May 12, 2023
We have moved from Indonesia to Malaysia in one day! For Sabang Indonesia they required that all passengers and crew have our temperatures taken the day before arrival. Malaysia had no such requirement. Oceania set up the face recognition/temperature device at the entrances to all of the dining venues so they just scanned everyone as we went for a meal. Sometimes they did it at another meal too (just to be sure, I guess). People have asked about the health of those on the ship. As far as we know, there are no pasxengers with Covid and therefore no restrictions. Some people have lingering colds and they are usually pretty good about taking care not to cough on anyone. Some wear masks. Overall, the cruise is pretty normal.
We were scheduled to dock, but that was changed to anchor with tender service to the pier. Arrival was scheduled for 10 AM but we anchored early. By the time the officials “cleared” the ship for people to get off, we were ready to go for our tour at 10:45.
The sail in pictures were quite beautiful. The islands are very green and lush.
Langkawi is a duty free island and an archipelago of 99 islands but only 3 are inhabited. There are also five small islands visible only at low tide in the strait of Malacca. Langkawi is the second largest island and has a population of 220,000. The people are Malay, Chinese and Indian and the Muslim religion is the most prominant. The chief sources of income are rice, rubber and fishing.
Our guide today was Jerry. He mentioned that the dry season is usually January – March but this year it is lasting through May which does impact the rice farms.
Our first stop was a rice farm and museum, the Laman Padi Langkawi Museum. It was really interesting to see the museum (and thankfully it was air conditioned – another steamy hot day here). There were exhibits that showed the entire process of growing rice and preparing it for use.
After visiting the indoor museum we were guided around the actual rice fields and had explanations from various staff members.
The original method of growing rice takes 4 1/2 months and the newer method in which the seeding and harvesting are mechanized takes 3/1/2 months. The mechanization is more frequent because the younger generation doesn’t want to do the manual work. Two crops are grown each year.
We also saw how they open coconuts, the difference between the male and female coconuts (male is more elongated) and got to taste some shaved coconuts.
After our trip to the rice farm, we headed to the cable car. The cable car goes to a mountain that is 708 meters (about 2300 feet) high. Each car holds 6 people.
There was a dancing fountain and many other attractions at the sky cab park. These kids loved the fountain.
There are two stops for the cable car – we were told to go to the top stop where there are two 360 degree viewpoint observation towers. The mountains are called Machinchang and are made of sandstone layers that are the oldest in Southeast Asia, 550-500 million years old. The prolonged erosion processs produced the sharp peaks and valleys.
More beautiful views.
I wanted to walk to the sky bridge – it is many steps through a nature walk in the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park. Norm chose to skip that part due to the many steps. I had a hot walk and did walk across the sky bridge and back. You can also take a “glide” but we didn’t know what that was exactly until we saw it, it was a kind of hut on a track that let you avoid the steps that led to the bridge.
Back at the bottom, I wanted to have an ice cream but we had no Malaysian Ringgit. I asked the server if they would take a credit card and she said yes, but when she handed me the cone she said they didn’t take credit cards – she must not have heard or perhaps not understood what I asked. After a discussion about what to do, the manager just said the cone was free!
It was a hot but very interesting day. We heard from Jerry that Langkawi is an up and coming tourist resort area due to the proximity to Thailand where things are much more expensive. We saw many resorts and “homestay” accommodations as we traveled around the island.
These time changes we have as we travel can be confusing. We finally moved clocks ahead the extra 30 minutes when we left India. Then we moved an hour ahead last night, we will go back an hour tonight (before Thailand) and when we leave Phuket, Thailand on Sunday, we will move forward again when we re-enter Malaysia.
We were there many years ago; the place has grown tremendously; its even more beautiful than I remember. Thank you again for posting. Very very much appreciated.