For my 32nd birthday, Steve surprised me with a trip to Langkawi, Malaysia. We had never been, despite living so close, and had always wanted to check it out as an option for a weekend beach getaway. It was an easy flight (only 90mins) and a short 30min drive to the resort from the airport. We stayed at The Andaman which was lovely and so kid-friendly. The resort is on Datai Bay and surrounded by a 10-million-year-old rainforest. The beach is private (shared only by The Datai) and beautiful. The kids spent time every day on the sand, building sand castles and digging holes (and trying to eat it - River, of course). They were both a little afraid of the waves but we did take them out for a few dips in the ocean!
One of our favourite things was walking along the fringing coral reef at low tide, watching the sunset and looking for sea creatures in the shallow water and rock pools (we spotted some squid, crabs and fishes). The resort also does provide complimentary guided coral reef tours and rainforest walks which we didn't have time to try (make sure to check the schedule when you first arrive) - next time, perhaps! When we weren't at the beach, we spent our time at the pool (or running from one to the other since they were right next to each other), which was huge and had a fun water slide. We were lucky enough to snag a daybed on our last day and River took her morning nap there while Oscar played in the pool and we had a little lunch poolside - it was a pretty perfect morning.
Another feature we enjoyed about The Andaman was its Coral Nursery. After the 8,000 year old fringing coral reef in front of the resort was damaged by the 2004 Tsunami, The Andaman started a Coral Conservation project in 2010 that works on the rescue and rehabilitation of coral from the reef. At scheduled times, guests can take part in a guided snorkel to learn more about the project and the wildlife in the nursery. Oscar actually had his first snorkelling experience here! He only lasted a short while but we were so incredibly proud of him! He hates putting his face underwater but apparently, he was willing to put that fear aside to see Nemo (he calls all clownfish Nemo) in real life. Another activity we did at the nursery was fish feeding - we stood on the steps going down into water, Oscar held the fish food in his hand and the fishes would swim up and eat it from his hand. He really loved this and kept asking for more food to do it again! The Andaman is also well known for its Little Explorers' Club, where kids (4-12yrs) can read, play and/or take part in nature and exploration activities (we didn't try this because Oscar's only 3 but I can see how it'd be a great resource for parents who want some alone time or to head to the spa etc). Another great kid-friendly feature is complimentary kids meals for children under 3!
We did end up taking two short trips out of the resort for a few activities on the island: we took the cable car up to the skybridge and also went to visit Seven Wells waterfall, more on that later. Overall, we had a great little vacation, it was just what we needed - a slow, lazy weekend to relax and recharge.