I was whisked away to the beautiful island of Langkawi on my birthday weekend as a surprise by my better half, Sid. It was quite a refreshing change to pack my bags in a couple of hours as opposed to checking off things from my list. The idea was to get away from Singapore’s heat and experience Malay sun for a change. Just kidding. Those of you who are familiar with this part of the world will know that seasons and weather changes are a concept we have given up on. But, a change of scenery and some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city seemed enticing enough for us. After being on some hectic trips this past year we thought it would be nice to do nothing for once on a vacation. And beaches are just the perfect destination for some nothingness 🙂
We stayed at Vivanta by Taj – Rebak Island for two reasons – 1) It was one of the few good hotels that was still available and 2) The hotel has a private island. Having been to quite a few beach destinations we realized the logistic difficulties in going to a public beach can sometimes spoil the experience. Where do you keep your belongings? One of us has to stay near the beach chair to guard the phones and other stuff. What if you want to do something else after the beach – where do you freshen up and change? So, we decided to trade in staying in the city to bumming on a private island. It is much more relaxed, peaceful and clean. There are some other highly rated hotels in Langkawi that offer private beach access as well, on the mainland itself, so I would recommend booking one of those if they are available.
We were picked up by the hotel staff at the airport and driven to the jetty from where we boarded a speed boat to Rebak Island. As is the case with most Taj hotels, the staff are attentive and friendly. Our entire check-in process was hassle free and I was sweetly surprised when I was greeted by a chocolate cake and flower decorations on entering our sea-facing villa. The hotel is a bit run-down and in need of a few touch ups but neither Sid nor I are too picky when it comes to rooms. We appreciate a fantastic hotel but are not too bothered as long as we have a good view and all the basic amenities (which includes free Wi-Fi of course). The entire island is dotted with villa styled rooms and the beach is just a short walk away, so you can keep shuttling in between the two in case you have forgotten your sunscreen (which happened quite a few times with us) or just want to change out from your wet swimming gear and take a nap on the beach chair.
We spent most of our time playing in the pool, lazing by the beach, eating and drinking, reading books. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? I am a bit of a restless soul though and not doing anything was getting to me. So, we decided to do some touristy stuff by visiting the cable car ride and Cenang beach on the mainland. The cable car ride in itself was pretty standard but the views from atop are spectacular and just the fresh cool air that greets you when you step off the car is worth the money. There will be long queues especially in the morning so plan your time wisely by visiting the Seven Wells waterfall nearby (beware: you need to climb more than 600 steps to get to the waterfall) or spending some time in the Oriental Village at the entrance to the ride.
Cenang beach is one of the most popular locations in Langkawi. From adventure sports to eating joints, the stretch has it all. We spent some time on the beach watching time pass by and gorged on some vegetarian Roti Canai which was yum. If you are in the mood for some shopping then do visit the night market which is held across different locations in the city daily.
Langkawi is idyllic with its beaches, mangrove forests, wildlife, tropical thunderstorms and bright sunshine. I do not consider myself a beach bum but Langkawi’s white sand beaches are so relaxing that I turned into one albeit for a couple of days. If you are looking for a chilled out getaway to unwind then put Langkawi on your map. It is a beach paradise!