Monday, January 30, 2012

My Bubble: Langkawi Is Beautiful But Not Its People!!!

Lo kong and I just spent a short 3D2N stay in Langkawi last week. Being a last minute plan, we opted to drive all the way to Kuala Perlis which is about 495km from Kuala Lumpur ... approximately 5.5 hours' drive on the North-South Highway. Unfortunately, using a Garmin GPS proved to be unreliable as it took us through the longer trunk road via Alor Setar instead of directly on the highway via Kubang Pasu.

I've learned the hard way a second time! Never trust your GPS 100%!! It tends to take you on a longer route even when the target is just a stone throw away.

Anyway, with a free and easy mindset we didn't mind the longer drive but we were really bumped by the delayed ferry. We missed an earlier ferry by minutes and the next one was delayed by half-an-hour. There was also no system at all to board the ferry ... no indicated gate, no queue line with the old, young children and mothers with babies all pushing and shoving to get into the ferry. It was also no consolation looking at the condition of the ferry that I could hear my heart thumping aloud! There was no pre-departure safety briefing and I could see all the life-jackets tied-up together under the seat. Seriously, do we have time to untie them and figure out how to wear the life-jackets during an emergency???

We finally arrived in Langkawi ... thankfully safe and sound 12 hours after we started our journey. After being hoodwinked into renting a junk Iswara, we headed straight to lo kong's employer-owned apartment in Padang Matsirat. This time the caretaker really takes the cake ... a complete disregard to the meaning of punctuality. Despite reconfirming our appointment upon arrival at the ferry terminal in Kuah, we had to wait an extra 45 minutes for him to deliver the apartment keys and when he finally arrived, he came loaded with excuses!

I have to conclude that the locals in Langkawi are just way too laid-back and super-slow to an extent of having a lackadaisical attitude! They don't even bother a hoot eventhough they've acknowledged that they were blocking our car!!! What?! Are they that almighty we have to wait for them?!

Being a festive season, they were also acting like highway robbers ... twisting and turning their words just to squeeze every extra ringgit out of the visitors. They declared a working weekday as a holiday and some even claimed since it was the Chinese New Year the extras were their Chinese New Year 'ang pows!'

Langkawi today is no more the same when I first visited years ago. The locals are no more as friendly and warm as they were then. A duty-free haven, the local fare wasn't cheap. Imagine a coconut going for RM5 each on a tropical island. I'm puzzled!

The blazing sun wasn't inviting at all to step outside, much less onto the beach. We only walked the streets after sundown and confined ourselves mostly within the shopping complexes doing a little bit of shopping ... 2 bottles of Black Label with loads of chocolates plus their popular anchovies snack. Lo kong also bought a running hydration pack and a backpack which were going for a steal. As for me ... hmmmmmm ... NOTHING???

Without doing much time still flies. We checked out on Friday after lunch, boarded a 4pm ferry and started our drive back to Kuala Lumpur with a detour to Kuala Sepetang fishing village for a much anticipated seafood dinner. Unfortunately they were sold out by the time we arrived. We still had a sumptuous seafood dinner along the way back to Taiping town ... 'twas lo kong's return to his 'kampong' for the very first time! No idea if he still has any other relatives living there though.

Exit 148 to Taiping
Kuala Sepetang Fishing Village ... 25 minutes after Exit 148
Seafood Porridge ... just off  Exit 148

With some help from our not-so-reliable GPS that gave conflicting directions at times, we headed out of Taiping using more of our instinctive navigational skills. After a one-hour stop-over at the popular Tapah R&R to catch a few winks along many other travellers, we finally reach home on Saturday morning at 6am ... 12 hours after departing Kuala Perlis!

3 Bubbles:

Haven't been to Langkawi for years now - since those days when I went on official duty...or when I would get free government passage every 3 years. Now that I will not be able to go there free, I don't think I'll ever go there again. Not so keen...

It is no more the idyllic island like the good old days. It has deteriorated into a commercialised cut-throat hub these days.