Monday, 16 July 2012

Langkawi 01: Hot and Cold (30 December 2011)


2011 was successfully concluded with vacation of the year in Langkawi. The initial plan was to spend the holiday in Sri Kijang, a private resort of Bank Negara Malaysia, situated near Pantai Chenang. But since the resort had already been booked, I was given a condominium named Kondo Istana situated in Pekan Kuah instead. Three bedrooms. But there were 13 of us. Sardines.

Kira okay lah, daripada merempat beralas sejadah tepi kedai Haji Ismail Group. Cuma kena berhimpit sedikit sebab saiz masing-masing bukannya saiz M. Jauh sekali dari saiz S. *Lari.

9:20 pm | KL Sentral | Gathering at a Fattening Place
Last minute arrangement. We were informed that all buses heading to north were fully booked. So we had no choice but to board the train from KL Sentral to Arau, Perlis. Departure time was 9:20 pm. I was in KFC in KL Sentral as early as 7:30 pm, but waiting did not seem that long. Time passes by so quickly nowadays. 

By 8:30 pm, the 13 members quorum was completed. Except for me, Mumu and Akub, the rest of us used back pack. 

Aku yang bawa beg tarik ni memang kena bahan sepanjang jalan. Yang korang pun tak payah lah nak feeling backpackers tegar sangat. Baru nak pergi Langkawi beg dah sarat-sarat bagai, esok kalau coklat-coklat tak muat, aku tak bagi tumpang beg aku, korang kendong lah dalam beg korang yang cool sangat tu.

We boarded the train around 10:00 pm, later than scheduled. I didn't really mind. We would not want to arrive in Arau too early anyway. 

It was a berth-style train. Perfect. So we can spend the whole night sleeping. Before dozing off and call it a day, we decided to have some supper at the canteen. Passengers were still settling down in their respective places, some intolerable noise would definitely disrupt our sleep. Besides, it was still early! 

We walked through the narrow path to the canteen coach, whereby instant noodles, biscuits and hot drinks were served. Simple menu. So you do not get to demand fish and chips or chicken chop. 

Maggi in cup dengan milo suam sahaja dah RM8. Tauke kantin memang nak naik Haji cepat tahun ni, sebab tu pelanggan semua diketuk hebat.

While having our supper at the canteen, we discussed on some places of attractions to be visited (other than shopping duty free items in Pekan Kuah). I was really looking forward to go to Cable Car and Eagle Feeding. I brought my ipad, so it's easy to find info and other things online. An hour later, we decided to go to our bed and sleep. It is going to be a long day tomorrow. 

Nak main polis sentry dengan pepsi kola pun tak muat sebab limited space. 

6:00 am | On the Train | Wake Up in the Morning
I woke up at 6 am. I could not find the musolla, so I prayed on my bed instead. We had breakfast in the canteen, while waiting for arrival at 8 am. As the sun was crawling up, the sky and cloud form its own morning pattern. We could see the beautiful wide paddy field. Indeed, I told myself, it is going to be a beautiful day.

8:00 am | Stesen Keretapi Arau | Arrival
Stesen Keretapi Arau (Arau Train Station) was an old stop centre, nearby the local houses. Once we got off the train, we saw some taxi drivers were waving excitedly at us. Without hesitation, we took four taxis (13 people split 3 - 3 - 3 - 4) to the jetty of Kuala Perlis. I could not see any other alternative transportation, even if we were scammed, we let it be, we had no choice. We were charged RM 15 per taxi. I think it was fair enough. 

The taxi driver was very friendly. I asked him on the weather in Langkawi, I was a bit concerned if it was raining these past few days, there would be a huge probability that we would not be able to join Eagle Feeding activity. Luckily, we were told that these past few days were sunny. He said now is the perfect time for eagle feeding. 

8:15 am | Jetty of Kuala Perlis | Ferry Ride to Jetty of Kuah
Upon arrival at the jetty of Kuala Perlis, there were huge crowd of people, local and international tourists surrounding the area. Obviously they were waiting for the first boat to Langkawi. 

The distance from Jetty of Kuala Perlis to Langkawi (RM 24 return ticket) is nearer compared to the distance from Jetty of Kuala Kedah (RM 36 return ticket). And the journey from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi would only take about 45 minutes. Well, depend on the weather. 

Kalau ombak kuat, lambat sikit sampainya, kalau ombak tenang cepat sikit sampainya, kalau ombak rindu, itu kita tidak tahu, yang korang nak feeling-feeling sangat dengan filem ni dah kenapa?

While we were queuing for the ferry tickets, few men approached us and offered mangrove tour package (including eagle feeding) at competitive prices. I was told to be careful from being scammed. 

It was too late for me to warn Mumu since he had already purchased 13 tickets for Mangrove Tour. I hoped we were not scammed. And I also hoped for a nice weather tomorrow. 

Harapnya, esok tak hujan. Nanti tak jadi bagi makan helang, kami beri makan sesama sendiri sahaja.

The first ferry arrived at 9:30 am. We had to board this ferry since the next ferry will only be arriving at 2:30 pm. We would not want to wait for another five hours for the next ferry. 

Kau mampu nak tunggu 5 jam kat jeti tu? Nanti duduk main tenung mata sapa pejam dulu dia kalah je kat jeti tu sebab sangap bosan nak mati. 

In less than an hour, all the passengers were already in the ferry. There was a movie played at the tv inside the ferry but the sound of the engine was too loud, I could not hear a thing. Nothing much we can do on the ferry, so we resumed our beauty sleep. 

11:00 am | Jetty of Kuah | Arrival in Langkawi
We were hungry. Various of restaurants available. KFC, Kenny Rogers, Starbucks, you name it. But since the rest of us craved for rice, we dropped by at a mamak stall nearby. The price was reasonable. At least to me. 

Checking in was only allowed at 4:00 pm. Few hours to kill. So we decided to go to Air Hangat Village and Cable Car. Chartered van had already been booked earlier. 12 seats. 13 of us. Plus our individual bags (terutamanya beg-beg backpackers korang yang macam nak merentas 18 benua ni). We attempted to check in early, so at least we can drop off our bags in our condo. But unfortunately, we were allowed to check in after 4 pm. Yeah, so, Air Hangat Village, here we come!

1:00 pm | Air Hangat Village | Hot Water 
After 20 minutes of driving, we arrived at the Air Hangat Village which is situated 16 km from Pekan Kuah. I was here somewhere in 2008, and it was a happening place. However, on that day, some parts of the park was closed due to construction to further refine the site. We managed to get to know the legend of the hot water, whereby two giants family were feuding against each other and started to throw some pots and kettles towards each other during a wedding. One of the pot containing hot water landed here, so that is why it was named Kampung Air Hangat (Village of the Hot Water). 

Pembohong sangat air kawah panas tu sampai hari ni panas lagi. Ok lah kreatif la kan reka-reka cerita. Nanti kalau beriya-iya nak cerita konsep kimia geografi sains terbentuknya air hangat ni pening pula orang kampung nanti.

After half an hour spend in Air Hangat Village, we headed to the Cable Car. 

2:00 pm | Cable Car | Journey to the Top...Except for Me...

I was so excited to be here. In fact, this was among those places I longed to be since 2008. I didn't care if the queue is long. I wanted to go up. RM 15 for MyCard holder. Few of us were reluctant to go up, including my fiance. Height as fear factor. But I convinced them that it is going to be okay. I mean, I am afraid of heights too, but I could handle it. 

The queue was damn crazy. While each cable car can only fit 4 - 6 people at a time. But it will all going to be worth it.

5:00 pm | Condo Istana | Checking In
We headed to the condo to check in since all of us were really tired. The room was old but neat. Fair enough. Three bedrooms (two for girls and one master bedrooms for guys). Astro tv, kitchen to cook, swimming pool, balcony facing the sea and also Haji Ismail Group shops (famous for selling duty free chocolates). 

We were approaching new year celebration. Obviously the food stalls or restaurants were planning to mark up their selling price. So we brought cooking utensils and materials from Kuala Lumpur such as rice, noodles, bread, eggs, instant noodles etc. We had dinner around 7 pm. 

8:00 pm | Pekan Kuah | Shopping!!!
I prepared a list of chocolates to be bought. Not entirely for my consumption, but mostly for my family and closest friends. Fererrro Roche, Daim, Kit Kat, Buenos, Whitakers, just to name a few. And I would spend the first 15 minutes surveying from one shop to another. Trust me, it's worth it. I spotted difference up to RM 1. 

Terutama sekali coklat Whitakers. Coklat ni dah popular, dulu aku beli RM 5 lebih saja, sekarang, tauke Whitakers ni pun nak naik haji sama-sama dengan tauke kantin dalam train tadi, maka harga Whitakers dah naik RM 6 lebih.

RM 300 ++ spent for Chocolates. I need to slow down on its consumption. Last time I went and eat irresponsibly, I gained 6 kgs. Wow. 

We went back to our condo with bunch of chocolates (and cigarettes?).

The whole night we spent with laughter and interesting stories. When a group of good friends gather together, it was a wonderful moment that we wish would never end. 

Till then, 

Hairi Tahir

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