Travelogue: Attractions at Underwater World, Langkawi – Malaysia’s Largest Aquarium

*This post was originally published in April 2012 on an old blog. I am gradually migrating some of the content over to this site, and will backdate them once I’ve got things sorted out. (I’ve also added in some updated info). In the meantime, enjoy!

This is a long overdue post. I’ve been lazy busy with stuff at the magazine. Amidst the crazy hustle and bustle of work and saving up for my big Euro trip, I took the weekend off for some well-deserved R&R, far away from the concrete jungles and smoke fumes. Sounds cliche, but never underestimate what an island getaway can do for you. Langkawi it is!

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Departing from the LCCT.

I was feeling really tired for some reason and dozed off right after takeoff. Regretted this immensely after getting off the plane and vowed to stay awake throughout the rest of the flight during the return journey.

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Located far to the north of the Malaysian peninsula, Langkawi island is a lush green landscape of hills and bright green paddy fields underneath an almost unearthly bright blue sky, with an equally bright blue ocean reflecting it. The name of the island derives from Malay, Lang(eagle) and Kawi (a type of stone).

It has been over 17 years since I last stepped foot here, but from the looks of it, this scenic cluster of islands has not changed much. It still exudes the sleepy feeling of an island town where tourism is the main activity, where the shops are still quaint-looking and rarely over two storeys tall, where streets are unlit at night and where the biggest shopping mall is approximately the size of a Hypermart here in KL.

One thing I remember clearly from my visit all those years ago was seeing an eagle fly by Eagle Square. It was the first time I had seen one, and the way it beat its wings majestically as it soared through the air struck me, even as a child, with the same feeling as I feel now whenever I’m in beautiful places. That feeling where your heart seems to burst with emotion and how blessed you are to be witnessing all this breathtaking beauty.

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We rented a modest Proton Wira for three days to get around. Much easier and cheaper than taking a taxi. 

The first order of the day was to go raid the chocolate shops. Chocolates, liquor and cigarettes are duty-free in every shop on Langkawi island, and you will see tourists buying a whole luggage-full of stuff to bring home. I mean, six sticks of assorted flavoured Toblerone bars going for only RM20? A 6-pack of beer for only RM9? Now THAT’s a good deal. 

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Then it was off to the Langkawi Underwater World.  Spanning six acres, it is the largest aquarium in the country. Entrance is quite pricey at RM28 (*updated price 2020 – RM46), and although the place is quite old (it opened in 1995), it’s pretty well maintained. There are over 200 marine and freshwater fish species at the aquarium, as well as a variety of small animals and even birds. 

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You can explore several sections within the complex, namely Freshwater, Tropical Rainforest, Temperate and Sub-Antarctic. The Tropical Rainforest area houses wildlife such as lizards and skinks, birds and fish.

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The aviary allows you to walk freely amongst birds, like flamingoes. They seem very used to human presence.

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The Sub-Antarctic is home to cute penguins. At the Adelie penguins enclosure, I saw this penguin standing perfectly still, gazing up into the white lights. It kind of reminded me of the scene from Happy Feet where the hero penguin gets caught and after a while got stoned as the rest of them because they were stuck inside their cages for, well, literally, forever. Just waiting for feeding time, standing around, swimming in that confined little space with no hope of ever leaving. Some might even be born here and never know that beyond these walls, there is a place where columns of ice are as large as titans, where their kind fished and swam freely in the oceans. It’s a sad existence. I felt rather sorry for them. I feel that animals should be free, but at the same time, there is educational value in zoos and conservation centres – although many of these are mismanaged which causes some of the animals to suffer.

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The rockhopper penguins were much more aggressive. They swam faster, were more active and dove into the water quite often to swim, before leaping up again.

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Moving on to the aquarium proper, which houses plenty of sea life. The highlight of the section is a 15-metre ‘underwater’ tunnel that you can walk through, which has sharks, turtles and giant stingrays.

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A Fu Manchu fish, so called because of the tiny ‘moustache’ it has on its face. It showed me its butt when I tried to take a photo.

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Aside from the marine and wildlife, there is an educational centre and 3D theatre, as well as a cafeteria within the premises.

All in all, the Langkawi Underwater World is a family-friendly attraction where you can enjoy a couple of hours of educational fun. A worthwhile stop if you’re in the Pantai Cenang area.

LANGKAWI UNDERWATER WORLD 

Zon Pantai Cenang, Mukim Kedawang, Langkawi, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 9.30 AM – 6.30PM (Mon – Thurs), 9.30 – 10.30PM (Fri – Sun)

Tel: +604 955 6100

 

Review: 9 Reasons Why Dash Resort Langkawi Is The Beach Holiday Of Your Dreams

Langkawi – the ‘Jewel of Kedah’ of Malaysia –  is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and amazing tropical scenery. While resorts and hotels are a dime a dozen on the island, those looking for the beach holiday of their dreams will find it at Dash Resort Langkawi – a four-star boutique resort that’s quirky, laid back and endlessly fun.

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Part of the Ri-Yaz Group, which also manages the Dash series of hotels in Cyberjaya and Bali, design plays an integral part at Dash Langkawi, with the entire setting inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. True to their tagline ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’, a stay here will take guests on a whimsical journey.

Here are nine reasons why I think you should book a night (or two. or three!) at the resort:

1 ) Insta-worthy shots EVERYWHERE. 

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It is clear from the get-go that this is a hotel designed for the young and young at heart, with Instagram photo opportunities at every turn. Bright, colourful and cheery, the outlandish designs feature everything from oversized furniture to gold-framed portraits of superheroes in Victorian-era costumes. The lobby itself has polished marble floors, soaring pillars, an opulent chandelier and mismatched (but not clashing) sofas, puffy couches and cosy seats.

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CatWoman reimagined. See if you can ‘collect’ photos of all the different superheroes within the resort ! There’s Captain America, Batman, Spiderman and a bonus Chewbacca (it’s pretty hidden).

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The centrepiece of it all ? A giant 9-metre tall blue Dash rabbit, the resort’s mascot.

2) The beach looks FANTASTIC 

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When our group first approached the Beach Club area which faces part of Pantai Cenang, a collective oooh was heard. White cabanas, sun deck complete with glittering DJ booth, endless blue skies over the azure blue waters of the Andaman and soft white sand –  the scene looked more akin to the beaches of Mykonos or Crete in Greece. Who says you need to travel far to experience natural beauty?

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3) The food is pretty awesome. 

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The quirky, fun design extends to the restaurant / bar area, aptly dubbed Dash Beach Club. Instead of buffet-style which is the norm for many resorts/hotels, dishes are ordered ala carte, and are an eclectic mix of East Meets West with flavour influences from around the world. Afternoon fare is more burgers and pasta, while night offers heavier, more substantial meals and local dishes. What you can’t miss is breakfast:

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Nothing like waking up to a gorgeous spread of pancakes and toast, or ham and sausage with a side of mushrooms! The real winner though, is this:

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Eggs Kejriwal. Would honestly travel back just for this. Originally an egg, cheese and toast snack from Mumbai which features grated cheese and green chillies, red onion and cilantro on a piece of toast, Dash’s version switches it up with a crunchy fried filo pastry with crisp layers. Works really well, especially when you cut into the egg and it oozes golden gooey goodness. Not too spicy either!

Fun fact: The Beach Club is open to the public (for a fee) so you don’t necessarily have to be a guest. Still feels plenty exclusive though.

4) Their rooms are spacious and comfy 

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Still with the Alice in Wonderland theme, rooms follow the same quirky concept with fun patterns and unique pieces of furniture. Stayed in a Deluxe Room, with a comfy queen-sized bed, dressing table, TV and a Dash bunny to snuggle with. No bathtubs, but there is a nice shower, a wardrobe with bathrobes + slippers, as well as coffee and tea making facilities.

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5) You can unwind at the spa

What’s a beach holiday without a good massage? Unwind at the Rabbit Hole Spa, which offers a variety of pampering treatments and luxurious pick-me-ups. Granted, the space was a little bare/basic and prices are steep, but I enjoyed my quick 30 minute massage to smoothen out tired knots and muscles.

6) They’ve got an awesome infinity pool + ‘sunken’ cabana area

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The pool has got to be one of the resort’s highlights, as it is right by the beach and looks out to the sea. There’s a pool bar for when you need a drink after the swim, and a cosy ‘sunken’ cabana area right in the middle of the pool, so you’re literally surrounded by water.

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7) You can get (cute) limited edition merchandise

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There’s a shop within the resort called Dashoppe, which sells cute resort-themed merchandise you won’t find elsewhere. There is the blue bunny mascot native to Dash Langkawi, but they also carry the green and red ones from Dash Bali and Cyberjaya. Other items on sale include designer clothing, swimwear, bathrobes, shoes, and souvenirs.

8) The sunset is GORGEOUS 

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One of my favourite things to do at the resort was just sit by the beach at sunset with a cold glass of smoothie and watch the sun set. Nothing like the sight of islands amidst a backdrop of cotton candy sky, listening to the sounds of waves lapping against the shore.

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9) It’s a great place to chill at night 

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Unlike other island places like Phuket in Thailand, Langkawi is pretty quiet at night – so if you’re expecting crazy nightlife with booze and bars, then it’s probably not the place for you. If you want a quiet place to relax, however, it’s perfect. The pool at Dash is not open at night, but guests can still chill on the patio with some drinks and finger food. Occasionally you get local performers putting up a fire show by the beach – just remember to tip them!

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DASH RESORT LANGKAWI

Jalan Teluk Baru, Jalan Pantai Tengah, Mukim Kedawang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah

Phone:+604-955 7171

Website

**Note: I was invited to DASH Resort Langkawi for a hotel review for work. Views here are entirely my own. 

5 Best Places To Celebrate Easter 2018 in Malaysia

Easter celebrations in Malaysia may not be as big as it is in countries like the United States, but that’s no reason to miss out on the enchanting experience! From the hustle and bustle of urban KL to the idyllic island of Langkawi, here are four unique destinations and experiences to indulge the family in this Easter holiday.

NOOK @ ALOFT KL SENTRAL 

Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral - Easter Dessert Spread

Look no further than this futuristic foodie haven for kid-friendly fun treats and a festive Easter ambience. On Sunday April 1st 2018, ‘Easter Eggcitement’ presents a delectable Easter brunch spread, including melt in the mouth oven roasted prime ribs and honey glazed meatloaf. Taking centre stage is the egg-ceptional dessert selection, ranging from Easter Log Cake, cupcakes, Flower Pot Carrot and traditional hot cross buns. Enjoy this sumptuous array of heavenly holiday dishes from 11:30am to 3:30pm for RM120 nett, while kids dine at half price.

More info/reservations: aloftkualalumpursentral.com / +603 2723 1188.

LE MERIDIEN KUALA LUMPUR

Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur - Easter  (1)

This culinary hotspot is the place to be for sumptuous sweet treats at signature eatery Latest Recipe. The ‘Happy Easter’ extravaganza on April 1st 2018 features captivating balloon sculptures, egg and face painting activities for youngsters, along with bountiful global gastronomy. Indulge in Hungarian style rustic roasted leg of lamb, Sicilian baked barramundi and more for RM180 nett and RM90 nett per child.

More info/reservations: dining.lemeridienkualalumpur.com / +603 2263 7434.

THE ST.REGIS KUALA LUMPUR

The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur - Easter Sunday Brunch (2)

Enjoy a sumptuous Easter stay in the elegant urban haven of The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur. The refined luxury of the St. Regis Suite offers captivating views of the Botanical Gardens, along with a range of pampering perks for all the family. This festive one night stay package includes an in-suite 90-minute massage for two, and a lavish Easter Sunday Brunch at The Brasserie which features magical kid-pleasing activities such as an Easter egg hunt, egg painting and Easter egg rolling.

The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur - Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Brunch at The Brasserie is a global gastronomic journey, showcasing the traditions of Easter from every corner of the planet. Highlights include ricotta and pepper frittata, roasted lamb, Easter omelette and an array of other intriguing flavours. This sumptuous brunch is available on the 1st of April 2018, and priced at RM368 nett including non-alcoholic beverages and RM568 nett inclusive of alcoholic beverages.

The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur - Easter Afternoon Tea

Complete the Easter experience with an impeccable Afternoon Tea set of classic canapés, savoury delights and irresistible dessert offerings. This Afternoon Tea is available on the 30th of March to the 1st of April 2018, and is priced at RM158 nett per person, or RM238 nett with a glass of Veuve Cliquot.

  • More information/reservations (for stay): reservations.kualalumpur@stregis.com / +603 2727 1111.
  • More information/reservations for Easter Sunday Brunch:  thebrasserie@stregis.com / +603 2727 6666.
  • More information/reservations for the Easter Afternoon Tea: thedrawingroom@stregis.com / +603 2727 6660.

THE WESTIN LANGKAWI 

Escape to The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa for an Easter Family Getaway amid sublime ocean and rainforest scenery. Enjoy a range of perks like airport transfers, complimentary Internet, kids club access and buffet breakfast, starting from RM1,200 nett per room per night.

The Westin Langkawi-Family at The Pool-Med

There are innumerable ways to celebrate in style at the resort’s diverse venues. The fun-packed Easter Eggstravaganza buffet dinner at the kid’s pool is priced at RM220+ per person including free flow of house wine, beer, and soft drinks, or RM169+ per person inclusive of free flow of non-alcoholic beverages. Experience a cultured Easter themed High Tea, refreshing beverage specials or a truly sumptuous four course set dinner at picture perfect beachside venue Anjung Damai, the options are endless.

More information /reservations: westinlangkawi.com / +604 960 8888.

THE ST. REGIS LANGKAWI Whisk your loved ones off to immerse in the incomparable luxury of The St. Regis Langkawi , and step inside a whimsical Easter Wonderland. A magical aura infuses the resort, with a specially created festive ambience tailored for younger guests and their families. Starting from MYR2,281 nett per room per night, a St. Regis Suite package lets guests indulge in the art of play this Easter, featuring complimentary breakfast, free dining for children, a little chefs cooking class, access to the Kids Club and much more.

The St. Regis Langkawi - Easter

The fun-packed Easter Weekend kicks off with an Easter Champagne breakfast priced at RM170 nett, and is followed by an Afternoon Tea with Mat Hatter. The Afternoon Tea is priced at RM195+ for 2 persons and is inclusive of Champagne. Every moment at The St. Regis Langkawi becomes a treasure and every experience a new family tradition. Enjoy activities especially tailored to the little ones which include a stirring egg hunt, egg painting, a fanciful balloon artist and clown.

More information/ reservations: stregislangkawi.com / +604 960 6666.