The main reason for my trip to Malayasia was to go sailing round the island of Langkawi. Langkawi is actually made up of 99 islands off the northwest coast of Malaysia and very close to Thailand. It is an hour plane journey from Kuala Lumpur. Our yacht was waiting for us at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club. My uncle is the sailor so he was our captain, my aunt his skipper and my parents and I were helping hands. Sunsail provided us with a 41 foot yacht. Don’t be put off by the colour of the sky, it was hot hot hot! There was no escaping the heat. Some may think that sailing is like glamping (glamorous camping) but I would tend to disagree. No aircon, no microwave, short showers, the risk of running out of water, a toilet you can’t put toilet paper in or flush with the touch of a button – you have to pump, may sound like some people’s nightmares but I loved it. The breath-taking scenery, the quiet, feeling the wind in your hair, swimming, sunshine, deserted beaches and seeing new places more than made up for the roughing it style.
The most we stayed in one place was 2 nights and most of the time it was one night. It took us 10 days to sail leisurely clockwise round the main island. The first night we stayed in port to provision the yacht. We visited the night market and had dinner in a restaurant called Pappa Rich, which sells Malaysian food. I had rice noodles in a chicken soup with chicken. It was very tasty.
The next day we set sail. The great thing about sailing is you head off in a direction and when you find a place you like you just stop and drop anchor. We found a spot to stop for lunch and a swim which was just lovely but where we stopped for the night was breath-taking. Monkey Creek was where we anchored and true to its name I could hear the monkeys. I couldn’t see them as they were a bit far away but I saw the branches of the trees moving as they jumped from one to the other. What we did see, both here and in a few places we stopped, were eagles. It was a big tourist attraction to feed the eagles. The locals throw out chicken skin which attracts them.
We had a small barbecue on board, attached to the railing. Half way through cooking our sausage that night it decided to try take a swim. Luckily it was unsuccessful so we did not lose our dinner, but cooking at an angle is not great. My dad and uncle were very good boy scouts and managed to set up a contraption of sorts to prevent it from happening again. See the pictures below of before and after. (not the best shots but you get the idea.)
We headed out early the next day to fit in a long sail to a snorkel spot. It was not the most successful trip for me as my wonderful snorkel that had a special part to let out water, let more water in and I ingested half the ocean. I only discovered this once we had swam from the yacht to the snorkel area (Light blue water in the picture below) so I swam back and swapped snorkels. But by the time I got back to the ‘area’ I was so scarred by the previous snorkel that every 4 breaths I thought I was going to drown when in fact it was fine. But being so focused on that meant I could not enjoy what I was meant to be doing.
It was a good few hours sail back to the main island as you are not allowed to anchor over night in this area. There was quite a bit of wind to sail but there was bad swell too and we went up and down and round and round. Sea sick pills rock. I felt fine. Another tourist attraction we visited, close to Monkey Creek, was the ‘Pregnant Maiden Lake’. This is a huge fresh water lake in the middle of an island. You have to climb up huge stairs and dodge monkeys of all shapes and sizes but it is worth it. The ocean is hot in comparison to the lake. It was so refreshing to escape the heat of the sun and take a swim. They have huge plastic floating platforms but beware that if you have a snack in your bag the monkeys will help themselves to the whole bag while you are swimming. The poor girls next to us managed to chase the monkey and retrieve their bag. You can also hire a peddalo if you wish. The walk up and down the stairs left its mark on my calves and I felt the burn for a while.
Awana Port, also known as the cruise ship port was were we spent our next night. We anchored outside the port and used the dingy to travel in for dinner. The sun was just setting as we set off. It was low tide when we approached the jetty to tie up. The jetty towered over our heads and I had no idea how we were going to get up to the top. The first step was at my shoulder and it was covered in barnacles. Thank goodness my uncle made it and by standing on the side of the dingy he was able to pull each of us up. A shot taxi ride down the road took us to the best meal we had the whole trip, an Indian restaurant called Tulsi Garden. The food was delicious. We had naan, chicken tikka, samosas, aloo gobi and onion pakora. There were other dishes as well but as I have some horrid allergies I could not try them. The restaurant was actually so accommodating to my allergies, I was so impressed. I had wanted to order chicken korma but they advised against it due to my allergies. Thank goodness the tide had risen a bit when we returned, making it much easier to get back into the dingy.
Pulau Singa Besar was our next stop where we found our own beach to spend the morning. Although Malaysia is very beautiful there is lots of pollution in the water, mainly plastic bottles with get blown off boats or beaches. So you find yourself on a beautiful beach, completely deserted except for hundreds of plastic bottles washed up. They are not on the beach, those are clear, but they are in the bushes.
That night we moored at the Rebak Island Marina which also has a resort attached to it. We were able to use the resort too. The pool was lovely with its palm trees and sea views. We had drinks at the beach bar which were lovely and then dinner at the restaurant too. The only down side was the mosquitos in the harbour that night. I got eaten alive. I was so itchy the next day and every time I moved anything in the cabin a mosquito flew out. I even found some pressed in my books, shocking. I did enjoy lying by the beach and drinking a cool milkshake while reading my book, such luxury.