Considering it felt like we had ages to spend to Asia, we ended going through Thailand and Laos at quite a pace. We had always planned on spending Christmas on a beach though, and we finally found some very cheap flights to Langkawi in Malaysia. So, we knew we had to get out of Laos by a certain date which was a shame, but we did have a nice last couple of days in Vientiane.
It’s a very quiet capital city compared to others we’ve visited, but easy to wander around in with a few interesting places for a short stay. We visited the COPE centre, an NGO who work to make prosthetic limbs for the victims of bombs UXOs, and we climbed the fake arc d’triomphe thing in the city centre – another former French colonial influence. I also had my final cheap Beerlao for the foreseeable future.
On the 23rd of December, not feeling at all Christmassy yet, we spent the day in transit, flying first to KL and then on to Langkawi. I have to say, KL airport was a disappointment – I was hoping for more of a Hong Kong ultra modern experience, but we did battle through the crowds and ended up having a fast food chicken thing, still managing to avoid the Maccy D’s (haven’t had any yet on the gap yah). We finally got to Langkawi at about 9.30, and after we checked into our hotel we were pretty glad we’d splashed out over the normal budget!
We stayed at the Tropical Resort, on Pantai Tengah. Basically, the village we stayed in is a long strip of restaurants and hotels along the beach, and we were down at the quiet end. The room was amazing, the bed was actually comfy (an unusual thing in Asia so far) and there was a free breakfast included which we hadn’t realised. The beach was only about 2 minutes walk from our bungalow, and it was practically empty.
Lying on a white sand beach, swimming occasionally in the warm blue waters and not doing a lot else was a very surreal Christmas Eve experience. We did eventually wander into the town, having a cheap noodle soup for lunch, and then after watching the sunset into the sea we found a beachside restaurant and had a curry!
Christmas Day and Boxing Day passed in much the same way, beaching, swimming and sunbathing, punctuated by eating and drinking. On Christmas Day night we went and had an amazing seafood meal, and on Boxing Day had a huge Mexican feast. Throughout this we were speaking to home on skype and FaceTime, so watching them open presents and eat proper Christmas food whilst we were in the sun made for an amazing, albeit slightly weird Christmas. Not bad for our first as a married couple.