Merlion symbol of Singapore

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Holiday Weekend in Langkawi

View from our Villa
Bob had a meeting in Penang, Malaysia on Friday and the following Tuesday was a holiday in Singapore so I joined him in Penang and then we flew on to Langkawi for a long weekend. Langkawi is a group of 99 volcanic islands, most of them pretty small and only a few are inhabited. They are on the west coast of Malaysia, very near the border with Thailand. They are primarily a tourist destination with mostly Europeans and Malays visiting. Its a bit like Hawaii on a much smaller scale, but with a mix of budget hotels all crowded on a beach to a Four Seasons and other high end properties with their own beaches. You can get there either by ferry or by prop plane, we opted to fly as we were only able to be there for two nights. An airline I'd never heard of called Firefly is the main carrier and the flight was very easy. A very small airport so you just walk out on the tarmac to get to the plane, but they have real flight attendants and pilots and seemed very professional. We stayed at Tanjung Sanctuary which is a group of 26 villas in a forest area with lots of birds and monkeys. They had a nice pool area and bar and restaurant where breakfast was served each morning and the evening happy hour cocktail. Each evening they had a choice of cocktails for the day and an appetizer tray that was served while you watched the sunset. These are our two choices for each day.

We could have sat there all evening watching the sunset and the ocean, but off to dinner we went. We had rented a small rent-a-wreck car that was great for getting around the island, but hardly fit in with the fancy cars at the hotels and restaurants. Luckily our hotel had a car park at the top of the hill and then they had golf carts and vans to shuttle you to your villa. One day we toured the island and did some hikes to waterfalls, typical Asia in that they have lots of stairs going up the side of the hill.
We also checked out other beaches and hotels along the way. The Datai hotel was in a remote location and we walked along their paths down to the beach and pool area, what a lovely secluded place if you wanted to get away from it all. On our way back we must have taken a wrong turn and ended up on the main road. Luckily one of the hotel staff in a golf cart came along and realized we probably didn't want to be there and gave us a lift back to the hotel even though we weren't staying there. Luckily our rent-a-wreck was parked in a more remote parking lot, probably where the workers parked as it looked like it fit in. The second day we hung out at our beach, reading and swimming. The water is warm and totally refreshing. We were surprised to see an animal swimming off in the distance, looked a bit like an alligator. It saw up onto the beach and then wandered off into the jungle. We were relieved to find out it was a monitor lizard and they have no interest in people, only fish.

Our last day we had a lovely lunch of chicken satays and lamb and potato samosas. The presentation was beautiful and the food was delicious. Their specialty was smoked banana ice cream, which we of course had to try and it was worth it.

All in all a great place to visit and we hope to go back again soon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tango in Singapore

Who would have ever guessed they have a tango group in Singapore? They are mostly Chinese, but enjoy learning the dances and the music. The group was performing in the Botanical Garden here in Singapore on a Sunday evening. A lovely setting with a covered stage in the middle of a lily pad filled pond surrounded by lawn and trees. We packed a picnic dinner and a bottle of wine, along with some chairs and headed out. It wasn't raining and the trees provided shade making it bearable to sit outside. They had classical music playing while we ate our picnic and then the dancers performed several numbers. Buenos Aires has nothing to worry about, but it was a very nice evening to be outside eating and drinking. You know me, any excuse for a glass of wine! They had a good turnout of all different age groups, more young children than I would have expected, but they seemed to enjoy watching the show and being able to run around at the same time.
Bob at the picnic site with the Gardens in the background

The stage and pond in the background