AT#625 - Travel to Langkawi Malaysia
The bags back on the road. Red, it's go real good pass board. Mature traveler episode, six hundred and twenty-five today the traveler talks about hiking skybridge is in Geel forest park beaches, waterfalls and karst formations as we go to Callie Malaysia. Welcome to the mature traveler. I'm your host Chris Christensen let's talk about Langkawi. I'd like to welcome to the show rod and maybe Jess Sanchez from the jet-setting family travel podcast at jet-setting family dot com who come to talk to us about Len Cowie Malaysia, Ron. I'm going to welcome you to the show will welcome. Jess, if she finishes putting the kids back to bed. Chris, how're you doing today? I'm doing well. I had to look up Langkawi Malaysia when you pitched me this show. I know nothing about it. Why should someone go there? We also didn't know very much about it. We've been seeing some other families that travel around and we saw that they visited link Howie and we, we really fell in love with the island because it has a very calm vibe to it. The locals there in Langkawi consider it or they call it. The jewel of KC could is one of the states in Malaysia, but we really considered it very similar to Maui in Hawaii. So we call it the Maui of Malaysia. One of the things that we enjoyed about link, how is that it has. It's a very small island, so it's easy to get around it. You can either rent a car or higher Uber or grabbed driver to take your round everywhere for very inexpensive rate. You can really get from one side of the island to another in under an hour. It's a very. Bio-diverse island. There are a lot of activities from pristine white sand beaches to mountain ranges with cable cars. You can right to the top two mangroves and geo forest parks that you can go on a boat and experience. These really beautiful limestone formations. You've got freshwater lakes. There is so much outdoor activity to do there. And one of the better things that we enjoyed about it is that is not very crowded with tourists. A lot of the destinations in southeast Asia have gotten really packed, and they've grown a lot over the past ten years. I think link Howie will eventually get to that point, but it's not there quite yet. So you still get a really local charm. The Malaysian people, their land cow are extremely kind very friendly and you feel right at home. So in terms of people from North America, the US Canada, even from Europe and Australia going to visit there, it is a worthwhile destination to go to. We've been traveling fulltime for the past three months and Lank. How is definitely in in our top two locations that we've been out of the six countries and eleven different cities that we've seen so far. And you mentioned that it doesn't have much tourism, you can. It would be very difficult to get further away from the capital of Kuala Lumpur and still stay in Malaysia, at least on near the mainland out to the some of the bigger islands. But you're just barely in Malaysia. The island one further north is in the southern most point of, well, not the quite the southernmost point, but part of the southernmost point of Thailand. Yes. And one of the attractions that we'll talk about, you can actually see one of these Thailand islands from there. So it's very, very close. But in terms of getting to link Howie, the easiest way to get there would be taking a flight from Kuala Lumpur, so Kuala poor, it's about an hour flight to Langkawi. There are also different fairies. That you can take as well. But it was a really easy and a really cheap flight for us to be able to go from Kuala Lumpur to Lancaster about fifteen dollars a person. You can also get there from Singapore as well. Excellent. What do you recommend for night? Tannery four-lane Cowie. The first thing that we recommend is going to the, it's called them much and Chiang Cambrian geo forest park. One of the biggest attractions there is they have a very awesome cable car called v. skycap the skycap takes you up to mount much shine, which is kind of the second tallest mountain there in Lancaster we and you get some really incredible views of the not only the entire island. But as I mentioned before, you can even see some of Thailand as well. It's actually the world's steepest cable car. So he gets a little bit Harry as you're getting to attack as you're going up really steep, but it's a, it's a fabulous experience not only for individuals, but. Very family friendly as well. And once you get to the top, you can go on a what's called the skybridge. It's a suspension bridge that you walk around and curve over some of the smaller mountains. There you can get some really great views of the ocean. The water there is very turquoise blue that just very picture friendly as well. Well, and you mentioned that this was part of this Jew forced park, which has also been designated by UNESCO as a world, geo park? Yes. There are three geo forest parks in length Howie. This one is kind of in the northwest part of the island. The other two are also phenomenal activities to check out on a one week. I tenor area, but in terms of the sky cab right below the sky cab area, there is a, it's called the oriental village. There's a lot of different shopping a lot of dining and there's other activities to do too, so you can pretty much spend an. Entire day in this much in China, geo forest park area and be able to get a lot of things done. One of the other kind of tractions in the area is they have a, it's the world's second largest three d art museum at three DR museums are very popular in southeast Asia, we've noticed, but if you've seen the pictures, it's the all of the walls and the floors are kind of painted into the scene where if you stand in it, it looks like your in it. So it's it's a really cool activities. The kids really enjoyed it. You see a lot of people taking pictures there and it's it's pretty fun. Seeing the creativity that these artists took to make these different little locations where it looks like you're standing in front of this castle, or you're sitting on this boat in Venice, with all of the buildings kind of painted in a great perspective so that it looks like you're actually there. It's pretty, it's pretty cool. It's relatively cheap as well. It's five, ten dollars entry per per. Person, and you got a lot of cool little pictures there as well then. So this is something new to me here. This is the art in paradise museum that you're talking about here and the difference here is that one. It sounds like it's pretty much made for Instagram. You have all these different little areas where you kind of get in line and you kind of go and step in front of it. You take your picture and then you move onto the next one. So it is. It is very touristy kinda thing too. Sure. Yeah. But if you if you like creativity and art, it's not quite museum style. It's more of a casual you had to actually take your shoes off. You go barefoot the entire way, and it's a variety of different size rooms with different size, kind of art pieces that that you go and stand in front of and you'll be a part of this scene. And when you're saying you're standing in front of it looks like in many of these, the floor itself is also part of the peace. So it doesn't look like you're standing in front of it. Looks like you're in the middle of the scene. Yes, absolutely. This is new to me. I enjoying the pictures here. We'll put a link to that show. It's obviously, but boy, it looks like an easy umn for Instagram ration-, and I think there's going to be more of them sometime soon. Maybe we'll even see a lot more North America's well. I wouldn't be surprised. I would not be excellent. What else would you recommend like Howie. Another really cool activity to do is in the northeast part of the island. It is called the keeling karst GIO forest park near you have a variety of different rivers that kind of feed out to the see there, and you can charter a boat. There are two different options that each have kind of their own benefits and drawbacks. You can book through a tour company and what you'll get there is you'll get a private tour guide that speaks English, and we'll give you a lot of insight into the different mangroves and the different things that you do there at the geo forest park. The drawback to that is that you're going to be on a boat with other people. So if you prefer to have a more private experience and if you need to have more flexibility to spend a little longer time in a place that you enjoy, you're not gonna have that with a tour company. The other way is just to hire a private boat driver, which is what we ended up doing. And there you'll have up to four hours and the tour. Operator there. We'll take you along a predefined route to see a couple of different things, but the bad thing about it, I guess, is some of them. You can't always guarantee that they'll speak English. So you might not get as much of the background into the locations and the geo forest park information. So depending on what it is that you're interested in, whether it's hearing about it and having less flexibility or getting the private experience with more flexibility to spend more or less time in each of the destinations, those are the kind of two different ways to get around in the park. But in the park itself, you've got a lot of mangroves. You got these towering limestone formations, and you can also get tours of bad caves, which was really interesting. You go through this kind of dark with a flashlight, and you're looking up at hundreds of different bats that are just hanging from the wall. You've got different monkeys that are wandering around the mangroves as well. And you can also go eagle watching eagle watching was really cool. Activity there. You can kind of stop the boat there and just marvel at the beauty of these eagles that are feeding down into the the river area. And you also have a lot of different mangroves and private beaches to get to. And at the end of the tour, you will stop by this. It's called the hole in the wall restaurant, but it's right off the side of of a mangrove, its a seafood restaurant there with its own fish farm that you can experience some of the fish feeding there. You can have some really fresh seafood and it kinda caps off the experience. They're the key lame GIO forest. Well, some of these limestone close that you're talking about, remind me if not in scale, but in type of the, how long bay in Vietnam? Yes, they have been formed for hundreds of millions of years from what we read. It's some of the oldest rock formations in southeast Asia, so it's definitely very beautiful and you when you get on that fast boat and you feel the w-. Wind whipping your hair around and you're looking at these beautiful limestones opens up into the sea. It's pretty unforgettable experience. Excellent. That last GIO forest park there that UNESCO has has recognized. It's called the Diane bunting marble. Geo forest park. This one's in the south part of the island. So one thing I didn't mention is Langkawi itself is a set. It's an archipelago of ninety, nine different islands. The biggest one there is the one that's called Lenk how he but this one, the Diane Boeung. Geo forest park is a couple of islands in the south end of that region and its best known for a freshwater lake that it's called the pregnant maiden lake, which there's all right. Local myth there that the waters in this pregnant maiden lake are very good for women's for Tilleke, not sure if that is accurate or not, but it's kind of the the local legend there and also the some of the smaller. Mountains within this island kind of resemble the figure of a pregnant woman laying on her back. So that's why they call it the pregnant maiden lake. I feel like a lot of young ladies must've told their father. It must be the water in the lake. That's why I'm pregnant. Right? And then that's how that's how this legend spreads. And that's why they call it that now. But within this lake, you take a boat from Langkawi island itself and you take it out to the Diane booting island where you got different eateries different smaller shops, and then you kinda go on a little trick into this kind of inland lake. It just looks very beautiful great place to spend the day, have a little picnic swim around a little bit and kind of experience this little smaller mountainous region that is also rounded by sea, but enclosed in a freshwater lake, which is really amazing. Well, it's interesting just to begin with there are three different parks. The may. Main island. We talked about the big island. The big island is looks like it's less than twenty miles across. It's not all that big. We're not talking about a huge region to have enough diversity for three different types of parks, right? Yes. That's one of the reasons that we enjoyed it so much as we got to experience so many different outdoor activities. One of the things that we didn't do that we wish we would have done is you can rent out jet skis and go on a kind of several our jet ski tour than you can just ride the jet ski around the islands. Go into some of these little river inlets and really get a very intimate experience of the land cow coast because they're the beaches are very beautiful as well. So that's when I went to look at the pictures all vice our beaches. Yeah. And that's if you just wanna lay on the beach and sip on some delicious drinks and have some great food. There's a lot of resorts that will also be able to accommodate that, and that's that's what we ended up doing for the rest of our stay in link. How after we visited these different parks, and when you talk about a lot of resorts, are we talking high end resorts? Are there also budget opportunities? There are both the main kind of tourist area. You can call it that is called Chinon beach. There. You'll have a lot of budget options. You have hostels there for backpackers. You've got some smaller hotels as well. And you also have a lot of luxury hotel resorts that are kind of popping up there. You've got a four seasons there. You've got some up and coming more modern hotel. So you can definitely tell that the island is growing tourism. But right now it's still not to the level where it feels overpopulated that genetic beach area will have all of the nighttime dining, all of the night scene kind of stuff to do there. But if you wanna stay away from kind of the more touristy area, you can also stay more inland. You can go and get on an Airbnb. There's a couple of Airbnb options there that it will put you closer into town in the air where a lot of the the local link Howie Malaysian people there live as well. And you mentioned increase in tourism? I did note that I think it was two thousand fourteen UNESCO actually gave what they call a yellow card to them that basically they were concerned about the pressure. The tourism was starting to put on some of these GIO parks. I think one of those turn at least turned into a green card a couple years later year later. So that's good news, but there's some concern with the increase in tourism and what's it gonna do to those preserved areas? Yes. And as we talked to a lot of our taxi drivers, we asked them how a slang Cowie grown. Was it like this ten years ago, you'll see some places in south East Asia where you ask, hey, what was it like ten years ago? And they said it was very calm. Peaceful and serene ten years later, just got a really overpopulated and boo. In the island's, not quite the same. Langkawi hasn't seen it to that level, but the local population there does believe that there is growth and there is a trend towards getting to that kind of option. So if you're interested in getting the calm peaceful of the island, I would recommend visiting sooner rather than later as you do see a lot of or not a lot, but you see some hotels that are being built along kind of south of the Chinen beach area where there's more kind of private beach real estate, and you'll you'll see that there's definitely growth there. It's very interesting to see what is going to look like in the next couple of years because you know that they're going to grow and they're going to take on more destinations. And once airport opens up to a little bit more flights, not just from Kuala important Singapore, but from other places, direct, maybe from Australia from the Middle East or from Europe, then you'll definitely see a more packed population there. Are there other things in. The interior that we should talk about. One of the things that the guidebooks kind of talk about a lot is the entire island. This considered a duty, free island. So you'll you'll have some very good prices on kind of cigarettes liquor, some clothing, but the shopping itself isn't all that great. We noticed there'll be a lot of places that kind of advertise. We have duty-free we have all of these great brands. Some of them do tend to look a little bit counterfeit. You think. To do. Applying jeans or. Right. That's does. It's an interesting experience seeing there all the different kind of shopping options. The malls are still pretty small compared to some of the other locations in southeast Asia, and you can get some bargains there. That's what you're interested in. If you're trying to get some veneers there, there's a lot of also local shops. I'm guessing if we wanted to shop, then if we put an extra day in our temporary as we flew through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur Bangkok, probably gonna find better shopping there. Absolutely. Yes. Excellent. What surprised you about Lynn Kelly? One of the things that surprises was the food. The food was very, very delicious. And with the growth in kind of the tourism there on the island, you're starting to get a lot more options as well. So there's a lot of restaurants within that Chinhang beach area where all the tourists hang out, but there's also a lot of when you go east Chinon beaches on the west side of the island. As you start driving eastward, you got a lot more of a local experience. One of these restaurants is called the fat frog. It is actually an open air restaurant right next to a golf course, and they have some really great, Malaysian cuisine, some amazing service at very affordable prices, and you also see a lot of western dishes as well. So if you're not as interested with the Malaysian cuisine, which is very rice based and a lot of chicken and a lot of different noodle dishes. And you also have some really great pasta. They make pizza there. They have really good meals, and you've got this fabulous view not only on this golf course to the side, but there's a little lake. You have some small mountain ranges, and it does get a little bit hot during the day. So when it starts a cool off at night and you get that sunset timeframe, that's when it starts to feel feel really amazing. Now what time of your we there? We were there in August. So August. It's very, very hot, gets towards kind of ninety degrees and very humid. So just make sure that you're ready and prepared for that. I think the monsoon season kinda starts to kick up in September and October. So that's when you get a lot of rain, we didn't get a lot of rain. We only got rained for maybe one day while we were there. But during the monsoon season seeing as the skycap and the land cow econo- mangrove tours are open air kind of things, not sure that's going to be available during the monsoon season if there's heavy rain as well. Well, an rod, you do the family travel podcast. So I'm wondering if you have any other suggestions. Haven't mentioned four families who were traveling to lend Kelly. Yeah, there's a really interesting fruit called durian the locals there called the king of fruits. So you'll see that posted everywhere you will actually see in the hotels that, yeah. Science. Yeah, so you can have it by itself. It's kind of this custody of fruit. You can have it in ice cream in pancakes. So it's definitely an opportunity to try a very unique tasting fruit and your kids like dream. I have two wildly different kids. One that will try anything and one that will try pretty much next to nothing. So the one that tried it, my younger daughter, Nora, she's a two year old. She had this funny face. She had a couple of bites after that. She said she didn't want anymore. And my five year old didn't didn't try. He gets really nervous with some food, so we didn't get an opportunity to feed him that. But definitely a very interesting experience having durian. Excellent. Anything else we need to cover before we start to wrap this up? There is a very beautiful waterfall. It is called seven wells waterfall. So you can tag that on sometime during your day. When you go up to that sky. Cab to mount much and Chang. It's very close to their. The seven wells waterfall are the hike that you take. It's about an hour hike. It's six hundred plus steps. So it is still kid-friendly, but just make sure that you take some water and you kinda take your time. It'll take you about an hour to get there, but it's these great freshwater pools with kind of natural waterfalls flowing through them and some of these waterfalls that flow through them create this little stone channels where they actually make Little Rock water slides where you can kinda slide from one little pool to another. Now, when we went, it had been the day after a rain. So the pools were pretty filled. But if you go outside of that monsoon type season, so anywhere outside the August two Octo timeframe, not sure if those pools will be fully filled, but think still from what we heard is a great hiking experience. When when we went kids really enjoyed it, we took our time. And once we got there, we had our bathing suits and we just kind of hopped in the pool and relax. A little bit and that kind of completed our day in that much chiming GIO forest park area in the north west. So it's you get some really beautiful views of the geo forest air. You get the waterfall slot of great picture opportunities and very refreshing swim in the pool after that hour, long hike. Excellent. Finish this thought you're standing in the prettiest spot in Cowie where you standing. What are you looking at? I had to spots coming mind that I couldn't quite the side which one was first one is the top of the sky cab. You have the observation deck that you look at and it's pretty much three hundred sixty degree views. It's either on the second tallest mountain there in link how you can see Thailand to the north. You can see the ocean to the west. You can see the big geo forest region to the east, and you can see some kind of beaches and the and a little town there to the south. So that is that is definitely one of the views. The other one is in the key Liam, geo forest area in the northeast year. On this long tail boats in the middle of this river with mangroves to your side will also kinda towering limestone formations and you're seeing eagles flying above you kind of diving down to catch fish of the surface of this river, and that was another beautiful view and location that took our breath away and made us wanna stay there longer than a week to be honest, rod, I feel like you were ready for that question. We're excited we. We didn't have high expectations going into lane cow, and we were very pleasantly surprised by what an amazing island. That was one thing that makes you laugh and say only Cowie I would say more only in Malaysia is during. I don't. I don't know if there's adequate words to be able to describe that experience. Not only does the fruit itself look really want key with its big size and little spiky edges. The taste is very unique. The whole legend about the durian being the king of fruits and the experience of eating it. That is one thing that you only found in link. How also in Malaysia, I'm going to say that I have more like your son. These smell of the Dory and has has largely repelled me so far. But I'll try one of these days. And if you had to summarize Len Callie in just three words what three words would use mangroves beaches and mountains. Excellent. Excellent. Our guest again has been rod Sanchez Jessop fairly, not gonna make it today and from the jet-setting family travel podcast, and we'll put a Lincoln for that rod. If we wanted to send people to a blog post or podcast that you've done on your site, what's the best one that we can send him to the jet-setting family dot com slash Lancaster is where you can find all the information on the beautiful things that we did in link how is as well as some pictures to excellent rod. Thanks so much for coming on, amateur traveler and sharing with us your love, unexpected love, perhaps for Len Kelly. Yes, very appreciated. Chris. Thank you for having me. Jessica says, hi, sorry that she. Couldn't make it to this chat today, but we look forward to keeping in touch. In the community. I'm back in, we're all back from the amateur traveller two thousand eight trip to central Europe to Prague Krakow and Budapest from all accounts that I've heard. We had a great time. Remember that we've got another trip coming up in two thousand nineteen. In may two South Africa butts wanna and Victoria Falls and go to amateur, traveler dot com. Slash Africa two thousand nineteen to get more information about that trip. And then we're starting discussions about where to go in two thousand twenty. We haven't narrowed it down at all for information about that and to contribute to that discussion to amateur, traveler dot com. Slash trips and joined the private Facebook group. We had a comment from Jesse. On the recent episode. We did episode six, twenty four on Los Angeles. Jesse said I've been living in Los Angeles for the past ten years or so. And I have to say this was an excellent episode that hit all my current favourite parts of the city. The only thing I have to say is that if you. Come, you need to visit the Griffith observatory at sunset. This is where you get some of the best of us of Los Angeles, and it's a great hike from the bottom of the hill, either from Vermont side and take the boy scout trail or from the fern Dell side and take the east observatory trail. Both of these are very easy mile or so hikes, but they are somewhat hot in the mornings. I also love the little cafe on the fern Dell side called trails cafe. The have a nice kid, friendly environment that serves hipster coffee and baked goods like lavender shortbread and yummy quiches. There's also a fifty cent dash bus that goes up from the Vermont side about every half hour anyway, loved the episode and really happy to have all my favorite areas of Los Angeles covered. Well, thanks so much. Jesse always nice to get that feedback with that. We're going to end this episode of amateur traveller. If you have any question or if you want to sponsor the show, send an Email to host immature, traveler dot com. Or better yet leave a comment on this episode at immature, traveler dot com. And thanks so much for listening. See. One camp.