yesterday, i found out that some friends from the other side of the world will be coming over to this side of the planet and will be visiting some of the islands since, well, it will be island season by mid year around here. and langkawi is on the list. thing is, i ALWAYS get asked about langkawi and all the basics of where to stay and what to do etc. well yea, i have stayed in langkawi for like, a year when i was teaching there. gosh, that is another story of its own. heh.
anyway, so i decided to write it here so we all can keep this in mind kalau nak gi langkawi. there’s my top five tips on langkawi essentials.
where to stay: this is usually the toss that people have. unless your allergic to water and have the sole intention of buying corningware when you are in langkawi, stay in the town center itself, pekan kuah. there are some pretty decent hotels in pekan kuah and they’re all walking distance from each other.
but seriously lah, you did not come to this island for this. you want some sun worshiping and you and you want to get wet and salty at the beach. yea! and you want to be where eateries open all night long and where the party’s at, yo. so you really want to stay at pantai cenang. resorts, hotels, motels, backpacket chalets, they’re all here. this is where the fun’s at. this is where the party’s at. this is where you want to stay. here or the a little more upmarket pantai tengah. but really, smack in the middle of pantai cenang is where you want to be.
there can only be one, and i mean one reason why you would not stay in pantai cenang, and that would be if you are on a honeymoon dan yang sewaktu dengannya. and you want that privacy. and i really mean, you want that intimate, anti-social mood set. then you’d pick either to stay at the burau bay or the tanjung rhu area. by the beach. almost quite isolated. very romantic. private.
tip numero dos. rent a car. langkawi is very drivable and cabs can be expensive. gain your freedom. rent a car. in my personal opinion, the airport is a good place to do this for this singular reason: all the car rental places are all side by side and they all battle each other out to give you the best deals. if you don’t like how one rental company sounds, move on to the next counter ad the offer gets better and better. only thing to remember is to make sure that you have a malaysian or international driving license. in my recent visits, the police have been on a romp for people driving illegally. also, keep in the speed limit and wear your seat belts. seriously.
hotel and car dah settle, now you have to make sure that you got sun block. i know that this sounds like picking on the nitty gritty, but i have seen friends burnt to lobsters because they ignored by sun block tip. if you don’t pack anything else (uh…) make sure you pack sun block.
and now, some of the best langkawi experiences to have: the cable car ride up to gunung mat cincang. a serious architectural wonder. and i don’t say that often yo.
next, galleria perdana. an amazing collection of the stuff that former PM tun dr mahathir mohammed collected during his 20 odd year reign as prime minister.
ok next, keep this next three words in mind: pantai pasir tengkorak. dude, this is where the locals hang. bangun awal-awal, go to pasar, buy some charcoal and api and ayam and sausage etc and some and barbecue with the locals. concrete barbecue sets are already built in and all you got to do is come over, claim your set and grill. the waves are this beach is nice and strong and i like it. even if you tak barbecue, its a decent place to picnic. and thennnnnn, lepas the beace, drive down the road over to temurun waterfall! :)
if you got moolah to dish out, go on one of the sunset catamaran experiences. so cool. especially the ones that have the salt water jacuzzis. which is actually just a net that they throw out at the back of the boat and you sit in it. very very cool.
besides this is all the stories about langkawi. the whole island of legands gig. which is actually very fascinating. i think that if you go to langkawi without learning about the stories of the islands, you’re just really really sad. the story of mahsuri. the story of the two mountains, gunung mat cin cang and gunang raya. the story of beras terbakar. the story of the cave of legands. and banyak lagi lah. so as my final tip, i say find a local. any local. have a drink by the beach. and listen to their stories.
so there you have it, my take on the absolute essentials of langkawi. and seriously, don’t forget the sun block.