Koh Samui – Overview

My 3 days trip to Koh Samui was great. It was an exhausting but fun trip. I wish could spend more time there.

Koh Samui is an island located at the Gulf of Thailand. It neighbours Koh Pha Ngan, another island which is well known for its full moon party. Other than Koh Pha Ngan, there are various islands around Koh Samui including Ang Thong Marine Park which consists of 40 over islands.

Koh Samui wasn’t the place that I expected it to be. It was like a scattered town with a few spots for tourist. It is highly commercialised and highly popular with Western travellers. I heard that David Beckham and Robbie Williams even own a place in Koh Samui.

A and I took a flight from Subang airport via Firefly. The airport has changed tremendously since I last came here 2 years ago for my Langkawi trip. The interior is now nicer and there are loads of new shops.

Subang Airport

It took us 2 hours from Subang airport to reach Koh Samui airport.

It was pretty cold so I had A’s cardigan on…damn ghey


I must say that Koh Samui airport was impressive. It had an open styled concept. It felt like a hotel!

Even the toilet has an aquarium. Reminds me of Bali’s airport.

Our hotel, Hotel Impiana, picked us from the airport. Our hotel is located along the famous Chaweng Beach but at the least commercialised area. There were hardly any shops along our road.

I must say that the hotel is quite nice. Great interior and surroundings.

We were initially given a room facing the road but we learn from comments from the Internet that rooms facing the main road are noisy. The other available room faces the pool but we had to wait 2 hours for the hotel to sort out the room. Since we had 2 hours to spare, we rented a Jeep from the hotel for 1000Bath/day (should be lower if I went to shop around for better prices). I heard that taxis are fairly expensive in Koh Samui and the other alternative is songthaews, which I heard slaughters tourist. A motorbike was not an option as the last time I rode a bike was more than 10 years ago.

Driving a Jeep was no easy task and I almost had an accident before I could step into the Jeep. What happened was that someone forgot free the Jeep’s gear and I started the Jeep when I was outside. The Jeep startled front and hit a bush. Thank god no major damage.

Backseat – damn small

We spent our 3 days doing various activities such kayaking, hiking, swimming and even a Muay Thai class.There were hardly anytime to rest and we came home with a bruised knee and sore calves.

Overall, Koh Samui trip was well spent. Many thanks to A for the air tickets and hotel. More details soon!

Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Kuah Town

This will be my last entry on Langkawi Sailing Adventure.
On our last day, we dropped by Kuah Town, the district capital of Langkawi, to get some duty free stuff.

In every part of Kuah Town, there is a duty free shop selling all sorts of stuff which includes chocolate, alcohol, electrical items, kitchen appliances and clothing.

Alcohol comes in all sorts of variety. Some colourful and some in weird bottles or packaging.

Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Part VI

Upon boarding the sail boat, we then set sail towards the sea. Our musicians-on-board whipped out their guitar, drums and harmonica and started playing them.

We were also treated with massage by a masseur.

I knew I made the right choice – leaving work and give my mind a rest. But halfway through the journey, I received a text message from a colleague telling me that my staff screwed up on something -_-

I was told that the boat is constructed manually by our boatman. His cabin consists of, among others, a bed, a kitchen and two toilets. It even comes with a barbeque pit.

The boat is manned by a crew.

And a pirate

The toilet is quite small and to flush, we have to manually flush it by pushing a pump. The pump will then draw water to flush out everything. We had to bend down to push the handle cause the handle is on the floor. I had water from the toilet bowl splashing on my face -_-

We stopped at one point to do some caving. We went through a small tunnel which leads us to a cove. It used to be a cave but after many years, it collapsed.

Our boat..is sinking!!

Used to be a cave..

The ‘cave’ is accessible through a man made pathway

Chic Wern and Nicolekiss on the other hand took the opportunity to try out sea kayaking. They went missing for a while but found them at one cove – collecting rubbish. Bravo!

Lunch was served thereafter.

Some of us took the opportunity to soak ourselves in the sea by hanging to a dragnet that was cast next to our boat. Life jacket is available to those who can’t swim. The experience was like sitting in a Jacuzzi. A salty Jacuzzi. It was the highlight of the day.

Some of us had beer while hanging on to the net. But most of the beer had to be disposed off as sea water got into it.

Francis Cheong, Managing Director of Apxara (Got me drunk on the first night) and Conrad, Business Director (One of the nicest guys I’ve met)

Andy, Me & Tahir

Me & Chic Wern

Despite the rain, it was truly an enjoyable experience. If it’s not for the rain, I would have been baked by the sun. Halfway through our journey, the rain stopped.

Toward the end of the journey, I had no idea where I was. Everywhere was just water, trees and islands.

But we eventually reached the river mouth where we first departed. We got off our sail boat back to our speed boat to head back to Kilim Karst Jetty.

[Taken from New Straits Times]

A full-day excursion for join-in cruise only on the yacht is RM295 for adults and RM195 for child below 12. Group tours are about 18 to 25 persons.

For bigger groups, Apxara can arrange special packages on other yachts, including the Raja Laut and Lily Marlin, for up to 250 persons.
The cruise, from Fridays to Tuesdays, starts at 10.30am and ends at 5pm. A sunset cruise with a barbecue from 5.30 to 9.30pm can be arranged on request.

During the peak season from December to April, a seven-day advance booking is required.

You are encouraged to bring towels, swimwear, extra dry clothing, waterproof sunblock lotion and sunglasses.

Return transfers from selected Langkawi hotels/resorts are available.
Apxara Travel also offers Sailing Adventure Retreat Packages with accommodation at Frangipani Resort & Spa Langkawi, Andaman Resort Langkawi, Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa and Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort.

Rates, based on twin-sharing basis, range from RM568 to RM995 inclusive of two nights accommodation, daily buffet breakfast and a full-day sailing adventure trip.

For details, contact: Apxara Travel & Events Sdn Bhd, Tel: 03-2282 8768 Fax: 03-2284 9768. Email: info@apxara.com. Website: www.apxara.com

Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Part V

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea. Many of these islands are unoccupied and untouched by mankind.

With so many islands, the best way to explore these islands is by boat.
I forced myself to take 3 days off from my hectic schedule to attend this media trip. I clearly needed a break from work – my waist is aching (apparently due to some injury to some soft tissue inside my waist). My eyes needed rest from looking at computer monitors.

The sky was gloomy when we set off from the Kilim Karst Geopark jetty. We started off with a small boat cruising down the Kilim River and rode through a valley of lush mangrove forest and lime stone hills. There were no signs of modernity save for one or two passing boats.

Kilim Karst Jetty

Our boat

We stopped by a floating fish farm to feed some fishes and even to pet stingrays. The platform was made of wood and the walkway is narrow. We had to keep our balance otherwise we would end up as fish food.

Making salty fish.

To prevent the fishes from escaping, nets are placed deep below.
There was a small stall selling tidbits.

We were given a demonstration on how to feed stingrays. They looked a bit scary but they are relatively harmless.

Stingray nom-ing (eating) our boat man’s hand

But this was cut short when it started raining.

We also stooped to feed some eagles. Our boat man injected some air into some dead fish (so that it could float) and few seconds later, an eagle rushed down to grab its lunch. Unfortunately, due to the rain, there were not many eagles on sight.

One of the things a photographer do to protect his baby.

As we were about to reach the river mouth, we were greeted by a sail boat.

To be continued…
Related Links:
Apxara – the people that made this happen
Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Part II
Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Part III
Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Part IV

Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Part IV

On the 1st night, Apxara brought to Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort for dinner.

The restaurant, Spice Market Restaurant, faces the beach front along the white sandy beach. We were also accompanied by the management and staff of Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort.

The restaurant had a wide choice of food & beverage options. The highlight would local popular BBQ delights. We had a choice of raw seafood to steaks. The chefs will barbeque them for us on the spot.

Nicolekiss – this picture got featured on the Star newspaper. [Read here!]

Got lobster too!

After dinner, we were brought to Chime @ Sheraton Langkawi, which was claimed to be the most happening club in Langkawi. But it was empty when we arrived -_-.

But at around 10pm, a band started playing and the crowd poured in. Drinks were on the house courtesy of the General Manager. I would highly recommend the cocktail, Grasshopper, a sweet mint flavoured drink.

After a few songs by the band, we had a special performance by Nicolekiss on stage. Yea tiger dance!! She can dancee!

I mean, she can sing. She sang, “Saving all my love for you” by Whitney Houston.

Related Links
Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort Homepage
Sheraton Langkawi Homepage

Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Part III

Apxara was kind enough to put us in Westin Langkawi Resort and Spa, one of the best hotels in Langkawi. The hotel faces the Andaman Sea and also 500 metres of private beach front. It is just a few minutes away from Kuah Town.

We were given a warm reception on our arrival – with a lion dance – by two staff in shorts.

We were then ushered into a café for a meet and greet session.

Nicolekiss in white!
We were each given a beautiful room with top class amenities. The interior was beautiful and I had an excellent view of the garden and the sea. Interestingly, my room comes with a 42” plasma TV, DVD player and even a coffee maker.

My room

Comes with a free monkey

Coffee maker!
Not to mention a drawer full of alcohol.

Half Garden and Half Sea View
It smells great too, unlike Ben and ivN’s hotel room at Port Dickson which smells of a wet dog.
Breakfast was scrumptious. It was a buffet with choice a choice of either western or eastern meals. Pancakes came with a variety of sauces too.

I must commend Desmond Loke, Nurhayati and the chap who works for Khairy (the guy whose passion is sports) for their great hospitality. Please look out for them if you want a great time in Westin Langkawi.
Related Link:
Langkawi Westin Resort & Spa

Sailing Adventure @ Langkawi – Part II

Back from Langkawi!
It was a splendid trip. We ate the best and stayed at the best. Many thanks to Apxara Travel and Events, Westin Hotel, Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort, Sheraton Langkawi and Firefly for everything. Special thanks to those at Apxara Travel and Events for the great time and an opportunity for bloggers to be part of media.

Other than Nicolekiss, KinkyblueFairy and I, the mainstream media such as New Straits Times, NuYou magazine, New Tide, New Icon, The Peak and New Man were invited as well. Many people were surprised to see bloggers rubbing shoulders with them.

Even bloggers nowadays got name cards..don’t pray pray.
It was great to leave work for few days. Nevertheless, I received many calls from my office and also text messages informing me something along the lines of, “Your staff screwed up”. -_-|||
We flew from Terminal 3 of Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (commonly known as Subang Airport) via Firefly. Many years back, Subang Airport was the main airport for Malaysia until KLIA was built. Now Firefly flies to Langkawi 3 times a day from Subang Airport and 2 times a day from Penang. It takes around 45 minutes to reach Langkawi from Subang Airport.

Seats @ Firefly is extremely spacious.
I parked my car at one dodgy car park opposite Terminal 3. It was only RM1.50 per entry but when I told the attendant that I’ll be gone for 3 days, he charged me RM3.50. I gave him RM5 and said, “Eh..tolong jaga kereta ya.. (please take care of my car..)”. When I came back, my car was still in one piece but was covered with dust -_-.
We were greeted by Chic Wern and Linda of Apxara at Terminal 3 and immediately swifted into the boarding area for our flight to Langkawi. There I met blogger Nicolekiss, photographer Alvin and journalists and writers Liza, Andy and Jaswir.
Will update more when I come back from Freedom 08 @ Port Dickson!