Langkawi

Our trip to Langkawi mid-2014

Over  the years we have flown to Langkawi, and driven to Kuala Perlis and then caught the ferry to Langkawi.  For our fourth trip there we decided to try the bus.  I have already blogged about the bus / ferry trip for this holiday, so I will take it from our disembarkation at the ferry terminal in Langkawi.

DAY 1

We arrived around 1.15PM, ignored most of the touts for rental cars and all of them for accommodation, but one tout seemed OK, so we went with him to his nearby office and rented a car from him.  This was a small orange Perodua Viva automatic – Mrs Tropical Expat’s requirement.  It was RM10 extra for the automatic, so it cost RM60 per day – 24 hours. The car was a bit battered but seemed OK for Langkawi. As usual I took multiple photos to attest to the dents already on the car.

Perodua Viva

Viv the Perodua Viva – it looked OK, but turned out not to be

We struck out for the roughly half hour drive to Cenang, stopping off firstly to buy petrol as rental cars are always empty, and then stopping on the way again to see the Big Sea Cucumber Oil Bottle, and indeed buy some product.

big bottle

big bottle

And we checked in to the NR Motel on the Pantai Tengah Road, actually staying in the same room we did last time.

http://tropicalexpat.com/our-trip-to-langkawi-mid-2014/

A trip from Penang to Langkawi by bus and ferry – mid-2014

“The reviews of the ferry ride from Penang to Langkawi were that if the weather was calm it was OK, but if rough, people were sick, and the cabin is enclosed, so it becomes a very unpleasant crossing.  See my blog on travel options for more details.” … as I’ve written before.

We decided for this trip to catch the bus to see if this was easier and / or cheaper than driving and paying for parking at the port.  The last trip in December 2012 was during school holidays, and prices in Langkawi were much higher, so this trip started after school had returned. And we thought it was nicer to catch the ferry from George Town and then bus from Butterworth,  rather than the more straightforward Sungai Nibong start.  Starting at Sungai Nibong means one less transfer, but paying a bit more for the taxi.  And the bus will start at Sungai Nibong anyway, then stop at Butterworth. I just enjoy the ferry ride to Butterworth more, though.

Booking bus tickets for Plusliner, Butterworth to Kuala Perlis, on the web was unsuccessful as the web site didn’t work, so we had to go to the bus terminal at Sungai Nibong to purchase them, and we did this about 10 days in advance.  Not that we thought it was really necessary to book, but we were going to Queensbay Mall anyway, and the bus terminal is nearby. You can easily park there, and we were charged RM1 for a short time.

bus ticket

bus ticket

One way costs for one person:

RM20 for taxi to George Town ferry terminal – or if you like RM10 each as there were two of us

RM0 for ferry (returning to George Town it costs RM1.20)

RM16.50 for bus ticket from Butterworth to Kuala Perlis

RM18 for ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi

————

RM54.50

http://tropicalexpat.com/a-trip-from-penang-to-langkawi-by-bus-and-ferry-mid-2014/

Langkawi – December 2012. Holidaying here. Retiring here?

One Malay word you should know if you are in Langkawi – “Pantai” = “Beach”.

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Tanjong Rhu beach – in the north of Langkawi

I wrote a blog about Langkawi after my visit in April 2012, and I have just returned from my third holiday in Langkawi in about four years. I will combine my previous blog with this, adding more information. The smaller photos are from April 2012, the larger from December 2012 – so you can tell

GETTING THERE

  • In August 2008 we drove up to Kuala Perlis and caught the ferry over to the main ferry terminal in Langkawi.  All we had to do was phone a contact who ran a parking lot, give an approximate arrival time, and he bought the ferry tickets.  When we arrived we could park undercover and he gave us the tickets, and pointed out where to catch the ferry.
  • In April we flew on Air Asia from Penang to Langkawi, which is about 25 minutes in the air, but from when we left home by taxi to when we were in our hotel room about four hours had elapsed.  Which was about the same amount of time as driving and catching the ferry, although the flight was less strenuous.

http://tropicalexpat.com/retire-in-langkawi/

Langkawi – some observations from my latest visit. And could I retire here?

Tanjong Rhu Beach

I have just returned from my second holiday in Langkawi in about three and a half years. So, while I cannot claim any vast knowledge, I would like to make a few observations.

For a newer version click the green button.

http://tropicalexpat.com/index.php/2018/09/19/cleaning-my-air-con/

GETTING THERE

  • In August 2008 we drove up to Kuala Perlis and caught the ferry over to the main ferry terminal in Langkawi.  All we had to do was phone a contact who ran a parking lot, give an approximate arrival time, and he bought the ferry tickets.  When we arrived we could park undercover and he gave us the tickets, and pointed out where to catch the ferry.
  • This time we flew on Air Asia from Penang to Langkawi, which is about 25 minutes in the air, but from when we left home by taxi to when we were in our hotel room about four hours had elapsed.  Which was about the same amount of time as driving and catching the ferry, although the flight was less strenuous.
  • There are other alternatives, such as a ferry from Penang to Langkawi, directly; or driving to Alor Setar, and catching a ferry from there.

WHEN

  • High season is supposed to be between mid-November and mid-April, which corresponds to the dry season -but we got low season prices in early April, and rain didn’t bother us. As I mentioned, we’d previously visited in August, and again we had no problems with the weather.

ACCOMMODATION

  • Langkawi has changed quite a bit in the intervening three years. Now there is a vast range of accommodation available – from very cheap to very expensive (resorts), and many choices in between.  Cenang Beach is the mass tourism area.  There are a lot of motels now, homestays all over the island, and you can even stay in a caravan at a beach. Or you can camp at the government fruit farm, mentioned below.

You can rent this caravan at the beach

GETTING AROUND

  • Car rental is cheap – from RM40 or so a day for an old car in poor condition, RM70 for a newish car in good condition, and motorcycle hire is also available.  It seems you can also rent bicycles.  If you rent a car, check the tyre condition before you drive off, too.  They will also give you a road map, most likely.  Of course, there are taxis; and buses exist, but I saw very few, so you’d need a lot of time.

This one year old Proton Saga cost RM70 a day to rent, and RM50 deposit.

DRIVING

  • The standard of driving in Langkawi is better than in Penang, and there are not so many cars on the road, so driving can be quite relaxing.  As Langkawi is quite small, it doesn’t take very long to get where you are going.  I think it took about 40 minutes to drive from the crocodile farm in the north-west, to Kuah, the main town,  in the south.
  • Petrol is slightly cheaper than the mainland, at 1.90 a litre.  In three nights / four days we used about RM40 of petrol for about 250KM – but put in RM50 as we didn’t want to be low on petrol on the other side of the island where there is no petrol station so near. (Yes, this happened to us last time.)
  • You are warned not to drive at night because of cows and water buffaloes on the road.  Cows are a tan colour, and not so hard to see, but water buffalo are black, and hard to spot.

cows wander the roads at night

ATTRACTIONS

  • As a tourist there are some nice things to do, and the airport tourist office has brochures and maps, of course.  I’ll just mention a few activities.
  • Our favourite beach is Tanjong Rhu in the north of the island – but there are some other nice beaches, too.  And there are no jellyfish – at least at this time of year – so you can swim in sea.  As you approach Tanjong Rhu there is an open manned barrier for some reason – just slow down and drive through.
  • You can  also swim in waterfall pools in the jungle.

waterfall pool – the wet season hasn’t yet started, so water level fairly low

  • When we were there we could walk off into the jungle and not get attacked by mosquitoes – much.  We did get the odd bite, but nothing like the jungle, or even anywhere outside,  in Penang.
  • The government agricultural research facility – Taman Agro-Teknologi is interesting. They take you on a bus within the grounds to eat the fruit in season, and then drive you around, stopping to show you different fruit trees and landscapes.

Dragon fruit plants at the Taman Agro-Teknologi

  • And the Bird Paradise and Wildlife Park is worth a visit if you like birds.  Many attractions charge tourists a higher price than Malaysians. I dislike this, so I asked if I could get the lower price as I was a resident; and I showed my Malaysian visa.  I was charged the lower price, which was RM15 instead of RM22.  The tickets we were given had printed on them that they were children’s tickets. This question is worth trying everywhere there is discriminatory pricing.

one of my favourites

and this is a friendly one

  • There is far less litter than much of Malaysia. It was so nice to see beaches and jungle paths with the only litter being leaf litter.  This is so different from elsewhere in Malaysia.

FOOD AND DRINK

  • Food more expensive than Penang and it is much more expensive to eat out, and there is less variety.
  • Since we live in Penang we didn’t really see the point in spending a lot on food, so we had a big breakfast at the hotel, which was included, and ate fairly lightly later in the day.
  • The biggest variety of restaurants is in Cenang Beach. Kuah, the main town, of course has restaurants, too, as do the various malls. And there are the usual hawker centres and roadside stalls.
  • We enjoyed fish and chips on the north coast, however.

English style fish and chips

  • Of course, Langkawi is tax-free for at least alcohol and tobacco products.  There are many duty-free stores, but probably the cheapest are in Kuah.  It also means restaurants often charge a lot less for alcohol, too. A can of Royal Stout cost me RM1.80 in a store.  Sparkling wine costs RM30 and up, and champagne RM150 and up. For more, read this on Langkawi’s tax status.

this cost RM47 – the view somewhat more per night

COULD I RETIRE HERE?

  • I think it is too quiet for me to retire here, and too isolated – you can’t just drive onto the mainland and go somewhere.  And I would miss the variety and low price of food in Penang. Certainly the tax status of Langkawi is attractive, though.
  • A local Japanese lady we spoke to said that the two downsides of living in Langkawi are you really need to speak Bahasa, and for some hospital treatment you have to go to the mainland – Penang etc.
  • However, if you wanted a very quiet life, perhaps it would suit you, if you had no medical concerns. Bahasa doesn’t strike me as too difficult to learn.