Lovely Langkawi

Our first weekend getaway has come and gone. When we agreed to the move to Singapore, a big motivation for us was the travel that we would be able to do from here. Our goal is to try to travel somewhere once a month. For months, I’ve been enjoying researching where to go and realizing that there are actually too many amazing places to see and too little time. I picked langkawi because it was easy to get to (only a 1:20 flight), looked beautiful and fun. It was all of those things and more!

Our first opportunity was valentine’s weekend. The kids had a half day of school on Friday, so we decided to pull them for the day. With the paranoia about the virus, we were a bit worried about taking the trip and did discuss cancelling. I’m so glad we didn’t!

Our flight was 8:45am on Friday morning. We left the condo at 6:15 with our Purell and face masks. We were through security and eating breakfast by 7:15. Amazing to be so close to the airport and to live near such an efficient airport! Avery and Liam quickly declared they hated the face masks and they’d rather get the virus. So much for masking up! Ryan, Ella and I did wear them on the way to Langkawi. None of us wore them home on Sunday night…

Ready to board!

Our flight was delayed for about 30 minutes, but nothing too serious.

Airport in Langkawi. The kids loved getting off right on the tarmac.
Langkawi is the northernmost part of Malaysia. It’s known as the “jewel of Kedah” for its beauty. It’s actually an archipelago of 99 islands of which only 3 are inhabited (we think all are inhabited by monkeys!). Langkawi means island of the reddish brown eagle. It is known for its eagles, beautiful topography and lush rainforest.
After a 20 minute car ride, we were at our resort, the Berjaya. There are a lot of resorts on the island and it was difficult to choose. Traveling as a family of 5 is a challenge. We didn’t think we were ready to try an air b&b yet (and were glad we didn’t on langkawi) but a lot of the hotels and resorts don’t have rooms that accommodate us (were also not ready to try separate rooms they aren’t attached) So when I was looking, the Berjaya had a “family” room (which was 2 rooms attached, one with a king bed, one with 2 twins). They “allowed” us to violate the 4 people rule for this room. I also liked the location. Close to the cable car and set on a beach and in the rainforest. The resort itself was a little “meh”. It’s an extremely large resort (you have to take shuttle buses to get back and forth to your chalets). The size means it’s also a little “tired”. But, the beach and pool were lovely, the food was good and wildlife wonderful so despite that, overall our experienced was positive. I’d also add, we are a little jaded. We’ve stayed in some lovely hotels over the years and live in a beautiful resort like condo in Singapore. We’re spoiled and are ruining our children.
Our room was the two balconies on the bottom.
Building sand castles
Finding starfish (Ella was the only one who could spot them on the sand)
The resort is set between a beach and the Machinchang geopark rainforest.
Friday we spent the day enjoying the resort, The pool and the beach. The kids loved both equally and Ryan and I really enjoyed the swim up pool bar with cheap drinks! Beers here cost the same as in Singapore. 15 but instead of S$ it’s Ringitts at a 3:1 (4:1 to the US $). We love that exchange rate!
Being in the rainforest, there were so. Many. Monkeys. There were signs EVERYWHERE at the resort not to feed them. But monkeys are smart. They watch. As soon as food or a bag is unattended, they grab it. This one is a dusky leaf monkey eating a piece of pizza. This is about as close as you can get to them. They are wild. Ryan tried to take a portrait of one and got hissed at. They have sharp looking teeth!
We watched the sunset over the mountain before heading back to the room to clean up for dinner.
Friday night we made probably our biggest goof of the trip. The resort had 5 restaurants. One was a Thai restaurant out on a pier. It looked great. The only reservation they had left was 8:30. We said yes, our kids eat late, they’ll be fine, we thought. Ha! We didn’t take into account the 5:45 wake up and all day playing on the beach and pool. They were a disaster and we were dining with a bunch of honeymooners and people on once in a lifetime trips. On Valentine’s Day. Oops. We muddled through and the lovely staff was afraid we didn’t like our meal and offered us another (this dinner was include with our room). We took our exhausted minions back to the room and plunked them in bed ASAP before we caused and honeymooners to decide to forgo having children!
The next morning Avery and I sat on the balcony and listened to the birds and watched for monkeys. Little did we know what we were wishing for…
This video was later in the morning while we waited for the shuttle (the scooters are the staffs, the buzz around delivering things) Earlier while Avery and I were sitting on the porch the monkeys came. And we watched and the kept coming. Then they were climbing up our building! We ran inside and quickly locked the door! They came onto our porch, tried to open the door. We had our swimsuits out drying on the balcony. One big male picked up my swim coverup and put it on its head! Needless to say that went in the wash. Later that day a local was telling us that the monkeys do that at all the resorts. When they find an open door, they head straight for the mini bar. Smart monkey!

That morning after a giant breakfast (buffet with any food option you want. Western, Indian, Malay, Chinese… the kids and I all had Indian, go figure!) we headed to the oriental village, sky car and sky bridge. I’ll write about our excursions in separate posts as this one would be waaayyyy too long… all of our excursions were amazing on Langkawi. Never once did we feel like something was a waste of time or money! We were able to walk to the village and the sky car from our hotel which was great! We spent from 10am until 2pm there. After that we had to do a quick change to get to our afternoon/evening excursion.

So many beautiful pics from the morning, it’s hard to pick…

We were going on an afternoon/evening sail out of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club in Kuah. Our concierge was very concerned about “traffic” for us to get there. I guess there was a cycling race going on. We never saw any cyclists and not much traffic other than scooters with lax safety laws. It was interesting seeing the island outside the resort. As with most islands, the locals don’t live like the guests at the resorts. Lots of scooters, simple concrete homes with metal roofs, more monkeys. Also lots of potentially interesting roadside food stands. As we were eating on the boat we didn’t stop, but it would be fun to ride on a scooter and check some out! We also saw schools (the kids were in school on a Sunday, not sure why) and mosques as Malaysia is a Muslim country. The town of Kuah was more “urban” looking with less roadside stands and more restaurants. They even had the ubiquitous American exports, Macdonald’s, Starbucks and 7-11.

I will write about the boat in another blog as well, but it was really a gem. We lucked into being the only passengers on the boat so we had our own cruise on a unique ship. It is a memory for a lifetime. Read about our cruise here: Captain Eva’s cruise on the Damai Indah

Our ride for the evening. The Damai Indah

Exhausted, we got back to the hotel around 9 pm and went right to bed! The next morning we had to be up and ready for our mangrove tour!

Of course we all “slept in” the next morning and had to make a mad dash to be packed up, checked out and have breakfast before the tour picked us up at 8:50. Besides the sky car and sky bridge, on Langkawi a mangrove tour through the kilim geopark is a must do. Our shuttle was us and another couple from our hotel who kept to themselves (might have been because the kids, specifically Avery were CRAZY in the shuttle bus. We realized she had 6 sodas the night before in the all you can drink boat ride. Oops) Along the way we picked up another couple from an air b&b down a dirt road which was right on the beach. So pretty. I was interested but Ryan’s still not sure. He thinks food procuring would be a challenge (remember the roadside food stands? I don’t think he thought they were as interesting as I do, nor does he relish the Malay breakfast of Nasi Lemak… ). they were a nice couple, they live in Europe (I forget where) he’s European and she’s Jamaican. Once we got to the geopark entrance where the boats were kept, we met our guide and away we went! This will get its own entry as well so stay tuned!

Ready for our mangrove tour!

The tour wrapped up around 1:30pm and again was amazing. We headed back to the hotel for more swimming and beaching until our flight at 8pm.

A goodbye mojito for me!
And a mocktail for this guy.
We watched some hornbills flying around the pool.
And terrorized the pool for a while.
Goodbye Berjaya!
Hopped back on our scoot
And arrived home exhausted but happy.

So our first weekend trip was a success. Now all that’s left is to decide if our March trip should be beach or city…. hmmmm.

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