Challenges Disability Journalists Training programme trainee Helen Lam shares her experience.

It was Helen Lam’s first trip to Langkawi after becoming visual impaired; and that too for work. She was covering the Ironman Langkawi 2010 for Challenges Magazine, Malaysia’s 1st cross-disability lifestyle magazine. Her stay albeit short left her mesmerized at the beautiful nature around her.

A tranquility morning, after saying goodbye to my family, I set out on my first trip toLangkawi. When I arrived at the airport, I walked to the information counter to ask for help to check –in but the counter staff said that i had to pay RM30.00 for the luggage, because my luggage was over 6kg. At the moment, I started to worry and got scared.

I told him I was a person with disability (PWD) and this was my first time travelling alone and hoped he could assist me. He was helpful and explained to me what had to be done.

I had to pay RM30 for excess baggage and after lunch I rushed off to get on the plane. The climb up the plane was not easy for a PWD like me as I suffer from vision problem.

Finally I arrived in Langkawi. I stayed at the Sea View Hotel, a spacious and comfortable hotel. The Langkawi Seaview Hotel offers 143 comfortable and fully furnished guest rooms with standard facilities including free WI-FI internet access. While the service was good, the hotel does not have facilities for PWDs. There is no ramp and Braille facilities.

The hotel’s general manager Ooi Cheng Ping said:

“At this moment, we do not have any disabled friendly facilities but we will in the future.

The hotel’s Kingfisher Cafe opens daily from 7.00am to 11.00 pm. They also have spa
and massage services with the spa focusing on creating a balance between a healthy mind, body and soul.

Another hotel, the BayView Hotel is disabled-friendly, having features like ramps for PWDs to enter using the main entrance.

Extra cash will help

Bringing extra money when you are in Langkawi is helpful as you will need to use the taxi to travel around since there are no bus services there. Otherwise, you can always rent a car, motorcycle, van or a bicycle from the locally registered travel agents or through the beach resorts. No need to worry about traffic jams as there are hardly any.

Picture of visitors eating at Eagle Square
Patrons eating at Eagle Square

The island of Langkawi is an exotic holiday destination that offers world class
accommodation and amenities. The Eagle Square is Langkawi’s most prominent landmark for visitors arriving by sea.

I was attending the IRONMAN Langkawi 2010 party dinner here and the main attraction of the square is the magnificent statue of a reddish brown eagle majestically
poised for flight. The majestic eagle is strategically positioned to welcome visitors to Langkawi. The square is beautifully landscaped and features scenic ponds, bridges and covered terraces. Its close proximity to the sea and the soft breezes make it an ideal spot for leisurely walks and a tranquil setting for dining in the cool evenings. You will see many couples hanging out here.

Picture of Helen Lam shopping for chocolates
Langkawi , the Chocohalic paradise

Every tourist to Langkawi will surely think of chocolate! Yes,

Langkawi is the premier duty-free shopping destination in Malaysia. It offers a good and cheap selection of chocolates, especially at Pantai Cenang,.  You can also go to the duty free shops for wines, spirits and beers at Pantai Cenang or at the Langkawi airport.

You can indulge in as much shopping as you want as there is an entire beach road lined with shops and stalls on the both sides.

While it was unforgetful being in Langkawi, more so since I celebrated Chap Goh Mei alone without my family.

Coming back to the IRONMAN Malaysia Triathlon,  Langkawi, has been a favorite destination for many athletes who have returned to compete year after year.

Picture of Challenges disability journalist Helen Lam with peer colleagues covering Ironman Langkawi
Challenges disability journalist Helen Lam with peer colleagues covering Ironman Langkawi

This year two PWDs will participate in the IRONMAN event, One is blind while the other is a wheelchair-user. They believe disability is no barrier to do anything and yes, I too agree. After all, I survived my first outstation trip on my own and although there were times it was difficult, I am pleased to know that as long as we the PWDs are willing to ask for help, the public is always ready to assist.

Picture of Challenges disability journalist Helen Lam with Ironman Yanagawa HarumiChallenges disability journalist Helen Lam with Ironman Yanagawa Harumi
Challenges disability journalist Helen Lam with Ironman Yanagawa Harumi

CHALLENGES VOL3 ISSUE2 2010 (Challenges Magazine is a journalism skills training project for persons with disabilities started in 2007)