A final flourish

Our last day in Langkawi had an unexpected, but pleasant turn. We’d thought we’d potter around on the bike, catch a coffee at #Starbucks and then find a beach somewhere. Down at the pointy end of the island I metaphorically wandered around with £10 in hand in the hope that a fisherman would take us to one of the islands (broken, jungle-green teeth rising from turquoise gums – stunning). In the end we hopped on a 3-hour trip to three islands for £8 each.

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Wow. Welcome to Jurassic World. The boat, a fibreglass fishing outfit fitted with a Bugatti Veron engine, was quicker than any RIB I’ve been on. And the tour was fab. Two highlights were  the sea eagles diving and feeding right next to us, and, along the same lines, watching the monkeys sprint out from the jungle and feed from our neighbour’s picnic as they went for a swim on a quite delightful Robinson Crusoe island. We swam, but didn’t feed the monkeys as we’d only bought a few biccies, unlike our German friends. Just fab.

And then the great escape.

In incredibly slow time we took a Grab taxi (like Uber, if I’d ever used Uber) back to the port, caught the 3 pm ferry, wandered around Kuala Perlis (mainland ferry port, like Dover but 1/1000th of the size – but just as poor and shabby) before calling it a night back at our favourite Muslim hotel, which was even cheaper (£18 inc breakfast) and even more acceptable.

It’s worth pointing out, in case I die on you, that my heart hasn’t been right since we got off the plane from Heathrow. Thursday night was particularly bumpy, but I slept soundly, only woke once and was feeling refreshed – but not regular – the next morning. And for the record we’ve both lost our stomachs and currently can’t find them. Oh well.

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the Langkawi port is protected by a blooming big bird. Dover could learn a lesson here

Friday was the mad dash to catch the 5 pm sleeper from the only railway border crossing between Malaysia and Thailand, at Padang Besar. Another Grab and £12 lighter for a 40 km trip (there are no buses) and we were at station 8 hours before we needed to. But it’s about the journey, and we popped out of the station and found reliable WiFi at KFC and then twiddled our thumbs a bit.

Our 5 pm sleeper (2nd class, don’t you know, and easily workable) arrived at 5 pm and left at 5.03. By then we’d befriended a young Argentinian footballer (currently playing for a BK side but popping into Malaysia to get his visa renewed) and his girlfriend, a French Canadian couple and their two young kids who were spending 6 months travelling this part of the world (the kids, both under 8, had their own weighty back packs – respect), a Singaporean, post-national service trio who were, wait for it, bus and training it to Mongolia, and a young English couple who were on a 4-week break via Singapore (where her dad worked) … they were from Essex, his dad lives in Great Bentley where my folk live/lived. What a team.

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And what an adventure. I played cards with the Singaporeans whilst the waiter showed C the v basic menu which displayed 20 dishes in glorious technicolour, 18 of which were not available. We decided on our own pot noodles and some wine.

Sleep? More adventures. C wanted to sleep on the top bunk … I got the wider, bottom. I slept fitfully, woken by shuddering and bouncing – I think I had concussion where my brain had rattled against my skull. C the same, adamant that she had chosen the wrong bunk, but I’m not sure. But, and it’s a big but, C can now claim that she slept with an Argentine footballer (her quip, not mine). And checking googlemaps in the morning we were considerably closer to BK and woke to fab views.

More about Bangkok later, other than to say we met up with Bex and Steven as planned, and now the second leg of our adventure begins. Hurrah!