About Denisa H
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Oct 2008
25-34 year old female
i need to be on the move constantlly. Slovakia born, but also Malaysia bred and fed on sunshine, football and travelling. London has been my home on and off for the past 13 years. I love South-East Asia. I consider Malaysia home. Singapore has been my stopover home destination for years, always seductive with all it has to offer. Myanmar was a revelation, Thailand is always a pleasure to visit and Laos is my next dream destination, followed by Vietnam and Cambodia. Indonesia will have to wait for some time yet. I love history, botany, languages and pottering around museums and galleries on rainy days.
Flea & Street Markets
If you are after something substantial (and not necessarily a traditional Malaysian breakfast), start your day here — you won't regret it. Consistently delicious for many years now, this is a much loved spot among locals and visitors alike. Red Tomato bakes its own bread, and for those who crave a bit of Western-style food, this is the place to go. Hearty egg dishes and pancakes anyone?
This UNESCO protected piece of nature offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to silently glide through mangrove forests, getting up close to the magnificent karst hills, not to mention the abundant local wildlife. In addition to various bird species (look out for the hornbills!), there are iguanas and swimming monkeys, no less! Swooping sea eagles — the symbol of the island — will keep you company, too. A stopover in a bat cave takes strong nerves (to confront the smell), whilst at the fish farm you'll have the unique opportunity to get close to sea animals — from giant snails to rays to crabs — and even hold them if you're brave. It is easily a whole-day affair!
The night market is an institution in Malaysia, and one that I highly recommend to anyone who wants to 'live like a local.' The 'Pasar Malam' (Malay word for night market) typically runs from late afternoon until early evening at various locations around the island, and the way to seek out one of the best is to ask the locals — they'll be glad to help and will probably be quite impressed that you want to visit! At whatever market you choose, you will be able to sample freshly made local food and buy local fruits and vegetables, or various tidbits like spices, cosmetics and dried foods.
If you want a filling and traditional breakfast, head here for some freshly-made roti canai or thosai bread served with tasty homemade curries. Plus, don't forget to try the milky, frothy 'teh tarik' tea alongside your meal. This place is also open for buffet-style 'nasi kandar' (a selection of various curries based on meat, fish, or vegetables) for lunch and dinner — so it's a good, budget-friendly place to return to later in the day, too!
For a totally different perspective of the island, climb up hundreds of stairs while breathing in the fresh jungle air and listening to the sounds of the wildlife at Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls — an exhilarating experience. Once at the top, you'll be rewarded with great views over the islands and super refreshing freshwater pools, complete with natural slides. If you are lucky, you might see spider monkeys and gibbons, lots of birds, and even the odd hornbill!
The leafy area of Pantai Kok beach makes for a nice, peaceful place to relax and enjoy the sunset (perhaps before heading out to the the night market not so far away).
If you have an hour to spare, this little museum will teach you a thing or two about rice planting and harvesting. It is surrounded by a paddy field, making it very photogenic, especially with the water buffaloes and egrets in the background.
Batik is Malaysia's cultural pride and joy, and Atma Alam is one of the best places to learn about this process for hand-dyeing cloth, and even try to master the tradition yourself! Local artist Aza and his wife Roz have been operating this beautiful gallery and workshop for years, and you can watch the artists at work, pick up a souvenir, or create and paint your own designs. It's fun and relaxing at the same time.
This is a great place to come if you want a quick introduction to the fruity delights of Malaysia. Here you'll get to taste a lot of the seasonal produce — dragon fruit, star fruit, jack fruit, cemmpedak, rambutan, rose apple, chiku, and more — plus, learn a thing or two about how these fruits are grown. You can buy some fruit onsite as well.
This is the most popular beach in Langkawi, and while I would also say the most populated, the crowds are nothing like you'd find in a resort-style destination. Everything is very relaxed here, yet the bustle of the main street is just lively enough to offer a pleasant contrast to all that peace and quiet you've enjoyed elsewhere on the island. There are many road-side restaurants offering freshly grilled fish, local curries, and sambals, plus plenty of drop-in massage places to choose from.
If by some miracle you haven't managed to spot any local animals around already, this park is the next best thing. A big hit with families in particular, it's a place where you can feed the animals and enjoy plenty of other close encounters. There are birds (local and foreign), small native mammals (like miniature 'kancil' mousedeer), porcupines, and even crocodiles.
This place is a bit pricier than your average Langkawi establishment, but very much worth it for a special occasion or an indulgent lunch or dinner. Nestled in the tranquil Langkawi countryside, this is a restaurant where you can feast on Malaysian classics in a completely relaxing and serene environment. Don't forget to try both their scrumptious mains and their much-touted Malaysian desserts.