Distance - 30km
Weather- Hot and windy
Lots of hills
When I awoke in the morning my mind was immediately plagued with the memory that we had no money and our ATM cards weren't working. I couldn't sleep any longer. I needed to work out how we were going to call Australia and sort out this mess, and also where to buy tickets to Koh Lanta, and where to catch the ferry... but first I had to eat.
The breakfast was mainly Malaysian food - rice, spicy curry, strange sausages... so I had my fill of toast and fruit. I asked how much the hotel charged for international phone calls but the cost was far too expensive - expecially since I expected to spend a lot of time on hold.
I decided to walk to the busy shopping area near the port (only 2km away) and try to buy a phone card, and go back to the ticket office where I was told I could buy tickets to Koh Lanta.
As usual I underestimated the heat and was dripping with sweat by the time I arrived at the port. I asked around but couldn't find any phone cards. I did find a SIM card with really good international rates, but I didn't have enough cash. I decided to try an ATM and see what happened. The first ATM I tried worked. Our main card (Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard) was working again! So I was able to buy the SIM card to call the banks. Phew!
Next I asked at the travel information office near the main terminal, and found out that there was a ferry that left from the Awana Ferry terminal on the other side of the island at 9am the next morning, but since it was international we needed to be there at 8am. I asked her about Tiger Travelines, which I had read about online but which many people condemned. She said it wasn't running anymore and this was our only option. But the tickets were pretty expensive in Asian terms (AU$115 each) so I wanted to talk to Sam first. She said she'd put two tickets on hold for a few hours.
Back at the hotel we decided that we'd come this far to catch the ferry to Koh Lanta, so rather than going back to the mainland to cross the border into Thailand we might as well go ahead with my plan to travel by sea.
I no longer needed to call Wizard but we were still worried about the NAB cards, so I called their international number. I didn't have to hold for long (I know, very surprising) and when they checked they said the cards and the account should be working fine, just sometimes overseas ATMs say they will accept your card, but they don't. We still didn't know why all our cards decided to stop working on the same night, but at least all seemed to be ok now.
We packed our bikes, bought the ferry tickets, and set out for the other side of Langkawi, where our ferry terminal was located. It was a beautiful but tough ride up the mountains along the coastline. It was only 30km but for our legs this was day six of cycling and they were screaming for a rest.
We made it to the SW corner of the island and started looking for a hotel. The first few we asked were quite expensive, quoting school holidays and saying we wouldn't find a better deal. But just up the road there was a group of seven hotels/resorts all next to each other along the beachfront, and there we were able to negotiate for a nice unit, 20m from the beach, for AU$23. We put our swimmers on and ran straight into the clear, calm water. We couldn't believe how warm it was! This was how a rest day was meant to be!
We wanted to go see a waterfall we'd read about so we dragged ourselves from the water to find a taxi to take us there. We negotiated with a driver to take us there, wait 1.5 hours for us to trek there, swim, trek down, and then bring us back. But as we were arriving we saw a string of cable cars going up impossibly high into the mountains and almost decided to go there instead. We'd come for the waterfall though, so we decided to see it through.
The waterfall was a disappointment. Lack of rain on the island meant it was a water-trickle, rather than a fall, so after a quick dip we ran back to the taxi to get him to take us to the cable cars. We suffered another disappointment though when we were told that ten minutes earlier they'd closed the cable cars, due to the wind. Funnily enough, anyone who had already bought a ticket was still able to ride it so the wind can't have been that bad.
To soothe our disappointment we hired two 'segways' and rode around the park to the amusement of onlookers. The machines move forward, back and sideways based on your movement, and while it took some getting used to, we had a great time.
In the evening we had our last Malaysian feast, including 'coconut and other fruit' drink, which was not as tasty as we'd hoped.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia