Apparently, our visit to Langkawi took place in the dry season. The wet season must be one degree of wetness away from Atlantis I guess. Isn’t that always the way with beach vacations? Rain, rain, rain. But let’s back up a minute.
I was really out of sorts getting ready for the trip, just not there at all mentally. This culminated in missing the train as I slid across the slippery parquet at the KL Sentral train station while Sun announced the train’s departure from the bottom of the escalator. I was at the top and there was nothing we could do. We blew it. There were actually lots of places where we lost thirty seconds, it was that kind of morning. But something cool happened – when we caught the next train the rest of the train was silky smooth. We take these short trips with just carry-on and we were able therefore to check in very quickly at the kiosk, breeze through security and within ten minutes of arriving at the airport we were sitting at our gate sipping on overpriced airport water.
I should probably state that our visit to the beach island of Langkawi was not all rain. We had enough sun for me to get burned, although that same amount of sun doesn’t affect Sunshine much at all. The rain, for its part, mostly just prevented me from becoming totally lobsterized, and I was grateful for that. We had five days to do not much. So we did.
We drank at the German bar on the beach. We drank at the reggae bar on the beach. We watched some World Cup. We lay on the sand. Sun read a book and I finally sketched out some key ideas for my novel. I knew what A and B were, but only on the beach did I figure out how I was going to actually get from A to B. Now I’m ready to go. Woo!
The rains came in on our second day in the middle of the afternoon, chasing us inside around : and not letting up the rest of the day. You think the quaint beach resort with TV channels and no Wifi is perfect for relaxing? We did. Except that when it rains you’re just sort of stuck sitting in the room with nothing to do. D’oh.
We rented a car on a clear Friday morning to take a trip on the cable car, which is supposed to be the highlight of Langkawi. Cancelled. Yup, our one shot and they weren’t running it. They actually had the audacity to blame the weather. C, sunny and no wind. Seriously – we could see the top of the cable car and there was no wind up there either. Argh. We drove to the top of the highest mountain on the island to make up for it.
Mostly, though, Langkawi was precisely the type of “did nothing” vacation we needed.
We stayed at the Sunset Beach Resort, on Pantai Tengah. The Trip Advisor reviews can be found here. The hotel has lovely landscaping and is right on the beach, but the rooms are set back so you cannot hear the ocean when you sleep. The rooms are very basic for the price point, but you can do a lot worse.
We enjoyed German beers and the freshest Carlsberg draft in Malaysia at the relaxed Beach Garden Resort, on Pantai Cenang about minutes walk from our hotel. Beach Garden also makes a decent Mediterranean snack platter among other things.
There are a surprising number of cheap local joints for a quick meal of nasi campur or noodles. In general the food on Langkawi is generally of mediocre standard compared with the rest of Malaysia. One exception is a pizza place called T-Jays, run by a Brit who was born in Penang. This is the first Western restaurant we have eaten at in almost four months and the pizza was fabulous and worth seeking out. No Website but info is here.
Langkawi is a large island with some lovely scenery to see, especially Pantai Tanjung Rhu on the north of the island. Getting around is best by motorbike or car rental, which can be arranged through your hotel. Expect to pay at least RM100/day. Otherwise you can hire a taxi for a private tour or a tour company for specific tours, but those options would be more expensive.
Getting to and from Langkawi is either by plane or ferry. The easiest and cheapest way to get there from Kuala Lumpur is on Air Asia. Air Asia sometimes offers free flights to Langkawi, when booked several months in advance, from Penang.