Finally, after flying 8,000kms in nine hours, 10,000 metres above the earth, at speeds around 900 kph, with outside temperatures -50 degrees centigrade, and about half the journey being over Australia, the big metal container with wings, with over 500 passengers and crew, glided to a halt at the massive new Bangkok airport.

After several days re-acquainting myself with the frantic Bangkok metropolis, I flew on to the Sunset Beach Resort in Langkawi, Malaysia. The resort fronts a long clean beach in a bay containing several islands, where breakfast is served each morning, while planning the day's activities.

Malaysians are as friendly and cheerful as the Thais, the food as enjoyable, and the sightseeing as interesting and picturesque.

A Malay muslim I've had the good fortune to meet, helped me organise tours to the main attractions, which included:

  1. A ride in a cable car up a 700 metre high hill for spectacular views of the surrounding forests, bays and islands.
  2. A boat ride to a bat colony in a limestone cave.
  3. Seeing a dozen wild eagles swooping down to feed on meat thrown overboard by the crewman.
  4. Feeling a stingray's mouth under its belly, when it came to the surface to be hand fed by me.
  5. Watching fish "spitting" into the air to knock food off a post or my finger, into the water, to eat. (That's how they snare insects).
  6. Admiring a huge magnificent monument of an eagle with wings spread wide, about to land or take off.
  7. Eating superb Malay food in open air local restaurants where tourists don't generally go. (None of the staff spoke foreign languages).
  8. A cruise to a coral island, where I snorkelled among fish which went into a frenzy when I broke toasted bread in the water around me, which also involved me being nipped by a few of them.
  9. Swimming near a white tip pointer shark, an evil looking barracuda, and several large groupers.
  10. Having a 3 metre python draped around my shoulders while I held its head to kiss (much to the amusement of Malay onlookers)

The women seen in public are often dressed in colourful pastel shades of dress, rarely the sombre black.

After reading and seeing TV news editorials about muslims creating trouble in the world, it's a stunning experience to see and meet everyday cheerful muslims who go out of their way to happily chat and help a tourist.

Thai buddhists and Malay muslims, they're all delightful people who are a pleasure to meet.

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Last updated 8 November 2007.