Day IV: Langkawi, Malaysia

Today, we got off the ship and were driven by truck (with Dad in the back) to the beach for an island-hopping tour via Jet Ski.

The streets of Langkawi, an island town with a vague Hawaii/Caribbean feel. Bicycles and mopeds far outnumber cars, and most of the buildings are simple structures, some with traditional straw roofs. One brand-new ultra-modern W Hotel looms over the tiny town.

The small, uninhabited islands surrounding Langkawi look like something out of Avatar, with brilliant green trees and weatherbeaten limestone cliffs.

The first place we visited on our tour was Dayang Bunting, an island with a freshwater lake in the center.

As we trekked through the jungle, Violet got slapped in the face by a wild monkey.

Fortunately, none involved were injured.

We then visited a saltwater cove perfect for swimming:

The islands’ limestone cliffs have been attacked by the pounding surf for centuries, forming outcroppings and caves.

We then voyaged to a cove frequented by nesting eagles.

These birds of prey gave Langkawi its name; Lang Kawi means Eagle Rock in Malay. They prey on the many tropical fish that live in these crystal-blue waters.

This pier was decimated by a tsunami several years ago and now resembles something operated by the DHARMA Initiative.

Next, we drove across the bay for a photo op with our ship:

Here our guide attempted to demonstrate a trick and ended up violently throwing me from the back of a Jet Ski going 37 MPH. Fortunately everybody was fine!

Langkawi may be the most incredible tropical locale I have ever visited. It is sometimes difficult to believe that places like this actually exist. The splendor and sense of serenity, in my opinion, are unmatched by any island in the West.

Tomorrow: Phuket, Thailand, for a boat trip to the Phi Phi Islands for snorkeling in the famously crystal-clear waters.

- Hayden M. Strong

© Knstrong 2013