Cunard Cruise 2012
Trip Day 7
Tuesday, March 27th
Originally
Phuket, Thailand
Now
Langkawi, Malaysia


Today's port of call is now Langkawi, Malaysia for reasons detailed at the bottom of yesterday's page. Langkawi is a short distance south of Phuket and is just south of the border between Malaysia and Thailand . It is just another short hope from Penang to here.

I have left Phuket on the Google map below so you can see their locations relative to each other.



The time difference here is the same as Singapore which is 12 hours ahead of home. At this point I do not have specific arrival and departure times for these locations.

Obviously the shore excursion in Phuket that was here in the original design of this page is no longer valid, so here is the description of the choice I made yesterday for Langkawi called Langkawi Highlights.

See the main sights of this tropical paradise. including views from the peak on a cable car ride and a visit to the Rice Garden.

Ride on the cable car to enjoy fantastic panoramic views of Langkawi and delight in breathtaking views of the many islands scattered around Langkawi itself and the islands of Thailand. The top station sits on the majestic Machincang Mountain that is said to have been formed some 500 million years ago.

Continue past scenic paddy fields with groups of buffaloes resting in their muddy ponds. Quaint Malay Kampung (villages) are scattered all over the island giving you a true insight into the landscapes of Langkawi. Visit the Rice Garden, one of Lanqkowi's eco-tourism attractions. Here, you can view all aspects of rice cultivation, the oldest industry in Malaysia. Appreciate the rich heritage and chart its history to recent developments while viewing fascinating exhibits at the Museum. A stop at the Harbour Park allows you to appreciate the scenery.

As always there are same additional notes and here are those;

Note: Please note the cable car ride will operate subject to weather conditions. In the event of the cable car not running, it will be replaced by a visit to Underwater World Aquarium. There is approximately 1 3/4 hours of walking during this tour including uneven steps at the Rice Garden and steps at the Cable Car. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Chilled bottled water is provided during the tour. Guests suffering from Acrophobia or Altophobia are not encouraged to take the cable car. Queues can be expected for the cable car and the actual ride is 15 minutes each way. Any guests disembarking at the midway station will have to queue again to re-board.

So, this is the plan (concocted yesterday instead of several months ago) for this day.


What actually happened!!!

As with several of the previous days so far I will start with the brief description of this day from Cruise Update 1 that I wrote the next day (in the case of this one).

This, as was the original stop at Phuket, was a tender port so I got my first chance to ride in one of QE`s tenders which are rather high end compared to many of Holland America`s tenders. This tour had a visit to the Laman Padi rice museum which was interesting but not the most exciting place I have seen. The next stop was the Langkawi Cable Car which goes up a 2,323 foot mountain called Gunung Machinchang the second highest mountain on the island.

Again things were running long and the line at the cable car was so long that nobody got up before we were scheduled to be back down. Again they worked around it and all was well. There was one other short shopping stop after this. The weather was just like the rest so far, hazy hot and humid. The top of this mountain closed in with some clouds and showers not long after the excursion group left so we were lucky. The ship sailed at the scheduled time heading for Colombo, Sri Lanka expecting to arrive there on Friday morning.

As things turned out this ended up being the only tender port on the entire cruise. There had been another one scheduled several weeks from now but that one got skipped for weather related reasons at a previous port that delayed things.

Langkawi is the largest of 99 islands in this archipelago and is in the Malaysian state of Kedah. Only several of the other islands are inhabited. Langkawi has around 70,000 inhabitants and is approximately 25 km north to south and just a bit more east to west. It has been developed by the Malaysian government as a tourist resort and this is now its main source of income. It has duty free status as well.

The excursion left the ship at 9:30 and heading on a tender for shore where a bus awaited and took the group to the first stop, the Laman Padi Rice Museum. Apparently everything and anything you might ever want to know about rice is available here. I do not seem to remember much of it though, probably because the jet lag issue was really taking its toll by this point. Luckily this was only a half day excursion.

Here are some pictures of the Rice Museum.....

Rice Garden 1 Rice Garden 2
Rice paddies from the road. More of the paddies from the entrance bridge.
Rice Garden 3 Rice Garden 4
This is rice! This is a mean looking character.
Rice Garden 5 Rice Garden 6
More of the water buffalo's and geese,
some of which are Canada Geese I think.
The group having a close look at the rice paddies.

We spent about an hour here and then proceeded to drive to the cable car. The road followed the coast and went past the international airport which has a rather long single runway that almost seemed out of proportion to the small terminal building that we could see in the distance. This drive took about half an hour. As I noted above the line was quite lengthy here and the wait was somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes.

If you are unfamiliar with excursions like these then here is how a typical stop works. When the bus arrives the local tour guide gives you a time to be back at the bus to leave for the next stop. These excursions are usually timed very tightly because of the time the ship is scheduled to depart. There are penalties in the contracts between the cruise lines and the tour providers if the excursion does not arrive back at the ship within a certain period time around the scheduled time.

An this stop, the time the guide gave us to be back at the bus came and went before any of the group made it into any of the up bound cable cars. This was not quite as serious as it sounds on this excursion since it was only a half day long but it might have been major otherwise.

Here are some pictures taken at the Langkawi Cable Car.

Arrival 1 Arrival 2
The main entrance to this shopping village where the cable car is located. The rope bridges cause many people much grief. Some sort of water flower in a pond in the centre of the village.
Arrival 3 Arrival 4
The cable car first goes to the mountain on the right then turns left to the final stop on the second peak which is to the left. If you look very carefully you can see two dark specks between the two mountains. Those are a couple of the cable cars doing the second hop. The entrance to the cable cars.
Arrival 5 Line Going up 3
This will give you some idea of what the line was like waiting to go up. They had TV screens every so often saying things like "30 minute wait from here". They were quite accurate. On the way up, but not too far up yet.
Going Up 4 Going Up 5
Apparently this is a very impressive waterfall,
when there is more water in it!
Somewhat farther up than the one above.
Going Up 6 Top 1
Almost to the top of the first hop. I did not take any pictures during the much shorter second hop so here is a picture of the second hop from the top. The whole trip took approximately 15 minutes each way.
Top 2 Top 3
One of the viewing decks from the second view deck at the top. The second viewing deck from the first deck.

So you have seen what the top looks like in the pictures above, here is what you can see on a rather hot and humid day. The heat and humidity was not too bad at just over 2300 feet but there was lots of haze, as you will see.

CAble Car Panorama 3

I am not absolutely sure of the directions here but my best guess says this one is looking roughly west to northwest.

Cable Car Panorama 1

This one is roughly opposite the one above which likely means east to northeast.
The bridge is called the Langkawi Sky Bridge and is a 125 metre (410 foot) long cable stay pedestrian bridge.
I think (but am not sure) that it connects to an eco-preserve that is on that other mountain.

Cable Car Panorama 2

This image looks mainly south I think and looks back over the area the excursion travelled to get here.
The two images below were taken from this same spot
and are located in the farthest group of islands just right of centre in the upper part of the image.
The marina that the excursion stops at on the way back is just to the right of the centre of the image.

Ship from Cable Car uncorrected Ship From Cable Car
This is an original uncorrected image of the ship at anchor in the harbour of Langkawi. Here is a corrected version of the same picture.
The slight green tint is a result of the correction process.

After somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes on top I came back down.

Cable car Base Station Going down
This is where I am going. This is the view looking up from 2/3 of the way down.

The here the bas headed to the 30 minute long souvenir stop at a marina on the way back to the port. The cable car was visible from the marina, at least before the rain shower arrived.

Marina 2 Marina 3
The second hop of the cable cars from the marina. Not too much later this was all you could see of the mountain with the cable cars on it. It got worse than this and did lightly rain here.

From here the excursion headed back to the port.

Marina 1

The city is 16 km from the port which is an elaborate marina and resort.

I have a camera that can record a Global Positioning System log of a trip. If you have Google Earth you can plot the route on a map.
Here is the plot, in light blue on the west or left side of the island.

Google Trip Log

The arrow at the bottom shows where the ship was anchored while here.
The cable car was the farthest north spot.

So, I got back on the tender and went back to the ship shortly after 2:00. Here are a couple of panoramas taken from the ship shortly after my return.

Port Panorama 1

This panorama is looking to the south I think and definitely away from Langkawi.

Port Panorama 2

This panorama is looking towards Langkawi. You can see one of the tenders returning people to the ship.
The port is located just to the right the docked cruise ship (the Costa Classica) on the left.

The last tender back to the ship was at 4:30 and the ship sailed just after 5:00 heading for Colombo, Sri Lanka arriving some two and a half days from now on Friday morning.

On to Colombo!!!


Created: Feb. 23, 2012
The"What actually happened" update was started: June 14, 2012
The "What actually happened" update was completed: June 14, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:22 PM