Monday, April 30, 2012

Langkawi 2011 - Kampung Kuah

Kampung Kuah is the main town in Langkawi and out of curiosity I decided to make a trip there on the last morning of our Langkawi sojourn. It was like any other small town in Malaysia, with the ubiquitous shophouses and some small official buildings. The main reason for visiting Kampung Kuah would be to see the giant eagle statue at Dataran Helang. The eagle statue is around 12m high and would be the first thing you see if you arrive in Langkawi via the ferry.

Kampung Kuah - a sleepy small town with not much to offer.

The main attraction - Dataran Helang.

The famous eagle statue of Langkawi.

 The view from Langkawi Jetty.

If you don't have the time, you wouldn't miss much if you decided to skip Kampung Kuah. There's not much to see beside the eagle, and even the ocean view here is not as nice as elsewhere on the island.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Langkawi 2011 - Tanjung Rhu Beach

Driving around Langkawi is a very enjoyable experience. Though the roads are small, they are quite smooth and the traffic is seldom too heavy. Most of the places of interest are well connected with tar-sealed roads, and being a small island you are never too far from any where. 

We decided to visit Tanjung Rhu Beach on the North-Eastern side of the island on our second day in Langkawi. The Four Seasons Resort and Tanjung Rhu Resort are both located there - unfortunately both had no visitors policy. 

Arriving at the beach, we were immediately wowed by the sight. While all the beaches in Langkawi are very nice, Tanjung Rhu is definitely the most beautiful.There are some stalls selling tourist trinkets here but they are not as in your face as in Phuket or Bali.

The beautiful Tanjung Rhu Beach.

If you want to spend some time in the water exploring the area, there are many boats for hire.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Langkawi 2011 - The Andaman Resort

The Andaman Resort is near The Datai and shares the same beach fronting the Andaman Sea. Unlike The Datai which is an exclusive luxury resort, The Andaman is a 5-star resort geared towards tourists and families.

The buildings looked nice enough in photos, but in real life lack finese and charm.

Its best feature is the really large and impressive leisure pool right next to the beach.

The resort, being so remote from the rest of Langkawi Island, also has exclusive access to the beautiful beach.

The Andaman Resort is not cheap, and is quite far from the rest of the tourist spots on the island. Its redeeming feature is the impressive leisure pool and the private beach. If you want quiet and exclusivity, this is your resort.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Langkawi 2011 - The Datai

The Datai is probably the most renown luxury resort in Langkawi. Located at Datai Bay with spectacular views of the Andaman Sea, the resort is also surrounded by a beautiful tropical forest. Datai Bay is quite remote and a long drive from the normal resort enclave at Pantai Cenang. However the drive is quite scenic and pleasant, except the last stretch where you are driving on quite narrow and windy roads up the side of the mountain.

The resort was designed by famous Australian resort architect Kelly Hill, and bears all his hallmarks of understated elegance. Capitalizing on the hilly location, the buildings are chased into the hills and surrounded by trees. Overall there is an "Aman Resort" ambiance to the place. It is not surprising as the resort is managed by GHM which is chaired by Aman founder Adrian Zecha.

The rooms are accommodated in long blocks cut into the hills. There are also villas but they are not visible from the lobby areas.

The famous view of the main pool, beyond which is the Andaman Sea.

If you have the budget The Datai is without a doubt one of the best stays in Langkawi. Not only is the resort design beautiful, the location stunning, and the service should be up to the usual high Aman standards.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Langkawi 2011 - Dinner at Boat Restaurant

For an established tourist destination, it is surprising that Langkawi hasn't developed much of a culinary reputation. If you search on the internet, most of the recommendations are restaurants and cafes in hotels and resorts. Outside of the resorts, the selections are quite limited.

We were looking for a place for dinner near our resort along JalanPantaiTengah, and came across this simple-looking seafood restaurant that seemed to be quite popular. It is basically just a shed with some tables and chairs, but the food looked quite decent.

If you have been around Malaysia, you will know that most of the dishes at seafood restaurants are very similar. It is as if the cooks at these restaurants all went to the same cooking school. These were what we ordered.

Stir-fried kangkong (morning glory) with belachan.

Deep Fried Prawns with Frosted Egg Yolk. The egg floss was nicely done, unfortunately the prawns were way overcooked.

Tom Yam Seafood Soup.

Stir-fried veggies.

Braised Tofu on hot-plate.

Squid in Kung Pao Style (with dried chillies). One of the best dish of the night. The squid was really fresh and tender.

The food at Boat Restaurant is reasonable for the price you pay. It is also one of very few options along Jalan Pantai Tengah. Recommended if you are staying nearby.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Langkawi 2011 - Temple Tree Resort

Temple Tree Resort is the more glamorous sister resort to Bon Ton and is right next door to the older resort. Unlike Bon Ton which consists of mostly timber Malay houses, Temple Tree is a collection of old houses of different legacy.

Like Bon Ton, it has a nice private pool for the guests.

There is also a smaller and quieter lap pool at another corner of the estate.

Some of the buildings are really beautiful exmaples of Colonial architecture.

There are quite a large number of villas on the property, each one formerly a family home or residential quarters that has been carefully restored. There are Chinese Houses, Penang Houses, a Black and White House, Colonial Houses, and many more. All of these were sourced from different parts of Malaysia and brought piece by piece to Langkawi, and all are great examples of their particular building type. So this resort is like an architectural museum of Malaysian vernacular and Colonial houses. It must have taken much effort and determination to get the project realized. No trip to Langkawi would be complete without a visit to this unbelievably beautiful resort.