Soon summer will be a distant memory, and we will be back in the full swing of work/school traffic, meetings, and emails. Summer days have a sense of slowness to them, even though most of us are still working, and the first day of the fall schedule can be an abrupt return to reality. One of the best ways to build a mini buffer zone for our psyches and charge our batteries for the final stretch of the year is to take an end of summer trip, and if you can, make it unforgettable.
I suggest going to Southeast Asia, as it has something special to offer everyone. If you love pristine beaches, incredible sunsets, fresh ocean fish, eco-excursions, and cultural explorations, you will be happy you chose it as your holiday destination. While visiting this area, make sure to spend some time at Langkawi and Kota Kinabalu, two of my personal favorites. Each place is unique and has left me with stunning memories.
Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah
Langkawi is located along the Malaysian northwest coast. It is one of 104 islands, considered to be among the most beautiful in the world. Sitting in the Andaman Sea, Langkawi is an excellent place for resting and recharging. Of the total islands in the archipelago, Langkawi leads in terms of landmass and population. It offers something for all styles and tastes. If you appreciate hidden nooks and private get-aways on the beach where you can spend private time with your special someone, the northeast shore should be your destination. On the other hand, if your way of recharging is to socialize and meet other travelers, you will want to spend time on the southern shoreline. I recommend that you take some time away from the beaches and walk across the Langkawi Sky Bridge. It takes you right over the canopy of a rainforest—hard to match such an experience.
Kota Kinabalu is well known for its eco-tours and teeming wildlife, and it’s the perfect place to encounter free-ranging orangutans. Located in the Sabah region in Borneo, the island offers wide beaches where you can spend your day’s boating, snorkeling, sun bathing, surfing, or napping. I highly recommend catching at least one sunset at the Tanjung Aru Beach, a perfect way to end an eventful day. You will also want to explore the many local restaurants that specialize in fresh, delicious seafood. The transportation to the Kota Kinabalu beachfront is simple enough, boats from Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park will take you to the beaches on a regular schedule. Another favorite feature of Kota Kinabalu is Mount Kinabalu, which is the highest mountain in Malaysia and a protected World Heritage Site.
These two destinations hold a special place in my heart, each one for a different reason. Five summers ago, we took a family vacation to Langkawi and it was a treasured experience for all of us, especially the children. They still remember the daily visits from the local monkeys who would come to greet us on our porch. They also very much enjoyed the gorgeous greenish-blue waters and the stunning beaches. During the same year, my husband and I travelled together to Kota Kinabalu and while there we hiked up Mt. Kinabalu. The weather was challenging but dramatically beautiful, we climbed between the raindrops and enjoyed sudden bursts of sunlight. The view, of course, was amazing.