Langkawi, the island of dreams… When I flew in to Langkawi, it was rainy and cloudy, but when we started to descend through the clouds, I got an amazing view of the island. It looked like the island in the old King Kong movie. The sea was grey and the island was of such a dark green I had never seen before.
I took a cab to Pentai Cenang, where most of the budget accommodation is located. I went through the hostels listed in my LP and Cenang Guesthouse sounded very nice. When I got there, it was pouring down cats and dogs and the woman at the reception told me that they were sold out. But another guy named Michael came around the corner and told me he had a room for me. He loaded my backpacks and me into his car and drove me a couple hundred yards down the road. We stopped at a new two-story apartment building and he showed me the room. It was absolutely great, clean, sea view, AC, TV, everything and cost only 80 Ringgit per night. I booked it for the following 3 nights and was absolutely happy.
As soon as the rain stopped, I headed for the beach, which was about 30 meters from my apartment. Even though it was still cloudy and grey, it was still very warm and the ocean was nice and warm as well. Within the first few hours on the island, I decided to drop my plans to go to Tamen Negara and stay longer in Langkawi. I went for a short stroll on the beach, and when I came back, I discovered a little beach bar, the Submarine Bar, right in front of my apartment. The bar looks exactly like one would imagine a beach bar, and as it was getting close to sunset, I decided to celebrate my first day at Beach Paradise with a nice cocktail. I started talking to the owner of the Submarine Bar, Anand, and it turned out the he is from Slovenia. We chatted and before I knew it, I had a fresh cocktail in front of me. This wasn’t too funny, since I had not eaten all day and the mix of my rum and coke, well let me put it that way, they just put a shot of coke in it to give it some color… After I downed my seconded cocktail while watching another non-existing sunset, I went to my room, took a shower to clear my head and headed for something to eat. I walked down the only road in Cenang and ended up in a nice Thai restaurant. Due to its proximity to Thailand, most of the Langkawi dishes have Thai influence. I was really hungry and ordered a whole lot of food: Tom Yam, a local seafood soup, fried rice with shrimps and chicken, and some delicious shrimps in a spicy cocktail sauce. The food was absolutely outstanding and I finished it to the last bite. Then I and my happy tummy walked back to the bar, I definitely needed a digestif now…
The next day, it was still rainy, but I packed my book and sat down at the bar to read and to chat with Anand and Eddy, his bartender. When I got hungry, I asked Anand if his bar also serves food. He said no, but if I want, I could order something from the café next door and have it served here. I thought this was somewhat strange, but Anand told me he always orders his espresso there too, since he doesn’t have a coffee machine. I ordered a sandwich and was absolutely happy to get a real nice French baguette with ham and cheese. I enjoyed the first real bread in months and ate and read and chatted the whole day and before I knew it, the rain stopped and the clouds parted and I watched a beautiful sunset. I headed out for some dinner again and then returned to the beach bar, as usual. There I met Tobi, another German, and it turned out that he is from Lohr, a city that is about 60 kilometers from my hometown. What a coincidence, isn’t it? He had quit his job and decided to travel around South East Asia until his money runs out. I think people like that are so interesting and I admire their courage to live their dreams. Tobi had been in Langkawi for more than a week already, even though he only intended to stay a couple of days. We talked the whole evening and when Anand decided to close the bar, he invited us to come with him and some friends to another bar, called Sun Bar. So we all hopped on two scooters and off we went. Sun Bar was another very nice bar and we had a great time. When this bar closed too, we went to another bar and had some food. The waitress there turned out to be German, too and she recommended us some great food. When we got home, it was almost dawn and we fell into our beds after a great night out.
The next day, the sun was shining and I headed for the beach. I didn’t do anything except for reading, sunbathing and swimming. I went and extended my room until Saturday, and asked in a travel agency for a bus to Singapore on Saturday. I was told to book one day in advance and I thought it would not be a problem. Of course, I spent my evening at the beach bar and met with Tobi and some other very interesting fellows from all over the world.
On the following day, Tobi and I went on the famous island hopping tour. We were picked up at my apartment by Michael and then were dropped off at a little harbor. We boarded a tiny boat with our fellow Korean tour mates and off we went. First, we went to Pulau Dayang Bunting, or Lake of the Pregnant Maiden. After a 5-minute walk through the rainforest, we arrived at a beautiful fresh water lake. Right where the trail leads to the lake, there are some tourist attractions, like a swimming area, pedalo rental and a gift shop. Our Korean friends jumped to rent some kayaks and Tobi and I decided to follow a walkway around the lake. When we got close to the other side, we decided to go for a dip. The water was absolutely beautiful and refreshing, and luckily, it wasn’t until now, that I read about the legend of a giant white crocodile in this lake. Well, we were not attack by a mythical crocodile and we had a good time making fun of the Koreans, who were absolutely incapable of getting control of their kayak and were only turning and turning, but never got one meter ahead. When we went back to the boat, we had to go up some pretty steep stairs, and again, those were not intended for people under 6 feet. I mean, I really like walking and I even don’t mind steps, but do they have to reach to my hip all the time??? We made it to the boat and drove to another island. Tobi and I sat down on a stump on the beach and made fun of a guy, who looked like the incarnation of an Italian lover. We didn’t know if he actually was Italian or not, but we had quite a few laughs at his expense. Gosh we are sooo bad. After an hour on this uninhabited island, we went back to the boat and drove to the Eagle Feeding place. Our skipper threw some fish in the ocean and we watched about a docent eagles plunging into the water to get their food. I actually was wondering how these birds were still able to fly, because there must be several tours like ours every day. When we got back to Cenang, we Tobi went for a late afternoon beer to the bar and I hit the shower. Then we went to a nice little restaurant and had a fabulous meal. And then, creatures of habit as we are, we went back to the beach bar for another fun night.
The next day, I went back to the travel agent to book my bus to Singapore. To my great surprise, the travel agent told me, that all the buses to Singapore on Saturday were booked out already. I decided not to go to Singapore then and stay a couple more days in Langkawi…Well, I guess now is the time to share a very famous legend of Langkawi with you. According to this legend, a foreigner tried to seduce a beautiful married local Malay. When she refused him, he got so angry that he accused her of adultery and she was murdered by her husband. Before she died, she put two curses on Langkawi: the first curse said that for the next seven generations, nothing should grow on the island, while the second curse said that foreigners shall stay forever on this island. The course of events concerning my departure really made me believe in this story!!!
The next days, I spent also at the beach, doing nothing but reading and relaxing during the day, having some of the best foods of my life and having a great time at the Submarine Bar in the evenings. I actually had planned to do so much sightseeing in Langkawi and Malaysia, but after doing this so extensively in China, I was just tired of it. All I wanted to do was nothing. I haven’t done this in such a long time and it felt really good. During this time, I met some really interesting people. I met Lynn from England, who quit her finance job to travel the world. Kudey, a guy from the Maldives, who was in Langkawi to build a boat. A Skipper from Norway, who told me that he had not been home for Christmas in more than 15 years and how deeply touched he was, when his crew bought him a ticket to Norway to reunite with his family for the holidays. A girl from Ireland, who wanted to meet her sister, who had moved to Australia, for vacation and while she was in Langkawi, she just called her office and quit her job to follow her sister to Australia. It was so amazing to listen to their stories and their adventures. I really wish them luck and might they never stop living their dream.
Returning to KL turned out to be a little adventure as well. I had booked a bus to KL for Monday evening, which would have been a stupid hassle. I would leave Langkawi at 5.30 PM, catch the bus at 9.00 PM, arrive at some remote bus station well outside of KL at 4.30 AM (with all my backpacks and my stuff), and then my red eye flight to Beijing would leave at 12:50 AM the following day. I was really not satisfied with my connection, but I couldn’t figure out a more convenient and affordable way to get back to KL. Especially since buses in Malaysia are not known for their punctuality, I did not want to risk taking a later bus to KL and miss my flight to Beijing. I complained to everybody at the bar, but no one came up with a better solution for me. So on Monday morning, I checked out of my hotel, put my backpack in Anand’s hands and sat down at the bar and lamented to Anand about my stupid travel itinerary. He just looked at me as if I am stupid and asked me why I didn’t want to fly the next day with Air Asia. This solution had never even crossed my mind. Off I went to the next internet café and booked a flight for the next day, then I went to Michael to extend my room for a third time and then I went to the travel agent to refund my ticket, which unfortunately did not work out (well, it was 11 €, so what the heck…) After this, I went to Anand and got my backpack, threw on my bikini and headed to the beach once more. As I had already said goodbye to all my friends the night before, it was a big surprise for them, to see me again. You should have seen their faces, they looked like they had seen a ghost. After all these delays, all I could think about was the Eagle’s song “Hotel California – You can check out any time, but you can never leave”.
The next day, I checked out of my room once more and headed for the bar to have my last morning coffee with Anand, our little routine, which we developed over the past week. At around 3 I took a cab to the Airport, flew to KL, transferred by shuttle bus from the Air Asia terminal to KLIA and waited there for a couple of hours for my check-in counter to open. I boarded my red eye flight at around 12 AM and left Malaysia with more than one tear in my eye. Malaysia is such a wonderful country, I really wished I had picked it instead of China to do my internship. The people there are so friendly and it is so much easier to communicate, since most of the people speak English very well. Since I didn’t do most of the things I actually had intended to do, I definitely have to come back to this great country and explore it some more.
Want to read what happened next?
My China Experience 1
My China Experience 2-11
My China Experience 12-21
My China Experience 21-31