We wanted to stray away from the resort area and see a bit of the island, so we hired some motorcycles. Please note that they were not scooters or mopeds, but real motorcycles. Softcock 110cc motorcycles, but motorcycles nonetheless. This was the first time I have ever ridden a motorcycle and I was pretty scared for the first half an hour or so. Kirsten’s bike ran out of fuel about that time and I had to leave her near a handily located police station and go off in search of a petrol station. After about 30 minutes, not having spotted a Petronas station, I found a motorcycle rental shop (shanty) and negotiated for some fuel. The man filled my 1.5 litre water bottle and I found my way back to kip, via a very smelly and poor fishing village. Of course her battery was now flat and we could not start her bike until a helpful local showed us how to kickstart. He asked for a ride to Kuah and I obliged, after disclaiming that it was my first time and we were both likely to die.
After about 45 minutes, having survived, we arrived in the town of Kuah (1 syllable), which is the main town in Langkawi. It is not a nice place at all, very dirty and smelly, but not in a charming or exciting way. Kuah is where all of the ferries depart, so we checked the timetables and prices for a ferry to Penang, as we were planning a trip the next day for a bit of shopping.
After Kuah we kept riding through to the North of the island. Malaysian cycle riding is both safer and more dangerous than Australia. Because there are so many bikes, everyone is aware of the bikes and seems to know the dimensions of their vehicles to the millimetre. The drivers are more considerate, and always pass with a wide berth, and they get a lot of practice at this as they pass all the time.
After about an hour we found a beach which we thought was Pillai Kok (but wasn’t). We went for a swim, one at a time while the other guarded our possessions. There were wild monkeys in the area and after the swim I asked a local man what kind of monkeys they were. He looked at me like I was an idiot and said “normal kind”. When I got back to my bike, a monkey had been through the basket and stolen my sunscreen, which was now on the ground a few metres away – close to a male monkey. I didn’t want to threaten him as he might be carrying rabies, so i slowly approached and he ran away.
We were on the home stretch by this point and after another hour it was 4:30pm and time for a refreshing drink. We stopped at a “Reggae Bar” on the beach and enjoyed some large watermelon juices. On the way back to the resort we stopped at a shop and filled our bike baskets with cheap beer (AUD$0.60 per can) as we are cheapskates. Dropped everything off at the resort and then went out for dinner to the Boom Boom Cafe, a Pakistani restaurant. We had lots of tasty food – when you choose what you want, it isn’t like Australia where you get some rice and a bit of each chosen dish all on the one plate. We ended up getting 5 full mains, as well as rice and naans. We did not finish. The tandoori chicken was just plain chicken cooked in a tandoor, it was not red with spices like it would be in Australia. Although we had so many dishes the meal did not cost much.
After dinner we went back to the resort to collect our laptops, taking them to an internet cafe that allows direct connections. We both posted to our blogs (now only 3 days behind) and I uploaded 3 new photo galleries: Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Pulau Langkawi. It took 4 hours to add all of the photos as my new camera makes 4MB files and the upload speed was not that good.