by Mark



Advertorial by Kamila Delart

Enchanted by the amazing sunset cruise I recently enjoyed with STARDUST, I get really excited when I receive an invitation for a day cruise. It may not be my first day trip with a boat, but the ECO ADVENTURE DAY CRUISE with STARDUST seems pretty special: taking up seven hours, it is the longest cruise available in Langkawi, and with the boat being the only one leaving from the Kilim Jetty, we will get to explore the most beautiful part of the Langkawi Archipelago!

Making the most of the unique departure location, we begin the day with one hour speed boat safari along the Killim River, watching macaque monkeys joyfully play on the riverbank, brown winged kingfishers rest on a leafy branch, and Mini Kites disappear in the dense mangroves, trying to catch a lizard they spotted among the entangled roots. Reaching the ‘Hole in the Wall’, a floating fish farm, we walk along a wooden gangplank, following our hostess, Lisa.  As she throws some bread into the basins, we see a moon fish coming to the water surface, and a coral fish proudly flaunting its green and red stripes.

Letting us hold a Horseshoe Crab, Lisa explains that it has powerful natural antibiotics in its system, which scientist hope to utilize it in a cure against cancer. The next basin reveals a huuuuge Stingray. I stretch out my hand, holding out a tiny fish, and the hut-like creature rolls up the rim to grasp the delicacy, letting me feel the sand-paper surface of its body. Before I can reflect upon the strange sensation, I hear the kids in our group shouting with joy as they watch the Archerfish shoot down mosquitoes by blasting them with jets of water. What a bizarre hunting technique! 

Leaving the fish farm behind, our speed boat takes us to Stardust and the real adventure begins. Boarding the boat built in style of a 18th century gentleman’s sailing yacht, I picture what it must have been like hundreds of years ago. Not suspecting yet how close I will get to experiencing the mysteries of times gone by…

Sipping a welcome drink and enjoying the sunshine, we admire the towering limestone formations overgrown with primordial ferns when the boat comes to an abrupt halt. Slightly surprised we follow Lisa’s instruction and board a dinghy to explore the rocky shore close-up.  

The colorful layers of limestone, adorned with ancient stalagmites and stalactites are certainly breathtaking but I wonder whether the dinghy trip is really worth it.  Is the view from Stardust not spectacular enough?!  Or so I think until we get really close to the limestone wall… What looked from far away just like a small indentation turns out to be a myth-enshrouded cave called Gua Langsir!

The sea at the entrance shimmers in serene turquoise, luring us inside, and so we set out to explore the tiny cavern. But when we reach what we believed to be the end of the cave, there is a turn, and we find ourselves drowning in darkness, listening to strange weeping sounds. Bouncing off the walls and multiplied by the cavern-echo, the scary symphony makes our skin crawl.

We turn to Lisa, looking for some kind of rational explanation. But half whispering, she shares with us instead the story of this mysterious cave.
Accordingly to the legend, the cavern is home to Langsir, a female vampire known for luring men to her lair to suck their bodies dry of blood, celebrating her evil feast with eerie shrieks.

Trying to put us at ease at the end of her narrative, Lisa smiles, adding that the noise may also come from the hundreds of bats living in the cave. But although I scan the walls and ceiling of the cave quite thoroughly, there is not a single motion of wings… 

I cannot wait for us to leave the cave, but rather than turning around, our dinghy moves forward along the rocky walls. At some point, the black water begins to shimmer as if there was light at the very end…  And suddenly we realize that the perceived cavern is in fact a passage to a hidden lagoon. The view in front of us is breathtaking!  Crystal clear water mirroring majestic limestone cliffs and green mangroves… A secret jewel! A paradise on earth! Or so we think until Lisa tells us yet another sinister story…

A crossroad of ancient maritime trade routes between China, India and Arabia, the Andaman Sea used to be for centuries the heaven of pirates feasting on boats loaded with spices, silk and jewels. Escaping with their prey through the labyrinth of Langkawi Archipelago’s tiny islands, and disappearing through the passage of the feared Gua Langsir, the secret lagoon became their hiding spot. A few seafarers allegedly managed to follow the pirates all the way into the hidden lagoon but nobody ever saw them again…

I’m trying to convince myself that the spooky legends are just that – fairytales! And yet – when we are safely back on our boat, I exhale with relief. Until I notice these black heavy clouds, hear thunder, feel the violent wind against my skin. Appearing seemingly from nowhere, about to catch up with our ship… The crew is frantic, getting the boat ready for a heavy storm while the captain attempts to speed up. Hoping to escape… The clouds? The spirits of the dead pirates? The Langsir vampire? I wonder…

Ten minutes later the spook is over. It’s hard to believe but the rain never came. The sky above us clears, the sun is shining, and the emerald green water of the Andaman Sea is calm. As if we broke the spell by leaving the jinxed territory…

Still a little shaken, we remain for a while watchful. But as we listen to a soft music, and indulge in the delicacies served for lunch, we finally let the guards down, and embrace the sunny afternoon ahead of us.

Anchoring in a remote place, the dinghy brings us to the Sand Spit Beach, a narrow stretch of golden sand connecting two islands in a sleepy little bay. Shielded by picturesque limestone cliffs, with no soul in sight, I cannot imagine a more tranquil and beautiful place.

The kids are joyfully swinging on a rope hanging from a rainforest tree, ladies are sunbathing on the idyllic beach, a few people enjoy a swim while I sit on a primordial rock, letting my feet dangle in water.

I watch a school of tiny silver fish circling around, and notice a few prawns peeking out of their hideaway behind a boulder before I take out my notebook and a fountain pen, and begin to look for words to capture this truly unforgettable day with STARDUST CRUISES.  


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