Inside Nomadtopia: Island Life

October 17, 2013 | , , ,

We’ve been on the island of Langkawi, in northwest Malaysia, for about two months now, and I think some people are wondering what we’re up to, so I thought I would share some pictures and tell you more about what things are like here.When we arrived in Malaysia, we didn’t have a lot of concrete plans except to stay for a few months (we got a three-month tourist visa on arrival), explore the country, and spend at least six weeks in one place.

We wanted to stay in one place for a number of reasons:

  • Moving around all the time is tiring and more expensive
  • To get to know one area better
  • So I’d have a stable place to finish launching, and then run, my online program
Langkawi, Malaysia

The south end of the island, looking east; the white coastline in the middle is our local beach, and our place is off to the left in the flat area.

I had connected with a couple of locals online, so I started asking them for ideas on where would be a good place to stay for six to eight weeks. A fellow entrepreneur in Penang suggested I check out a place he knew about in Langkawi; it looked perfect, we did a little negotiating, and here we are. (The place is actually listed on Airbnb, but we didn’t even know what general area we wanted to be in, so it would have taken us ages to find it on our own!)

We booked this place for just over two months sight unseen (and knowing very little about Langkawi), so weren’t quite sure what to expect. Someone I met in Singapore around the time we were making the decision told me, “Just so you know, Langkawi is not the most exciting place.” That didn’t worry me, though! After spending the majority of my adulthood in big cities, I was ready for a respite, and it’s been perfect.


The day we got rained out at another beach


The Internet is decent and stable, we have a good amount of space to ourselves, the surroundings are lovely, our hosts are wonderful, and the island has a lot to offer (more than we’ve been able to take advantage of!).

Lunch on the beach when we first arrived


For better or worse, we haven’t done as much exploring as you might think. When we first arrived, I was in the throes of launching (and updating) my program, plus we were both catching up after not having done much work in recent weeks/months.

Then, as things started to calm down, we found ourselves in monsoon season, during the worst of which it rained for at least a week straight! We’ve had more clear days recently, but it still rains a lot, some days full-on gray rainy days, other days just a downpour or two.

On top of that, we’re a good 30-minute walk or 15-minute bike ride from most of the action (a strip of shops and restaurants along the beach), so it’s not always easy to find time to just pop out for a short while. We do take walks around the local neighborhood sometimes, and we’re able to get rides from our host when we want to go further afield, such as today, when we went to ride a cable car up to a viewpoint.


Looking west (?) from the top of the cable-car viewpoint


Once a week, there’s a night market fairly nearby, and we have been almost every week to stock up on crazy-cheap vegetables, fruit, and prepared foods. One or two other times per week we usually make it to the strip for some beach time and to check out one of the restaurants (we just found a place with breakfast as good as I’ve had in the States; can’t wait to go back!).

There are several supermarkets not too far away and we’ve been able to get a lot of what we know how to cook and have also experimented with lots of local curry pastes and other delicacies. (We have a one-burner hot plate, so a meal with several parts, like curry with vegetables and rice, can take quite a while!)

Our open-air kitchen


The living/dining/kitchen area of our place is open-air, and we’re on a little compound on the edge of the rice paddies, so we’re very connected to nature here. Our neighbors (besides our hosts and occasionally travelers renting other rooms here) are frogs, geckos, cats, a turkey, a rooster, cows, water buffalo, birds, squirrels, and a huge variety of insects (some cool, some not so cool!). It’s fascinating to observe the cycles of nature. Some bugs will be everywhere for just a couple days, and then gone for good. The frogs commute from the bedroom (I think a few of them live under the bed) to the garden every day around 7 pm, and come back about 12 hours later. (I still haven’t been able to get a good video of this!)

The neighboring paddie fields… the cable-car viewpoint is in the mountains just off-screen to the left.


So that’s it in a nutshell! All in all, it’s been a fabulous experience, and although we’re excited to see new places (we head to Indonesia in about two weeks), we’re going to miss it here.

More pictures are here. I also shared a video capturing the sounds of the call to prayer one evening. Thanks for coming along!

This post was part of a blog challenge I did in October where I published a post every single day for a month.

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