To bring you up to date, we left Taman Negara at 6.00 AM and had to bid farewell to our jungle retreat – we crossed the river in a small boat and took a car and driver to Kuala Terangannu on Malaysia’s east coast. We were told that the journey could take six to seven hours, so we were delighted when it took just six hours. Our hotel at Lang Tengah (LT) had only one ferry at 2.00 PM, so we could not miss it – we actually ended up waiting an hour and a half, as we were too early!
Lang Tengah (LT) is nestled between the more popular islands of Redang and Perhentian. This fairly small and uninhabited island maintains stunning natural beauty and apart from a couple of hotels is untouched by modernization. It is affectionately known locally as Terengganu’s best kept secret. With its immaculate beaches that are host to a long row of coconut trees and untouched tropical jungle, it is a sight to behold. The corals at LT are very much alive, abundant and spectacular, with plentiful marine life. Just a hundred meters from the beach, snorkeling, we were able to see dozens of baby sharks patrolling their territory. We also spotted a couple of turtles swimming nearby.
LT is really very special indeed. There are no permanent residents. There are four listed hotels and two of them are closed for refurbishment. . After checking in and unpacking, we got out on that huge carpet of white sand and walked in the late afternoon sunshine. It was so very beautiful, surrounded by trees and listening to the birds and insects. We knew that we had found yet another paradise in Asia.
This was our first real experience of mainland Malaysia’s east coast and islands. It’s totally different to the highly commercial west coast and its popular islands like Langkawi and Pangkor (open links for details of our visit last year). The east coast is much more laid back and informal, people are very friendly and costs are much cheaper – the only downside is that there is very little to do in the way of entertainment but it is wonderful for relaxation.
We spent five nights on LT and enjoyed every moment. On our second day, the hotel had organised a jungle walk. Alf had decided to carry on with his book and opted out of the walk. Marilyn decided to go along, with a small group of four women, all in their late twenties – Two Malaysian, one German and one Russian. They walked along the beach and eventually reached a huge rock which they all had to try to climb over to manage entry to the forest. All of the twenty somethings got across but with some difficulty and so Marilyn decided that this was not for her, she told the staff leading the walk that she thought it was a bit too difficult for her and she would not continue. Suddenly, there was a roar of disapproval and Marilyn was told:
“Look Mamma, we know that you are a very old lady but you can still walk pretty well and we will help you to climb!”
Marilyn wasn’t sure that she liked being called a “very old lady” but she saw the funny side. With that and having one guy in front of her, one behind her and one on the side of her, it was rock climbing made easy – they would not hear of Marilyn turning back, as she was the only one there that knew and related to Manchester United! Harry was wearing his red England shirt and the other two wanted to know if she lived in Manchester. They were all very concerned about Marilyn’s safety and kept on grabbing her hand and asking:
“Are you OK Mamma?”
At last, we all reached our destination and were rewarded with a beautiful view of the sea below and the area surrounding. Once everyone had completed the downhill, there was the same huge rock for Marilyn to get over, so without further ado, these three lovely young Malaysian guys put Marilyn on Harry’s back and he piggy backed her over the rock! Malaysian young people are extremely respectful and that is a memory that will stay with Marilyn, even if she is not really a very old lady yet, she will remember the experience until she is!
LT was very popular with Chinese nationals who were a lot of fun. There were also some Malaysian tourists from Kuala Lumpur and a few western visitors, from Germany, France, Russia and Italy but it has not yet reached the masses and hopefully never will!