Into The Wilds of Langkawi

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

What better day to take a romp into the wilds of Langkawi than during monsoon season, with waves of precipitation crashing into us intermittently?

Don’t worry – it’s a rhetorical question.

We already did it.

Langkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

There is this amazing stretch in the cycling trip where you get to jetski across a dam on your bike!

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Yes, that’s right! Ride across a flooded dam on your bike!

Not to worry – it’s perfectly safe, assuming the current isn’t too strong or the water is too deep. You’ll be fine.

I mean, most people usually take ATV’s or trucks. But those guys are wusses.

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Yeah, you heard me!

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Through endless rubber plantations and paddy fields – lush greenery all the way!

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

And the occasional critter that will stop and stare.

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

To be honest, I think we’re the ones that stop and stare more.

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah
The decrepit Langkawi Lake House

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Did I mention it was monsoon season?

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

So come join us into the wilds of Langkawi!

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Yeah, come join us in this dark and creepy forest…

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour Bikelah

Langkawi Eco Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour Bikelah

Another highly memorable section is this super secret pathway that extends out onto the ocean. Technically it’s private property, so I can’t tell you where the entrance is.

Langkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour Bikelah

It’s part of a wave breaker wall that was privately constructed, but not very well maintained. It curves out over the west coast of Langkawi Island.

Langkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour Bikelah

Langkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour BikelahLangkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour Bikelah

Langkawi Eco Nature Cycling Tour Bikelah

And off we go to another adventure!

Meeting Medan & Touring Toba

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

Medan is a mighty interesting place not a stone’s throw away from Peninsular Malaysia. It’s not a densely packed Asian metropolis – think of it as the Auckland of Indonesia. It’s got majestic mountains and substantial bodies of beautiful blue water.

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Indonesian Sate Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Indonesian Sate

Their sate is certainly saucy.

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Cruising through the morning markets

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Chick Melons
Just some pretty chicks showing off their melons

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Flippin’ da noodles

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Bikes abound wherever we go

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

If you want to visit the legendary Lake Toba, then you’ve got to take a nice long trip inland – roughly 3 hours by bus across 180km.

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

The trip to Parapat, the primary port town that services Lake Toba and the immense island at its centre, is relatively serene and plain. There are a few rolling hills, with lots of paddy fields and simple estates on either side.

However, as you wind your way up the final stretches of bendy mountain roads approaching Parapat (oh, you will know), get ready for the breathtaking reveal!

Lake Toba Bikelah Sam Shee Cycling
You can’t miss it

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Behold, the port of Parapat

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Doggie dogs everywhere

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Chook playground

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Hard to go wrong with the scenery here – just point and click!

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Praise the sun!

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
One last glimpse of that beautiful blue

Lake Toba Samosir Medan Cycling Tour Sam Shee Bikelah
Onboard entertainment

Lake Toba Bikelah Sam Shee Cycling
We made it! Now can we find a place to collapse?

Lake Toba Bikelah Sam Shee Cycling
Everybody was kung fu fighting!

Island Sanctuary of the Apes

Orangutan-Sanctuary-West-Malaysia-Sam-Shee

Welcome to the only bastion of safety for the orangutans in West Malaysia – the protected island sanctuary of Bukit Merah!

To get to the Orang Utan Island Foundation, you’ll have to catch a ferry from the main Bukit Merah Laketown Resort. The ferry departs every 45 minutes, and the ferry ride and tour of the sanctuary costs around thirty ringgit (varies between locals and international visitors, as usual).

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The place is sturdily built and well structured, and you do get a chance to see orangutans up close. Orangutans are clever and curious creatures, and although the larger ones are pretty sloth-like, most of them are agile and lively.

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This is BJ, the current alpha male on the island. Formidable and deliberate, this giant’s bellow can be heard for kilometres!

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The trio above are the resident jokers – teenage males that like to chill and play with things.

It’s a shame they have to be kept behind fences most of the time, as I’m sure some human-orangutan interaction wouldn’t be detrimental to either side. Apart from the rougher males, most of these creatures don’t mean anyone any harm.

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The youngest ones get to chill by the water and are fed through a pipe that runs to a platform in the middle of the water.

The way they easily swing their way around makes you wonder – why are they so darn hairy? 

And it’s not even a good hue for camouflage!

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Although they claim to be preparing the orangutans for rehousing, I’ve met the exact same orangutans in my numerous visits to this sanctuary.

The tour guides are passionate and very professional, but I have a strong feeling there’s things in between the rehearsed lines that they feed us.

Who knows if these orangutans ever make it off the island?

Orangutan-Sanctuary-West-Malaysia-Sam-Shee

There’s nothing particularly sinister about the place. It’s just that as much as the tour guides joke that the orangutans are the ones that get to roam free and gaze at us humans in the confined caged walkways, this particular sanctuary doesn’t seem all that big.

And I’ve never once seen the neonatal orangutan care centre occupied; that’s where they’re supposed to house the baby orangutans. I hope it’s because all the newborns are happy and healthy.

To me, this is more of an orangutan zoo.

Perhaps it’s the only way to “save” this endangered animal – by keeping the remaining ones alive behind electric fences. A sad reality of our strange human concept of conservation.

Welcome to the island sanctuary of the apes.