Langkawi Sky Bridge

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The Hidden Paradise – Neelum Valley, Pakistan

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Neelum Valley – The Hidden Paradise in Pakistan

Not sure what image of Pakistan you might have in your mind, but I can bet you didn’t have the image of a paradise. Here are some pictures of one of the places in Pakistan that is heaven on earth!

Neelum Valley is situated at the North & North-East of Muzaffarabad Azad Kashmir, Pakistan running parallel to Kaghan Valley. The two valleys are only separated by snow-covered peaks, some over 4000m above sea level. Excellent scenic beauty, panoramic views, towering hills on both sides of the noisy Neelum river, lush green forests, enchanting streams and attractive surroundings make the valley a dream come true.

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By : Rashid Ali

Langkawi, The best vacation in Asia

Out of 29,673 cities in Asia, my favorite is Langkawi, Malaysia. It’s actually a group of 104 Islands in the Andaman Sea. The largest of these Islands is Pulau Langkawi having a population of around 65,000, which is a duty free island. That’s right – if you are a chocolate lover, and you are planning to visit Malaysia, Langkawi is the place to buy them from !

Oriental Village, Langkawi

Oriental Village, Langkawi

Beach - Langkawi

Beach – Langkawi

Langkawi has been blessed with two of the nature’s most beautiful gifts, i.e. beautiful sandy beaches & lush green mountains both at the same place. In the morning you can go as high up as 850 m on the Gunung Raya mountain, enjoy the breath taking panoramic view, and in the after noon you can relax by taking a walk on soothing golden grainy sand beach with your partner.

Parasailing at the beach

Parasailing at the beach

In my view, here are the attractions which make Langkawi the best vacation in Asia:

1)  Beaches & Beach Resorts

Beaches are obviously one of the most special places and Langkawi’s beach resorts provide not only a quite comfortable spacious accommodation right next to the beaches, if you choose the resort with a the right location, you can also go shopping in duty free malls in the evening, visit the underwater world with your kids, have sea food dinner at traditional Chinese restaurants or grab a big Mac at McDonald’s – all within a 5 minutes walk! Rent-a-car, souvenir T-shirt shops & money changers too.

Sunset Beach Resort Breakfast

Sunset Beach Resort Breakfast

One such great place where we stayed was Sunset Beach Resort, a mere 10 minutes drive from the airport, very friendly staff, great breakfast with cool beach breeze in your face. After that you can have a go at para sailing (50 RM), go for a tour of the nearby small islands on boat, or simply go for a swim !

Walkway from room to the beach

Walkway from hotel room to the beach

2) Motorbike ride around the island

Total area of Langkawi is 478 sq. kilometers. Taxis are easily available here, but I would recommend to rent a bike, not a heavy bike, rather a simple 125 CC Honda to move around the Island. One can truly enjoy the beauty of Langkawi this way, there is very little traffic on the roads so you can enjoy a peaceful ride, making short stops where ever you please, to take  a detour to visit an ancient tomb or to have Langkawi’s traditional dish being served by the roadside,  Laksa for example.

Plus the thrill of getting lost is invaluable ! Not to worry, the Island is very safe and if you know the basics of how to read a map, there won’t be a problem. We drove 150 kilometers around Langkawi, I was driving and my wife holding the map and camera in the back seat. The bike can be rented for approx. 30 RM/24 hours, though even if you are a bit late in returning the bike, (like us) you probably wouldn’t be charged extra, thanks to Aadi the guy who rented us the motorbike.

 

Bike Ride Langkawi

Bike Ride Langkawi

3) Tour of the Mangroves

The Mangroves tour is a guided boat tour of a number of attractions in the Kilim Geoforest Park (on the way to which you can also view Thailand in the distance), including the floating restaurant, beaches, crocodile cave, bat cave, eagle feeding, monkeys, different species of fish etc. The lunch at the floating restaurant was very delicious, I have never tasted fish like that anywhere. And the motorboat ride in the sun with the breeze blowing through was really refreshing too. Just don’t forget to take sunblock with you !

Mangroves - Kilim Geoforest Park

Mangroves – Kilim Geoforest Park

Thailand seen from Langkawi

Thailand seen from Langkawi

A family on Mangroves boat tour

A family on Mangroves boat tour

Eagle Feeding from Boat

Eagle Feeding from Boat

Mangroves Monkeys being fed bread

Mangroves Monkeys being fed bread

4) Mardi Agro Technology Park

If you love greenery, and if you love exotic fruits, there can’t be any better setting than Mardi Agro Technolgoy Park. I tasted the best ever pineapple here, a yellow colored water melon, a start shaped fruit (Star Fruit), Durian, Cempedak, Jack Fruit etc are some of the other amazing furits that you can eat over here. The tour guides will also take some very amusing pictures of you and your family with the fruits.

Mardi Agro Technology Park

Mardi Agro Technology Park

5) Water Falls of Langkawi

There are about three water fall sites at Langkawi. We had the chance to visit two them i.e. Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls & Durian Perangin Waterfalls. The first one is situated at walking distance from Oriental Village/Cable Car, it’s a  must go if you want to witness the waterfall’s majistic beauty as well as indulge yourself with a little feet dipping.

Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls

Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls

The second one is more thrilling, more dangerous – I almost got dragged with the water while trying to save my bike’s rented helmets from falling into the water. Thanks to my wife & a  kind native Langakawian who yelled “NO NO Ma’am you stay Ill go”, I was saved in time though !

Durian Perangin Falls

Durian Perangin Falls

6) Oriental Village – Cable Car Ride & Sky Bridge

The cable car ride & sky bridge in the Oriental Village is also an exciting place to be ! The cable car leads to The Sky Bridge which is 700 meters high, and there’s a walkway of about 125 meters. The view point beside the sky bridge is fantastic ! It’s the same place where a scene of the Indian movie DON 2 was shot.

There are also some good souvenir shops at this place.

Sky Bridge

Sky Bridge – 700 m high

Among other places to visit in Langkawi are Langkawi Wildlife park, Underwater world, Snorkeling,  Snake sanctuary, Ferry & Cruise Ride, Helicopter tour of Langkawi, etc.

If you are planning on coming to Langkawi, you should at least spend five days here. It will be worth it !

By : Rashid Ali