This November, Langkawi’s Telaga Harbour Park celebrates its third anniversary. LEONG SIOK HUI dropped by to see how the Mediterranean-style harbour town has progressed.
Three years ago, on my first stroll around Telaga Harbour Park, Langkawi, I found the place deathly quiet. The floating docks were half completed, Perdana Quay was still under construction, and the Customs House and Petronas Complex were empty and reeked of fresh paint. The Park was due to open two months later.
Then, project consultant Datuk Azhar Mansor envisaged a bustling Mediterranean-style harbour town with yachts and people, à la the French Riviera’s St Tropez.
He pictured visitors and townsfolk strolling along the boardwalk, sipping coffee at alfresco cafés and marvelling at the plush mega yachts and elegant sailboats docked at the marina.
Spread over reclaimed land on the west of Pulau Langkawi, the 32ha township sits on Pantai Kok’s pretty cove framed by rugged limestone and Gunung Mat Chinchang. Its location makes it a strategic pit stop for yachts plying the busy Straits of Malacca en route to Thailand, India or Singapore.
Now Telaga is gradually coming into its own.
On my visit last week, at least 80 yachts from keelboats, catamarans to luxury yachts were docked at the marina. Forty-nine yachts, of the 69 taking part in the SailAsia Darwin-Bali-Langkawi Rally 2005, had just cruised into the marina a few days earlier. (Langkawi is the last leg of the 2,000 nautical mile journey that started from Darwin, Australia on July 23)
The marina is equipped with WiFi connection, electricity and water supply, shower and laundry service. The Petronas Complex has a fuel and bunkering service for yachts, and houses a mini Petrosains, a two-storey KFC restaurant, bank, café and a Petronas service station with a convenience store.
The Custom and Immigration Office is operating fully and the Langkawi International Yacht Registrar’s office has also been set up.
|Getting there |
Telaga Harbour is about 12km north of Pantai Cenang. Follow signs to the Langkawi Cable Car or Mutiara Bay/Berjaya Resort.
If coming from Cenang or the airport, the harbour is on the left.
Across the marina, Perdana Quay has a line-up of some chic restaurants offering Italian, Cuban and Brazilian fare, Spanish tapas and Chinese seafood, and retail shops, office lots and an Internet centre. Though last year Telaga faced the wrath of the tsunami – a few yachts sank and the pontoons were damaged, the marina is as good as new now.
“I think whatever vision we had, it has come true and this harbour township seems to be widely accepted by yachties,” said Azhar, 47, now the principal of Telaga Harbour’s marina and oversees the management and operations.
But during the day, aside from boat owners and staff, the marina waterfront only sees a sprinkling of tourists.
A hotel and residences for Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) officials are under construction. Azhar hopes to see more private developers build the place up.