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
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)..
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.
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
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
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.
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
As promised, here are some photos taken from our diving trip to Anilao last Junuary (post on accommodation). These pictures were taken from the first two days of diving.
For anyone who’s interested, these is my underwater set up:
PT-EP05L underwater housing
Sea & Sea YS-01 strobes x 2
Inon UCL-165 M67 macro wet lens
Ikelite tray & i-Das arm system
blue ribbon eel, Sombrero
I did a total of 11 dives over 4 days. We visited a number of dive sites but also went back to a few that we really liked.
Anilao really has quite a lot to offer. On the surface it is quite an unassuming peninsula. There isn’t any great beach nor excellent landscape, but underwater it’s a very different story altogether.
clownfish in anemone, Sombrero
While lacking bigger marine life such as turtles and sharks, Anilao is teeming with huge variety of smaller underwater creatures. You can always expect a big variety of fish, shrimps, crabs, cephalopods (octopus/cuttlefish/squid), searhorses and various types of nudibranches basically in every other dive.
juvenile cuttlefish wasn’t very pleased
Underwater landscape at most of the dive sites aren’t spectacular either. Arthur’s Rock by the resort offers perhaps the best seascape with more hard corals and rock formations, while sites such as Basura is shallow with sandy and at some parts, grassy bottoms.
It is when you look closer that you’ll start to marvel at what Anilao has to offer. Hidden amongst the corals, rocks, or sea fan are tiny creatures such as emperor shrimps, transparent shrimps, and and nudibranches.
play time with an octopus in a half bottle
Here, even what looked like floating debris could turn out to be ghost pipefish and other creatures. We were lucky as our guide Richard was great in spotting these and pointed them to us.
an unsuspecting scorpionfish
One of the strangest creatures I saw was this (I’m assuming) algae octopus that went bipedal and started walking away on the sandy seafloor with two tentacles acting like legs. It was both weird, wonderful, and slightly scary, like something you’d see in a B-grade sci-fi. Luckily it was no bigger than a tennis ball.
algae octopus going bipedal
As for diving condition, there is usually very little current underwater. Other than the sites involving pygmy seahorses (maybe on another photo set), dive sites are generally rather shallow, which meant relaxing dives.
the elusive ghost pipefish
The only little problem we had was that the temperature can get a little chilly (about 25-26 C), having thicker neoprene or extra hoods/gloves should solve this problem.
Now this is making me miss diving again. We have a trip scheduled this October, but lets see if there’s a way we sneak one in between.
I went to Hong Kong for the first time over the last weekends, spent a very happy 4 days 3 nights. Hong Kong is probably the capital of street food that you eat on the go. This probably stemmed from the fact that most restaurants are too packed, and when you have a place to sit, lunch time might have been over by then.
So, here are some of the stuff we managed to try, none of these food requires nor provides table & chair.
fish ball stall that sells more than fish balls
If you watched Hong Kong movies from the 80s and 90s, there’re always scenes of hawkers selling fish ball on portable stalls. These small business owners will push their stalls running away from cops on first sighting.
Well, there aren’t portable stalls anymore but you can find all these stalls on virtually every other street corners. Typical item on the menu will be various types of fish/beef/meat balls, pancakes, beef tripes, and my favorite – octopus tentacles, very yummy! They’re usually priced from around 10 HKD onwards.
yummy grilled meat, innards, and sausage
We stayed at South Pacific Hotel at Wan Chai on Hong Kong island for the first two nights, and there’s this little grill meat place that operates from evening till late that we visited a couple times. There’s a variety of sausages, pig innards, chicken wings, grill duck/chicken/pork, and even abalone.
My favorite was the grilled 3 layer pork, so succulent and tasty! That was around 10 HKD too. The lady will grill the meat (which was usually already half grilled) on the spot when you order.
yummy egg tart with fluffy pastry
Bakeries are abundant in Hong Kong too. We tried this egg tart from a random bakery by the name of Golden Peach Bakery at Wan Chai and it turned out to be better than any I had in Malaysia, better than John King egg tart at Pavilion KL, which I thought was pretty good. The pastry is very fluffy and the content delicious.
coagulated pork blood and intestine
Opposite Nathan’s road at Mong Kok, I spotted this other fish ball etc shop that offers coagulated pork blood with intestine. Of course I couldn’t give this a miss, for 15 HKD I had one of the best combinations of pork product in a little styrofoam bowl. Keep a look out for this if you’re in Hong Kong, not every stall offers this dish.
After having heavy meals for the past few days, we decided to have something lighter on Saturday night, Mee Sua Tow (鱼翅面线糊) at Restaurant Teow Chew Meng (潮州铭小食馆) at PJ SS2. Even though the restaurant is quite close to where I stay, I never noticed it’s existence as the location is just slightly out of the view, behind the row of shops that faces the Mobil gas station by the road that connects Seapark to SS2.
Mee Sua Tow, topped with some fakeplan sharks fin
The ambience of this place is rather pleasing. Just clean and quiet environment, the quietness probably due to the MIDI music that is being played softly. No rowdiness usually associated with Chinese restaurants.
We ordered Mee Sua Tow for four, two plates of three flavored oyster (sweet, sour, and spicy), steamed lettuce, steamed octopus with rojak sauce, and some Toew Chew yam paste for dessert.
Mee Sua Tow, Vege, Oyster, and Octopus
We didn’t need to wait long for the food to arrive, the Mee Sua Tow was served just a few minutes after we placed our order. Topped with some (I assume fake) sharks fin, the main dish comes with plenty of shrimp, imitation crab, fish maw, and bamboo clam in the thick mee sua (rice vermicelli) soup. It actually tasted like sharks fin soup, and best served the same way, with some vinegar. The portion wasn’t too big, and it was very delicious.
Kelvin always looking so joyous
The other dishes we ordered were all pretty good, and the three flavored oyster even more so. It was like having oyster omlete without all the hassle of having to pick through the egg and starch. We ultimately had to order another serving to satisfy the cravings. The steamed octopus is a common dish in Penang but done pretty well here as well.
ST and Kelvin skipped the dessert, but kerol and I went for the ultra sinful Teow Chew yam paste. Basically made of yam with lard and topped with ginko nuts. It was very rich and sweet, and the lard.. ah.. go try it.
The same row as Lobsterman
A portion of mee sua tow is RM10, with all the other extras and drinks we had to part with around RM 25 per person. A good value for what we had and I’ll surely go there again.
Restaurant Teow Chew Meng opens from 10am to 10pm, closed on Monday.
Takoyaki, or Octopus Balls, but not Octopus’ Balls, is a Japanese delicacy made with chopped octopus, cabbage, green onion and pickled ginger all wrapped a flour and egg shell. There are also some Japanese named ingredients that I had no clue. You can find a sample of recepi here, though it’ll be hard to cook it at home since you’ll need the mold.
Topped with mayonese, yummm
Asia Cafe at SS15, Subang Jaya, just happened to have a stall serving Takoyaki. They come in a package of 6 balls for RM 4.00, a pretty reasonable price. Please do not eat it straight away when they’re served cos usually they are very hot and will easily burn your mouth (just ask ST.) The taste is pretty rich and quite greesy but managable. Overall, with the mayonese topping, it’s pretty good for finger food, or when you just want to cram that extra 8000 calories in your system. You’re all skinny, right?
Huey Fang says it’s teh delicious
Similiar stuff is served in 1U Jusco at ground level. It is slightly more expensive but comes in extra varities, such as the Unagi balls. I have yet to try it there.
Address: Asia Cafe,
SS15, Subang Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.074684,101.589965