Work took me to Langkawi this past weekend, so alright, not exactly a beach holiday, but parts of it did feel like one! A group of us were at Berjaya Resort, taking part in their mangrove conservation initiative. Instead of me doing the writing, I’ll let pictures — with rather long captions — show you how my weekend went:
Berjaya Resort on Langkawi island, off Kedah state. I didn’t stay in one of these waterfront chalets, but one amidst the rainforest — equally unique and picturesque. Picture by Berjaya Hotels & Resorts.
As far as tropical resort welcome drinks go, this is best one yet. A touch of citrus with a slight fizz and not sickeningly sweet. Upon arrival, we were also wreathed with a lei of orchids.
We were taken on a tour of the grounds. The resort isn’t one single building, but is a large cluster of chalets set on the hills within the rainforest, with a select few extending out onto the waterfront. A guide showed us types of flora and fauna that could be found on the resort’s grounds. Amongst the many we saw was this “rastafarian” palm. I couldn’t find anything about it on the web, but I trust that our lovely guide knew what she was talking about.
Upclose view of a travellers palm, which is not native to the island. Because the tree is said to be popular as a home to spirits, some prankster was inspired to carve this on the tree. Cheeky.
But the main reason we were there was to learn about mangrove conservation and participate in replanting events. The human interest in the campaign, is a story of an unfortunate village that suffered when the tsunami hit in 2004. While most of the villages on the island were protected from a direct hit by mangrove swamp buffers, residents of Kampung Teriang didn’t fare so well because they lacked that buffer.
So in the name of volunteering, some of us got stuck knee-deep in swamp mud (not me.) The more you struggled, the further you sank–but all that hot and hard work was for a good cause.
Apart from us, there were students on national service duty who were there for the same mission.
At least 500 mangrove saplings were planted that day by a couple hundred volunteers. We also built that water barrier (the white poles) to give the saplings a chance to grow. Thanks to all that manpower, everything was done and done in under two hours.
After all that hard work, we were rewarded with lunch and fresh coconut water.
Even though mangrove planting WAS work, back at the resort, we were plied with so. much. food.
Every day was a culinary adventure at one of the resort’s restaurants.
Food art — some might say it’s campy but it brought me a smile so I’m not complaining.
Our schedule was quite packed but I found time to enjoy the views a bit.
Rainforest view in the afternoon…
…and beach view at sunset.
The organizers made time to throw in a Hawaiian themed gala dinner on the beach, which was a lot of fun.
A hectic weekend, but with all the fun had and new friends made, it was sad to say goodbye. Still, I’m glad I had an extra two public holidays to unwind from the trip!