I first visited the Langkawi LASSie animal shelter and Island Animal Clinic in 2006, and returned there to volunteer and play with the animals with my ex-partner in 2010.
I love how beautifully-kept and well-managed the resort and animal shelter are and made it a significant goal on my Mighty Life List to return one day as a resort guest and volunteer. By a stroke of serendipitous good fortune, I saw a Facebook announcement for a contest for which the prize was a 3-day 2-night stay at BonTon Resort, which operates, manages and shares its premises with Langkawi LASSie.
I participated in the creative writing story to raise awareness for homeless animals and this was my entry, which was selected as one of the finalists.
I won the contest and the results were announced several months later. It was several months before I could go to ChinaHouse Penang to collect my original voucher and certificate when the copy they posted to me went missing in the mail. I suppose it is still going halfway around the world on the back of a mule now.
The important thing was that Aravind and I managed to make arrangements and book ourselves a nice and meaningful little holiday in the middle of February.
We flew AirAsia to Langkawi and rented a car at the airport. So many memories came back to me then. The ex and I had done the same things and visited the same places when we had our vacation in Langkawi. I am glad we were staying in Bon Ton Resort this time, though. If there is anyone who deserves a fancy and relaxing holiday, it would be Aravind. He had been working very hard and really deserved the break. The main attraction for me would be my animal friends at the shelter and clinic. I flew with a backpack full of dog and cat treats, toys and grooming brushes for them.
We arrived at Bon Ton and waited to be checked in. The swimming pool in our tropical paradise shimmered invitingly in the afternoon sun.
We were checked into a charming little chalet, Yellow Orchid, whose resident cat is Skippy, the protagonist of my poem and the contest. Skippy was found with a broken paw by the shelter's founder, Narelle, many years ago. Although the broken paw never healed perfectly, Skippy did not let this hold her back or stop her from living a wonderful free-range existence on the resort grounds. She let herself into our chalet and demanded to be lifted up to the sink so she could drink from the tap. Most cats prefer running to static water. I guess it reminds them of flowing streams in nature.
I love this cosy reading nook in our room, which also serves as a cat cuddling nook.
Skippy sat on the pathway to Blue House when we left the chalet for a pre-dinner walk.
I handed out treats and toys to two of the LASSie dogs, Mocha and Shane. Apparently Mocha loves her new tug toy so much that she brought it along with her on her walk. It's nice to know your gift is appreciated!
Aravind did the "trololol cat" to Fat Ginger, who also has a deformed/broken paw. Fat Ginger looked suitably bewildered.
We walked around the grounds of Bon Ton Resort and its sister resort, Temple Tree, handing out treats and toys to the cats and dogs who are fortunate enough to call the Resorts their home. Aravind especially enjoyed giving the Templetree LASSie cats some TLC.
Here I am, cuddling one of the restaurant cats. I think this one is Nalla, the Mighty Chaser of Monitor Lizards.
We had a lovely dinner at the resort restaurant, Nam Restaurant, in the company of cats. We were happy to spend money at the restaurant and shop as most of the profits would fund the shelter and animal clinic for the local community. Two of the cats, Tortie and Skippy, joined us for a movie in our room after dinner. Tortie and Skippy spent the night with us, so it was only fair that they got to share our breakfast. We didn't give them too much milk, though, because it's not the proper food for adult cats. Just a saucerful each. The caretaker would slay us if he knew we've been giving our milk to the cats.
I didn't have much on my itinerary for this trip, as my objective was to volunteer at the shelter and spend time with the animals. However, we did end up taking the cable car up the mountain on our second day. I didn't get to do this the last time I came here because the cable cars were under maintenance then.
Aravind was a lot more relaxed about the cable car ride than I was. I felt a bit anxious knowing that I had no control over the cable car's speed, altitude or safety. Here we are at the cable car lookout point, 700 metres above sea level.
The skybridge was closed for repairs, though.
The cable car ride package we purchased included a Duck Boat/Bus amphibious vehicle ride. We went for the experience, but I probably wouldn't want to do it again. The amphibious vehicle was slow and smelled strongly of diesel fumes.
This is what the Duck Boat/Bus looked like moving through the water.
Fishing boats against the backdrop of the mountains.
Later that evening, we met up with my friend Lynette who now works and resides in Langkawi. She continues to help out at the shelter and clinic every day. Here is Lynette with the clinic/vet assistants, Ilya and Yang, at the LASSie Clinic. Keep up the good work, my friends!
The very appropriately named Big Friend, one of the Clinic Cats. He loves the treats I brought him.
Lynette came over to join us for drinks and pre-dinner snacks at TempleTree.
Lynette: "So, what will it be?"
Me: "Oh, I don't know. Probably Corona Beer and a side of cat cuddles."
JJ the TempleTree dog wouldn't stop barking and annoying the other guests, so we had to take him out for a walk, beer in hand. Look at us, walking dogs while drinking beer. Stay classy, guys!
Beer, ice cream and the company of good friends, two-legged and four-legged. It doesn't get any better than this.
I helped to clean and disinfect cages at the LASSie Clinic the following morning.
Aravind and I also helped to walk and exercise the LASSie Shelter dogs.
I handed out treats after the dogs have had their walks and baths. Here are two of the LASSie Clinic pups enjoying their treats. One went home with her new adopter a few minutes later.
Treats for Nako, who is such a lovely and cooperative little woofie.
Treats and toys for the LASSie shelter cats.
Goodbye, Skippy, and thank you for letting us stay in your home. We love you and will never forget you. I will come back to visit you as soon as I can.
No visit to Pantai Chenang, Langkawi, would be complete without visiting this beautiful resort and the furry residents of LASSie. Do stop by for a bite at Nam Restaurant and buy yourself some sophisticated souvenirs from the Bon Ton shop, as the proceeds go towards a very worthy cause. For more information, please click on the following links:
Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary Foundation (LASSie): http://www.langkawilassie.org.my
BonTon Resort: http://www.bontonresort.com.my
Temple Tree Resort: http://www.templetree.com.my