Crashing through the warm blue waves, skirting mesmerizing limestone karsts, exploring mysterious caves, and parking up on the shore of deserted beaches full of mischievous monkeys….it was not quite a normal way to spend a Valetine’s Day morning. But then, Langkawi isn’t a ‘normal’ Malaysian archipelago – it’s a place you can’t really pin down. Gorgeous, pristine beaches? Check. Amazing scuba diving? Check. Verdant forests and beautiful waterfalls? Check. Kayaking through mangroves? Check. A fantastic restaurant and liberal nightlife scene. Yep, check too.
We had arrived on a bumpy ferry ride two days before, February 12th, from Georgetown, Penang, and took a taxi to Pantai Cenang, the busiest beach town on Langkawi Island. We found a lovely, basic room steps from the beach, and then explored the strip in front of the beach – full of cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, and behind all that the picturesque beach, which we strolled up and down before choosing a spot to relax for an hour.
Recharged, we hired a moped, and sped off towards Tanjung Rhu, reputably one of the best shorelines in Langkawi. No surprise then, that this is where the Four Seasons Resort is located. After stopping in this area for a fresh coconut, we headed to the Oriental Village, walking through the pleasant gardens and shops, to the Langkawi Cable Car.
The Langkawi Cable Car glides up to the peak of Mount Mat Cincang, Langkawi’s second highest peak. We enjoyed commanding views of the rainforest and hills all around, the cool mountain air a wonderful respite from the merciless tropical heat – as was the large waterfall we discovered on our way down.
The next day was spent in kayaking in the mangrove forests around the village of Tanjung Rhu, where we were lucky enough witness sea eagles fishing, and we also got to see monkeys, kingfishers, and lots of other birds. We visited a fish farm, had a spot of lunch, and then returned to the beach.
In the early evening we headed to the marina to board a yacht for a sunset cruise. We enjoyed beer, cocktails, and canapés as we sailed slowly around the stunning scenery. Sufficiently lubricated, we then joined the fun-loving French captain of the boat in jumping off the side of and having a swim in the refreshing waters, and the giddiness continued as the sun set over a beautiful scene. The evening was spent hopping around the beach bars of Pantai Cenang, watching fire shows, drinking cocktails, dancing to reggae music, and smoking shisha.
We woke early on Valentine’s Day, heads sore from the night before, and headed down the beach to the Mega Watersports jet-ski stall, where we hopped on a jet-ski and, together with a group of other intrepid explorers, we sped off on our 4 hour Dayang Bunting (Pregnant Maiden) Island Tour.
The day was spent jet-skiing around some incredible limestone karst scenery. We visited 8 islands in total, including Dayang Buting, the largest freshwater lake in Malaysia, separated from the sea only by the thinnest ridge of limestone. We didn’t jet ski here, but parked up on the limestone ridge and walked around the scenic lake. Later in the tour, we were given free reign in open water to test out our jet-ski skills. With all the twisting and turning together with nursing a hideous hangover, it was almost the end of us, but we did enjoy it. Fortunately, we then steered into a private cove, and parked on the beach. Here we relaxed and had some snacks, drank some beers, and explored the deserted island a little, before jumping on the jet skis and heading slowly back, drifting through some interesting caves along the way. It was an altogether incredible way to start the day, and to start Valentine’s Day.
Back on the beach at Pantai Cenang we spent the rest of the day at ease, and finished the day on the beach outside a beach bar, cocktail in hand watching the sun go down to the sound of laughter and romance. We even played our part in helping a Malaysian chap propose to his girlfriend, by helping him video the moment he proposed –which creatively involved all his friends lining up on the beach holding signs which, together, contained a beautiful message with the final one a question that luckily the lady responded positively too: Will you marry me? Valentine’s Day, Langkawi, Malaysia, will live long in the memory.