Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Reef and Rainforest Expedition, The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia

Prepare for a brand new experience: champion the environment during daylight hours and indulge in luxury in the evenings! Words and images by Polly Szantor.

The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Twice a day, I found something new in my room, fruit, chocolates or savories, displayed with great artistry.



The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
We picked up all of this coral!
Hidden away on the north coast of Langkawi, far from the hustle and bustle of Pantai Cenang, there’s a secret that needs to be shared. With stunning views of Datai Bay, ranked the 9th best beach in the world by National Geographic, The Andaman Luxury Resort provides the perfect escape.  Langkawi means “the land of one’s wishes” and who could wish for a more magnificent hideaway?  Close to shore, there’s an 8,000-year-old coral reef, while the backdrop is created by a rainforest that’s 10 million years old.  This has to be one of the most beautiful locations on the planet.  Here you can spend your days in 5-star comfort, luxuriating at the V Botanical Spa, dining at one of the superb restaurants or enjoying the ambience of the newly renovated pool access or garden terrace rooms.

But imagine staying at this breath-taking resort, while helping to preserve our ecosystem. Through its Reef and Rainforest Expedition (R & R) The Andaman is offering its guests a unique opportunity to make a difference; you can spend the daytime involved in ecologically sound practices, and have a totally indulgent experience in the evening, with a gourmet dinner and a perfectly orchestrated, well-earned sleep.

This exciting programme will run for 7 nights and 7 days and is designed for nature and science enthusiasts. 16 participants will work with a team of eco-experts on projects to help preserve the natural diversity of Langkawi.  There will be two groups of 8, who will conduct research in three main study projects: the coral reef, the mangroves and the hornbills of Gunung Raya. Participants will document the territories of the R & R habitats and complete a population census. They will also help to map and grow The Andaman’s Coral Reef, so that it becomes healthy and vibrant again.  At the end of the expedition, the results of the research will be published in appropriate scientific journals. This data will be used for the next expedition, assisting in the ongoing monitoring of the reef and rainforest.

The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Imagine, 80,000 kilos collected already.  Very impressive.

The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
A young coral taken from the coral garden in the background.

The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Naming each square coral, rock, sand or algae.


Participants will work on the coral reef with Dr. Gerry Goeden the resort’s consultant Marine Biologist, mapping the reef and generating new growth.  Dr. Gerry has been monitoring the coral reef at Datai Bay for the past two years.  The tsunami of 2004 inflicted significant damage to the reef, and Dr. Gerry is committed to its restoration.  The affable biologist has created a coral garden at the resort, where he’s growing new coral to repopulate the reef.  He also has monthly coral cleanups on the beach; guests at The Andaman are invited to gather dead coral from the beach, and after an hour or so of moderate exercise, they’re rewarded with a beer, a glass of wine or a non-alcoholic drink.  The project has already removed approximately 80,000 kilos of dead coral, which will be ground down and used to provide a base for growing new corals out on the reef.
The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Imaginative menu at Jala Restaurant.
The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
The lightly seasoned broth was added at the table.
The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Delightful presentation.
The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
A subtle sprinkle of smoked salt.
The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecolotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Every course was divine and the meal ended with a heavenly Calamansi Pie with Buffalo Ice Cream

Then it’s into the mangroves with naturalist Irshak Mobarak. This committed environmentalist’s engaging personality and wealth of stories will encourage participants to conduct research in the mangroves, which are being eroded at an alarming rate.  With the Mangrove Project, Irshak hopes to be able to demonstrate to the local boatmen that the wake from their boats, which speed through the waterways laden with tourists, will eventually destroy the environment on which they depend.  Irshak will also lead the Expedition to the highest mountain on the island, Gunung Raya, which is home to three species of hornbills and a host of birds, whose habitat is threatened by encroaching development.  By creating a comprehensive list of the birds in the area, and by taking regular readings, it will be possible to track the number and variety of birds over an extended period. 


The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Here you can see the damage as the edges of the waterways erode.
The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
The sticks are buried to the level of the yellow paint; any erosion will be obvious.

The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Irshak (on the right) had binoculars for everyone.

The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
With a Mountain Hawk-Eagle so close, this Oriental Pied Hornbill is frozen to the spot.

The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Vegetarian Spring Rolls
The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Tenderloin Steak Sandwich

We crammed all of these experiences into 3 nights/2 days, with the additional excitement of an exhilarating motorboat ride out into the ocean to hunt for whale sharks.  While we were birding, the naturalists had a text message about a sighting.  A boat was organised, we rushed back to The Andaman and adrenaline was high. With help from local fishermen we found a small group of these wonderfully benign behemoths, just young ones, but this was the icing on the cake of a phenomenally exciting couple of days.
The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
Fishermen pointed the way to the pod of young Whale Sharks.

The Andaman will run the R and R Expedition from 1–8 November 2013, at USD5,495 per person or USD9,495 for two persons. Participants who sign up for the expedition will be invited to do their bit for Mother Nature and come home to luxury in a Deluxe Rainforest Room. This expedition package includes a bountiful eco-themed welcome dinner for the participants, daily breakfast and lunch to keep you going through the day, and a team recognition dinner on the last night. The programme is limited to 16 persons and the bookings will close on 25 October 2013.

During your stay, be sure to search for the rare Colugo, the flying lemur of Southeast Asia.  We saw them during the day clinging to tree trunks around the pool, and in the evening you may catch one flying from tree to tree.  The Andaman really is a special place, and I suggest that if you’re interested in participating in this programme, you shouldn’t wait too long before registering.  It’s going to be popular! 



Reason to visit: To enjoy luxurious surroundings and impeccable service at The Andaman, and to end each day happy in the knowledge that you are truly helping the environment.


The Andaman Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia, Starwood Hotels, Reef and Rainforest Expedition, ecotourism, 5 star accommodation,
The perfect end to a perfect day.


For more information on the expedition itinerary visit: www.theandaman.com

For reservations, contact theandaman@luxurycollection.com

Telephone: +60 4 959 1088

5 comments:

  1. This looks like a truly amazing trip! What a great experience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. what a memorable way to have a beautiful beach getaway with a real, meaningful difference! :D

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  3. I love it when the surprise you with stuff in the room:) Ah... lovely presentation of food.. looks mich star even! :)

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  4. nice place but i love to do Gamefishing in Vanuatu. i had a very nice experience there and fishing in Vanuatu is really extreme.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi,
    I really like the site..
    It's very informative...
    Thanks...
    Andaman Resorts

    ReplyDelete