Koh Libong (9th to 12th March)

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Dec 29, 2008

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

After leaving Had Yao we headed off by boat to Koh Libong where we spent a few days in a bungalow right on the beach at the Libong Beach Resort.  The beach once again was fabulous  (sandy and empty) and the sea was extremely clear.  The restaurant also served really good food and the time spent on Libong felt like a 'holiday.  

One day we decided to walk across the island to find the largest village - and the pier that the local water taxis use.   On the way we walked through many rubber tree plantations  (this is the main source of income for residents of Libong and indeed, most of Trang province).  We tried to walk past the local rubber processing "factory" ( a corrugated iron roof on some wooden poles!) where they were processing the sap from the trees into latex.  The workers seemed delighted to see us and insisted that we take a closer look -  the gooey white sap was somehow made into big think squares and then put through a mangle to squash it into thinner sheets and then put out to dry, by which time it looked quite leathery (who knows where it will end up).    The walk was a long and very hot one (15 kms in 34deg C).  We never did find the village, having taken a wrong turn, but we did see some fabulous countryside scenery.   Hey ho. 

The weather here was consistently hot and sunny- in the 30's, but not too humid.  It was a shame to leave (and an effort to get the energy together after relaxing so thoroughly), but we did so by local boat back to Had Yao and then caught the Tigerline Ferry to Langkawi.  This was a rusty looking boat with no aircon and I think I lost at least 10lbs not so gently perspiring in the first hour on the boat before we picked up some speed and a breeze along with it.  The cost of the ferry was about the same as the budget airline Air Asia, but offered the easiest route for us.    

Initially, we had intended to come to Libong to stay at the Libong Nature Beach Resort  -  like the sister resort at Had Yao, this is also supposed to be a nature resort, protecting the environment and supporting the local community, but this was even less eco friendly than its sister resort in Had Yao.   Not only were the roofs asbestos, the concrete was even more in evidence (not only as walls, but as square patches in the lawn for sun bathing on), there were also rusty iron grids on the lawn and lots of plastic furniture. Advertised in the centre of the resort were new chalets for foreigners to lease for long periods (upto 50years) and these were being built all around the resort in the area that had previously been rain forest, but which was been cleared by heavy plant machinery.      The machinery was also using the beach to load the felled trees on to a huge rusty iron barge which were being  transported and sold on the mainland.  Not only was the machinery noisy, it meant that that the beach was totally un-useable as the tractors/diggers were assuming right of way over the small stretch of sand.  The chain-saw started at 5.30am,a long with the caterpillar diggers.       Ecologically sound principals were listed in a long document left in the room for guests to read, (which the Libong Nature Beach Resort also used on their website), but we did not see any of these green practices being adopted on-site.   The website claims they use organic vegetables grown on their own farm, but when we asked about it, it turns out the farm is many, many miles away on the mainland.    When another guest expressed interest in the farm, he was told "there is some morning glory growing, which might be ready in 2 weeks!"   
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