We drove north to one of the geoparks in Langkawi (general area circled in red on the map). A geopark is basically a park with unique or significant geological features, and often features the cultures of people as well as flora and fauna who adapt to live among or within the geological features. Apparently Langkawi is home to some of the oldest rock on earth, which rose from the sea some 540 million years ago. Or so. Give or take an aeon. Basically, really really really old rock.
So of course I wanted to see this area. Where we've been staying is relatively close to the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park - it's apparently a range of the old rock that arose during some early seismic upheaval and formed something like a mountain range in northern Langkawi.
There's a cable car gondola kind of ride up to the highest point in the ridge, as well as suspension bridges so that people don't have to hike up.
Of course, once we arrived it began to rain. So much for hiking around through the forest, seeing the waterfall, and hoping to glimpse any of the cute monkeys that live in this forest.
Instead, we drove around a little, then hung out at an area of small shops and picnic areas under canopies. We met a nice family of black cats, and chatted with a few travellers as well as some of the women selling items.
We could see the rocky ridge from the distance, and I managed to get a few photos between rain clouds obscuring the view. If you look closely, you can see the rope pulling the cable cars to the platform hanging over the edge of the highest point on the hilltop. Or mountain top. And you can see why we didn't ride the gondolas up to the top.
We also realized that the huge hills (almost mountains?) that we see in the distance from the beach at Cenang, and from our hotel, are the
Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park - Who knew? So we looked, and watched the little tiny gondolas drift up and down the rope, and pet the kitties, waiting for the rain to let up a bit.
And then drove off.
Here's their website, if you want more information:
There are two other areas to the geopark, one being karst towers, similar to the limestone stacks we saw around Krabi, Thailand. There are boat tours around the geoparks, but, well, again not something we wanted to do in pouring rain. Especially after the thunder and lightening began a bit later during the day.
Since it turned out to a rather stormy day, we ended up going to Bon Ton Resort and Restaurant for an afternoon snack (well, lunch substitute, but it's hard to call it lunch at 3 PM). We'd heard about Bon Ton from our friends at China House in George Town, and also from our hostess at the house here in Langkawi, where we stayed for our first four days.
The owners of Bon Ton have bought up old wooden Malaysian houses, and moved them (stick by stick!) to this location, and have set them up as a resort - yes, you can stay in a cute old Malaysian house! The place was very peaceful, and we enjoyed our brownies and ice cream.
In chatting with the man who may be the manager, or owner (we weren't too sure) - we asked about the cats, since we had encountered at least ten friendly kitties at the property, lounging around our feet, sitting on chairs, just coming by to say hello. Turns out he has the Langkawi animal shelter here at Bon Ton Resort, and there are currently about 200 cats wandering around. (Sounds like our good friend Mercedes, on St. Thomas!) Anyway, we enjoyed all of the very friendly kitties - and they didn't beg for food, they just wanted to be sure we were properly greeted and made to feel at home.
Check it out - I think this would be a great place to stay if you ever get to Langkawi - only thing missing is the beach, since they're a bit inland: http://www.bontonresort.com.my/
We're winding up our stay in Langkawi - it has been wonderful, island life at its best! Gorgeous beach, lovely water, not crowded; good restaurants and cafés; friendly people; decent shopping; and things to do if you want to be frenzied and active, but perfect for relaxing walks on the beach and a more peaceful pace.
We head back to George Town tomorrow, and will see what's up with being extras in this TV production. We haven't heard back from our contact, so we'll give a call and find out where and when.