23.03.2016 – 25.03.2016
Langkawi is an island off the north-west coast of Malaysia (approximately 2 hours by boat from Penang). The island is quite large and has many tourist attractions, hotels and beaches. We stayed along Cenang Beach, which is a cool central location featuring many beach resturants and a “Bali-esque’ feel. The island is quiet large, and has no public transport, so the only cost effective way to get around is by hiring a car or moped to make exploring the island quicker (than walking) and cheaper (than hiring a private driver). Our moped was 32 Ringgit ($11 Australian dollars) per day from a place outside our Motel.
For the afternoon of the first day, we decided to take a visit to Langkawis most advertised attraction the Sky Bridge. The Sky Bridge sits atop Langkawi’s highest mountain in the north-west corner of the island. Before we entered the Cable Car, it was mandatory to watch a weird 6 min 3D cinema viewing of a cartoon roller coaster around Mars, we recommend saying you get motion sickness and skipping this awful experience. After a steep but very scenic ride in the cable car (not for those scared of heights) you get beautiful views of the mountainous terrain to the north-east and low lying areas and beaches to the south. We visited in the late afternoon, and were quite thankful as this is the quiet time with limited tourist and maximum enjoyment, going during high season or the rush of the day would quickly take the fun factor out of the attraction.
After researching things to do on Langkawi, we decided to spend the majority of our second day exploring the island by moped. First stop was the MARDI Agro-Technology Park. It was a total waste of time and money. You pay for a guided tour of the fruit plantation and it goes something like this; wait for a cart, get on the cart, get off the cart, sample fruit without any explanation, get on the cart, get off the cart, take a photo with a jackfruit that has sunglasses on it, get on the cart, get off the cart. There are loads of different types of fruit and not one individual there to inform you on anything.
After our fruit experience, we then travelled north to a “secluded beach” (as described by the tourist information centre). It was so secluded that there were 50 people lined up for parasail rides. We actually found the most beautiful beach at the end of our motel street! After that we decided to go it alone and cruise around as we pleased and found a really lovely Buddhist temple on the eastern side of the island.
The island does have many places to eat and many are quite nice. However, on our last night in Langkawi our meal not only summed up Langkawi, but the whole of Malaysia. We ordered chicken fried rice that arrived full of curry powder and a chicken eye ball to boot. Cheers Malaysia.
OUR FAVOURITE BITS
- Cruising around the island on a moped. The roads are much more developed and civilized than Lembongan (Bali) and Samosir (Sumatra).
- Spending the money to go up to the Sky Bridge. It was expensive for us and the whole thing is incredibly touristy, but the sights were really nice and a provide a perfect view of the island from above.
- Hiring a car, moped or bicycle to get around the island. There is no public transport here.
- Staying for 2 nights was perfect for a budget backpacker. However, for a more relaxing style holiday, you could spend 3 or 4 nights and enjoy some of the standard Asian tourist attractions (parasailing, jet ski tours, massages etc)
Langkawi was just more of classic Malaysia. Everything had become super commercial and the local flavour and beauty has been lost. “Malaysia, Truly Asia”, the countries catchphrase, to us has become “Malaysia, Truly LAME”. LAMEkawi gets a generous 2.5 stars.
We can’t wait to go to Thailand. See you in Ko Lipe!