KAPAS island: the golden compromise for snorkeling, trekking or just relaxing.

Dear explorers,
Christmas is round the corner and I have finally gotten some time to dedicate a post about Kapas island which is situated on the east coast of Malaysia.

East coast map

This island is easily reachable by taxi cab from Kuala Terengganu via Marang jetty as shown in the screenshot of the map, all you need is to get either a TAXI driver from the airport or bus station of KT or alternatively randomly stop a non-official driver to be brought to Marang, it takes approximately twenty-minutes and it costs max. 30RM. When it comes to the boats, there are few operators running the service, one of those is SuriaLink: http://www.kapassurialink.com/contact/ just get to their small office by the jetty, buy the ticket on the spot and they will take you to Kapas on the condition you arrive at the jetty earlier than 5pm.

The transportation time is just ten minutes since the island is pretty close to the coast, therefore do not expect to be on comfy huge boat 🙂 such an island is for whom desires to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and/or try to learn diving; altogether there are about ten resorts on only the west side of the island, most of those accommodations are in a minimalist/rusty style but acceptable unless you have very-high expectations 🙂 Besides that, most of them are hardly bookable through the well-known booking engines and they do not even have a web-page on the net, all you can do is contact them via phone/whatsapp by dialing the number mentioned on Google map: https://www.google.com.my/maps/place/Kapas+Beach+Chalets+(KBC)/@5.2203715,103.2616012,17.81z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x31b7eb62ae4ed317:0xeae0e00cf3526864!2sKapas+Island!3b1!8m2!3d5.2190041!4d103.2649049!3m4!1s0x0:0x6ab65d73f44613b3!8m2!3d5.2195881!4d103.2614375

I personally visited Kapas twice and experienced a pleasant stay at KBC wooded-resort, it is owned by a dutch guy and a german woman who decided to settle themselves on the island and live there all over the year, they indeed nicely take care of it by performing regular maintenance jobs. My first time on Kapas was on March 2016, this is the very beginning of the dry season since the monsoons stop in the middle of February, I did not experience any single rainfall, just hot and dry 😀

KBC wooded-built resort
Sea view from KBC

Because Kapas with KBC resort resulted into a winning combination, I decided to keep their contact details and later on June 2017 I was back there for three days. Both times I visited it, I had the chance of enjoying Jungle trekking, snorkeling and just relax at the beach. Because the number of the resorts is limited, not-so many visitors will be able to get to such a gorgeous island, moreover most of visitors are locals, the only exception is at KBC which attracts quite some European backpackers because of their very-good facilities, the kitchen, the chilling area and finally the convenient price list per night 🙂

My second stay on Kapas was characterized by two sunny days and one rainy and cloudy day; I took the advantage of the rainy/cloudy day to go for the jungle trail which perfectly fit as half-day trip, here below there is a picture taken in the jungle trail:

Jungle trail

Just two useful tips for you:

1. Avoid enjoying the jungle trekking when the suns is shining: you will be pouring of sweats more and more since you will get to climb down and up on some elevations, as a result you would be feeling far too thirsty and consequently you would get a sun stroke later.

2. Be provided with one big bottle of water as well as with the mosquito repellent to sprinkle on your arms and legs before starting to trek into the jungle.

(all the way takes you approximately 90 minutes)

During the sunshiny days I went for swimming and snorkeling instead, the seabed on the coral reef is simply amazing, full of sea urchins and colorful fishes, just watch the recorded GoPro video to be impressed:

Snorkeling at Kapas island

Last but not the least, here the sunrises and sunsets are very scenic and gorgeous, all you need is to walk along the west side of the island to catch your favorite beach and spot, you will not surely be disappointed as long as the sun shines.

To sum it up, this island is 100% worthy to spend one or more weeks to feel freedom and far away from the ordinary civilization. You can just relax and do nothing as well as deal with the sea activities which I described. On the other hand, if you are concerned about night hard-parties this is definitely not the island for you, however you can still enjoy soft parties over here but just over a delicious dinner with BBQ and perhaps watching some improvised fire torch play exhibition after the sunset. If you wish to see more pictures, just check out my Flickr album here below:

DSC02158
Kapas island powered by Sony a6000

Any queries and comments are welcomed, Merry Christmas, Giuseppe

Langkawi: one day spent on the waterfalls by facing troubles with the wild monkeys

One day later than the riveting kayaking experience that I described in my previous article, at a good morning time I went for the Temurun waterfalls which are situated in the north-west side of the island, although the way to get there might seem long and juicy I had no rush since after the kayaking this was just a chilling trip with some hiking involved 🙂

I arrived first at a sport which was characterized by red rocks and some water pools both at the bottom and top side of the rocks as shown below:

DSC04737

Being an attractive spot, I stop by, and I took some pictures of the scenery with the rocks on the left side of the road, meanwhile some monkeys were nearby among the rocks, they looked like they were just woke up from sleeping therefore hungry and seeking for food as they usually do over the morning time, they were moving around and me as a keen of recording ‘wild animals in action’, I started shooting some pictures as they were getting close; one of them came to the edge of the road, still I couldn’t resist in doing further practice by zooming in my lens to make a proper foreground for him so that I slightly stepped away from the motorbike I rode and guess what next?  He targeted the motorbike by jumping into it, so that he gave me a further chance to take one more picture of him sitting on the saddle of the motorbike! 😀

So far, everything may just look like funny and harmless, but as he jumped out of the motorbike he turned out with a funny and unpleasant joke, guess what?

He ripped off my smartphone which I accidentally left placed on the open slot-pockets of the motorbike, I’d have never imagined they would have grabbed my smartphone by believing that it was something eatable :O

My first reaction to such a funny ripping was to call the attention of the monkey to convince him to give up the booty, however there was nothing to do and instead he was turning into an aggressive way by showing off his teeth like to say ‘Do not dare to step into me otherwise I’ll bite you!’. Unfortunately there were no natural weapons to hunt him 😀 , moreover one more monkey joined the thief monkey so I was in minority, all I could do was to let them to go and hopefully he’d have left the smartphone somewhere on the red rocks! Our healthy life is always more important than a ripped smartphone, perhaps not all of us are aware of the fact that if bitten by a monkey you might get the HIV virus so now everybody knows it 😉

As a last but not the least attempt, I asked for help to an american guy who was by change riding down on the road, he didn’t think twice to support me, moreover he was very-skilled in climbing up and down through the red rocks, he managed to find the closed-cover of my smartphone but without it! OMG! They must have frighted hardly for my smartphone…unfortunately there was no track of the smartphone, so there wasn’t anything else the kind US guy could do for me 😦 and the monkeys were run away into upper-level jungle surrounding the rocks. I felt there was really nothing to do, on the other hand it wasn’t the end of the world.

In order to release myself from what happened, I went through the path of the waterfalls and I continued my photo-tour as best as I could, here below some amazing pictures:

After cooling down myself, I wanted to attempt again to look for my smartphone, this time I found at the red rock spot a local malay guy Gurkha who were stopping there by his motorbike, so I approached him to ask for some assistance, the goal was to get through the jungle where the monkeys ran away, however it didn’t appear to be feasible because there were lot’s of bushes and brambles spread-ed which made the jungle impenetrable for humans :O At this point, I decided to give it up and forget. So I smoothly finished my half-day trip and headed to the small town where I stayed in Langkawi and I bought a brand-new smartphone.

In conclusion, waterfalls scenery is always amazing, you’ll never regret it! When it comes to the wild monkeys in action the story changes: perhaps I was a naive, however I have seen many of them over my past journeys into the South-East Asia, but the ones I met in Langkawi are really aggressive and they pick-up everything what they find.

The learned lesson is: Never step away from your motorbike even shortly for just two meters by leaving any unattended valuable stuff when there are wild monkeys in action, they will attempt to rip off whatever they find on the front slot-pockets of your motorbike what exactly happened to me!

Short version: NEVER TRUST THE MONKEYS!

Everybody is welcomed to comment on it!

Giuseppe

Langkawi: a riveting kayaking experience to watching the red eagles at Klim Geopark.

It was a Saturday morning during my stay  on Langkawi when I went to one of my favorite place for a Malay-style break fast with a Roti Telur and a black tea, I sat on table in which on the opposite side there was a Swedish guy Adam, I really didn’t think twice to sit down close to him since it could have been potential chance for socializing instead being on my own, even not sure  whether he wanted to do so he was the one approaching me first. As we were disclosing some facts with each other, the guy came up with the spontaneous question: “Do you have any plans for today?”

My answer: “Well, I have in mind to visit some waterfalls but it’s just a small plan”

His counter-answer(offer): “would you like to join me for kayaking?”

My answer: “Well, why not, I can postpone my trip to the waterfalls, long time is been spent since last time I kayaked, just I’d need to pack my stuff”

Still, the guy wasn’t pretty sure whether I could have participated, so he phoned the tour organizer (Mangrove tour at Klim Geopark) who confirmed to Adam that there was one more place for me, so I didn’t hesitate to switch my plans and get ready for such a challenge which I didn’t consider it at all and I was provided with the needed basic equipment, moreover it was one more great chance for a new Go-Pro recording session.

The guy who organized the tour picked us up by car and brought us to the starting point for our riveting trip. Once on the place we met with three girls from Singapore which were with us on the kayaking trip, they said they never experienced before, however that wasn’t a problem if I consider I kayaked only one time about four years ago!

We were six of us altogether by including the ranger guy who leaded us for the right path to the eagles bay. As first, we got to kayak through a watered swamp which looked apparently insidious but in fact it was nothing scary then especially when comparing with my last kayaking trip which was made on a river with lot’s of downfalls and spread-ed rocks 🙂 At one point the ranger just warned us about the fact that a part of the swamp is dangerous for swimming because of the 70% of chances to end up swimming with the piranhas :O . However, we didn’t see any and we kept enjoying our paddling job as best as we could!

Here below there’s the video of the first and most impressive part of the Kayaking session:

We had a break half-way to the Eagles bay to let other kayak to pass on their way back, then we continued till our final stop. The surrounding landscape with the cliffs was simply breathtaking and moreover it was impressive to observe the way how the red eagles fluttered around from the top till the bottom, they were seeking for food and not far from us there was a boat which was feeding them so they got attracted, ‘unfortunately’ I did not carry on the waterproof box my professional camera since I was afraid of the water splashes which could have damaged the display so I just tried to take some pics by using my smartphone in addition to the GoPro.

Here below there’s the video at the Eagles bay, it must be watched carefully 😉

After such a great Eagles show, we started kayaking back to the starting point, at one point the ranger adviced us a spot in the swamp for enjoying some swim and dive jump from a horizontal trunk tree as shown on the GoPro shoots below.

We had enough fun with that, just a pity that the seabed was not clear, but it’s okay we couldn’t have everything perfect!

Once we were back to the starting point, we were provided with a lunch package including some refreshments as well, unfortunately here I don’t have any picture to show you because my (old) smartphone get ripped off by a monkey on waterfall trip next day, I will save your energy from understanding what exactly happened but instead I’ll talk about that on my next article 😉

Still the trip itself was not completely over, just kayaking session was over! As we were done with the lunch, we were brought by boat to visit some caves nearby. At the arrival we were greeted by a cute monkey going around and probably seeking for food as usual here! The landscape surrounding the caves is mostly swampy with plenty of bushes, however the caves themselves were not so impressive overall, if you consider that in my home-country Italy there are much bigger caves than this one, anyway it still deserves to be shown with few amazing pictures:

In conclusion, although I prefer more individual tours, the guided tour at kayaking at Klim Geopark turned out a unique experience which must be enjoyed since Langkawi itself is more about exploration in the wild nature than swimming and diving, besides that, the Mangrove tour guy himself knows how to arrange the tour by showing a great sense-of-humor which is very important to convey to people who want to enjoy kayaking on a wild great surrounding nature. Even the price of 220MYR (almost 50€) may seem high, it is worth every single ringgit, if we consider we were provided with a nice refreshing small lunch after kayaking and then they brought us to visit the caves, such a trip nicely suits for a Saturday trip on Langkawi. Definitely recommended!

For more informations about their activities you can check on their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/croctravelslangkawi/

Last thing but not the least, a special thank to Adam who tagged me along this amazing trip otherwise I’d never have thought of kayaking on Langkawi :O

Every comment and concern is welcomed!

Giuseppe

A volunteering day among eastern Malaysia poor villages

One day during my journey spent in Malaysia, a local friend who I had just met one day before proposed me to join him for a volunteering activity which consisted of distributing boxes of freshly-prepared food to the poor families residing in Batu Rakit village, which is situated in the region of Terengganu.

I didn’t think twice about joining him, and give my contribution rather than just behaving as a standard European traveler. Just I firmly believed that would surely have been a meaningful experience which would have helped me in closely understanding how those families conduct a simple lifestyle.

As we approached the village, the very first thing I was surprised about was that even the poorest family could afford a motorbike or a car at least.

I asked my friend Abdullah “Is that possible that such poor families own a car?” His answer was: “Don’t be surprised, here even the poorest family has a car because Malaysian cars are pretty inexpensive to be maintained, they just struggle a lot in getting proper food and drinks.”

DSC02263

The more we were approaching their poor houses the more I realized that in fact their own houses were not well-maintained at all, hygienic conditions were rather poor as well as the inside equipment. However, I could notice that most of families had two or more children who were always smile-looking, what I understood was that their spontaneous smile represented the main hope for each family, they smile because they live outdoor with few gadgets and they are being raised with the idea that happiness is not given by any belongings, but instead small things make them happy which actually was the case whenever I gave them few boxes of food, YES, by volunteering I was supporting their hope as well as the children’s smile.

DSC02284

To sum it up, the outcome was that I felt I did not waste my time at all but instead I discovered that still exists a genuine society which is not contaminated by any spreaded self-centeredness; it is only up to us decide what kind of person we want to be then especially when we act as travelers, the only questionable point is: are we really sure that our over-developed society is giving us all what we need?

Now it is up to us to figure out what on our society we can improve, nothing in the Earth is impossible, there’s always room for improvement!

PS: if you wish to look more pictures about the poor villages, check out my Flickr photo-album at the link below:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskZS71sa