Langkawi. What a touristy-sounding destination. Never was on my travel bucket list. But somehow I ended up there anyway – and instead of my cliché come true, I was whisked away into the middle of a 10 million-year-old rainforest and by a large reef, on a wonderful private beach. The Andaman Resort makes an effort to educate visitors about the jungle, the ocean, and the reef. It claims to run a sustainable, green policy, which seems reasonable giving-back, in return of being allowed to run a resort in the middle of a nature conservation area.
Unfortunately, the cliché did manifest itself one day with a long dry spell. We drove down to Pantai Chenang. What a mistake. As we sat enjoying teh tarik by a beachside café, conversation was difficult due to the distractions of banana boats ripping through waves, parasailers being dragged around by fast boats, and jeeps transporting people from pickup points to watersport stations, and back. The water was criss-cross -littered with floating dividers in different colors, making out swim lanes and divisions between swimmers and motor equipment. I am glad to report none of us seemed inclined to buy a fanny pack, a souvenir T-shirt, and a beer; and as the sun set we happily drove back to our little corner of the island. Not even a photo remains of this experience.
The night was long, just the way I prefer: with philosophical conversation, a few bottles of wine, sounds of the beach, frog song, and the darkness of the rainforest. The essence of Langkawi is its gorgeous (and brave) nature. Only one person was reported killed due to the 2004 christmas tsunami – the reef right outside our resort took the blow and saved the island. While others party away on Pantai Chenang, the people of the resort collaborate to reconstruct the reef, giving back thanks of survival. This is the Langkawi I like and will one day return to. Because, again, my snorkel gear remained useless in my backpack.
(Langkawi, Malaysia; September 2016)