Elizabeth the Island Enthusiast

a celebration of unconventional adventures

Tag: Exploring

Langkawi Adventures: Attacked at ‘Bunny Zone’

Sometimes, you meet an awesome new friend on an airplane.

I was fortunate enough to meet such a friend on my flight to Langkawi Island, Malaysia: Alberto from Barcelona, who served as an excellent adventure partner for exploring the island and all its wonders (apologies again, Alberto, for the child kicking your seat the entire trip…).

The night before embarking on our first island expedition, some British girls from Alberto’s hostel enlightened us over dinner about an apparent crocodile sighting earlier that day near the Seven Wells waterfalls, exclaiming “its tail was larger than this table, we swear!!

After viewing their photo of said “crocodile,” I can safely conclude it was, in fact, likely a moderately-sized Malaysian monitor lizard.

I’d just been to Australia Zoo and seen Bindi Irwin’s crocodile show less than two weeks before, so I felt fairly skeptical of this story from the start. But, considering this poor girl had rushed herself to a medical clinic earlier that day to get antibiotics for a potentially fatal mosquito bite, I didn’t bother informing her otherwise.

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I’ve always been trepidatious about traveling via motorbike, but Alberto seemed seasoned enough as a driver, and I will rarely say no to any offer to thoroughly explore an island. So, I hopped on board, trusting Alberto with my life and sincerely hoping I wouldn’t fall off.

Ultimately, I decided after surviving the third torrential flash rainstorm within thirty minutes, that things would turn out just fine – even despite the hordes of ferocious monkeys and “baby crocodiles” spotted both alive and flattened along the side of the road.

When this monkey yawned, it had enormous fangs...

When this monkey yawned, it had enormous fangs…

One violent mini-rainstorm forced us to take cover under a shed adjacent to what appeared to be an exotic, secluded island community, not even initially realizing this was actually Oriental Village, boasting a variety of famed Langkawi Island tourist attractions such as SkyCab, SkyRex and Imaginarium, a “visual treat from start to finish” as touted by the Panorama Langkawi website.

Not exactly knowing what existed beyond the parking lot, thank heavens Alberto and I decided to wander inside once the rain stopped – as soon as we crossed over the ‘bridge of prosperity’ through what I’m guessing was the ‘river of whimsy,’ we found ourselves in some sort of kitschy amusement park, teeming with ads inviting us to “take a ride inside your mind and travel to the ends of your imagination” with “virtual and augmented reality”!

Oh my.

LangkawiIslandOrientalVillageBridgeOfProsperityLangkawiIslandOrientalVillage

SkyCab, Langkawi’s own mountain gondola, loudly hummed in the background, adding an oddly disorienting ski resort-esque element to the already overstimulating environment as it ascended up the side of the peak into a looming cloud of mist.

If it hadn’t been for the copious flash monsoons that day, taking the SkyCab ride might have been a fun idea, as I’m sure the views from the top are incredible. But, no way were we going to pay 45 RM per person for scenic glimpses of a dark raincloud. Plus, after surveying the ticketing options at the “kiosk of happiness” (as I think it was aptly called), we learned there was no option to buy a ride for the SkyCab alone – no, the least expensive option also included a semi-mandatory stop at the SkyRex simulator, where guests were strongly encouraged to “Experience The Tense And Excitement Of The Real Life Adventure”.

This just did not seem necessary. No, not in the slightest.

OrientalVillageVirtualRealityNotQuiteSkyRex

We wandered around a bit more, debating whether or not to move onto the next point of interest, before noticing an intriguing sign: “BUNNY ZONE”

It was just what the sign described – a sizable fenced-off zone teeming with bunnies, tentatively interacting with visitors chasing them down for a selfie.

Just before walking off laughing, in particular from the creepily illustrated bunny-handling instructions, we noticed a very important phrase: free entrance.

Well then in that case, we obviously had to check this out!

LangkawiBunnyZoneOrientalVillageBunnyZoneBunnyZoneBunnyHandlingInstructions

In short, wandering Bunny Zone felt like entering a bizarre Easter extravaganza, complete with ample lovely pastel-colored flowers everywhere (albeit according to Alberto, the Easter Bunny thing isn’t at all prevalent in Spain, or probably elsewhere but the United States).

Some bunnies were enormous; large enough I’d refer to them as ‘rabbits’ rather than ‘bunnies’. The littlest baby bunnies remained in happily their cages next to their overflowing bowls of kibble. One bunny lay seemingly lifeless in the sun off to the side, flopped over in a disconcerting state of unconsciousness (rest assured – we made sure it was in fact breathing).

I couldn’t help but notice the majority of the bunnies appeared related to one another.

BunnyZoneSkyCabInsideBunnyZoneAlbertoAndBunnyMoreBunnyZoneChilledOutBunniesHelloLangkawiBunnies

The bunnies would approach, tentatively, if you knelt down with a hand extended, perhaps sniffing for food, before hopping off to gnaw on a flower stalk, or to sniff other hands. They seemed to take a liking to Alberto much more than me.

This especially proved to be the case when I extended my hand toward what we determined was the cutest, most cuddly bunny in the whole park: a fuzzy white albino snuggled up under a blossoming tree, which didn’t hesitate advancing – but rather than giving me a quick nuzzle as expected, however, the creature BIT my middle finger before prancing off.

OW! What the… What the hell!?? What do I do!? Should I get antibiotics? Do I go get a rabies shot? Does that thing have rabies? How can you tell?? Think I can just get by with a good douse of neosporin? What the damn hell…!?

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Langkawi is home to deadly crocodiles, monkeys with fangs, mighty eagles, bats, cockroaches, and a host of other welt-inducing creepy-crawlies, but what attacked me?

A darling little bunny.
Figures.

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**For the record, my middle finger survived the bunny bite and is doing quite well – I appreciate all the kind words and concerns.

Sick Day? Nahhhhhhhh

Getting sick happens to the best of us… Unfortunately, it seems to happen to me far too often, especially while traveling internationally. No matter how many vitamins, special immunity serums or zinc tablets I take, some foreign bug always makes its way into my system.

This time around, thankfully, all that’s plaguing me is some strange sinus infection/head cold hybrid, accompanied by these bizarre fever dreams while trying to sleep the past several days, in which I believed someone was trying to nudge me awake all night long. Kinda freaky.

Having a bad case of sniffles in the tropics also feels oddly inappropriate. How on earth did I catch a cold here?

The smallest tub of ice cream I could find... But damn was it exactly what I needed

The smallest tub of ice cream I could find… But damn was it exactly what I needed

Despite being bedridden for the past three days, I will take this any day over last year’s nasty several-week-long bout of e coli, caught from some bad tap water down on the Coral Coast. I’ll save that story for another time…

As long as I don’t end up in an island hospital again, that’s all I care about. Trust me – no one ever wants to end up in an island hospital.

The island hospital I wound up in last year... When I drove by it last week, it actually appears to be shut down now, perhaps from Cyclone Winston damage

The island hospital I wound up in last year… When I drove by it last week, it actually appears to be shut down now, perhaps from Cyclone Winston damage

I forced myself to venture out of the house earlier today for the first time all week, just to buy Kleenex, Powerade and ice cream. Getting to wander around for a bit was nice, but almost having a fainting spell in the center of downtown Lautoka quickly reminded me I’m far from invincible.

I probably should continue to take it easy for the next day or so, as sad as that makes me… I desperately just want to feel good again so I can go out and explore!

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So, even though I’m still technically ‘sick’ and very much out of commission, I did my best to make today a relatively productive travel-planning day, and finally got my flights booked from Suva to Taveuni Island later in August.

I don’t even know much about Taveuni Island yet, other than that it’s Fiji’s third-largest island, home to scenic waterfalls and enticingly known as the “Garden Island of Fiji,” probably due to the island’s lush abundant tropical rainforests. Doesn’t sound like a bad place to spend a week.

After that, I’ll be heading over to Fiji’s second-largest island Vanua Levu for a while, where I’ll likely be volunteering for the remainder of my time in Fiji. Plans are still in the works, but I can already tell it’ll be an extraordinary adventure…

Just gotta get heal up first! UFF DA.

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