Langkawi – Ringing in the New Year a second time – Days 207-211

Secluded beachfront with loungers

Five nights at a resort in Langkawi, an island off the Malaysian mainland, was a new level of “slowing things down”. Most days involved 4 hours at the pool, 4 hours of television, 3 hours of eating and then an hour at the bar. In between, we would sprinkle in some homeschooling. It rained every day but fortunately, it was limited to 15-minute downpours in the late afternoon. By the end of our 5 days, the family was fit, tanned and in excellent spirits. Our mini-break exceeded all expectations.

Dining Table with salad ingredients setup

This was the week of Chinese New Year, and the staff went out of their way to entertain the children. Upon arrival, there was a welcome plate with sweets and treats centred on the festivities (a chocolate koi was Julie’s favourite). We were invited to the Prosperity Toss Salad (read about the tradition here) event on New Year’s Eve. This was Paige’s favourite part of the stay as guests got together with the staff to assemble and toss the food as high into the air as they could. The kids loved the ensuing mess. They would pick all the crisp sesame crackers that fell by the wayside while I would focus on the sliced salmon! Paigey already has plans for our prosperity salad next year.

As for New Year itself, we woke up early to ensure we didn’t miss the day’s festivities. We got lucky as there was a huge commotion during breakfast when the king of Malaysia showed up. He was staying in a private villa at the hotel and was taking photographs with the public in the morning. We waved to him and watched him drive away in the Bentley. Up next was the dragon dance, with the kids getting very close to the activities. The dragon ended up showering them with slightly eaten lettuce leaves that he regurgitated. The children loved every minute of it, and we would march around the hotel pretending to play drums for the next few days.

Truthfully, we rarely left the resort and didn’t try to go sightseeing. Occasionally we would walk a kilometre to the shopping mall and ferry jetty to purchase snacks. But we didn’t have any pressing need to leave the grounds. The Westin was quite large and had an empty beach we would walk each day. When the tide was in, we would chase crabs along the water’s edge into their burrows. When the tide was out, we would hunt for the crabs under rocks.

We didn’t swim in the Andaman sea as the children had spectacular pool facilities mostly to themselves. The pools were enormous, with the most transparent water we had come across. It meant we could spend hours getting the children comfortable with snorkelling. It got to the point where they could dive to the bottom of the pool, retrieve their dolls (we use dolls for dive toys), clear their snorkels and then do it all over again. Eventually, the searing sun would force us out of the pool and back into the air-conditioned room. The tan lines on the family became the “butt” of jokes for the next few days.

Child in swimming pool at Langkawi resort

One day, while walking back to the room, Isabella stumbled across a shredded can of stackable Lays chips. It was unusual as litter was uncommon on the grounds, and it looked similar to a pack we had opened earlier in the day. We joked that maybe monkeys had eaten the chips. Reentering our room, we noticed that we had left the balcony door open and the chips were in fact, missing. Yep, a macaque had snuck into our room and robbed us! Well, this was too much for Julie and ratcheted up her fear of monkeys to the next level (she’s had a couple run-ins with macaques in Southeast Asia). Fortunately, we managed to calm her down by stumbling across some much nicer Langur monkeys (and by nicer, I mean they stayed in their tree) that also seemed to live at the resort. Their babies are super cute as they are bright yellow. Check it out.

So Paige and I can’t really say we went to Langkawi. But we did go to a beach resort that helped recharge our batteries for the next couple of months. Up next is 24 hours of transit as we begin our overland journey to Koh Tao.

Where we stayed:

By the numbers:

  • Pools we swam in: 4 – there was a 5th, but children were not allowed
  • Free drinks at the bar each day: 2
  • Number of days the band played at the bar: 5 – everyday was a different playlist
  • Grab deliveries to the hotel: 1 – McDonalds
  • Number of times we watched the poor staff have to move the outdoor buffet inside due to rain: 3 – can’t fathom how much work it was
  • Duration of our flight from Penang to Langkawi: maybe 30 minutes – Julie noticed they never took the seat belt sign off as we were preparing for landing during our takeoff

Ciao for now,


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