24 December 2009

X-mas in Sunset Valley

On Christmas Eve we have an invitation on the Sunset Valley estate where two Dutch sailers have build a lovely and characteristic resort. From the deck of their own spacious wooden bungalow we have a nice view over the paddies, the ricefields, with a deep red sunset at the end of the day. It is a party with Dutch sailors and (ex-)Dutchies that are living now on Langkawi island.

It is an evening with a lot of music starting with christmas carols and then we try to find at least one song of every province. There is ample and talentfull accompaniment: Ria on the keyboard, Carla with her squeezebox and At and Andre with several harmonica's. Most melodies sound familiar but the lyrics are not always there. At a certain moment there were even some couples dancing on the deck! There is beer and wine and snacks and sushi's as a start, followed by chicken soup, several salads and freshly baked 'baguettes'. As a desert we are offered a tropical fruit salad and home made cake, so we look back at a cosy and very Dutch evening. Thank you Ria and Andre!

See their website: www.sunsetvalleyholidayhouses.com.

Slideshow SunsetValley

19 December 2009


The most northern island along the coast of Malaysia is a real sailor's paradise! The bays are so beautiful to pass through with heaps of good anchorages and small beaches to have a 'sundowner' with other yachties. The busses of the island tour bring us to places where we are welcomed with music and dance, we have to taste the local snacks and dishes and we hear the legend of the princess Mahsuri (10th century).

Telaga Harbour is another bay on Langkawi island and from there we visit the very professional cable car complex, a steep ride to the big round viewing platforms that are connected with a very long hanging bridge with again spectacular views. A real good experience! Everywhere on Langkawi are cosy and small restaurants with terraces on the beach or along the harbour with a choice of local or western meals (pizza's, steaks). They are a good opportunity to welcome new sailors (esp. the Dutch ones) and say farewell to our friends of the Rally.

Kuah is the main town of Langkawi and here you'll find all sorts of shops and supermarkets to replenish your supply of food and chandlery. Tabac and alcohol are duty-free, so we have to think in advance of our next legs through Islamic countries where you can't buy a drop of alcohol. Also in the Suez canal we can expect authorities that are not happy with just the legal fees and need some cigarettes for letting us pass through. The sea eagle with his white head and brown wings, we see them daily all around the island chase on fish, is the symbol of Langkawi and on 'Eagle square' in Kuah there is a enormous sea eagle statue looking over the bay.

Slideshow Langkawi

3 December 2009

Penang Island

Where the Malacca Strait is getting wider, you'll find Penang island linked with a 3km long bridge to mainland Malaysia. With about 20 yachts we are anchored behind a small island southeast of Penang. On November 30th we sail in a small parade together under the bridge to the Tanjong City marina in the middle of historic Georgetown. In the evening we are awaited by a group of 25 young drummers who perform a spectacular show on their big and deep-sounding drums. Also local dansers in beautiful costumes bring a colourfull and dazzling program of dances.

A compulsary stop on the Rally bustours is a visit to a project developer with for foreigners interesting investments in an appartment, a house or a villa. There is a wide choice at attractive prices. The slogan of Malaysia on this subject is 'MM2H' (make Malaysia your second home) and it is made easy for cruisers to import their yacht without any problems or (tax)rules. We finish the tour with an excellent buffet of Penang food and the performance of two lions that dance on the music of drum and cymbals to attract our attention.

The top of Penang hill you reach by a train that has to cover a very steep trail. The ride takes 30 minutes and then we have a magnificent view over Georgetown and the strait between Penang and the mainland. Interesting on the hill is the Hindoe temple painted in the characteristic soft colours. The descent by train again is quite exciting, but is made without problems.

Kek Lok Si is an extended Buddhist temple complex with several buildings, stairs, towers, galleries and pavillions. You can walk for hours and still discover new areas and details, very fascinating. The local fish restaurant near the marina is an experience because of the open kitchen, the simple set-up of the tables and the excellent taste of the fish, prawns and mussels.

Slideshow Penang