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Last updated : Nov 2009
Malaysia
Langkawi

Pros: Beautiful nature, different kinds of people, a lot of things to do and see
Cons: low visibility of the sea, lack of corals

An island geographically lying almost more in Thailand than in Malaysia, Langkawi certainly is Malaysian, and therefore has as its main interest a combination of beautiful nature, mixture of different kinds of people, and a relaxed atmosphere. There are scores of different things to do and see, and then there is always the sea trying to lure you into a lazy day. First thing to do was to climb up to the waterfalls in the Northwest of the country. After reaching the upper part of the falls, it is very tempting to spend some time near (or in!) the pools which look so innocent but at the same time, conspire to become a waterfall just below.

Another activity included diving, and although it is always good to train and dive in different circumstances, I was quite disappointed, not only for the low visibility of the sea, but also for the almost complete lack of life corals and spectacular fish. So, I would definitely advise to focus on the sights of the island itself, while spending some time on its beaches can certainly be rewarding. Langkawi was also the place in which we spent New Year's eve of 2000, so it will remain the place where we welcomed the new Millennium (although I admit that mathematically that only starts in 2001). Since this island is mainly Muslem and Chinese, New Year's eve is not widely celebrated. We were still able to find a spot on a beach where quite a lot of foreigners congregated to dive into the next century.

The word "fireworks" was taken literally and a huge fire had been built on the beach. Apart from some "conventional" fireworks being launched in a distance, it remained quiet on the beach when the new year approached. Some people, amongst which I myself, were given a torch to help light the fire, and within seconds it became a huge source of heat and light. A perfect moment to make a phone call back to the last century....

Visited: December 1999/January 2000