First Visa on Passport!!
Dad had asked me to keep my passport extremely safe & not give it to anyone, so when office admin asked me to send all my documents for my first ever foreign trip to Malaysia, I carefully sealed them in an envelope & submitted it. 2 days later I get that envelope back saying no passport, but why would they need my passport, wasn’t I instructed to not share it with anyone!!!
My first encounter with Visas, which wasn’t like a movie show ticket but an authorized stamp on my passport. June 2011, my first official offsite & my exhilaration knew no bounds, our team had overachieved it’s targets & we were rewarded with Blackberry phones along with this week long trip to the crystal blue seas.
Malaysian Airlines (Yes!! that scary cursed carrier) swooped us across Bay of Bengal in merely 6 hours to land at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Enthralled by the vast architecture & modern facilities our fatigue just seemed to disappear. Meanwhile, window shopping kept us busy till we boarded our connecting flight to Langkawi.
Tip 1- Remember to check the prices of the stuff to buy, at the departure & arrival airport in the beginning of the trip, to compare with the rates in the city markets. You can then get the best deal for your buys by the time you are back to your origin city.
Flying about 1 hr over picturesque blue seas we landed at Langakwi, with a whiff of fresh sea breeze hitting our faces. We were then driven to the beautiful Berjaya Resort at Burau Bay, with serene blue waters & cottages built in the jungle & on the sea.
Tip 2- Language is a problem in Langkawi, broken English & sign language will help you survive though.
The resort has a long white sand private beach with crystal clear water & water sports (at an additional cost). If you are a beach baby & just want to relax, this is a superb place to unwind & get some tan. We wanted to explore the city as well, thus rented cars & drove our way across the entire island.
Tip 3- Driving is the most convenient way to explore the breathtaking mountain views & authentic village life. The cost of petrol is almost half of what we pay in Delhi!!
The island is small with less population making it easy to navigate with good GPS signal. The must do here is island hopping, there are local tour operators offering affordable boat rides for approx 4hours. The boat driver is also the guide & kept us entertained throughout the trip. As we whisked around the Andaman Sea adjacent to the Thai border, the wide waters & the huge ships/sailing boats/Jet boats left us spellbound. There are a list of set places that are usually covered in this trip- KILM Geoforest, Mangrove tour, Eagle Feeding, Bat Cave, Lake of Pregnant Woman, a pit stop to grab something to eat with diverse display of sea lives & sting ray feeding.
Tip 4- Bargain for the best local boat tours, it costs much lesser than what your hotel will offer.
The next place which has become a tourist hub lately was right next to our resort, the Oriental Village. It is an experience in itself with restaurants, souvenir shops, animal exhibits & host of activities. It will take up your full day if you have to explore the entire village. We picked up few popular ones & first decided to board the cable car which took us to the top station, from where to we could access the sky bridge (Exactly where SRK shot Don). With light mist & chill in the air we witnessed breathtaking views 360 degress of the islands, sea and even that of the mainland Thailand from the top. This was followed by a short Animal Farm tour & grabbing some quick lunch. Finally we splurged in some souvenir shopping at the village, only to get back to our resort & chill by sea.
The last night at the luxury resort we indulged in merrymaking with some fine spirits till wee hours of the morning, giving us a major hangover next morning. While we kept snoozing the alarms, the clock kept ticking, only to wake us up exactly 2 hours before our scheduled flight. The checkout seemed all the more complex when our intoxicated minds couldn’t decipher the preexisting communication gap.
Our tipsy brains started gaining sense while we were hastily driven to the airport, only to reach 10mins prior to departure!! The lady on the check-in counter was infuriated with our reckless attitude & issued us the boarding passes informing that the flight had been delayed for over an hour!!! What a sigh of relief!!!
We then glided through the clouds to be greeted by the city of massive buildings. The day was spent driving us around the city in a tour bus. The mesmerizing Petronas Twin Towers, Historical District, Menara KL Tower, didn’t really struck a chord with my idea of travel though. Feeling like a dwarf engulfed in the city madness, I was longing to go back to pristine Langkawi.
Well left with no option, had to make the best use of our 2 day stay in KL & what better than shopping!!! KL is a complete shopper’s paradise with latest fashion trends witnessed on the streets. We stayed at Grand Season Hotel, walking distance from Chow Kit Monorail station which rapidly took us to Bukit Bintang Monorail Station in hardly 20 minutes. This was my place to unwind & splurge into shopping, it is an absolute heaven for buying latest clothing, shoes & accessories at the best prices. We did try out their local delicacies at Jalan Alor, which unfortunately didn’t appease our taste buds.
Heart full of memories, over weight luggage validating my shopping indulgence & innumerable sights captured in my camera, we flew back to New Delhi gorging on North Indian delicacies the very evening!! Home is where I can speak my language without any barrier & my tummy is content with delectable platter!!