The last time I went to Langkawi was 8 years ago.
Life was pretty different back then. I was child free and had plenty of time on my hands. My holiday leisure time was spent mainly going to spas, lounging by the pool, dining and of course, shopping!
Fast track to 2016 and now I have 2 little ones to take care of. Young Sean who is almost 4 and little Isabelle who is 2 and a half. They keep me ever busy with their boundless amounts of energy, so during holidays I am always on a quest, searching for "child-friendly" activities to keep them happily entertained.
The initial plan was to go to Koh Lipe, Thailand. However, friends had fore-warned me that the boat journey was a tad too fast and bumpy for small people to endure , so instead we opted for a domestic destination.
I was more than happy to support the local economy and my curiosity was sparked after numerous people had told me that Langkawi was like a "mini-Bali", so just before Chinese New Year we set off for a few days of sunshine and bliss.
One tends to forget that Langkawi is only an hour's flight from Kuala Lumpur and there's no hassle of a packed immigration queue to contend with. Once we arrived at the airport , we hired a rental car which gave us plenty of independence to choose which parts of the island to roam.
We decided to stay in the "still" sleepy enclave of Pantai Tengah, which is adjacent to Pantai Cenang. The area looks as if it is due for some development. I do hope that it comes very slowly as it would be a shame to spoil the quiet serenity it enjoys at the moment. It's really a quiet respite from the crowded beach and sidewalks of Pantai Cenang.
After checking into our room we trundled off to the beach, buckets and spades in hand.
Here we enjoyed the wide expanses of quietness and tranquility on a rather quiet unpopulated sandy white beach.
We ventured into town for dinner. Pantai Cenang offers an abundance of choices when it comes to dining and we decided to have our meal at Putumayo restaurant, where we had some lip-smacking seafood such as steamed red snapper and Tiger Prawns.
The kids were mesmerized looking at the live fish and crabs in the tanks of course, so there was plenty to keep everyone happy!
Langkawi seems to be relatively cheap to dine and shop thanks to its duty free status. The trinkets are not of high quality but there are lots of cute little batik dresses and t shirts for the kids and souvenirs to bring for loved ones back home.
The following day we ventured off to the Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise which is located on the north eastern part of the island. This proved to be one of the main highlights of the trip. The kids had so much fun interacting with all the exotic animals and birds. There were plenty of opportunities to observe the wildlife closely, learn about their habitat and what type of food they ate.
There is one section where there was a huge bounty of budgerigars which were so tame that they were flying all around us settling on our arms and shoulders. We were reminded often to take care not to step on them.
Little Isabelle had an awesome time here feeding them and wasn't at all afraid to have them perching on her.
I on the other hand wasn't too fond of the experience (having a small phobia of fluttery birds and wings) however, I gritted my teeth and tried to look as if I was enjoying myself for the kids!
If birds aren't your thing, there are also crocodiles and pythons and rabbits to keep you enthralled!
All in all I would recommend the Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise to families with young children. It is a good size (not too big) and they have a lot of varieties of animals to interact with. The staff were friendly and helpful, which only made our visit the more enjoyable.
We visited during the Chinese new year holidays and arrived early in the morning to avoid the crowds. Do make sure to stop by at this fun outdoors interactive spot. Your kids will be talking about it non stop for days!
Look out for Part 2 of Sunshine and Bliss: Our Langkawi Escapade where we soar up to the heady heights of Langkawi with the Langkawi Cable Car, take a dip in Tanjung Rhu beach, visit old favourite haunt Bon Ton restaurant and explore the murky depths of Underwater World.
Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise is open daily (8.30am - 6.30pm). For more info visit their website www.langkawiwildlifepark.com or call (04) 966 5855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Putumayo restaurant is located on Pantai Cenang and is open daily (1-11.30pm). For further information do call them to book at (04 953 2233).