Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Withdrawal Symptoms

It's been more than a week now after coming back from my 3 weeks holiday from New Zealand and Gold Coast, and I must say I am having a hard time adjusting back to life here in Malaysia.

Yeah, it was actually 20 days to be exact, including a few days of flights and airports. In all honesty, I was moping around and refused to leave the comfort of my bed for 6 days except on 2 occasions, one was a meeting and another was lunch with a friend. I know it's lame to give jetlag as an excuse when it was actually withdrawal symptoms kicking in.

But today, I've realized that I was going through a life changing process during these last 6 days. Somewhere along the way of my 3 weeks trip, I was altered and changed forever. It just took attending the court and going to work to make me realize, that it is time to act upon my life discoveries or forever be drown in misery like what I have allowed myself to feel whole of last week.

I was really lost last week. Felt like I somehow lost myself from this trip. Didn't know where to fit in, didn't find anything in my life worthy, finding my work and career stagnant and mundane, and looking at life in Malaysia as meaningless.

And then I truly realized what I needed to do in my life, and here I am just sharing that I am ready for my next adventure and looking forward to really catching my dreams.

This New Zealand trip has made me realize that I need to own up to my dreams, and start to run after  it.

Till the next post about the trip itself.. have a good week.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

The Mystical Island of Langkawi

Langkawi must be one of my top list of recommended places to go in Malaysia.

It must be my favourite place in Malaysia because I have lost count as to how many trips I've made to Langkawi over the years and I most probably will return again and again.

You're probably guessing what is so special about Langkawi. Is it the beach? The sea? The people? Or the tax free goodies?

I must say all of the above and more. Langkawi is special to Malaysians because the island is haunted with a sense of historical myth and mystery.

It was believed that Langkawi hundred years ago was a cursed island. The history stated that a married woman called Mahsuri was accused of adultery while her husband was away at sea or at war. It was a plot of conspiracy, plotted by her jealous mother in law of Mahsuri's magnetic charms.

A potrait depicting the beautiful and legendary Mahsuri

Mahsuri was sentenced to death by the head of the village and her death sentence was carried out publicly before the villagers. However Mahsuri claimed her innocence right before her death execution and begged for her life to be spared but nobody believed her. As she was about to be killed, she made a promise and a curse and said that if she was innocent the island would not prosper for 7 generations to come and the curse will only end upon the birth of her 7th descendant, and her blood will be of white colour instead of red.

And according to legend storytellers, her blood was indeed white. And the island of Langkawi was indeed then not as prosperous as today. Siamese invaded the land, paddy fields were burned, to which some evidence remained on the Padang Matsirat till this day. Whether it is a myth or a real story, this is one of the many reasons why Langkawi is so special.

Aside from being a mystical island, Langkawi has a lot to offer. From it's blue and green seas to it's super duper cheap and tax free chocolates, I'm sure everyone will enjoy themselves here.

So below are the top 10 Reasons that makes Langkawi so special:

1) The mystical history of Langkawi will intrigue not only locals but foreigners alike because of the island's magical history. The fact that Mahsuri's descendant (the 7th generation from Mahsuri called Wan Aishah) is still alive today just creates a special mystery as to whether the curse was indeed real.

Wan Aishah, Mahsuri's 7th descendant

2) The wonderful islands surrounding Langkawi. Island hopping is a must do activity when visiting Langkawi. There are several interesting smaller islands around Langkawi where visitors can snorkel or scuba dive and watch the magnificent fishes and coral underwater.

The trip will also allow you to watch eagles flying openly and freely. The eagle is also the mascot for Langkawi. The colours of the sea are to die for.

3) The amazing Geopark where it is protected as one of the heritage site under UNESCO. It covers a few areas such as the Kilim Mangrove Park and the mysterious fresh water lake called 'Tasik Dayang Bunting' or Lake of Pregnant Maiden, a natural landscape sculpture of the said mythical pregnant maiden resting on her back.

The locals believed that the lake water has some magical ingredients that could fulfill wishes of unfortunate childless couple to gain fertility. Another magical mystery of the island.

The famous Dayang Bunting Lake where the water is emerald green

The area at the Dayang Bunting Lake where people can dip their toes in the water

4) The Gamat (Sea Cucumber). Langkawi is famous for Gamat/sea cucumbers products. Gamat found in Langkawi have been used as a natural medicinal remedy for wounds, cuts or bites for many years. Due to its effectiveness in healing wounds, one can find numerous Gamat products in Langkawi such as the gamat jelly, gamat cream, gamat oil, gamat soap and others. Be sure to try at least one of its products.

Different types of Gamat products which are sold throughout Langkawi

5) Mat Chincang Cable Car is one of the main attractions in Langkawi. The cable car will bring you to the the peak of Mount Mat Chincang, the second highest peak in Langkawi. There will be a few stations in which you can stop and have a look at the observatory deck, but most people would be eager to go to the most top station. At the top station, you are able to observe the island with its amazing view of sea, forests and skyline. To the faint hearted, viewing from this upper deck can be a little daunting, but no worries as there are other lower decks from where you can admire the view.

The view of the Observatory Deck from the cable car

Me, at the observatory deck, 5 years ago (700 metres above sea level)

The view of Langkawi from above

Upon descending from the cable car station, you will exit through a souvenir shop. There are other interesting souvenir shops located for shopping in the Oriental Village, where the Cable Car Station is situated.

       The cable car in Langkawi

6) Since the whole island is filled with the mystical legend of Mahsuri, visiting her tomb is one of the must do things in Langkawi. It used to be a simple place where her tomb was located, however due to the influx of tourism in Langkawi, the state government have converted the place into a cultural site, where you can read on the lineage of Mahsuri and visit her old village and house. It will be an interesting place to visit especially if one is curious to learn about this magical island and its legends.

7) One of my favourite reason to visit Langkawi must be their duty free chocolates. One can go crazy over the abundance of local and imported chocolates at a fairer price. Imported chocolates can be super expensive in other parts of Malaysia, brands like Lindt, Ferraro Roche, After 8, Hershey's, Daims are sold with a lower price in Langkawi. Liquors are also sold at a lower price since it is also considered duty free items in Langkawi.

Among my favourite chocolates

8) The Underwater Park located at the Cenang Beach is another main attraction to Langkawi. It is one of the largest marine and freshwater aquaria in Asia. There are thousand varieties of fishes and underwater species placed in over 100 tanks. This underwater park is a fantastic way to learn about the underwater species up close and personal.

Live penguins

Beautiful corals

9) The beaches of course, is also a reason why Langkawi is so famous. With its white sandy beaches and clear blue sea water, no one can resist not going to the beautiful beaches in Langkawi. The most famous one is the Cenang Beach, where most resorts, restaurants and bars are situated at. There are plenty of small shops along the roadside and these shops are usually open till late at night. You may also visit any of the seafood restaurants along the area. 

Other beaches include Pantai Kok which fronts a beautiful bay with limestone hills and jungle. At the waterfront of the beach is situated the Telaga Harbour Park, which is a yachting marine with rows of shops, restaurants and bars.

An upscale of a private beach would be in Tanjung Rhu or Datai Bay where the rooms in the hotels around that area can reach to a minimum of RM1,000 per night.

10) Lastly but not least is the seafood. Everyone who loves seafood will enjoy the fresh seafood served in Langkawi. Seafood restaurants can be found in the Kuah town (the main town of Langkawi), or if you will like to enjoy your seafood while enjoying the breeze from the sea, then head to any of the seafood restaurants along the beaches, such as the Cenang Beach. However do note, that the prices of the seafood in these restaurants might vary. Usually restaurant customers are given the opportunity to choose your own selection of seafood, and the price will depend on the weight of the seafood chosen.

So have you visited Langkawi yet? Or are you planning to visit Langkawi soon? Do give me your comments if you have anything to share or ask about this beautiful magical island.
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