Category Archives: THAILAND and MALAYSIA, july 2007

KRABI (AO NANG)

Krabi (Ao Nang), West coast of Thailand in July… Not a wise choice as it turned out. We really wanted to see the Phi Phi’s so we made Ao Nang Bay our base for a few days.
Ao Nang Bay is a convenient place to buy package tours of forest tours, islands tours, kayaking tours or cliff climbing tours. Every kind of ticket is also easy to buy at Ao Nang Bay.

KRABI (AO NANG)
You can buy all the excursions

Every day when we woke up the first thing was walking into a tour office asking about Phi Phi trip and always we got the same answer: No boat today, waves too big!

No boats today!
No boats today!

So we just lounge around, having our Chang and the girls were taking a massage.

Relaxing time
Relaxing time

This place looks great at the sunny season as the sea is calm and azure but if it rains all day you are basically stuck here.

Picky eater
Picky eater
Longtail shelter from the storm
Longtail shelter from the storm

The only exception to this weather pattern we used to do the Four Island tour. The Four Krabi Islands Tup Island, Chicken Island, Poda Island and Phra Nang beach. Koh Mawr at the Phra Nang Beach and Poda are amongst the most photographed locations in Thailand.

Chicken Island
Chicken Island
Poda Island
Poda Island
KRABI (AO NANG)
Sand bank at Poda Island
At Railay Beach
At Railay Beach
Low tide on the west Railay Beach
Low tide on the west Railay Beach

Gorgeous Phra Nang beach isn’t actually an island, it’s part of the Railay peninsula, so the tour doesn’t really visit 4 islands; it visits 3 islands and a peninsula. We had a quick look at the Princess Cave aka Penis Shrine.

The Phallus Shrine
The Phallus Shrine

This kind of bizarre place is based on a fallowing legend: Since ancient times, Phra Nang (Princess) Cave has been where fishermen, before going out to sea, have made offerings to the symbolic Phallus of Shiva (known as the Siwaleung or Palad Khik in Thai).

The fishermen, who say the cave is the home of a mythical sea princess, believe their offerings will bring them success in their fishing and protect them from danger, but what is more remarkable is that the cave contains a large collection of carved wooden phallic symbols, offerings and other objects believed to help with fertility.
But for tourists is kind of funny since you can see some girls to be generally too embarrassed to stay long or take pictures.
After four days we simply called it quits. We had enough of rain so we took the minivan to the Thailand – Malaysia border where we boarded on Catamaran that took us to Langkawi Island.

PULAU LANGKAWI

As soon as our ferry arrived at the Langkawi port we took a cab to our hotel.

Ferry from Thailand
Ferry from Thailand

While on our way to the hotel, we had a small talk with the driver and he suggested us to stay at the Cenang Beach, in the South West of the island, about 15 minutes from the airport or 30 minutes from the ferry port. Full of hostels, bars and home to the longest, most popular beach too. Don’t worry about booking ahead, there are so many places to choose from. Briefly introduced Langkawi to us and gave a few suggestions on where we can go for nice food.

Palm tree Ridder
Palm tree Ridder

We reached Malibest Resort (Pantai Cenang area) in no more than 30 mins. Receptionist warmly welcomed us with all smiles and the check in process was a breeze. Is Langkawi expensive? In comparison to the rest of Malaysia, and the overpriced Thai islands? Nope. Cheap booze, cheap petrol (it costs $1.50 to fill up your scooter!), delicious food. You can easily get by on $20-$30 a day here. Food for $2 or $3 is delicious and easy to find. You also have duty free stores around the Island (one is at the end of Cenang Beach) where you can get tax free spirits and chocolate.

View from our bungalow
View from our bungalow

Cenang beach is one of the popular beaches in Langkawi! There are of course, many water sports activities available if you are into this stuff. prices are of course much much cheaper then on Bali for example.

In Langkawi, people don’t use GPS. The lady at the hotel reception chuckled when we asked for directions with the car rental and she gave us this map, saying ‘You won’t need that, just follow this map and the road signs and you’ll definitely reach your destination! Langkawi is too small to get lost. Enjoy the adventure!”

Our rental
Our rental
Regular day on the Asian Roads
Regular day on the Asian Roads

We took a drive up north to a private beach inside The Andaman, a luxury beach resort.

Tanjung Rhu beach with my wife
Tanjung Rhu beach with my wife

It was kind of a wise choice because the beach was clear and quiet so we weren’t disturbed at all. The dark clouds have cleared and weather was great. Perfect!

Tanjung Rhu beach
Tanjung Rhu beach

Check out the waterfalls at Seven Wells and Telagah Tujuh (near the cable car station): Waterfalls galore in Langkawi, these are probably the best two, and their pretty close together so prime your camera and get over here asap.

Pathway to the waterfalls
Pathway to the waterfalls
Telagah Tujuh Waterfalls
Telagah Tujuh Waterfalls

We really needed this place with our bad weather experience in Thailand so once again we chose wisely.

Nights at the beach
Nights at the beach
Some bets you win then some others you loose
Some bets you win then some others you loose

But we wanted more so soon we were on our way again. We took the Air Asia flight from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur and from there we headed off to Tioman Island.

PULAU TIOMAN

Two hour flight with small Berjaya plane took us to this South China Sea jewel called Pulau (Island) Tioman.

Ready for our flight at Subang Airpt
Ready for our flight at Subang Airpt

It looks small, but it’s safe, with experienced pilots and friendly cabin crew. By the way, don’t be squeamish if at first you don’t spot the landing strip. There IS one! We were told that the pilots practiced landing on postage stamps prior to taking this gig.

Plane landing at Tioman Island
Plane landing at Tioman Island

The Dash-7 has short landing or a take-off (STOL) capability which makes them perfect for the short airstrip of the Tioman. But for innocent passengers as ourselves it sure looked like we are going to crash into the ocean or hit the mountains, because nobody even saw the airstrip on the ground. But of course everything went smoothly.
After landing we had to take the 10 min boat ride to Nazris’s place which is on Ayer Batang Beach.

We checked into the 2bed concrete bungalow with AC which was essential cause of the heat.

Sunset at Nazri's place
Sunset at Nazri’s place

Our week long stay here was pure pleasure, because Tioman is really a geological wonder, ecological paradise and one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful travel destinations. The island of Tioman starred as Bali Hai in the 1958 blockbuster South Pacific. And way back in the Seventies it was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s most beautiful islands.

Fishes everywhere
Fishes everywhere

It lies off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, an hour’s flight with Berjaya Air from Kuala Lumpur. Perfect, turquoise waters wash up on a seemingly endless procession of crescent bays, all fringed with pale sand beaches. Islands two twin peaks of Nenek Si Mukut and Batu Sirau were, according to legend, formed by a dragon princess who, flying from China to visit her prince in Singapore, stopped to rest in the beautiful waters. She was so enamored that she never left.
There are only two proper roads covering only a fraction of the 24-mile-long, eight-mile-wide Island, so boats are still the main means of transport.

Last part of the trip to our place was by
Last part of the trip to our place was by

One of the secrets about Malaysia is that once you’re there – and Kuala Lumpur’s vast modern airport is a hub not only for the region but a convenient stop to and from Australia and New Zealand as well – even the most luxurious accommodation is available for a fraction of what you would pay in Europe.

View at Panuba Inn Resort
View at Panuba Inn Resort

At the afternoons you can rent kayaks because the water is so still that the coral reefs below are easily visible. You can easily reach the nearby village of Genting and flop on to yet another pristine beach for a rest before the journey back.

Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach

There is no nightlife to disturb the peace, and the only drama comes from the scenery and the odd tropical storm. Why, then, has this gem been forgotten? Perhaps it is partly that when tourists from Europe began flocking to Thailand, just up the coast, in the Eighties, Malaysia was left behind.

Family fun
Family fun

So most of the days we were just laying around having our Tiger Beer and eating BBQ prawn.

Doing nothing
Doing nothing
Evening view from the Nazri's beach
Evening view from the Nazri’s beach

We also took some snorkeling trips which was to this day one of the best we ever had. Plenty of fish, water so clear you can drink it and absolutely crowd less.

Snorkeling at it's best
Snorkeling at it’s best

If you like to hike you can go through the center of the island and reach Juara Beach on the other side.

Lots of bats around
Lots of bats around
Jungle
Jungle
Jungle track
Jungle track

You can see lots of monitor lizards around the island and some of them are really huge but harmless of course.

Monitor lizard
Monitor lizard

As usual all great things come to an end soon and before we knew it we are sitting on the pier at 6am waiting for the Catamaran that will take us to mainland where the bus was waiting for our 4 hour ride to Singapore.

Morning Catamaran ride to Singapore
Morning Catamaran ride to Singapore

But we were unique in our decision that we’ll be back again.