A Travellerspoint blog

Wind down

Five go slightly mad in Langkawi

sunny 38 °C
View KL conference 2009 on Dirkly's travel map.

I forgot to say that for the cab ride back from Precious (see last blog), we went in 4 or 5 cabs. Our driver did not know where the Westin hotel was, so I told him to follow the cab in front which had some colleagues in, in true movie cliche. Only problem was at a set of lights the driver in front got out and asked our driver how to get to the Westin. I showed our driver where it was on a map. He said he had been a cab driver for 16 years and had never been asked to drive to the Westin before. He also said he only knew where the 5 star hotels were, implying we were staying somewhat down market, which was not the case. We eventually arrived back after everyone else.

Thursday morning and I was on 2 days leave and with 4 colleagues from the UK we set off for the island of Langkawi, almost as far as Thailand in the north west of Malaysia. We flew Air Asia from the low cost carrier terminal, which looked like it must have started life as the main KL terminal and now had a slightly neglected feel. It was also full of Malaysian people rather than the international business jet setters at the newer terminal, with the cheaper air lines opening up Asia.

We arrived on time in Langkawi and transferred straight to the Westin hotel (having negotiated a deal linked to the conference in KL). It was the other side of the main town of Kuah. We were welcomed in the lounge with cold towels as the sea breeze gently blew through the unglassed windows. We were all a bit tired after the conference and felt the stress oozing out in such an idyllic spot. We cooled off by and in the infinity pool with its swim up bar. We ate in the hotel and I had a back massage in the spa afterwards, using my $25 voucher.

Friday was our only full day in Langkawi and we packed a lot in. We went up in the cable car in the morning to the second highest peak on the island and you go from virtually sea level to over 700m up in a scarily short time. It was cloudy when we first got to the top, but the clouds suddenly parted and suddenly spectacular vistas opened up. The journey back down was even scarier as we hurtled over the edge. At the bottom was a slightly tacky tourist trap that we had to steer through back to the taxi, that had waited for us. We also saw some wild monkeys on the way there.

In the evening we went on the sunset cruise on a schooner, with a barbecue and drinks. Whilst not cheap, it was a great way to spend our last evening on the island, sailing close to some of the smaller off shore islands before capturing the sunset digitally. Having run out of clean clothes, I bought the cruise tee shirt for RM30.

Posted by Dirkly 11:37 Archived in Malaysia Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

Conference Calls

In KL - fish fetish

storm 30 °C
View KL conference 2009 on Dirkly's travel map.

On the Monday morning we went up the KL Tower, apparently the 4th tallest telecommunications tower in the world. It gave us good views of KL, including of course the Petronas Towers. The price was RM38, which included a free bottle of water and vouchers for a few tacky attractions on the ground level which we did not bother with. Monday afternoon was spent getting the conference ready, with a canape reception in the evening.

Tuesday and Wednesday were conference days proper. Tuesday evening we went on a coach to Binjang restaurant, where we had a mix of Malaysian dishes under an outside lean to of corrugated plastic covered in split bamboo, whilst a thunderstrom flashed around. Opposite the hotel is a large designed shopping mall stuffed full of western brands, but it still lokked expensive to me. Conference went well, relief that the plans came together. Wednesday evening we went to the old market and shopeed for a few trinkets. There was a shop there offering foot massage with fish, so about 7 of our group bared our feet for RM5 for 10 minutes. It was very ticklish and strange, but the fish appeared to be enjoying themselves and much hilarity ensued. We then eat upstairs in the market at Precious, which felt quite authenticly Malaysian. I had devil chicken with ladies fingers and rice and tried a few others dishes as well.

Posted by Dirkly 08:09 Archived in Malaysia Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Arrived in KL

Long haul cool

semi-overcast 30 °C
View KL conference 2009 on Dirkly's travel map.

Well I did the flight with BA from Heathrow to Singapore on Saturday night, before doing the short hop with Singapore Airlines to KL. In total, it was about 21 hours door to door. The business class seat was comfy, but the entertainment did not work for the entire flight, unless you count tracking your journey as such. Still, I took the offer of an additional 15,000 air miles to make up for it. I had a pear and Stilton pate followed by Liam Tomlin's roast chicken, named after a chef whose recipe was used. For dessert I had blackberry upside down pudding. I had a nice Sauvignon Blanc with the meal, unfortunately the lingering finish ended up over my trousers after the stewardess tipped the glass over.

I had a calming herbal tea to help me sleep, but still woke up whilst the cabin was dimmed and sat up to read, as I wanted to get into local time. For breakfast I had creamy mushrooms on a toasted English muffin, among other things.

Singapore airport was like a calm shopping centre and we took the monorail to another terminal for the short flight. My bags went straight through, but I still had to check in. On arrival in KL, my colleagues and myself was met by a hotel minibus that was fiercly air conditioned and we arrived at the Westin.

We decided to eat in, but the restaurant was closing at 10.30, so was not too pleased when we turned up at 10.15pm. I ended up having red snapper and chips, after being told my first choice would take too long to prepare. We then went for a walk down the road. Despite approaching midnight it was still hot and busy. We passed several shops in a row all offering foot massages and you could see people lying on couches inside having their feet kneaded. Having no local money we declined all offers and returned to the hotel for a sleep, having only seen a couple of hours of daylight in Singpore.

Posted by Dirkly 17:37 Archived in Malaysia Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

Thinking about it

2 days to go

overcast

On Saturday I'm off to Singapore and Malaysia, which will be further south and east than I've ever been before. It will be a mix of business and pleasure. Which makes packing hard to start with. It is also raining heavily out there, apparently. Will post some more once I'm on my way...

Posted by Dirkly 16:44 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

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