We stayed in Neijiang Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan in April 2012 from 8th to 11th, and one more night on the 14th, for total of 5 nights . The hotel is strategically located at the Ximending shopping district, just 3 minutes walk from the Ximen MRT station (exit 1), 3 minutes walk to 4 convenience stores near by. (Yes, it is a phenomenon in Taiwan where convenience stores are everywhere !) The hotel is also surrounded with restaurants, Continue reading
Our Langkawi itinerary was quite relaxed, not so much of rushing around to go to the next destination or the next city. We took our sweet time going from place to place, and spent some time by the pool and the beach. But if you are tight for time, I think you can still use my itinerary for a 3 days 2 nights stay. Here is our actual itinerary:
The Kilim Geoforest Park received its Unesco World Heritage status in 2007. When you are in Langkawi, the only way reach the park would be taking the boat tour (if yo have a helicopter, that would be different story…)
We took the 2 hour boat tour which included visits to: Bat Cave, Fish Farm, Eagle Feeding, Mangrove Sightseeing, Crocodile Cave, Open Sea (Andaman Sea) and Kilim Geoforest Park. The package was by the boat, 2 hours for RM180 so if you are backpacking, this tour can be pricey.
First Stop : Bat Cave
We walked through the limestone cave that had bats hanging off the ceiling. It’s actually not as scary as I thought it would be. The bats were pretty docile and just stayed where they were although there were a lot of tourists walking beneath them. Would be a good idea to rent torches at the entrance of the cave for you to see better in the cave.
Second Stop: Fish Farm with Mangrove sightseeing along the way.
Reaching the fish farm:
The fish farm tour is perhaps the most educational part of my Langkawi trip and my favourite part in the Kilim Geoforest Package.
Did you know that the blood of horse shoe crab is being researched as anti-cancer drug? And it costs RM 10,000 per crab!The fish farm dude as a way to illustrate to us that the crab is totally harmless, put the crab on his head and told us that the crab is a good head massager! Lol!
Did you know that the spitting fish can aim precisely and spit few meters high, with the force strong enough to shoot down insects from the tress? You can view the spitting fish video here. The fish farm dude also asked us to place one finger at the edge of the floor plank, the fish actually aimed at our fingers and spat on our fingers!
Another fun bit in the fish farm would be stingray feeding (with the poisonous barb removed of course…). They can actually turn over on their backs so you can rub their white bellies, kinda similar to rubbing a dog’s belly. The fish farm dude told us that the sting ray had no teeth and can’t bite, so we could put our hands into the stingrays’ mouth to feed it (which gave me a funny tingling sensation).
Next Stop: Eagle Feeding
To say eagle feeding, would be a marketing gimmick used by the tour company because really there was no feeding but just watching the eagles fly. But honestly, it would be pretty scary to have wild eagles charging at you trying to eat food off your hand…. nonetheless, we enjoyed our close encounters with the eagles ! We sighted up to 4 eagles at one time flying around.
Next Stop: Crocodile Cave
Crocodile cave really meant cave that used to have crocodiles. The boatman took us in and out of the cave.
Next Stop: Kilim Geopark and Andaman Sea.
The boat took us around the geopark, where we could see beautiful limestone landscape and geological formation on Andaman Sea. If you are from Malaysia and have travelled the North-South highway between Kuala Kangsar and Kuala Lumpur, the landscape on the highway is quite similar to the limestone landscape in the geopark, except one is on land, and one is on sea.
The Geoforest Park tour marked the end of our journey in Langkawi. The tour was seemingly short but it was surprisingly eventful.
We went back to the hotel, picked up our over-weight luggage (yep, too much duty-free shopping) and adios, till next time !
Websites which you may find useful:
Langkawi Kilim Geopark http://www.langkawi-geopark.com/
Mangrove Tour and Geopark Package http://www.langkawimangrovetours.com/
On the 3rd day of our trip in Langkawi, we went for the Langkawi cable car aka “Langkawi Panorama Skycab”. The base station is located in the Oriental Village in Pantai Kok, at the f00t of Machincang Mountain. The Oriental Village would be a good place to buy souvenirs, feed fish at the pond (which is what I am doing in the picture), and to take photos with pythons wrapped around you!
Initially I was not so keen to go on the skycab as I am afraid of heights, and I have been on cable cars quite a few times elsewhere. But i decided to go on it and withstand the fear as I wanted to see the sky bridge.
As soon as I saw the sky bridge hanging in the sky, all the fear went away as my attention was caught by the magnificent structure hanging in the sky. No regrets about this decision and would highly recommend this spot to everyone (even the ones that are afraid of heights).
Magnificent structure hanging in the sky:
The skycab travelled upwards for about 15 minutes or so from the base station to the 1st viewing platform, where you can get off and spend just about 15 minutes to look around as the 1st viewing platform is relatively small compared to the 2nd one.
The skycab would take another 5 minutes to reach the second viewing platform, where you can spend quite a fair bit of your time walking the sky bridge, enjoy the breeze and the view of clusters of islands that surround Langkawi.
On the bridge itself:
There’s a short hike for 5-10 minutes from the viewing platform to descend to the sky-birdge, so it would be a good idea to wear shoes with a good grip.
Our next destination was the 7-wells waterfall (or Telaga Tujuh in Malay), which was just 10-15 minutes drive away from the Oriental Village. We did a short 10 minutes trail before reaching the waterfall. Along the way, we kept wondering if we are on the right track as there was no sound of waterfall at all ! It turned out that it was dry season and there was not much water but bare rocks only…… unlucky 🙁 But otherwise we would have been able to see the 7 wells of water streaming down at various heights and converging as one water fall.
Some information which you may find useful
Panorama Langkawi Skycab http://www.panoramalangkawi.com
Oriental Village http://www.orientalvillage.my/
Seven – Wells Waterfall http://www.langkawi-info.com/waterfalls.htm
We started our day with brunch at 12pm at Tapaz Restaurant at Perdana Quay, Telaga Harbour. The scenery was very beautiful; there was the sun, the blue sky, the yachts floating around, and the brightly colored restaurants. As it was still kinda early for lunch, it was also very serene because there was hardly anyone else besides Gary and I. The whole Quay belonged to the two of us (and the waiters at the restaurants) for about 30 minutes before other tourists came for food.
At Tapaz Restaurant
I started off my brunch with a huge glass of sungria, probably equivalent to half a bottle of wine. The sangria had lots of fresh fruits and a good amount of alcohol inside so I think I got a little bit tipsy when I was only half way through the drink (but then again my alcohol tolerance is not exactly that great so maybe somebody else drinking the sangria would not have any tipsy effect).
We ordered the chicken liver pate and a tapaz platter for two. The chicken liver pate was smooth and went really well with the chewy home-made bread (it tasted quite homely to me at least). The size of the chicken pate must be one of the largest I’ve seen as well! It came in a souffle cup!
The tapaz platter was fantastic ! There were fried calamari, prawn in garlic olive oil, omelette, sausage with mustard and button mushrooms (hiding behind the fried calamari).
We really liked the whole atmosphere the restaurant presented as a whole. The colors of the restaurant decoration had that strong Spanish vibrant feel, the food was great, and the price was reasonable ( around RM100 for 2), would definitely come back here again. But I would come back in the night-time as it was really hot during our meal ! Now I know why there was not many people at lunch…
Our next stop was the Panorama Langkawi Skycab. As it was a public holiday, the line was so long we really didn’t want to spend so much time waiting. We tried waiting, but gave up after 30 minutes and went to the Underwater World. So make note in your plans to not go to the skycab during public holidays, or if you do, go early in the morning to avoid wasting too much time at the queue.
Underwater World was a must-go for Gary because he is a big fan of fisheys and I am not. There were a few different categories of animals – reptiles, marine, freshwater tropical forest, sub-antarctic and temperate.
I enjoyed the visit but I had shorter attention spans for some sections. When it came to the sub-antarctic and the temperate sections, I must say I enjoy watching the penguins more than anything else.
Rockhopper Penguin – I like his yellow eye brows. He looks mad in this picture…
Black Footed (African) Penguins.
As we exited the Underwater World, there was a duty – free shop right next to it. If you are pressed for time, you can do all your duty-free shopping here instead of going to Kuah Town. Chocolates, alcohol, Corelle and Corningware, etc.
During the night, we went to Kuah Town to do some pots and pans shopping for our up-coming new house. We looked around quite a few duty-free shops to compare prices. The prices are more or less similar between various shops so you don’t have to worry about maybe some shops might have higher prices than others. If you are a Corelle lover, you will go crazy here ! All sorts of designs with all sorts of shapes. Big plates, small plates, fish plates, bowls, soup bowls, tea cups…. etc etc. Other brands included Pyrex, Tefal, La Gourmet and Luminarc.
We ended up buying one Corelle set of bowls and plates, and one set of La Gourmet pots (set of 3 pots). The price was really good as it was about 40% off compared to other places in Malaysia. I havent opened the sets as I am waiting to shift them to the new house, but I did open up two plates for the sake of taking photos 🙂
I just can’t resist Corelle kitchenware I dont know why. The last time I was in Langkawi I didn’t d0 much except for work, I didn’t drink much as I was there for work, I didn’t go anywhere much except staying inside the hotel and went once to Kuah Town, I didn’t even buy too much chocolates as I was watching my diet, but what I did do was I hand-carried a set of three super heavy Corelle pots (S, M, L) all the way back home with me…
Some websites which you may find useful:
Perdana Quay. http://www.perdanaquay.com.my/
Tapaz Restaurant Info. http://www.langkawi-gazette.com/trendy-restaurants/1537-tapaz-langkawi
Under Water World. http://www.underwaterworldlangkawi.com.my/indexmenu.html
Quah Town. http://www.langkawi-info.com/kuah/
Yeah ! Langkawi!
The last time I was in Langkawi was about 2 years ago, and that was purely for work and did not have the time to look around Langkawi too much.
We rented a car for 3 days, and just RM80 per day which was totally worth it. Although Langkawi is not that big, but the cab fares can be steep if you are travelling from your hotel to various destinations.
Our first stop, was at Sawadee Thai Restaurant, Jalan Pantai Tengah, Mukim Kedawang, 07000 Langkawi. I had high expectations as they had advertised themselves with authentic Thai chefs cooking the meals. The meals were good, but the taste seemed to have been adjusted to suit foreign tourists’ taste buds. The taste was milder, and less spicy then it should have been.
After lunch, there was a convenience store near by, and we bought lotz of booze! Not that I’m an alcoholic, but there were all sorts of booze around, like Pineapple Vodka, Mudshake Chocolate Vodka and the KGB Coffee Vodka!
We then checked into Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort. The suite was spacious, very clean, well maintained and came with a huge balcony. The service was great too! All the staff greeted us with smiles all the time, from the front desk to the house-keeping ladies to the shuttle drivers. Whatever we asked for, things like bucket of ice and refill of shower gel came speedily as well. If there’s any thing that I have to pick on, it would probably just be the lighting in the rooms were on the dimmer side, and you can feel just a tiny bit of “age” in the room.
We had dinner at the hotel – usual buffet stuff, followed by trying out all the different drinks we bought during daytime.
The drinks were all pretty mild… the pineapple vodka was more like pineapple juice with a splash of vodka, the mudshake seriously tasted like chocolate milkshake, and the coffee vodka was like … well.. .coffee! But it was fun trying out all the drinks !
Mum bought a lot of scallions today and there was a lot of flour… hence the Korean Scallion Pancake !
Recipe for the pancake
Bunch of scallions – chopped.
2 cups of all purpose flour.
1 1/2 cup of water.
5 squid balls – diced. (These squid balls are hand-carried all the way from Taiwan, but you can use alternatives such as crab-meat sticks or other types of sea food).
Pinch of salt.
Recipe for the dipping sauce
6 tbs black vinegar
3tsp light soya sauce
pinch of chilli powder
2tsp white sesame seeds
1. Mix flour, water, eggs and salt together.
2. Normally the scallion in korean pancakes is not stir fried, but added to the batter as is. I modified a little bit such that I stir fried the scallions and the diced squid balls until lightly browned. I find stir-frying gives a better aroma to the pancake.
Now combine all the ingredients.
And cook until both sides are browned.
Mullet Roe is a delicacy in Taiwan. It is expensive and eaten on special on occasions or when there are guests over (or at least that’s the case in my family). Today, I cooked mullet roe, not that it’s a special occasion, not that there’s any special guests over in our house, but well, my mum reckons that the mullet roe is sitting in the fridge for too long and she’s afraid it’s going to become stale, so that’s the reason why I cooked Mullet Roe today.
Here is what it looks like
There is a thin sheath on the outside of the roe that needs to be removed and soaked in rice wine for about 10-20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170c, put mullet roe together with a bit of rice wine into the oven for 4 minutes and turn over to the other side for another 4 minutes.
And tada ! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside ! Normally it is eatin with white carrot or leak sliced sliced into equally thin slices as the fish roe. But today I dont have either, so will just have to make do with chopped garlic.