The Delights of Traveling: Langkawi, Malaysia
If you are looking for a place to just chill out and enjoy time on the beach, Langkawi is definitely one of those places. Everyone that lives here goes by island time and that means that time stands still until people are really motivated to move.
The one amazing thing about Langkawi is that fact that it is duty-free. I had heard friends and people tell me about how cheap it was here, but I didn't really believe them because I've been in Malaysia for a while. However, after I checked into my hostel when I arrived my first night I went to the grocery store to buy some beers and I was SHOCKED. Anywhere else in Malaysia, a small can of beer can be between 8-15RM depending on where you are. When I went to the shop, I got 4 big beers for 15.50RM. I actually stared at the guy behind the cash register and was like "Are you serious? or is that just for one beer?" Alcohol and tobacco are both duty-free here so smoke and drink to your heart's content!
Obviously, Langkawi is an island so there are quite a few good beaches around. Pantai Cenang is the main one where there are restaurants, beach bars, hotels, etc. But, there are smaller beaches that are a bit more peaceful like Pantai Tengah, Black Sand Beach, Tanjung Rhu, and others up north.
The best way to get around is by renting a scooter, which is about 35 RM a day with a 50 RM deposit which you get back if you don't crash the bike. But, the one thing you need to make sure of is that you have some sort of license because most places will ask for one. You can also rent a car, which really isn't too bad if you are traveling with a few people and you are on a budget. It is about 50 RM a day, but not too sure how much the deposit is. However, if you are too nervous to try driving a bike or car in this country, you can always book a Grab. From the main ferry port in Kuah to Pantai Cenang is about 25 RM-30 RM, which seems a bit pricey, but its about 20 KM from each. If you want to take a Grab around Cenang, the most expensive is about 8RM depending on the hour.
There is a wide range of accommodation on the island from hostels to resorts, so there is everything for every type of person. Being a budget traveler, I gravitate towards hostels. The first one I stayed at was Box2packers, also known as Cassa Kaseh, and it was really nice. The vibe wasn't the greatest though because it was a mix between private rooms with only the top level being dormitories, not a lot of people talked to each other, but it was super clean and they've got a rooftop where you can chill out and enjoy the nice breeze. The next one I stayed at was Kasbah, which was pretty cool because they've got "flying beds", which are beds that are suspended in the air. Seems like a cool idea at the time right? Well, when you come back drunk and the bed feels like a swing, it's not the best. After I left Kasbah, because I ended up working there and it didn't quite fit, I moved to Hostel 19. I have to say this hostel was probably one of my favorites because of the people. Everyone liked going out and having a good time, which was much more up my alley. The only reason I left that hostel was because it was full. I really liked it because we were kind of able to do whatever we wanted because it was in the middle of nowhere, so we could play music and be loud until we wanted to. After Hostel 19, I stayed at Backstreet Monkey, which was not my favorite for a multiple of reasons and I would say if you were going to try and stay at either Backstreet Monkey, Vila Thai, Sweet Monkey, or Bonobo, DON'T. The owners and some of the receptionists are absolutely dickheads. They are honestly really shitty people. They get involved in people's business even when they don't have the right to. Langkawi Dormitorio is the same, but at least the beds are comfortable enough that you sleep there, meet new people, and then leave.
Things to do
Like I said, Langkawi is one of those places to just chill out and not have any worries. However, if you are one of those people that are very restless and need to do something. Here are a few things to do.
Langkawi Cable Car
Langkawi Sky Bridge/Cable car
If you enjoy a pretty good view, you can make your way to the sky bridge, which has a pretty good view of the whole island. It is about 55RM to get to the top with the sky bridge and then another 5RM to get onto the bridge. It may seem a bit pricey to do it, but it also includes the 3D museum and SkyTrek and fun for the kids.
Seven Wells Waterfall
Seven Wells Waterfall/other waterfalls
Langkawi has had a bit of a drought recently, so the waterfalls are a bit dry but, they are still very beautiful to see. However, be very careful when you try to climb up them because the rocks can still be pretty slippery with the algae and moss that has grown around it, so it is pretty easy to slip.
Located in the main ferry area, Eagle Square is one of the touristy places in Langkawi where locals and internationals from all over the world will "flock" for lack of a better world to take a photo.
Bars to check out
Going out in Langkawi is probably one of my favorite things to do on island because not only is it pretty cheap, but there is a very good variety of places including beach bars, clubs, bars just on the main strip.
Beach bars to check out
If you didn't know the bar was named Yellow bar, you would know just by looking at it. Located right on the beach, it is a bright yellow building and it has a genuinely cool vibe and the cocktails are really good. It is a bit on the pricey side just a backpacker budget, but if you want to treat yourself to come good cocktails and a great view, definitely go to Yellow. There are two sections to the bar; there is the food/sitting area and the bean bag area. I also go to the beanbag area because it is always the comfiest. They have got some pretty good music playing as well throughout the day. It opens at noon and closes around 1AM.
Ah Chong Beach Bar
A bit of a hole in the wall, but still pretty great. Now, if you want the cheap beers that everyone is talking about, Ah Chong is the place to go. They sell 5RM Tigers and Skols and it is the epitome of a beach bar with its picnic benches and wooden decor. Another thing that I like about this place is that because they don't serve food, people are allowed to smoke where they are seated instead of having to get up every time they want to have a cig. For all you English folk reading, they also do Pimm's cocktail here and it's pretty damn good.
Also a bit on the pricey side, but this place always seems to be popping whenever I walk by, I have actually never been inside before except to pee. But, from what I have heard, it is a pretty good bar with live music and a well-stocked bar.
If you are a fan of Bob Marley, live music, and a certain substance you would love this bar. They stay up pretty late playing music and smoking and they make everyone feel like you are part of the family. They also have some pretty cheap beers and they make some pretty good cocktails.
I finally come to my favorite beach bar of them all. It is a good in-between the cheap beer places and the expensive ones. Most of the staff are pretty awesome and friendly. They treat you like family the more and more you return and they do a pretty epic fire show everyday.
Located at the rooftop of the Royal Agate Hotel, this bar has a very good view of the sunset without having to sit on the beach if you don't want to. And, every day is a different themed day except for Mondays when they are closed. Tuesday is silent movie night where they will give you a pair of headphones to wear to watch the movie if you want and if you don't you just enjoy the bar as it is. Wednesdays and Thursdays are Ladies and Gents nights where ladies get a free entrance drink and gents can free games of beer pong. It is also the only BYOB bar in Langkawi where you can bring your own drinks and just pay a corkage at the bar.
One Love Reggae Club
I feel like every place I have been always has a Reggae Bar/Club, but this is probably one of my favorites because of the music and the vibe that they have. The DJs are really good and the drinks are strong and reasonably priced. So, when you are there, just get ready to party.