Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Langkawi revisit

Note: Photo credit to Shawn

Our main purpose was only one – to stay at the cool (or ‘chill’ as Manto says ;-) and happening The Cabin resort

We planned for the revisit back in May, but only revived it in late June – so MAS’ get-the-deal tix (which are quite a bargain actually) were sold out for the incoming journey.

We checked for other airline tickets, but they were quite expensive by then. I thought of something that can be quite exciting – taking a train ride to Langkawi instead! Luckily the gang agreed with it – thank you gals and (a lone) guy (hehe) !! We bought the Superior class sleeper (a double decker bed with curtains) which costs RM48 for upper bunk and RM56 for lower bunk. Upper bunk is cheaper because, well, you have to climb up (it’s in the effort you see ;-) We took the KL Sentral – Arau ticket. From Arau, we’ll be taking the taxi to Kuala Perlis jetty and take the ferry to Langkawi. Sweet!

Friday, 16 July 2010

We had dinner first at KL Sentral while waiting for Zu & Shawn to arrive for our train ride scheduled for 9.30pm. It was going to be an 11-gruelling-hours journey to reach Arau at 8.30am the next day! We realized later why our ride took that long – the train stops at each station (although it says Express Langkawi), so it stopped maybe every half an hour to pick up passengers from each of the station. We also realized that the train is still an important mode of transport for those living in remote or kampung areas. Our train was almost full, especially at the seated coach. There were kids who had to sleep uncomfortably on seats, but I guess they were used to it already.

in the train!
Our bunker

train tix

abg ktm check tiket

gossip session in progress
Our gossip session rocked! – hanging at the bunker talking about all sorts of things – from world affairs to jokes to nonsense :-p I really loved the chatting session, having friends around you, talk and just chill, especially from our resident storyteller – Manto ;-) But our diva Mas fell asleep quite early in the session – only to be awaken at midnight by hunger pangs

in the bunker

We finally realized that we needed some sleep to stay sane for our Island escapade lol! But before we went to sleep, we had a walkabout coach-by-coach tour. Ours was the first coach (but I later realized we had changed direction from being the head to the tail – most probably at Kuala Kangsar station – I also thought the stop there was quite long). We planned to have breakfast at the canteen coach the next morning – but it somehow didn’t materialize because we were all sleepyheads. But then again, I noticed that the café was closed the next morning when we moved from our sleeper coach to seated coach to get ready for arrival at Arau.

The train condition was overall – good. Our bunkers were clean – the bed and pillow sheet were white – no maps seen there – thank goodness ;-) (I actually brought my own pillow sheet, just in case lol!) Just one grouse though – it can’t be said about the lavatories – quite smelly and erm uuurgh not so clean – I shall not elaborate here.

For our ride for that particular journey – the coach with the surau somehow had faulty air conditioning, so our train was devoid of that coach. We performed our prayers on our bunks instead.

view from train

Saturday 17 July 2010

We arrived Arau the next day at 8.30am already feeling hungry. When we arrived at Arau, there was already a food stall waiting for us hurrah! We had a hearty breakfast and then took the taxi (more like kereta sapu – or driven rented car) to Kuala Perlis jetty which was only 25 minutes away.

finally in arau!
Ahh we were very flattered when the taxi driver asked us whether we were students (perasan muda chihihi). We had to tell the truth that we are already working instead. (Didn’t have the heart to lie lol!)

We missed the 10am ferry as it was already full – so we had to wait for the 1045am one. I wonder why it was called Express Labuan when it was destined for Langkawi hmm…We refreshed ourselves facially at the jetty (remember, there was no bathroom facility in the train, and our last shower was the day before – yikes!) while waiting for the ferry. Oh, and how can we forget – we also amused ourselves by snooping around the makciks’ Harian Metro / Kosmo! tabloids for sleazy headlines. We concluded that those tabloids can only have the words ‘songsang’ and the like (you get us right?) as their headlines. Check them out if you don’t believe us!
Well that somehow made passing the time bearable and we were then off to Langkawi (but slightly late by 15 minutes). I got a text from Isal that his flight was going to be delayed to arrive at 2.45pm due to technical difficulties. Fortunately, Firefly (the airline he was taking) provided lunch for the stranded passengers. Oh yes, another gang mate would be arriving directly to Langkawi by plane instead.

We finally arrived Langkawi at 12.30 noon – but it was already drizzling. Poor Liza had to have her photo session plan at Dataran Lang shelved again for the second time :- ( Perhaps a third trip then?

arrive at kuah jetty

We then took our rented car – the same black Avanza we had last March for Izwan’s wedding! This time the rental costed only RM150 per day as it was not a peak / school holiday season. We had lunch at our favourite haunt – Wan Thai Restaurant. This time everyone was pleased and nobody cried ;-) Unfortunately, our diva Mas had to suppress her pangs for pulut durian as there was no pulut available in the entire of Langkawi island (OK I’m just exaggerating). However, the asam pedas we ordered this time was a bit different from the last one, and unfortunately, it didn’t taste as good. And we had our clear tom yam mixed up with red tom yam instead oh dear :-(

It was then time to pick up Isal at the airport, then head to our cute cabins to check in. After a bit of rest an solat, we hit the shops along Pantai Chenang looking for Pulau Payar packages. We settled on the agent whom we took the banana boat ride last March. It would cost us RM100/person inclusive of lunch and snorkelling set via the Coral Island tour agency. I remember last March during the school holidays, we were quoted RM150/person.

our room

the cabin compound
We then headed to Kuah in search of the pasar malam as recommended by The Cabin pakcik. But unfortunately, we couldn’t find it and settled for the stalls nearby Jetty Point instead. I later had diarrhoea later that night after having Nasi Goreng USA. But the others who had the same dish as me survived, so they probably have higher maldigestion defense system.
Pulau Payar
Sunday 18 July 2010

Is NOT recommended!! If you can avoid visiting it, please do! Due to:
1.We noticed there were only 2 main agents monopolizing– Coral Island (and forgot the other one)
2. Each agent takes more than a hundred tourists!! Can you imagine so many tourists on a teeny weeny tiny island and the harm these people can do to the island?
3. We saw rubbish/plastic bags floating around. Myself and Shawn picked up some rubbish while snorkelling, but we couldn’t cover the whole island of course
4. One of the 2 beaches of Payar is closed due to coral bleaching from global warming. It’s the same case for Perhentian and Tioman, unfortunately.
5. Since there are too many people, the journey from our cabin to the tour agency (we were picked up by a bus) already took us 2 hours (8-10am), then the ride to the island took another 45 minutes. We were at the island proper for 3 hours only.
6. There was no open sea snorkelling. We could only snorkel around the buoyed area near the beach
7. The packed lunch was bland – of chicken chop, muffin and oranges. Nuff said.

arrive at pulau payar

pulau payar
The sea was choppy so we had a bit of struggle to snorkel. And just as we head back to the ferry, it rained. And the ferry had air conditioning on. So we were all shivering in the ferry going back from a beach. How ironic! And didn’t I mention the sea was rough? Well, a dude behind us vomited so we tried our best to sleep so not to be affected by it and prayed that we would arrive back ASAP!

I never felt so disappointed from a snorkelling trip -unfortunately this was! The authorities better buck up to preserve the island and limit the number of tourists! I do think they should close the island (it’s a Marine Park actually) for some time to clean up the rubbish and let the corals recuperate. Shawn mentioned the presence of sea urchins (which we saw here at Payar!) were not a good sign as these creatures prey on the corals.
Later that night, we tried to forget the island episode by going karaoke-ing! But before that, we had a nice dinner buying dishes from the Padang Mat Sirat pasar malam (this time around we found it!). Mas finally got her pulut durian and it was delicious! We brought our food to a nearby stall and ate there. How nice of the tuan kedai to let us eat there.

Karaoke at Jetty Point was a blast! And super cheap! Cost us only RM50 for 2 hours for the whole group of 7 people. Isal didn’t sing, so we shared it among 6 of us, but it was still cheap! Unfortunately, we felt that it ended too soon. We just missed out on listening to Zu belting out Sex Bomb by Tom Jones because it was her turn next when the lights went off sigh…

Went back to the cabin at midnight. We wanted to have a massage initially, but later cancelled it as it was already late and most probably the massage spas were already closed.

Back home
Monday 19 July 2010

Myself, Liza, Zu & Shawn had a morning walk along Pantai Cenang before finding breakfast. Our cabin package does not come with breakfast so we had to find our own. Unfortunately, business opens quite late here in Cenang as we had to walk some distance before finding a stall. And it was ridiculously charged at RM5 for a plate of nasi lemak biasa and milo o panas. While waiting for breakfast, we had a short game of spin the siput – whoever the tip of the shell landed to, she would have to answer the question by the spinner.

pantai cenang

We then head back to our cabin only to find the 3 remaining mates still hibernating. We gave them a wake up call and asked to be ready within half an hour. We then went for breakfast again for the guys. Later we dropped by at the Go Kart circuit to check out the price – RM37 for 10 minutes. We figured it wasn’t really worth our money, so we decided to skip it and spend the money on shopping instead lol! We got ourselves super cute Cookie Monster / Elmo / Bart Simpson t-shirts for only RM15! Hurrah! A bargaining session ensues later between Diva Mas / Liza and the shopkeeper to which the abang finally relented. They got a (imitation) Longchamps small bag for RM10 (instead of RM18). Must learn their technique :-)

go kart

Next was pinggan mangkuk shopping at Jetty Point after checking out (couldn’t get late check out). Then we met up with Baizura and her husband at Wan Thai (again) for lunch. How nice of her to treat us, thanks Bai! After lunch, we shopped for chocolates and then head to the laksa/cendol haunt near the airport before going back.

gerai cendol
See you again next time Langkawi!

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Blogger IZWAN SHAHMIN said...

Real friends are gorgeous!

For Pulau Payar, among other reason the coral is dying due to previous tsunami... and YES they open their shop quite late! (had trouble finding breakfast too)

The Langkawi cabin looks very cosy and nice!

8:46 AM  
Blogger zhu m said...

Its the company that counts...thanks ya all for a r a great time! Aida u write linear stories than i do i think ill stick with taking pics n u become the journo, can eh?

6:21 PM  
Blogger stinkonyourfeet said...

Hi, I was Googling on how far is Arau station from the Kuala Perlis jetty and it brought me here, so I'm just wondering how far is it? would you recommend getting a cab or just walk?

12:09 AM  

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