Every story can be broken down into three specific parts. The beginning, the middle and the ending. The story that I am about to tell you, has an ending which has now become the most precious possession of my life. So now that I have your full attention and curiosity about the ending, lets begin the story of when this monkey finally met the love of his life again and while I am at it I will tell you everything you want to know about Langkawi. Let’s start.
For a very strange reason, this was the first time when I was flying to somewhere and I was not excited about the place at all, I was excited about something else (stop rolling your eyes, I will tell you the reason shortly).
I was sitting in the airport lounge at NewDelhi international airport, my first time in any airport lounge btw, waiting for the flight to start boarding. This is when my CEO’s wife graced the lounge with her presence (you see it was a company vacation, now that should explain how I could afford to go to an exotic place like Langkawi). It was her who finally told me that airport lounges have free access to liquor and food, just about 70 minutes before the boarding time. I was immediately reminded of “Chak-De-India” and its famous dialogue, “wo 70 minute tumse khuda bhi nahi cheen sakta”. Lets just say I did my best to devour the lounge in those 70 minutes.
I had always hated my plane journeys. I hated the tiny spaces with no leg room, the obnoxious smell of air freshener ,the tasteless food and just about everything in a plane journey. Amid all my hatred, I gazed out of the window, for the first time I was looking at full moon in all its glory from the height of 35000 feet, and it was amazing. Imagine a white sea of clouds over an actual see(notice the irony, lol), bathed in the pristine blue light of a gloriously lit moon. It looked like a scene straight from the pages of some fairy tail. If I hadn’t seen it my self, I would not have believed that something like this could exist. Unending waves of royal blue clouds spread over the unending sky, I wish I had a capable camera to catch that scene…well, some other day maybe.
The first view of Langkawi presented itself from the window of the aircraft. From up there, it looked like a beautiful collection of islands paying hide and seek with the ocean. The cherubic blue colour of the water on the cost lines of small islands was like a decoration done by gods.
Langkawi airport is by far the smallest airport I have ever seen. I was out of the airport in 10 minutes but perhaps that was thanks to the no checkin luggage policy I follow.
Langkawi is a tropical rainforest island, hardy spread in a radius of 20Km. One thing you should know about Langkawi is that it is a UNESCO protected island which makes for some of the weirdest rules I witnessed in a country. For e.g. you can drink and smoke in public, however if you are caught eating outside other than a restaurant or an eating joint then you are liable for a penalty. You could go to jail for throwing trash on the road. I would take a break here to explicitly inform my fellow Indian brothers, hold your urge to litter the place and say good by to the habit of pissing on the roadside, you would be thrown in the darkest corners of Langkawi if you are caught breaking any rules(yes, peeing on the side of the road is illegal).
Another very important thing to know about Langkawi is that it’s a duty free island. The author would like to take a long pause to remind all my Indian brothers how big of a deal it is. To all those fellow drunk friends who beg any relative/friend coming back from any foreign country to pick up a bottle of that expensive alcohol, rejoice brothers for now you will only drink the “CHIVAS” at a meagre cost of 1000 Rs/bottle. A significant part of my friend list in Langkawi had tears of joy in their eyes.
My first impression of Langkawi was HOT. No, quite literally. It was so hot during the day time that a lot of my white skinned friends got sun-burnt(you know who you are if you are reading this….GEORGE). Langkawi being the tropical island has three seasons namely hot, hotter and hottest. However, once I adjusted to the heat then the island transformed into a beautiful piece of land where even gods would not mind taking a short break.
As the first leg of my journey to Langkawi was a company holiday trip, so we ended in one of those big hotels with hundreds of rooms in it. Most of our days were spent in the swimming pool, most of our evenings were spent at the Pentai Cenang area sitting in some beach side restaurant or at some bar or lying on the sand with couple of beers.
The authentic Malaysian food is a bliss to have. Last year I had the honour of visiting Thailand (wipe that smile of your faces and stop judging :P) and I realised the food their was extremely tasteless. To my utter surprise, food in Malaysia was a delight. Surprisingly, a lot of flavours and quite chilly. I had read a couple of blogs before reaching Langkawi that talked about the kind of food you could get and I am so glad I did. For e.g. take the authentic Malaysian tea, which is served like a frothy beer. It goes without saying that the street food there was another one of gourmet surprises although just a small caveat couple of people I know, did get food poisoning after having that food so be careful. If you end up visiting that place, consider stoping by a not so fancy looking Malaysian food joint and try their Chicken Fried Rice with some Malaysian style chilli chicken and some prawns & crab. Blissful!!
One more thing you should know about Malaysia. it is a Muslim country so anyone expecting it to be anything remotely like Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia, lets have a rain check. When in Malaysia, if they say they are going to give you a massage in a parlour they really mean they will only give massage in the parlour (if you know what I mean :P) and they will be bloody good at it, sometimes.
Langkawi offers many activities for people looking to explore the place. On the second day after reaching we embarked on an island hoping tour. This covered hopping on the two of the most beautiful islands of Langkawi. The first stop was a sweet water lake in the middle of a geo-forest island park, Dayan Bunting Marbal Geo-forest Park. Being a mountain monkey, I have had the privilege of visiting many forests, but I had never experienced a geo-forest island park before and I was pleasantly surprised by its beauty.
To be honest with you, I never really expected a lake to exist in the middle of a sea in the first place and on top of that according to our local boat guide that lake was a mystical lake.
The lake was called “Pregnant maiden’s lake”. The folk tale about the island was very simple, if you were a woman looking to conceive a baby and you come to this island and drink the water from the sweet water lake, then you get pregnant. Simple, right. As to why was this lake called a pregnant maiden’s lake was a simple enough mystery to crack. Imagine a lake surrounded by mountains coming out of water in the shape of a pregnant lady lying on top of them. Of course it was a folklore but by god the way that boat guide explained the story I was so sure I found the reason for Langkawi’s popularity amongst honeymooners.
For a good next hour I was swimming int the lake. I don’t know if the place has any magical powers and honestly I am no one to judge someone’s faith. I would say this when I was in the middle of that lake, I looked around at the mountain peaks in the shape of pregnant ladies an I could not help but feel quite dazed. It was a surreal experience, very refreshing, very calming. If it was not for our very serious tour guide, I would have stayed in the water for another hour.
The next stop on our journey was the famous eagle feeding point. Well, we did not see any eagle feeding that day as there were no eagles around. I have been told its a pitiful sight, perhaps it was a good thing we did not get to see it.
Moving on to the final destination of our island hoping tour, we finally reached the most beautiful island surrounding Langkawi, Bahas island. When you imagine an island holiday, you imagine blue water white sand. Bahas was an island of your dream. The water was neither too cold nor too hot. An island with virtually no waves, a very calm sea, blue sea till wherever your eye could look. I think I turned into Espresso from cappuccino in one sun bathing session that day, completely worth it.
The most happening beach in Langkawi is Pentai Cenang which is home to countless beach resorts, cafes, good food and water sports.
There were some interesting stories at that beach, for e.g. the one where the four of us guys tried riding one scooter and then got caught by Malaysian cops(who looked so Indian that one of us idiots actually asked him, “are you indian?”), or the one where a whole bunch of us drunk morons started doing headstands and push-ups or the one where one of us(that idiot was me) got so drunk that he ended up throwing up in cab and ended up paying a fine of 200 Ringgit. That beach offers some interesting stories and some really cheap booze.
Now let me share the tale of my blunders with water sports. So, this monkey(me) had never done parasailing on a beach before, so this meant that I was quite excited about the possibility of being hundreds of meters in the air tied on a string while hanging on a malnourished looking paraglider. Turns out so were a couple of my friends from the office. Which led to an awesome round of bargaining with an Indian looking Malaysian kid barely a day older than 17 years for the prices of parasailing. Here is the conversation, try to find the humour.
Me: How much for parasailing?
Him: 50 Ringgit
Me: How much for two?
Him: 100 Ringgit
Rahul: We will be two people doing together then how much?
Him: 100 Ringgit
Rahul: We are 6 people coming together and two of us will do together then how much?
Him: 300 Ringgit
This was the exact conversation that we had for the following 30 minutes before succumbing to his amazing negotiation skills. I think 15 minutes into the conversation we started negotiating in Hindi out of desperation. Somewhere in the bottom of my heart I was so amazed with his negotiation skills. I wanted to be like him, negotiate like him, he was negotiating as if he did not give two flying fucks about whether we parasailed with him or not. Anyways so long story short, we ended up paying exactly what he demanded half an hour ago. That parasailing was the most stupid adventure sports I had done till that day. A boy half my age was suppose to give me landing instructions, he did give me instructions and that ended up with me flat against the beach with heavy bruises.
My comedy did not end their, I actually had the audacity to try the couple’s parasailing just 2 days later which once again resulted in an awesome disaster. This time the two of us were bruised even more. I was scared out of my pants when all of this was happening, but the only reason I did it was maybe because I knew one day these stupidities will bring a smile on my face.
I am smiling right now.
Langkawi is actually a very favourite destination amongst the honeymooners. It could be owing to the fact that it has some of the most stunning beach resorts I have ever seen. It could also be because of the most amazing sunsets or It could be the awesome atmosphere that somehow make you one with your partner. There was love in the air.
Honeymoon couples or couples in general, please do not miss the cruise sunset dinner. I missed it because I did not book it in advance. The sunset dinner at seal and the Skycab are the two most amazing things to do in Lankawi.
You could be in Langkawi and do so much in a day. At the same time you could be in Langkawi and choose not to do anything. Just a stroll by the beach during the sunset with your lover, just a couple of drinks with great live music and an extraordinary evening date, just a lazy breakfast of simple eggs with toast and two cups of saffron tea.
I spent about 8 days in that beautiful tropical rainforest island and still I feel that my trip did not do justice to the place. I promise that someday I will find myself in that island again, I will be sitting across the love of my life in a restaurant with lovely music in the background.
Now my friends I have come to a crucial moment in my story. The moment I talked about in the very beginning of the story. The ending. It’s a difficult task to find an ending to a dream because you don’t want the dream to come to an end.
I am still in that dreamland called Langkawi, but I can very honestly say that I have found a perfect ending to my dream. It’s a lovely ending, one that I never believed existed for me. Its an ending called love.
My dear monkeys, trust me when I say this. Life is too short to be only controlled by people, money or past experiences. Go out there and dare to go out of your comfort zone and you will find your perfect ending.
Monkey over and out!