We wake up at noon with the intention of making Murphy’s last day here a doozie. Down the strip we stroll looking for one of the many tourist kiosks offering ATV trips – one of the funny things about this place is that even in the short time we’ve been here we’ve gotten to feel like locals. The guys from the Syrian restaurant all nod and say “Hey guys” as we walk past, as do several other people. Langkawi has been a real unexpected gem of this trip.
As we sidle up to an adventure stand we run into one of the girls from the night we tore it up on Hold My Chains credit at The Woods. Apparently she witnessed the after drama when it looked like we ran out on our tab and asked “Are you alright?? Have you been back to The Woods??” We fill her in on how the Hold My Chains System works and assure her everything was on the up and up.
The woman slinging quad bike trips is super friendly, she says we can start the trip any time we like. We haven’t shoved food in our mouthholes yet so we ask if an hour is okay, she says sure, she’ll give us a drive out to where the bikes are. She also gives us a deal for no discernible reason, even though the trips are advertised at 250 ringgits a piece she lets us do it for 180, and we didn’t even hesitate to pay or try to haggle.
At the cafeteria spot where we’d eaten a couple times prior the guys all recognize us and welcome us in, we get loaded up with shawarma and falafel. Delicious, quick and filling and it costs something like three bucks.
We’ve still got about twenty minutes so we run back to the hostel and I throw on some dirty clothes. I’ve got every intention of getting dirty, no point dirtying the clothes I’ve got on – this shirt’s only got like a day and a half of man-grime on it, placing it firmly into the “clean” category.
It’s a twenty minute drive out to where we get the bikes. We’re invited inside a little booth like we’re renting a car or something, then we’re lead out to where our bikes are. Our guide’s a young guy who doesn’t really speak much, just points out how the bikes work. They’re fully automatic, no clutch and no shifting except for a funny little reverse toggle, and two-wheel drive.
We cross the road and head down a narrow paved trail, feels like some kind of utility access road or something. We’re only doing about 25 km/h and I’m getting antsy. After a few turns we get onto some dirt but the tour guide doesn’t seem to have much patience for tomfoolery, as I ball the jack he looks back and with a slight smile makes a hand gesture that seems to say “Tone it down there buddy”.
The bikes are kind of gutless but if I throw my weight back and forth along with the gas I can manage to get a bit of a fishtail going and spray some dirt back towards Murphy, try to get a little dust in his eyes. So far the roadsides have been mostly thick vegetation, ditches or peoples’ yards but at one point there’s a long stretch where it’s been cleared and only partially grown back in so I seize the opportunity and rip the bike off the trail, I have to slow down a bit as I’m bouncing over old rotten tree branches and remnants of stumps, I crash through a few new-growth bushes and cut the lives of some saplings short. The guide looks back and his eyes go wide. He slows down and stops and I pull back onto the trail and follow suit. The frame of my bike has foliage tangled up all through it. Our guide isn’t as pissed as I thought he’d be, he helps me tear it out and says “OK?” and I respond “Oh yeah I got this” and he gives me the thumbs up and smiles a little.
A little further ahead the trail opens up even more, cutting through the middle of a large field. There’s a pseudo-path where something like an excavator has laid tracks, knowing our guide at least grudgingly accepts me being a hoon I bomb it to the side and give the throttle all she’ll take. I stand up with my knees bent to absorb the bumps and blow past the guide, keeping her wide open until the field ends a minute later. When he catches up, dude’s got a pretty decent grin on his face. I interpret this as being handed carte blanche. Murphy tells me that when I blew past, our guide looked back at him and put his hand up in the air, giving him the “What the fuck is with this guy?” signal, to which Murphy just shrugged.
Our first “site” are some weak-sauce waterfalls.
A lady and her daughters are running a refreshment booth nearby (that they might also sleep in?). We take the opportunity to cram nourishing electrolytes into our sweaty off road bods in the form of 100 plus, our new non-alcoholic beverage of choice.
We head back to the bikes and Guide Dude points to a nearby tree with a bucket under it. It’s collecting some white syrup of some sort. The Guide grabs it and stretches it away from the tree. Whoa it’s a rubber tree! Don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a rubber tree. Pretty cool. We quickly played the tune from Deliverance on it and got back to the ATVs.
….aaaaaaaand MacKay’s quad won’t start. He’s probably been a little too taxing on the poor duffer, trying to make it cooler than it really can be. The guide takes a minute and fixes it. Maybe the chain? He switches bikes with MacKay and we’re off down the trail again.
We’re out in the middle of nowhere. Not much around but a dirt road to cruise down. Halfway to the next place and MacKay’s bike goes out again. Seems his constant attempts to fish tail is knocking the chain off. Guide Dude fixes it again and then makes him switch bikes again. Atta boy Cap’n Douchey. We take the opportunity to get some selfies.
Next on the tour is Buffalo Park. From the signs you can ride buffalo drawn carriages and drink buffalo milk and do… buffalo stuff? We have been seeing a lot of water buffalo around the island actually. They’re usually accompanied by little white birds that just ride on their backs, it’s pretty cute. Alright, I guess it’s time to go see what buffalo are all about!
Here are 2 examples of how to be a total jackass in front of a sign:
While we head into Buffalo Wonderland, Guide Dude takes MacKay’s busted ATV back to home base and says he’ll return with another. We have to pay about a buck each to get into the place. Totally worth it since it comes with a steaming hot glass of buffalo milk right at the gate. Nothing like a shot of hot buffalo milk on an already sweltering hot day. The girl that gave this to us had a mischievous giggle when we drank it that made me second guess if it was actually the buffalo’s milk we were drinking.
We walk into Buffalo Wonderland and it’s basically just a stable full of ear-tagged water buffalo. They seemed pretty excited that we were there, I don’t think they get many visitors really. They were eager to make our acquaintance.
Well those guys are super cute. We go through the back and out into a little field. Hmmmmmm not much else to look at really. We spot another little shed and go over to check it out. Awwwww it’s filled with goats. What is it about goats? They’re so fricking funny and adorable.
They were also really pumped to hang out with us. One lil guy kept trying to squeeze his head between the fence to get closer. He finally succeeded only to get his head and horns through and pretty much trap himself. “Oh shit! Whatcha gonna do now buddy?”, offers MacKay with an ear scratch. To both of our amazement he simply twisted his head and went backwards through the fence at an impossible angle. “Smarter than ya look, eh fella?”.
Seriously though, look at that squeeze. Can’t even see his horns here. Made no sense.
This guy… we like this guy.
Aaaaaand that’s about it? The carriage from the pictures out front is here but it’s all grown over with grass and clearly never used. Guess we’ll just go back out front and wait for Guide Dude. We order up some buffalo ice cream while we wait. Now that’s how you beat the heat. We get one for Guide Dude too. It’s good. Tastes exactly like ice cream.
We leave Water Buffalo Wonderland and head back down the road to a paved section again. Seems we’re making a loop back to where we started again. We come to an aqueduct and Guide Dude asks if we want pictures of us splashing through the water as we cross. He takes my phone and goes to the other side and gets in position standing up on his ATV.
He gives the signal and MacKay and I come bombing through the water, both of us riding high and monkey hopping down on the beast to make water splash out both sides. We get to the other side laughing and a little more refreshed. We review the results. I thought there’d be a video, ah well, and there are zero pics of MacKay. Well whatever, it was fun.
We bomb it down some side roads away from the aqueduct and under some tree coverage. We emerge next to a rice paddy and Guide Dude stops and leads us out onto it. The rice has already been harvested but he describes the process to us. We’d already heard all about it from Paul back in Nha Trang so we’re more interested in a large monitor lizard that’s waddling through the muck off in the distance.
Off the paddy and we bust on back to the roads. It’s just a zig and a zag back to the shop from here. Action Shot!
We drop off the ATVs and nab a ride back to Soluna with a couple of guys that seem to just be hanging out there at the shop. They’ve got some semi-pimped little honda civic that we hop in the back of. On the way back we slow down for another accident. Damn, it’s basically the same thing we saw the other day. Some kid on a bike got nailed by a car going the opposite direction. The bike is totaled, car has it’s front windshield smashed and a dent in the hood. There are a bunch of concerned people milling about and another body under a sheet by the road. This must be a real problem here. We’ve seen two dead teenagers in about as many days. I shudder thinking back to MacKay and I dicking around on our scooters, making sketchy passes and shit. Puts things into perspective.
We get back to Soluna and decide to just chill with our leftover drinks. Go to the fridge in the lounge area and it looks like someone drank our beers already. Leo maybe? Hope he enjoyed them. Guess we’ll just have to polish off the Makers and coke then.
The countdown is on. I’ve only got an hour and a half before my taxi shows up for the airport