Swimming with sharks
02.02.2012 - 08.02.2012 33 °C
Two flights, one of them a bit on the bumpy side and I arrived in Langkawi feeling a bit like my insides had been through a fruit shake blender. The first drop of rain hit me as I stepped off the plane and by the time I was through immigration I was in the midst of a full blown tropical rainstorm. The taxi's quite rightly decided not to make any attempt to drive, so I sat until it eased off under a shelter in the car park watching the lightening and cowering under the big bangs.
I did eventually reach my lodgings which was inbetween the resorts of Pantai Tengah and Pantai Chenang, it continued to rain heavily all evening so there was little that I could do than sit and watch it out of my room. Inbetween is the hotels description on the internet, inbetween actually I discovered means stuck in the middle of nowhere. I'm learning the tricks of the trade lingo now.
Next morning it had brightened up and I decided to head to Pantai Tengah beach. The roads were a bit muddy and I managed to fall over into a drain. first little war wound of the trip and it was a very smelly one :-( The walk to the beach was worth it though. Tengah beach has only a few upmarket resorts dotted along it but hidden back in the trees and the Lighthouse restaurant so no beach bars or sun beds spoil it's landscape. The sand is golden and a bit grainy but the water green and crystal clear but best of all I was the only one on a 50 metre stretch of it for most of the day. Langkawi is part of an archipelego made up of 99 islands and you can see several of them clearly from the beach. It was so nice to see the sunshine again to recharge the batteries.
That evening I decided to walk the other direction into Pantai Chenang with the aim to find a beach bar to watch the sunset for which Chenang reportedly has the most beautiful. I had read my trusty guide which told me that only a few bars along the front actually served alcohol and bingo how lucky am I, first little alley I chose to get onto the beach was the one belonging to one of the bars 'Little Lilia's chill out cafe' So I had my first of too many Pina Colada's of the evening sat sunset and people watching. The beach is probably at it's busiest at this time of the day as families all gather in big groups to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the watersports. The resort itself is one strip full of shops selling sarongs and boardshorts with a few posher souvenier shops thrown into the mix so I bought another sarong as you do to keep the economy going and headed off to a mexican bar for some food and corona where I met a mad couple from Colchester ( small world) and a group from Uzbekistan and had a fun night and a poorly head following morning.
The next few days were spent at a very nice beach resort so I did nothing but enjoy the pool and private beach with a little shopping trip to Kuah to replace my camera in one of the numerous duty free shops.
Final day and I'd left it till the last minute to go on a day trip to Pulau Payer Marine Park which is about an hour away by ferry from Kuah jetty Payar is in the northern part of the Straits of Melaka. Black tip reef sharks are frequently spotted and part of the days activities was to watch the baby sharks being fed. This activity has now been stopped due to several larger sharks up to a meter long being a bit greedy and injuring people so I didn't think I would get to see a shark and being a bit scared of fish was a little bit relieved. How wrong was I, I'd only been in the water a few minutes and my eyes clocked one in front of me only a very small one but I still muttered an expletive and moved away faster than the shark did. I got braver and stayed in the water and began to actually enjoy spotting them and was lucky enough to see two larger one's swim beneath me in a really shallow sandy area, I regretted not buying an underwater camera from the tour guides ! I had a great day, the snorkelling was fantastic,fear of fish definately gone and the experience was far better than in Thailand with the variety of fish and size of them that I saw and the water was so much clearer. I must get a fish identification book one of these days as one of my friends who is a bit of a marine expert recently pointed out !
I leave tomorrow by ferry to Penang and for the first time on this trip I'm really sorry I'm not in Langkawi for longer as it really is beautiful and there is still a lot here that I haven't explored.