excellent dishes. We returned to the chalet to see if there was anything on the television, and were surprised to find 36 channels; the most we have had anywhere on the trip.

We stayed at two more places over the next two nights, but The Sheraton or Four Seasons would have been much better choices; especially the Four Seasons, which is one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. But the island is the story. Frank was right. It’s a very special place, with a nice balance between developed and undeveloped areas. There are cows on the beach, wild monkeys on the roads, and lots of good places to stay and eat. One can see that it is undergoing a lot of change, but we both highly recommend it as a wonderful place to come for a relaxing island holiday. In addition to everything else, it’s a Duty Free island.

We had a wonderful dinner at the Coco Beach Restaurant, which consisted of a few tables near the edge of the beach. Our dinner came out of large concrete tanks full of fresh fish, crabs, and lobsters. The next night we took an evening sunset cruise. I hope the photos tell the story. It was my first opportunity to jump off a boat into a waiting fishnet full of beautiful Syrian and

German girls, and pulled along the water . Since Sally had forgotten her swimsuit, she took the photos! After the cruise, she took me for my first Foot Reflexology session. She really enjoyed it.

We would like to have stayed longer in Langkawi, especially since the water festival is starting this weekend. But we also wanted to get to Thailand, where we’re staying for a few days with Ross McClellan. Ross was once one of Vancouver’s most successful real estate lawyers who decided a few years ago to start a new life in Bangkok. It's a very nice life! But as for Langkawi, we'll definitely be back.


Anonymous said...


Not a week has gone by since you started posting that I haven't visited your blog. It is a delight to follow your travels.

I particularly enjoy the recounting of your spontaniety in your travels, side-trips, choice of hotels. Such freedom!

Frank S's recommendation of Langkawi appears to have been a great one. I want to find our more about this paradise.

All the best to you on Sally as you continue your journey.

Bob Ransford

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
I was surfing the internet trying to look for a kampong(village) house in Langkawi. I was surprised to see my photo in your blog. For me this is my first photo to be pulished by someone i didn't know. For some reason, i feel so happy and excited.

Please come again to Langkawi. This time why don't you try to stay at Tanjung Rhu Resort-they do airport or jetty transfer to the Resort. With their all inclusive package, you can eat anything from their food & bevereges(except for alcoholic, take away & special dining arrangements). This is inclusive of 24hours in room dining.
You can rent a car from Kasina, the prise will be a little bit higher but they give you full thank of petrol. In return, you need to make sure the tank is full before you return back the car. They are full license agent and an insurance to cover you up for an accident.
Try island hopping and mangrove tour. you wont regret it.


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