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Published: January 20th 2013
Aka Cenang Beach, the main one.
LP warned that my next stop might ultimately take longer than I'd planned, and they were right. The book recounted the experiences of backpackers who'd originally planned to stay at Langkawi for a few days, which eventually morphed into weeks, and even longer for some. I was no exception. Having originally set aside three days for this sojourn, I couldn't resist extending just one extra day in this island paradise, and this being my last stop in the country, thus postponing my inevitable departure from the land of roti canai
Even bigger than Penang itself, Langkawi is actually a collection of a total of 99 islands, belonging to Malaysia's northern-most state of Kedah, bordering the deep Islamic southern Thailand provinces. You would think that 99 idyllic verdant islets set in crystal blue waters would in no time be overrun by the usual hordes of rampaging tourists. But Langkawi, though no well-kept secret by any means (having very much been on the trail for at least several decades already), manages to retain some of the magic that must have been irresistibly seductive to its first inhabitants and visitors. True, the main beach area of Pantai Cenang resembles a mini-Kuta in Bali,
Apparently Lang means eagle or something.
but just scoot a few minutes away hugging the coastline, and all the touristy cliches melt away in the face of some seemingly untouched and truly beautiful landscape.
I also met Jin, a Korean fellow-backpacker here, as we shared a taxi from the jetty. Hanging out together the next few days proved to be extremely productive for my previously non-existent reservoir of knowledge of Korean society and pop culture, as Jin enlightened me on the entire spectrum of Korean must-knows, from Girls Generation and the merits of Samsung Galaxy over Apple's iPhone, to kimchi preparation, the new "Princess President" (as described by her), and the country's idiosyncratic blind-dating culture. And somewhat remarkably, when I asked Jin why she decided to quit her job to travel (almost 1.5 years now), she quoted to me Steve Jobs' "You've got to find what you love" (!) So of course I showed her the transcript of his 2005 Stanford Commencement speech that I keep in the notes of my iPhone. Jin's still learning English, but she said she would try to read through it in its entirety. Risking Steve Jobs's ire (given his well-known antipathy towards Google), I told Jin if she wanted,
she could just Google Translate the whole thing!
And thus, my time in Langkawi brought me to the end of my stay here in sunny Malaysia. My two weeks here have flown by, and it was now time to continue northwards back to Thailand. But fear not, as I've pencilled in plans to check out the other side of my northern neighbours i.e. East Malaysia in the not-too-distant future. So sampai nanti
Stayed at Daddy's Guesthouse.
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