After spending the previous month or so in urban city areas, it was real nice to arrive on the relaxed Malaysian island of Langkawi on the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia. Nearly the size of Singapore, Langkawi’s population is about 100,000 compared to Singapore’s 5.5 million. Langkawi is surrounded by beaches, green rolling hills and limestone karsts. Langkawi lacks the craziness of the many Thai islands just to its north but we found that to be the draw as it was much more relaxing. However, the beaches are not in the same league as the Thai beaches.
The main beach area, Pantai Cenang is on the west side of the island and this area is best avoided. We elected to stay in the jungle interior part of the island amongst the nature, waterfalls, wildlife and directly on a sweet looking ricefield. This area was also closer to the nicer and less visited beaches on the northern side of the island (Pantai Pasir Tengkorak & Tanjung Rhu).
As a result of choosing this out of the way location, this necessitated us to rent a car. It sure was a bit strange getting behind the wheel after a 4 month driving layoff. It was also strange getting adjusted to driving on the opposite side of the road. I was the designated driver in Langkawi as Barbie has proven over the years to be a real shit driver. Consequently, she had no shot of getting behind the wheel. She would openly admit to this, so this is not just me being cruel and controlling. Barbie has graciously accepted and earned the nickname – “Crash”. State Farm, her previous car insurance company in the USA contacted Crash and told her they were no longer interested in her business. They were dropping her ass from coverage as she single handily was on the verge of bringing the insurance company into insolvency with her monthly crashes and claims. Too bad State Farm is not a public company cause it would have been a great stock to short with Barbie onboard as a client.
On our drive to our cottage thru the interior of the island, we admired the scenery as it looked a bit like a Hawaiian island with its rolling green hills. As we passed thru the laid back local villages, I immediately knew it was a great decision to stay in this quieter, more isolated part of the island and avoid the congested beach area of Pantai Cenang.
One of the things I enjoy about our journey is this sort of spontaneous decision making which can play such an integral part in the type of experience to be had. Many audibles and judgement calls need to be made along the way and by making the right calls, it can lead to entirely different experiences. There is a big sense of gratification when you nail these decisions and get them right. To date, our decision making has been stellar with very few screw ups. If this superior decision making continues, I may even have to declare, Big Doug & Barbie – ‘King & Queen of Decision Making’. The more we travel and navigate around these foreign countries, the better our instincts seem to get on where to stay, what to do, where to eat and most importantly, where to shit.
Basically, this journey is like a box of chocolates, you will never know what you’ll get. But, when making a decision on which chocolate to take from the box, we try to avoid getting the crappy piece of chocolate. This entire independent journey, navigating around in very foreign lands, making spur of the moment decisions with relatively no guidance from anyone has really instilled a sense of confidence in us. This, coupled with us getting a clearer understanding of how the world works outside the routine of own country. These are just a few aspects of this journey that make it so much fun and rewarding.
We leave Langkawi in Malaysia and are adhering to the classic Andy Beyer “Z Strategy” and instead of zigging, we will be zagging and crossing the border back into Thailand via ferry to a remote island in the Andaman Sea. It is time to enter super chill mode and do absolutely nothing, with simply the sole mission being to locate the best hammock to plant my butt on the Thai island of Koh Lipe. Koh Lipe has received a great deal of hype and we will check out to see if it lives up to this hype.
Restaurants- Red Tomato Restaurant, Teo’s, Santai, The Kasbah, Scarborough’s Fish & Chips, Laila Kebab House, Coco’s.
LOOSE STOOLS INDEX – 5 Slipped a few notches and will have to pin the blame on the Frog Legs I downed last nite. Damn, those Frog Legs were good. Would I pull the trigger on the Frog Legs again despite the plunge in the Index? A resounding, YES! After all, you gotta live on the edge. Right?