A small jetty near the resort
Langkawi has one of the best sunset spots in the world
Sunrise overlooking the Pulau Dayang Bunting
The Kilim jetty where we took our boat

Heading out from the secluded and relaxing Resorts World Langkawi, Loong Wai Ting explores the island’s flora and fauna

MY heart does its little tippy, tappy dance of happiness as I make a mental note of what to bring for my midweek 3D2N getaway in Langkawi. This time, I will be staying at Resorts World Langkawi (previously known as Awana Porta Malai) in Tanjung Malai, 15 minutes’ away from Langkawi International Airport.

Together with a group of local media practitioners, we are headed to the tiny island on a familiarisation trip and to see the newly refurbished resort.

As I look out of the window in the bus, I pray that the weather will be sunny throughout my short visit in Langkawi. A quick check of the weather app promises little to no rain ― what good news! I have planned a few activities including shopping at Cenang Walk, a little shopping haven 10 minutes from our hotel.

KILIM KARST GEOFOREST PARK


Pulau Dayang Bunting with its marvelous rock formation

While my shopping spree can wait a little longer, the first activity on my itinerary is a visit to Kilim Karst Geoforest Park in Kampung Kilim, near Tanjung Rhu jetty.

After a quick freshen-up at the resort and changing into my most comfortable pair of sneakers, I join the rest (there are 25 of us) as we wait for the bus to take us to the nearest jetty at Kilim Karst Geoforest Park.

As the weather forecast promised, it is sunny with clear blue skies as we head out to our first stop. The drive from our hotel to the geoforest park on the other side of the island takes 40 minutes.

The jetty is bustling with activities as boatmen help visitors into their boats, while some distribute bottles of water to the passengers. Our guide Nur, reminds us to keep our trash with us. We begin our three-hour sightseeing journey with the mangrove tour.

As our boatman Rosli expertly navigates the calm waters along the mangrove trees, Nur excitedly points out various flora and fauna amid the thick trees.


A baby long-tailed macaque nursing

“That’s the long-tailed macaque or crab eating monkeys,” he says, while signalling to Rosli to slow down the boat and brings us closer to the family of macaque resting and feeding near a branch of a fallen tree.

While we’re immersed in the scene ― a baby macaque latching onto his mother ― we’re also aware not to make sudden movements for fear that the family’s alpha male will charge at us. Some of the macaques observe us from a distance but a few cheeky ones come closer to inspect us.

Leaving the macaques behind, we continue with our tour ofthe mangrove forest.

Like its sisters ― Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park and The Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park―Kilim Karst Geoforest Park is home to flora and fauna such as fruit bat in the Bat Cave; komodo dragon (often mistaken for a crocodile); and white-bellied eagle synonymous with Langkawi Island.


The green trees that grow in abundance around Langkawi island

Scientists and geologists estimate Kilim Geoforest Park to be 500 million years old.

Evidence of its long existence can be found on various rock formations that stretch as far as the eyes can see.

Getting off near the entrance of Bat Cave with the guide, we walk a short distance along a wooden walkway into the opening of the cave. To enter, we half-crawl on our hands before reaching the main chamber.

Nur cautions us not to touch the delicate stalactite that grows from the cave ceiling.

Stalactites and stalagmites take millions of years to form. Just a mere centimetre takes a decade to grow. Oil from our skin can change the way minerals in the water flow to the surface of the formation.

It saddens me to learn that a huge chunk of the stalagmites were cut off to build a suspended walkway inside the cave for ecotourism.

Nur shines his torch light above us and we let out a collective gasp. Hanging upside down above us are hundreds, if not thousands, of bats roosting. Bats are nocturnal animals, which go out on a feeding spree in the late evening and night.


Eagle spotting near the geoforest park

Coming out of the Bat Caves, Rosli promises to bring us to a spot where we can watch eagles feed in their natural environment. Barely five minutes of manoeuvring his boat, Rosli kills the engine. He points towards the sky. “That’s the famous white bellied eagle!” he says excitedly.

Eagles circle the sky before they make their descent towards the surface of the waters. Then “swoosh”, an eagle grabs a silver fish in its strong beak and soars towards the sky again. It is truly a sight to behold. Next, Rosli tries to get the attention of the birds by gently waving his hands at the side of his boat but to no avail. Smiling, it is as if he lets us know that he has tried his best.

Our time at the geoforest park passes quickly and with a heavy heart, we head back to Kilim Jetty. Langkawi Island lies in close proximity to the Thai border on the north, so some of us get roaming messages on our phones, even if it’s just for a brief moment.

On the way back, we stop by a fish farm to learn about some of the common fish found in the Andaman Sea.

Later, with the rest of the evening free and easy, I hail a ride-sharing car and head to Cenang Walk, a famous stretch in Pantai Cenang, known for its duty free sales, eateries and cafes. Although packed with tourists, I enjoy my shopping and even managed to snap up a couple of good deals.

RESORTS WORLD LANGKAWI

Back at the resort, I look forward to relax in the peaceful setting of the property.

My room is on the first floor on the fourth block overlooking the calm sea and Marina Jetty on the far right corner.

My room has modern fittings such as USB charging ports and a LCD TV. The bed is huge and comfortable.

However, the water pressure is low and the shower temperature changes from warm to scalding hot to cold and then warm. The air-conditioning in the room works great.


Sun loungers at the infinity pool to relax in

However, the cleanliness of the room can be improved on. Upon checking in, I can see dirt and hair left over by previous guests.

The expansive resort has so much to offer, so I head out to explore the 22-yearold property.

It is surprisingly easy to stay put beneath the umbrella at the saltwater infinity pool, staring off into the sea and listening to the lull of the ocean. Free of distraction in the peaceful resort, I take in my surroundings ― the calm turquoise sea blurs into cloudless blue skies and the warm sun shines on my face.


Check out the various water activities such as canoeing

In the peaceful moments of doing nothing, I reset my senses and try to renew my energy for the work back home. The laid-back setup makes it easy to find a spot in the resort to put up your feet and relax. When it gets too warm, I jump into the pool overlooking Pulau Dayang Bunting.

Some resorts take pride in their swim up bar but Resorts World Langkawi doesn’t have one. If you want a drink mid-way through sunbathing, head to Salt Shack Bar, adjacent to the pool.

Check out water activities such as canoeing, snorkelling and fishing at a hut located towards the end of the Boardwalk.

In the evening, sign up for the romantic sunset cruise operated by Tropical Charters.

DINING

I have breakfast and the occasional lunch at Seagull Coffee House at the hotel. It may look small but the restaurant is well stocked with delectable local and western dishes.

With its idyllic setting overlooking the Andaman Sea, the restaurant is perfect to unwind and have a bite. It provides one of the best locations at the resort to catch the sunrise.

When you’re here, skip the indoor seating and head out. If you’re worried about the sun, there are shades for each table.

Langkawi-born and bred Chef Basri runs the kitchen and I still miss the taste of his signature chicken rendang mak tok and lamb curry.

With room for more food, I head over to the newly opened Jingga Jinga restaurant near the infinity pool for delicious ovenbaked pizza and refreshing mocktails.

My time at Langkawi passes by quickly and before I know it, I am heading back to the airport to catch a flight home. Though a short trip, I am feeling well-rested and is ready for new challenges.

Pictures by Loong Wai Ting

TRAVEL FILE

RESORTS WORLD LANGKAWI

Tanjung Malai, Langkawi, Kedah

TEL 04-955 5111

WEBSITE www.rwlangkawi.com/

EMAIL customercare@rwgenting.com

STAY Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, the resort is located on a secluded bay, guaranteeing peace and quiet. There are 211 rooms including Standard and Premier Sea View rooms and Signature Suite. Take a romantic stroll by the Boardwalk as the sun sets over the horizon. Or swim in the infinity pool and catch the sunrise here.

EAT Seagull Coffee House, the all-day dining restaurant, serves mainly Asian dishes with a bit of western fare thrown in. Jingga Jinga serves oven-fired pizzas and hearty Italian meals.

DO Swim or lounge at the infinity pool overlooking Pulau Dayang Bunting. Head to Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa for fivestar treatment. Indulge in the traditional Royal Javanese massage and treatment to soothe your stresses away.

GO Shop till you drop at duty free shops in Cenang Beach.

HIGHBeautiful infinity pool. Also, if you want to shop at Cenang Beach, there is free shuttle service from the hotel. The pick-up and drop-off times are posted on a wall near the driveway.

LOW The level of cleanliness in the room can be improved.

DON’T MISS A SHOT

ALL photos in this article are taken using Samsung Galaxy Note 9. With its exellent focusing capabilities, the phone’s rear 12-megapixel camera captures fantastic details.

With the Note 9 fitting perfectly into my pocket, I don’t have to lug around my DSLR anymore.

Also, with its quick camera launch, I don’t have to miss a shot.

Get the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 from as low as RM2,475. Details at shopee.com.my/

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