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Asia Fantasia Part 4. Laid back Langkawi.

Sam from The Gecko showing off his fire breathing skills

Our flight with Air Asia from Singapore to Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia was smooth, quick and easy. Once again we passed through immigration and collected yet another Malaysian stamp in the passports before getting a taxi straight to The Gecko Guesthouse at Pantai Cenang (all the taxi prices were on fixed rates!). I had emailed ahead to inquire about accommodation and we got a half decent twin chalet with a fan and a usable bathroom (unlike the one at the hovel in Padang!) for a princely £12.00 per night or thereabouts. The Gecko was a cool place with a decent hang-out area and a bar. We liked it immediately.
As usual we dumped our packs in the room and went of to explore. We had a walk down the main street to check it out and a look at the lovely 2km long white sandy beach. Oh yes! That’ll do nicely we decided 🙂
Langkawi is an unusual spot; it has a very laid back feel to it, almost a Caribbean vibe and the locals are as chilled as you can get. Expect to hear the constant humming of Reggae beats everywhere you go if you ever get the chance to visit.
It is a stunningly beautiful place too with long ridges of Karst-like mountains and a lush green interior. Fortunately for us it was also designated a duty-free district by the Malaysian Government in 1986 and this meant that it was also a very cheap place to visit.

Home for a week.
Back at The Gecko we met some other backpackers when they arrived in from Thailand; Thomas & Aki from Finland and Kirsty from Surrey, England, and we arranged to go out with them in the evening.
Dan, Kirsty, Aki and I headed for the Tomato restaurant that Sam, one of the staff, had recommended. It was very cheap and very good too. We called in at the 1812 bar on the main street for a couple of beers before heading for the Babylon bar on the beach front. The Babylon is a chilled out place with a live reggae band alternating with a DJ who played more of the same. Dan got bored senseless of course but enjoyed himself more when he got to smoke a Shisha pipe with watermelon tobacco! We had a few beers and then headed for bed about 01.00am when the bar started to quieten off.
Dan enjoying his first experience of the watermelon Shisha pipe at The Babylon Bar.

Monday 10th October
I got up at about 10.15am and surfed the net for a while under the canopy. Dan got up about 11.00am and we had some breakfast before getting a taxi with Kirsty to the cable car attraction and arranging to meet Aki & Thom there too (they were hiring a moped). The cable car up the mountain was a really good experience and the Skybridge was worth the £6.00 fare on its own; amazing views across the island. Caught a taxi back and chilled under the canopy for a few hours; Dan went off for a massage on his stiff neck (and who knows what else!)
The cable car up to the first station
The amazing Skybridge below the top station.
The whole week turned in to one long chill out; we ate pretty much everyday at The Tomato Restaurant, partied a little at the various bars, mostly The Babylon, sometimes Little Lylia’s and the occasional foray into The Sunba an odd nightclub with a pool table and average music! 
We bummed around, hit the beach and drank lots of the delicious Chocolate Milkshakes from the bar at The Gecko; probably the finest chocolate milkshake in the world! We even ate Pizza and it was good.
On the Wednesday Dan and I decided to head off to a karting circuit we had spotted from the taxi on our way from the airport. Kirsty elected to come along and we had a blast ripping around the long outdoor circuit; in fact Dan and I enjoyed it so much we had two sessions!
In the evening Sam had invited us all to the birthday party of one of the local bars and they very kindly provided a whole load of us with free beer and delicious local foods! Sam impressed everyone with his recently acquired fire breathing skills to top off the night.
Dan spent the entire week being driven to distraction by hormones and chasing the girls; now don’t get me wrong when I say this, I’m just as attracted to the opposite sex as everyone else, but I’m glad that I’m not nineteen anymore and driven to distraction by the need to spread my love! 😀 However, if it does come my way… !
Dan, Kirsty and Me about to thrash around the Karting circuit.
On Thursday we decided to hit up the obligatory island hopping boat trip and we were up early for the 09.30am departure to visit the freshwater Lake of the Pregnant Maiden, an eagle feeding stop, and an hour or two on a beautiful uninhabited tropical beach, that’s the life alright! We ate delightful Curry at The Tomato for dinner in the evening before Aki suggested we enjoy a few drinking games at The Gecko before heading to our now regular haunt on the beach, Babylon Bar. Good old “Ring of Fire” got most of us in to the party spirit and well on the way to another hangover!
Dan styling a back-flip in to the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden.

An Eagle descending on the chicken skins thrown in to attract them.
Friday was an especially lazy day entirely due to the aforementioned drinking game. We had a late start. I booked flights to KL for our transfer on Saturday evening, once again with the wonderfully efficient Air Asia. We surfed the net, read, watched TV and eventually made it to the beach for couple of hours. We enjoyed takeaway chicken rice from Tomato, spent the evening hanging at The Gecko and an hour at Babylon from 12.30am. Dan went off to the Sunba with a few of the staff and resurfaced some time later!
And so we came to our final day on this most relaxed of islands.
We spent the morning at Gecko packing our kit and recovering. We waved Kirsty off at 11.30am to continue with her trip through Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and on to Australia. Officially we checked out at 12.00 and then just hung around. We went to beach about 3.00pm and had a heap of fun blowing the last of our Ringgits, Jet skiing and Para-sailing (100RM for the Jet-Ski & 60RM each for para-sailing) then headed back to Gecko for a shower and hung around until 7.40pm before taking a taxi to airport and beginning our long journey home. 1 taxi, 1 bus, 3 flights, 5 airport terminals, 1 lift with my Mum & Dad and 26 hours later we were home. Tired, grouchy and Jet lagged and with another bundle of memories. It’s great to travel but it’s still nice to get home too 🙂
Rinsing the last of the Ringgits; para-sailing at Pantai Tengah.
Farewell beautiful Pantai Tengah, Langkawi.
More Images Below
Not a bad result for £12.00. The chalet at The Gecko Guesthouse.
The bar and chill-out area.
Dan relaxing at The Gecko. We did a lot of that!
Dan and I at the cable car mid-station.
Dan peering over the amazing Skybridge.
Aki, Thom, Kirsty, Dan and me on the Skybridge.
Cheeky monkey enjoying a cheeky 7up!
An awful lot of Eagles in Eagle Bay!
Dan loving the secluded beach life!

Did someone say drinking games?… Ring of Fire anyone?…

...Looks like it! Sam, Kirsty, Dan and Obi getting into the spirit of things.

I really enjoyed the para-sailing.

Dan getting airborne!

That was the last of Ringgits then! Dan increasing his carbon footprint. Taxi…


About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.

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