Idyllic Langkawi

Posted: September 15, 2009 in butterflies, holidays, macro photography
Tags: ,

Think searing blue skies softened by tufts of cloud, white sand beaches washed in clear green seas, wandering water buffaloes in light green paddy fields, and eagles soaring over majestic mountain ridges reaching up into the clouds… and it’s easy to see why Langkawi is a tropical paradise.

But then Langkawi was a little bit more than that.  For starters, the car that we rented (Proton Wira Auto) didn’t have more than 3 gears, restaurants still used carbon papers to write receipts and certain fines are negotiable.

Pulau Langkawi is the largest island in an archipelago of 99 islands off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia and is part of the state of Kedah.  Langkawi has a World Geopark status by UNESCO with Machincang Cambrian Geoforest Park, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest park (Island of the Pregnant Maiden Lake) being its 3 most popular parks.

All that wiki-blah blah being said, we didn’t trip down those touristy areas but drove around in our little 3-gear car looking for dodgey little forest trails along the road.  We are just adventurous that way.  Or just plain leech-crazy.



 Note on Wizard: Man… this is one skittish butterfly!

Gunung Raya

On the first morning we went to Gunung Raya, which is the tallest natural feature in Langkawi, and myth-ed to be Mat Raya, a cursed form of a giant who lived on the island.

Note on photo above: These Helens were numerous. 

Poor Mat Raya.  You should see the landslides that were happening on him.  Not a light curse indeed.

You kinda figure the curse is somewhat love-hate because the weather on Gunung Raya was hypermaniac: sudden rain, sudden burst of sunshine followed by sudden rain.  So we adapted by alternating our jungle hats from head (sun!) to camera (rain!) to head (sun again!) to camera (rain again!)

The peak of Gunung Raya was shrouded in mist and the winds moved the clouds so quickly over the mountain it felt as if I was watching a time lapse recording of weather changes in a National Geographic documentary.

In spite of the erratic weather, Helens abounded in numbers and Chestnut tigers wafted by. 

Stuck on Gunung Raya’s head like a pointy hat were a telecommunications tower and a small resort.  While Gandalf ran off to search for butterfly vegetation amongst the ghostly mists, we leaned over the rails and watched the clouds come and go over the meandering roads below.

Tanjung Rhu

In the afternoon, we headed to a beach in Tanjung Rhu where a man earnestly tried to get us to feed eagles and a small cat tried unsuccessfully to clean the front of our dirty boots by rubbing itself on us.

Yoda made friends with the cat (pat pat) and bantered with feed-the-eagles-man (chat chat) while the rest of us ran away down a little grassy trail next to the beach (with Gandalf quickly putting a lot of distance between himself and the car, outrunning everybody else.  Must be the traumatic effects of stuffing a tall man in a small car.  It gets to them very quickly)

The activity here was blah.  But the scenery was beyond my expectations and I found myself shooting away on my G10 instead of my C180.







Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls
For the last 2 days, we spent them gallivanting down tiny little forested and mud trails near the Telaga Tujuh waterfalls.

And this was where I standing by myself on the trail and shot a rare Blue Begum butterfly because of the following chain of causative events:
1) I was heading up to the waterfall by myself because…
2) I got separated from the rest of the group because…
3) The rest of the group were chasing a rare butterfly and didn't realise I was not with them and…
4) When they did eventually realise I was gone, they couldn’t contact me because…
5) I forgot to bring my mobile phone 
So technically it is my fault.

But now whenever I look at this photo, I remember how the butterfly flew in while I was telling myself while walking up the trail: “DAMN it!!  Why aren’t they looking for me?  How could they not look for me?!  No.  You are not lost.  You can do this.  You’ve done this a thousand times.  How is this different? Nobody is obligated to be responsible for you!-[butterfly flies in] WHAT’S THAT?!”








There was no ranger station so I left a note on the car asking them to wait for me to come back from the trail and left trail markers with my name all along the way.

I eventually found them when I was heading back from (some way up) the waterfall and heard voices by the bridge.  When I found them, I realized:
1) They didn’t notice the trail markers I had left. 
2) And they didn’t go back to the car to look for me either because they assumed I had my mobile.  So they didn’t find the note.

So technically if the rain came to wash the note away (and they didn’t realize I didn’t have a mobile on me), they would have thought I was just being punk ass running around by myself ignoring my mobile and nobody would have the slightest idea where I was.

A lesson on self-sufficiency:  You can be with the best of people, but situations may arise where you ultimately have only yourself to rely on.








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  1. Tsish says:

    What a beautiful photo's you have taken where you where !

  2. fatcat says:

    wow, stunning pictures! I liked the tiny boot-cleaning cat. The haunting sounds bad 😦

  3. Emjay says:

    What an enjoyable post; beautiful photos; some history, and a lesson in survival! I'm glad you were not lost or left behind.

  4. kekke…it was a cutie… kept everyone entertained for quite a while 😛

  5. Thanks Emjay! I wasn't lost… but the prospect of getting left behind was kinda scary tho 🙂

  6. JOHN TEOH says:

    Very nice shots, what kind of camera you used to take these butterflies?

  7. xiaobubu006 says:

    Some, inspired by their partners’ success, used Generic Viagra to test what sexual effect, if any, it had on them. And since Viagra works by inducing blood flow to the genital area and trapping it, some females found it improved their arousal and increased lubrication.In fact, Shama, whose husband Gary Schubach used Cialis to test its effect, experimented with it herself.

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