Together with Gaby and Markus we do sightseeing in Langkawi, sail over to Koh Lipe where we find great snorkeling grounds in the reefs of Koh Adang, Koh Rawi and Koh Butang in the Koh Tarutao National Park
- Last preparations
- Sightseeing in Langkawi
- Sailing and Snorkeling in the Koh Tarutao National Park
- Back in Langkawi
Finally “holidays”. At 7.15 am we take the first ferry from Rebak marina over to Langkawi and meet Mr. Din who rents out the cheap cars here on the island. We take a bit more expensive one at RG 70.- per day as it is a bit bigger than the ones at RG 50.- (USD 12.50).
We first visit the Wet Market in Kuah, then Billion Supermarket and of course we buy more than what we can carry. In the afternoon my sister Gaby and her husband Markus will arrive, then we want to be ready for the islands. We drive everything back to the Marina and while storing the food away Reto reads the Whatsapp “we just landed”. Oooh, that’s one hour too early!
Half an hour later we meet at the airport, they are fully relaxed, but it is too hot for them.
We rush back to the marina, first target: take a dip into the pool!
Sightseeing in Langkawi
The Sky Cab Cable Car and Skybridge
The next morning our program is sightseeing: we take the Skycab cablecar to go up the Machincang. Once there we learn that the entrance fee is RG 85.- per person (instead of RG 50.- that we had found out), but it includes the the entrance for the 3 D Art and the Sky Rex. Well, we didn’t want that but decide to go anyway.
Thanks to Corona in China there is no queue and we go straight in without waiting.
At the entrance to the SkyCab I have to leave my (always reused!) plastic water bottle. This is to prevent that the tourists throw them into the forest, we learn…
And here we go: the cabin rises rapidly into the sky, the gusts howl into the little windows at the side and at the top, we horribly bounce up and down, my stomach starts to roll over and my knees feel week. Sometimes we stop for a few moments – and worry ” is this going to be alright? Do they really know at how much wind the operation has to be stopped? At the middle station we get out for a first look around, luckily afterwards it feels a lot better as the wind then comes from behind.
Ater a few pictures at the top Reto has a look at the weather forecast. Bad news: in the afternoon the wind is even more, picking up to 25 knots and higher.
So then, let’s go and have a quick look at the Skybridge. For another RG 6 per person we get access to a path and a 5 minute walk takes us there. Wow, so this is cool indeed! We stand on the spectacular curved bridge which is hanging onto one 82 meter high pylon, roughly 100 meter above the forest.
And with all these visitors walking back and forth there is a certain oscillation – for those cared of hights better keep to the middle of the bridge and don’t look down the plexiglass windows ;-).
But for me in this moment it is more important to get the passage down to the bottom done as quickly as possible before the wind picks up even more. Nevertheless we first head back to the top where there are the bathrooms, because we agree: if the gondola has to stop we don’t want to be stuck in there having to go to the toilet.
Pretty anxious I get back into the cabin, until the middle station all is good. Then the steep passage comes, I close my eyes, wait for the stomach to turn – but nothing happens. The way down is completely calm, even though there are still heavy gusts from the side – uff!!
My tip for the Skycab:
1. Take a look at the wind forecast and try to pick a day with less then 20 knots!
2. Take time to also check out the Skyrex, we have missed that!
Once back down we make use of our entry tickets and have a look at the 3 D Art, since we have already payed it…
Via Tanjung Rhu to the Jetty in Kuah
More than starving we manage to continue to Tanjung Rhu, a bay with a beautiful beach in the Northeast of Langkawi island. Right at the beach there is a restaurant with local prices, I am surprised. They even make a Malay version of the Som Tam, the papaya salat and even though I prefer the Thai taste my sister already really likes it!
On our short walk at the beach we realize that time is running. We still want to do our check out in Kuah and habe a look at some of the sights there. Half an hour later we first visit the harbour master, then customs and last immigration, everything goes well.
Next we visit the Eagle Square (Dataran Lang) next to the jetty in Kuah and after seeing so many eagles flying over Telaga harbour and Rebak island I understand why Langkawi has the eagle as its icon.
Now we are thirsty. We walk back to the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and hope to get a happy hour beer somewhere. By hazard I choose to walk up at the Scarborough Fish and Chips and find a table full with yachties who are here to play music. Oh yes, of course, it is the Sundays open stage! For a total of 5 USD we get 4 half liter glasses Heineken, listen to the relaxed music and watch the sun going down. This is pretty cool!!
Sailing and Snorkeling in the Koh Tarutao National Park
Walking around Koh Lipe
A 28 miles downwind sail brings us over to Koh Lipe, but the for us normally comfortable course has its price. There is little wind and it s rather rolly, so Markus’ stomach is not very happy. Only after we throw our anchor on the north side of Koh Lipe his face takes on colour again and we celebrate the arrival in Thailand with a self brewed Bavarian wheat beer.
First thing in the morning is to check in into Thailand. We land at the Sunset beach and find our way over to the other side. The immigration office is at the very eastern end of Pattaya beach. A ferry arrives, we hurry up to fill out the numerous documents, but too late. The officer tells us to come back later, after the ferry. We walk our first round to check out the “Walking Street” , where all the shops and restaurants are and get a first impression. I am positively surprised to find fresh fruit and veggies at reasonable prices, so I could have bought a lot less in Kuah.
In front of the immigration we meet Philipp from the SV Ulani and he tells us that checking out he just had to pay 200 Bath per person, without a receipt – of course…
We are prepared and also accept to pay the 200 Bath per person, but since the Ulani only had to pay once I want to make sure that the same rule works for us. I ask the the officers name and write down “Nairon – no payment at checkout” on the back side of a band aid.
Then we are hungry, so back to the Walking Street. In the Thai Lady Pancake I like the prices of the food and the big Chang at 90 Bath is a good deal in such a touristic place. We savor chicken with cashew nut, papaya salad, fried rice and chicken sandwich and pay together with 4 big beer less than 600 Bath (USD 20.-) for 4 persons! That’s really ok so a coconut ice cream goes on top as a dessert ;-).
Via the Sunrise beach in the East we walk around to the Northern tip of Koh Lip, a sand spit that we can see from the boat. Now we understand why there are so many people here – the white sand beach is really a dream.
Bouncing and Snorkeling in Ko Adang
In the afternoon the wind picks up again, already the night before we had gusts up to 25 knots and the anchorage is more or less wave protected but not wind protected. So we decide to move 2 miles around the corner over to Koh Adang. Here the protection from the wind during the night is excellent but in the morning hours a southerly swell sets in that hits us from the side and we have problems to stay in our beds. But the snorkeling here is excellent, the reef is healthy, there is a variety of different corals and reef fish and an incredible amount of giant clams.
Waterfall hike in Ko Rawi
With the shaking during the night in mind we move over to Koh Rawi 6 miles further West and attach at a mooring with a styrofoam float. With the Northeasterlies it is a perfect place, only when there is no wind at all we sometimes get shaken around from the Southerly swell.
On land there is a ranger station from the Koh Tarutao National Park, but atypical to Thai National Parks the rangers don’t come by to collect money but pass by and wave friendly.
A guy from a charter boat tells us about a hike to a water fall, this we want to check out. Indeed we walk through the jungle and climb over fallen trees for 45 minutes to arrive at the end at a rock with some puddles. Well, the real goal was anyway the exercise not the expectation of a waterfall. Since also the snorkeling is not as good as what we have seen in Koh Adang we move on to check out Koh Butang on the other side.
Amazing Snorkeling in Koh Butang
And indeed, we find here our favorite spot. With every wind there is good protection, hardly any swell and only in the afternoon there is a short rush hour with tourist long-tails heading back and forth.
And the underwater world is excellent. “Like in a huge aquarium” my sister exclaims during snorkeling, only the visibility could be a bit better. Especially the amount of anemones is incredible, they are like a carpet everywhere and I see all different types of clown fish, the big one with the three straight stripes, the small ones with the 3 curved stripes and the lighter orange ones with the fine white stripe on the top of the back.
After almost a week we have to head back to Koh Lipe. On the way we round the little island in the Southeast of Butang and attach to a mooring. Slowly we notice an increased number of long-tail boats. Then, during lunch we get the feeling that we are passed every 20 seconds by another long-tail – we have to stop the conversation because of the noise and get shaken around.
An hour later everything is empty, so we jump into the water with our snorkel gear. The first impression is good, the corals are healthy. We snorkel the whole reef until the island to the West but it gets quite boring, the picture is always the same, maybe we are too much spoiled in the mean time?
Check out in Ko Lipe
Then is is time to check out again, I look for the little band aid with my note from the check in written on and first bets are placed if I manage to get around paying another 800 Bath. Indeed the check out is a lot easier than the check-in, no more documents to fill out. Then, just before handing out the skippers passport Nairon sais “you have to pay 800 Bath”. “Oh no!” I complain and he looks at me surprised. “Look, I have written it down, you said at check in no payment at checkout” and I show him my band aid note “Nairon – no payment at checkout”. That never has happened to him before. He has to laugh, shakes his head and hands out Reto’s passport. While we quickly leave before he changes his opinion my sister explains to me that he actually never had said anything like that, but when I had begged him at the check-in he just didn’t reply instead of contradicting (as it is the normal Thai way of not going into a confrontation)…
We celebrate with a lunch at Thai Pancake Lady, then go for some souvenir and veggie shopping on Walking street. Almost at the end just before Sunrise beach I found a nice little veggie shop, bit more expensive than in Phuket or Koh Lanta, but with good greens, even fresh mushrooms, tofu and meet.
In the morning we go anchor up with the first light, time to head back the 28 miles to Langkawi. We are content that we are able to sail almost until noon, then just in the wind shade of Langkawi island the wind dies and we motor the last 6 miles until Telaga harbour.
Here the Video done by Markus also with the 360 Camera:
Back in Langkawi
Hiking up the stairs to the 7 Wells Wasserfall
What to do on the last day of vacation? We study the travel guide books and decide to have a look at the Seven wells waterfall up the road of the SkyCab Cablecar.
“Take your swim suits” another sailor warns us, “you will need a refreshing bath once you walked up all these stairs!” And she’s right, we all are literally dripping once we arrive at the top of the falls and are glad to get a refreshing bath in the cool but not cold natural stone pools.
The check in works easy as always, the officers from immigration and customs at Telaga are super friendly and also the harbour master in Kuah is efficient like always.
Then is is time again to pack the suitcases – I already told my sister in the beginning that 13 days on board is far too little time…
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