Friday, July 18, 2014

Scooting around Langkawi

We rented a motor-scooter at Langkawi (Malaysia) to scoot around the winding scenic roads of the 25 km long Island and can easily be driven around in half a day. For a nice change, the natural tropical flora dominated instead of people. The diverse Island scenes presented themselves to us in quiet villages, remote beaches, verdant rice paddies, and the occasional secluded beachfront 5-star resorts all not out of sight from the steep slopes above.

A boat and his best friend

Rice paddies in the lowland

We spotted a barrel of cute Gibbon monkeys crossing the road via the overhanging trees above us. Around another turn up in the steep hillside, a big bird caught our eye and when we stopped, it along with its mate, flew off. From the luggage on their beaks, they were a veritable big beautiful pair of rare Hornbills. We weren't quick enough with the camera though.

Gawking Gibbon

At 1 scenic viewpoint, the loud chorus from the jungle creatures was remarkable.

Even though it's obvious that Langkawi's destiny is with tourism, we could see enduring indigenous culture in both the fundamental daily activities such as tilling the soil or fishing the seas.

Fishing boats in port

Rickety dickety docks!

We rode into a tiny village whose shamefulness was announced by strewn garbage everywhere. The scene was shared with lounging indolent men and a tribe of goats that were sifting through the garbage (the goats that is!) None of the plastic refuse made it to the garbage bin that was in plain view...quite disgusting. Fortunately for the sake of Langkawi's reputation, the village was off the beaten path.

One tourist venture we wanted to check out was the Panorama SkyCab, a cable car ride to a cooler altitude. Up up we were drawn past the vertical climbs of Machincang Mountain. At the top we could see the whole of Langkawi, the islands of Thailand to the north, and out over the infinite blue expanse of the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean to the west.

SkyCab going up

Near the top is a uniquely designed curved SkyBridge for pedestrian viewing that spans a gap over virgin jungle. Notice how the tower leans to accommodate for weight of the bridge. Unfortunately, it has been closed for major refurbishing since 2012. Wonder when it will reopen...

Spatial experience

The ride down looked as if it would be quick due to the downward curve but surprisingly it was not. Back at the Base Station, we strolled around the Oriental Village, full of souvenir shops and retail stores, spas, galleries, and quaint little bridges over fish-feeding ponds - an outdoor mall!

SkyCab going down

Included in our SkyCab ticket price was viewing of a 6D cinema. We declined as time was running short and we thought it might be a full-length film. Later we found it was less than 15 minutes. Oh well, next time. I later read about 6D on the internet and wished we hadn't missed it. You "live inside the movie" with all the movement.

A few facts about the SkyCab:
  • Horizontal distance: 2,079 m
  • Vertical rise: 680 m (seems higher!)
  • Inclined distance: 2,158 m
  • Turn-around trip time: 28 minutes
  • Hourly capacity: 700 passengers/hour
  • Longest free span: 950 m (between Tower 2 and Middle Station)
  • Steepest gradient: 42 degrees
  • Construction period 16 months (Apr 2001 - Aug 2002)
Once back at Sea Turtle, we wound down the day over sundowners accompanied with reflections of a fun day.

1 comment:

The Intrepid II Crew said...

It has been too long since we devoted some time to absorbing all the Sea Turtle adventures - your photos are superb for evoking the colour, sights and sounds of each location. We wanted to let you know you were thought of fondly at a recent 'cruisers' bbq' here in Victoria. Carol & Kelly