Alabaster beaches, a dense tangle of million-year-old rainforests, the cacophony of the cicadas… this could be a place I could get addicted to. Once a refuge for the pirates in the Andaman Sea, Langkawi, part of an archipelago of 99 islands, is today a classic get-away-from-it-all island paradise.
It was former Prime Minister Mahathir who, in 1986, made Langkawi a duty-free, investment-friendly haven, and gave a fillip to its growth as a resort town.
It's a region of exceptionally pristine bio-diversity — there are over 400 types of butterflies, 200 species of birds and around 100 species of bats.
Our hotel room is a villa built into the forest floor with views of the emerald Andaman Sea. A sign on our bed-side table ‘Monkey business' explains the ways of safeguarding our rooms from simian guests. They quite often let themselves into the rooms through the balcony door, and even help themselves to the minibar! Monitor lizards walk across jungle paths and small buggies ferry guests across the sprawling resort.