Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Living it up in Langkawi LASSie

When I was offered tickets to one of three domestic destinations as part of the prizes for the Blog4FT contest, I chose Langkawi Island for a very specific reason. My buddy Mun Yee and I enjoyed our visit and short stint as volunteers at LASSie (The Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary) so much in 2006 that I felt I had to return to the resort and animal shelter with That Special Someone.

And so, with the help of my buddy Nicole, I managed to get a room at an inexpensive chalet in Pantai Chenang, Langkawi, a mere hop and skip away from BonTon Resort. That Special Someone was as excited about the animal shelter visit as I was, especially since we received a helpful and courteous email response from the administrators/managers of the shelter, welcoming our services as volunteers. We arrived at BonTon Resort, just across the road from Laman Padi (the Rice Museum outside of which we saw tourists in straw hats trying their hands at harvesting paddy -- a sight which had That Special Someone and me howling with laughter, as we both have grandparents whose homes bordered on paddy fields which formed part of our childhood playgrounds) at midmorning on 20th July.

The BonTon – LASSie Island Animal Clinic faces the main road, while the resort proper is located behind the Clinic and shelter, away from the traffic and heat.

On the porch of the Clinic, a friendly dog watches his feline friend lap from his water bowl.

Dr. Tim is a fulltime veterinarian with LASSie. What That Special Someone and I also liked was that everyone at the Resort pitched in to help with the care of the animals. When we arrived, the Duty Manager Lopez was busy preparing medicine for a litter of stray kittens that was surrendered by someone from a nearby village.

Cats, some of them recuperating from road-accident related injuries, convalesce in a tidy row of cages in the Clinic.

Over 20 years ago, BonTon Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur started rescuing and providing care and shelter for street dogs. Seven of these dogs travelled to Langkawi Island with Narelle, the proprietor of BonTon KL, when she went to Langkawi to open a branch of the restaurant.

When Narelle learned that there were no veterinary clinics on Langkawi Island, she set one up to help the Island’s animals. For years, the Clinic operated on public donations and private funds on a charitable basis, sterilising the Island’s cats and dogs and returning them to their original communities.

BonTon later set up a shelter for the Island’s needy cats, dogs and even monkeys. As at the day of our visit, there were over 200 cats and over 50 dogs at the shelter, and another 50 – 60 dogs at their new dog shelter in Kedawang.

Narelle inspired us to step up our own animal rescue and rehabilitation efforts with her conviction that all living beings are worthy of help, love, care and dignity.

Buffy was surrendered by her caregivers after she became paralysed following a road accident. She now enjoys daily walks around the beautiful resort with staff and guests. Her wheelchair is donated from London and she wears regular diapers with a hole ripped in it for her tail. Doesn’t she look happy? I love you, Buffy, yes I do!

The cats recuperating in the Cat Shelter were happy to have visitors and were not camera-shy at all.

The catteries were clean, well-ventilated and inviting not just to cats but to visitors and volunteers as well. Tree branches, wooden crates and shelves provide spaces for the cats to sleep, hide, play, scratch, climb and groom in .

Nam Restaurant in BonTon is one of the most highly-rated in Langkawi. The restaurant and resorts – BonTon and TempleTree – finance the Clinic, shelters and all animal work at LASSie.

BonTon’s own Herb and Spice Garden adds to the resort’s charm as well as supplies herbs to the kitchen.

That Special Someone and I had a lovely meal of tapas and frappe at Nam Restaurant, as we knew our money would go to a good cause. The service was impeccable and the restaurant staff was very obliging. Although tapas would usually only be served with cocktail or wine in the evening, the staff took into account our dietary requirements as vegetarians and teetotallers and whipped up vegetarian pizzas and samosas for us at noon anyway.

Wouldn’t you love to go back to nature by spending your holiday in a traditional Malay house like this one in BonTon?

A little piece of Heaven in Pantai Chenang, Langkawi is afforded by BonTon Resort. That Special Someone and I both averred that the animals are lucky indeed to live in such a beautiful place. The neutered cats roam everywhere, while the dogs are kept mainly on long leashes within monitoring distance.

Rambunctious puppies awaiting adoption / resettlement at Bon Ton enjoy the company of guests.

Are you feline the love yet? Although neutered, these two lovers have decided that they are the purr-fect match for each other.

To ensure adequate funding for LASSie’s animal care work, Temple Tree Resort was opened as a ‘sister resort’ of BonTon in December 2008.

A night at one of these beautiful villas in Temple Tree Resort may set you back several hundred ringgit, but all of it goes towards operating and maintaining LASSie.

That Special Someone and I left BonTon Resort in the late afternoon after socialising with most of the animals and taking the dogs out for walks, gratified that we were given the opportunity to be part of a project so special and so worthy.

If you ever are in Langkawi for a holiday, please do drop by Bon Ton for a meal, and to say “Hello” to the animals. The animals would love to meet you, and your purchases (at the Restaurant, or at the gallery, where you could purchase copies of “The Story of LASSie”, a mini coffee table book, for a mere RM10 each) would benefit the animals and the Clinic immensely.

No visit to Pantai Chenang, Langkawi, would be complete without a tête-à-tête with the furry residents of LASSie. For more information, please visit:

Langkawi Lassie:

BonTon Resort:

Temple Tree Resort:

By Phone:+6 04 955 3643


Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
I am so happy to see you enjoying yourself in Langkawi especially after the demise of your close buddy under very unusual circumstances.
BonTon is really nice and the Malay house by the field is really inviting.

Ellen Whyte said...

It looks amazing, Ee Lynn. Hope you returned all refreshed.

Emily said...

Dear E!
I am happy you are happy happy!

ps: wonderful post!

Pak Idrus said...

Ee Lynn, Bon Ton is what a holiday resort should be. So simple and yet so elegant. I visited it once and fell in love with the concept. A great way to blend with nature. And of course enjoy the holiday.

You look great. Take care.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Woohoo! That sure looks like my kind of holiday too. Mama has a similar dream to what LASSie is all about. And she said she'll name it after me...the stray she picked up from the streets...
Hey, no pix of TSS? roar! roar! roar!


mNadeshiko said...

Thats so cool!!!!! nice post! haha i actually felt like i was there..(kuat berangan XD) glad you're happy!

Pat said...

I so enjoyed this post, and seeing you so happy with the lovely animals and TSS (though he wasn't in any of the pix!)

I've never been to Langkawi, and when I do visit, I'll make sure to give this place a visit. Both Chuan and I would love playing with the animals!

Such an ingenious project! I wish it a long, long life!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Pat and Kitties-In-Sydney,
It's not the right time yet to post photos of That Special Someone, but very soon once everything has been sorted out you will be able to see his handsome face here! Thank you for your love and support!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Abang Zawi,
Thank you for your kind comment. Reve's death is still a mystery and I am still sad, but I know she would have wanted us to be happy and to continue helping animals.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Emily and Ellen, Au and Target,
Bon Ton really is a paradise both for people and animals! We had such a great time there and are now making plans to return for a post-wedding honeymoon!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Ili,
If you ever are in Langkawi with friends or family, do drop by Bon Ton in Pantai Chenang! It's just by the main road and the animals would love the attention!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Pak Idrus,
I agree, Bon Ton and Temple Tree are such simple yet elegant resorts! No wonder Bon Ton was rated one of the top 101 resorts in the world!

louis said...

Hello CO'78,
As I read your description of the Bon Ton Resort and looked at the pictures of the Malay style buildings on it, I thought that must be just what Pak idrus had in mind for Cherating when he wrote his recent post on it. Then when I got to the comments, there he was saying as much!

Oh well, I'll say it too.

I must confess to having been one of those tourists at the rice museum who would have amused you had you been a spectator there many years earlier. I wasn't planting paddy though, my job was milling the rice on a primitive hand-powered (or foot-powered) mill, so I escaped the straw hat.

Angie said...

Ooh, I did dine and Bon Ton but I didn't realise that the buildings in front of it was an animal shelter as we went at night. Loved the friendly cats who roamed at the restaurant. Glad to know that our dinner there contributed to LAssie.
Glad to see you are so happy with TSS! ;)

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Louis,
Thank you very much for your feedback. I too would imagine that if Pak Idrus were to set up an eco-resort in Cherating, it would look a hang of a lot like Bon Ton. It's so airy and cool in those wooden Malay houses.. who needs air-conditioning when you have Mother Nature?

I suppose watching Caucasian tourists pay money to try their hand at harvesting paddy is no more laughable than watching us Asians go crazy over snow and stopping by the highways to pluck crab apples and wild berries in North America.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Angie,
Good on you for contributing to LASSie! I must say the food was good though. I'd go back there for the strawberry frappe. I'll bet you enjoyed having the cats roam all over the dining area while you were eating. Remember how we used to play with Mahsuri and make her sit in the hammock in Nature Owlet? Ha ha ha!

Unknown said...

Glad you had such a wonderful time. The animals sure miss you after the company you kept with them. Hey,TSS sure looks cool when we saw him at the AGM. He must have been proud of you in your new capacity as Vice Chairman of the MNS Sel. Branch. Congrates!See you soon.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Keats,
Thank you so much for your support and kind words! We had a great time in Bon Ton and rather miss the animals now.

Am so glad your first impression of my Special Someone is such a positive one. He told me before the AGM that he is proud of me for being who I am, no matter what position I am holding, and that means more to me than anything.

Your encouragement means a lot to me, Keats. I happened to mention to my parents in passing today that I am now the Vice Chair of MNS Selangor. Their response?
"Don't take it up, you won't be able to do it."
"You will fail."
"You had better tender your resignation."
"Just tell them you can't do it".

Wow. I wonder if it would kill them just to say: "Okay, do your best."

And they wonder why I never tell them anything.

Still, at least I know I will never run out of negative vibes as long as my parents are still around. Not that negativity was ever in short supply.