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Tag / langkawi

Last weekend when we stopped by Langkawi for a short work trip, we took the opportunity to visit the biggest aquarium in Malaysia – Underwater World Langkawi.

Underwater World Langkawi
Underwater World Langkawi

I’ve always been a fan of fishes and aquariums from a young age. In high school I joined the aquarium society and was in fact the president of the club for a year (interesting trivia, I know)..

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As for big aquariums, I’ve visited Aquaria KLCC (even dived in it), Siam Ocean World in Bangkok,  Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and at one point, I even held the yearly pass for Newport Aquarium at Kentucky, so clearly I wasn’t going to miss the chance to visit Underwater World Langkawi.

As it turned out, the decision was a correct one, what we got to enjoy was well worth the RM 36/pax entrance fee (for Malaysian). Check out the short 3 minute video above.

penguins!
rockhopper and black-footed penguins!

The aquarium covers some 60,000 sq ft separated in several sections, starting with reptiles and some freshwater fish right after the entrance area. Here you get to see the biggest freshwater fish species – Arapaima Gigas, among others such as the freshwater stingray, red tail cat fish etc.

getting up close with the sharks, and the mesmerizing octopus
getting up close with the sharks, and the mesmerizing octopus

Next up is the tropical rain forest, which houses not only fish but birds and and small animals. Our favorites being the marmoset, which looks a bit like super tiny Chinese opera actors if you ask me. There are also flamingos, swan, mandarin ducks and more.

The temperate and sub-antarctic sections are the main draws here, cos for many this would be the first time being up close with seals & penguins. There are in fact two penguin areas, one of each for rockhopper and black-footed penguins.

giant garupa, mud skippers, jellyfish and more
giant garupa, mud skippers, jellyfish and more

Like many big aquariums, there’s a tunnel at Underwater World Langkawi as well. Here you’ll see several species of sharks, giant grouper, turtles, stingray and more swimming about merrily. To be honest, I thought the tunnel at Aquaria KLCC was a bit more impressive, but this is a much bigger aquarium with more to see otherwise.

After the tunnel, there’s still yet more sea lives on showcase at the various tanks, including spider crab, octopus (very mesmerizing), jelly fish, reef fish, trevally, batfish, mudskippers, shrimps, and of course, clown fish.

Overall I thought it was a very fun experience and I’d recommend it to anyone, but especially those who loves the ocean.

map to Cenang beach, Langkawi

Address:
Underwater World Langkawi,
Zon Pantai Cenang,
Mukim Kedawang, 07000 Langkawi
GPS: 6.287737, 99.728655
Tel: 04-955 6100
Hours: 9:30AM-6:30PM weekdays, 9:30AM-8:30PM weekends

Over the weekends we found ourselves on the duty-free island that is Langkawi. Instead of a nice relaxing weekends at Datai like last time, this trip was for Haze’s speed painting job and we only had an evening to spend, so naturally we went to Cenang beach area.

Qiang Shi Fu Seafood Restaurant, Langkawi
Qiang Shi Fu Seafood Restaurant, Langkawi

Like most who’re at the area for the first time, we took the opportunity to visit the Underwater World Langkawi (will write about that), followed by looking at the variety of duty-free chocolates available at the stores.

Chanced upon this Qiang Shi Fu seafood restaurant at Cenang Beach, Langkawi. Gotta say that preserved vege with garlic steamed fish is rather awesome combination. #kyeats #seafood #langkawi

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By then, it’s dinner time. After looking around for a bit, we decided to dine at Qiang Shi Fu Seafood Restaurant, one of the very few (if not the only) Chinese restaurants at the area.

Like most seafood restaurants, they have a host of live seafood available for your picking. My eyes were fixated at those huge live top shelf in the tank by the entrance, so that we ordered 4 of those steamed with garlic, which turned out sweet, fresh, and perhaps just a bit on the chewy side.

red snapper, steamed with "choi pou"
red snapper, steamed with “choi pou”

We also had a red snapper steamed with fried ginger and choi pou (preserved radish) which turned out way better than expected. The fish was fresh and flavors well balanced with the other ingredients. In fact, I will try to cook our fish with this method.

steamed live top shelf, vegetable soup with salted egg
steamed live top shelf, vegetable soup with salted egg

Pea shoots in soup filled our quota for fiber & vitamin C, and did the job rather well too. They even have a bit of salted egg in the soup for that extra kick.

map to Cenang beach, Langkawi

Overall the meal cost us RM 89.50 including a RM 5 can of Tiger beer. I felt that it was a pretty decent value for what we had, and would not hesitate to return should we head to Langkawi again.

Address:
Qiang Shi Fu Seafood Restaurant
Jalan Pantai Chenang,
Kampung Lubok Buaya,
07000 Langkawi
GPS: 6.288132, 99.729330
Tel017-561 2223
Hours: Lunch & Dinner

A good restaurant to a resort is like a good sound system to a cinema. While not always the centrepiece of the overall experience, good in-house restaurants often enhance the overall experience during a stay.

For The Datai Langkawi, there are four different on-location restaurants within the confine of the luxury five class establishment – The Beach Club, Gulai House, The Dining Room, and The Thai Pavilion.

All four restaurants offer quality food, making travelling out of the resort for food unnecessary. This is especially important for The Datai since the location of the resort is quite far away from Kuah, Langkawi’s main town.

The Beach Club, by the second pool
The Beach Club, by the second pool and beach

Our first meal at The Datai was at The Beach Club, appropriately located by the beach and the second swimming pool. On foot it’s about a 10-15 minutes’ scenic walk from the main entrance of the hotel, free buggy service’s available as well.

The Beach Club is a strictly open air restaurant, with most tables and comfortable huge chairs under the roof, with some outside if you prefer a little bit of sun.

pizza, surf & turf, bruschetta with mozzarella, wat tan hor, ice cream
pizza, surf & turf, bruschetta with mozzarella, wat tan hor, ice cream

The menu comprises the best from East and West. The four of us shared the following dishes:

  • bruschetta topped with buffalo mozzarella, tomato and olives. 46
  • langkawi prawn, lemongrass, mushroom, corinader, chili, lime pizza. 65
  • surf & turf, black angus strip loin with tiger prawn, vegetable medley, barbeque sauce. 87
  • wat tan hor with king prawns and seafood (chef’s special)
  • stir fry chicken with thai basil. 56
  • home made ice cream. 14

The western affairs were well executed, with the thin crust pizza particularly delicious. Wat tan hor too were surprisingly tasty, benefiting from the fresh seafood in the list of ingredients.

The Dining Room serves lunch and dinner.

The Gulai House, premier restaurant of The Datai Langkawi
The Gulai House, premier restaurant of The Datai Langkawi

The premier restaurant at The Datai Langkawi is Gulai House.

Many luxury five star resorts in Malaysia have premier restaurants serving foreign cuisines such as French, Japanese, Cantonese, Italian, and so forth. So I was more than happy to see that Datai took the initiative to make Malaysia proud by serving something closer to home. A great way to introduce our local cuisine to many visitors from all around the world.

mango salad, sup ayam, soft shell crab, aloo gobi, grilled cuttle fish
mango salad, sup ayam, soft shell crab, aloo gobi, grilled cuttle fish

The Gulai House is located not far from the Beach Club and best accessed via a buggy. The restaurant has both indoor as well as alfresco dining area, the latter provides great ambiance only unless it’s rainy heavily or if it’s a particularly hot night. Gulai House is only open for dinner.

Our dinner was determined by the chef, a degustation affair if you like. Our menu was written on a piece of huge dried leaf picked from the forest, a unique approach to personalization and one that is tastefully done.

tiger prawns, grilled garupa, lobster, skewered boneless chicken, prata, kuih
tiger prawns, grilled garupa, lobster, skewered boneless chicken, prata, kuih

We had mango salad, sup ayam (chicken soup), deep fried soft shell crab, aloo gobi (cauliflower & potato with spices), grilled cuttle fish, grilled tiger prawns, grilled fish, skewered boneless chicken, prata bread, nasi briyani (rice), and even lobster that’s prepared with both grilling and frying techniques.

It was an absolute feast and we stuffed ourselves silly. Food was authentic with ingredients of quality, very hard to find any fault.

Prices is seasonal and depends on weight of ingredients. As with every facet of Datai, it is with a bit of a premium, but you do get what you pay for, including excellent service.

champagne breakfast at The Dining Room
champagne breakfast at The Dining Room

Breakfast is usually served at The Dining Room, located by the main swimming pool, just below the resort reception.

Much like most international breakfasts, the menu changes a little bit everyday, but with the core items such as juices, the egg station, fruit & salad bar and such always presence.

I enjoyed the cold cuts, smoked salmon, and noodle soup. Of course, there’s also the free flowing champagne to jump start your day, everyday! The dining room also serves lunch and dinner.

classic Thai cuisine at The Thai Pavilion
classic Thai cuisine at The Pavilion

During our second and final night at The Datai, we had dinner at The Pavilion, which was also the location where we learned to cook tomyam and drunken prawn dishes.

For dinner, we had crispy soft shell crab with Thai chili oil, green curry chicken, seasonal vegetable with oyster sauce, deep fried snapper with chili and soya sauce, and of course, tomyam prawns. It was a spicy, strong tasting, and very satisfying, like a good Thai dinner is supposed to be.

We also concluded the meal with mango on sticky rice.

The Pavilion is open for dinner only.

I miss this resort already, when we can return?

Address:
The Datai Langkawi
Jalan Datai, Teluk Datai, 
07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Tel:+60 4-959 2500
Webwww.dataihotels.com
FBThe Datai Langkawi
Reservationreservationsdatailangkawi@dataihotels.com

Earlier last month we went for a short weekend getaway at one of the most prestigious resorts in the country at The Datai Langkawi. This is a review of hotel from my personal experience.

Located at the North Western corner at Langkawi island, the Datai is set within an ancient virgin rainforest, overlooking the Andaman Sea.

map of The Datai Langkawi

We arrived at the Langkawi International airport and was greeted by the driver arranged by the hotel. The journey from LGK took approximately half an hour, and we were given cold tower and chilled bottled water for the journey to freshen up from the one hour flight from KL.

Since the hotel is pretty far from town and other attractions, I initially thought that we were going to be missing the opportunity to hop around the island a bit. As it turned out, we didn’t think we missed anything at all, staying at the hotel was such a pleasant experience that for the first time, I understand why people would want to got o a resort, spend a few days and totally not go anywhere else.

main entrance, The Datai Langkawi
main entrance, The Datai Langkawi

This is the main entrance at the Datai Langkawi. Going through the receptions, past the water lily pond is the lobby lounge area. Cocktails and snacks are served here, and at night, a live band.

The lobby lounge is reserved for guests over the age of 12 only, which is something you don’t think about often, but the lack of screaming babies and 5 year olds that can’t stop running everywhere is quite a bliss.

there are DVDs you can pick up, very good selection of titles
there are DVDs you can pick up, very good selection of titles

By the receptions area there’s a shop that offers a selection of souvenirs, but more importantly, they also have a very good collection of DVD titles for guests to loan and watch in the room.

We finally watched Citizen Kane for the first time thanks tot The Datai and isn’t ashamed to admit it. Yah, the movie was as good as they said, maybe I should try to watch Gone With The Wind next?

adult only main pool and the grand stairs case to the beach
adult only main pool and the grand stairs case to the beach

Just below the lobby lounge is the breakfast dining area and one of the two main swimming pools at the resort. Like the lobby lounge, this pool is for guests over 12 year old only, families are welcomed to use the other pool by another pool closer to the beach area.

the architecture is uniquely Malaysian and blends in with nature
the architecture is uniquely Malaysian and blends in with nature

The Datai Langkawi spans over 70 acres of land, with the main building situated at the side of the hill and many other smaller buildings, including various types of villas, the Beach Club, Gulai House, the spa, and another pool dotted between it and the private beach.

You can take a scenic walk to get from one point to the other, or call for buggy service, we did plenty of both on our 3D2N stay.

The architecture is uniquely Malaysian, with villas on stilts, furniture and structures made from wood, atap, and other traditional material in a blend of modern & old school design within the rain forest. I find it very beautiful.

our room at The Datai, overlooking lush greenery
our room at The Datai, overlooking lush greenery

Our deluxe room has a king sized bed with some of the most comfortable pillows and comforters I’ve lay my butt on, a day bed in front of the balcony overlooking the lush greenery, an LCD TV, a working desk, and a tea table with another two arm chairs.

There’s no putting your access cards to activate the power sort of nonsense. The electricity and air conditioning is always on unless you decided to switch it off.

the bathroom, and minibar complete with Lavazza coffee machine
the bathroom, and minibar complete with Lavazza coffee machine

The room also comes with a pretty huge bath tub in which we had bubble bath in (sorry no photos to show for that, obviously), two basin, a very well stocked mini bar, and best of all – a Lavazza coffee machine.

There’s also a fruit basket on the tea table, and we’re advised to not leave the balcony door open lest those pesky monkeys come in a wreck havoc. When you’re that close to nature, I guess that’s part of the charm.

the private beach, with catamaran for hire too
the private beach, with catamaran for hire too

The beach is Datai Langkawi is one of the longest private beach on the island. Without any motorized water sports, it is also very quiet and relaxing, all you hear is waves, wind making wind chimes out of tree leaves, and the occasional chirping of birds.

While the water isn’t exactly crystal clear, it is pretty clean with visibility of perhaps 2-3 feet. We swam and rowed the resort provided canoe around a bit. If you’re a bit more adventurous, there’s catamaran with guide for rent as well. At the end, we decided to chill on those long beach chairs and sip on some chilled drinks instead. I can do this everyday.

nature walk around the resort, we even spotted a wild boar family in another occasion
nature walk around the resort, we even spotted a wild boar family in another occasion

The one time we ventured a little bit out of the resort was during the guided nature walk on the second day. Along with about a dozen other guests from Russia, Europe, Japan, Australia and such, we went around a bit to spot the wild life around the resort.

During the one hour or so walk, we spotted a couple types of hornbills, a few species of other birds, two different types of monkeys, giant caterpillar, monitor lizards, and more. We were also lucky enough to have met a family of wild boars crossing the road while on buggy too. They were too cute!

this is the beach villa at The Datai, 475 sq. meters of awesomeness
this is the beach villa at The Datai, 218 sq. meters of awesomeness

We also visited other suites and villas at The Datai. The premium room, corner & end suites, pool villa, and the superior villas were all very nice, but the beach villa, now that’s what living a high life is all about.

The beach villa takes up 218 square meter, or over 2,346 square feet, has a room with the bed over looking a 10 meter private pool and an entertainment & dining area on the side with a direct access to the beach. On top of that, there’s a walk in wardrobe, beautiful marble bath tub, a rain shower, and an outdoor waterfall shower too. The two room beach villa is 475 square meter.

It is as luxurious as it gets, elegant, secluded, and definitely beautiful.

our engagement on the last day at The Datai, a trip to remember
our engagement on the last day at The Datai, a trip to remember

Just prior to departure from The Datai, on the 4th of August, 2013, I finally proposed to Haze properly, with the ring and all. I’m happy to report that it was a success and I want to thank Lex & WeiZhi of kampungboycitygal for taking these photos of us.

It was a very sweet moment for us, and we really had fun traveling with you guys over the entire trip too.

Lex, KY, Ardi, Haze, and WeiZhi the Datai Langkawi
Lex, KY, Ardi, Haze, and WeiZhi the Datai Langkawi

Our guide throughout the stay at The Datai was Ardi. A very friendly and supremely helpful chap who kept us entertained with many of his colorful stories. Thank you Ardi, we certainly enjoyed our stay and will surely hope to come back again.

Will talk about the food we had next. 🙂

Address:
The Datai Langkawi
Jalan Datai, Teluk Datai,
07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Tel:+60 4-959 2500
Web: www.dataihotels.com
FB: The Datai Langkawi
Reservation: reservationsdatailangkawi@dataihotels.com