Langkawi – we wanted you to be so much better!
So the whole time we have been in Malaysia, we had been told by everyone who heard our travel plans “you are going to love Langkawi”
We travelled to this island, off the coast of Malaysia’s main land – Officially named Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah – by high speed ferry from Penang.
Our worries started whilst waiting to board, where the tourists outnumbered the local 10 to 1. Of course we are tourists ourselves I know, but we try our best to get an authentic experience wherever we travel; and with this many Europeans on board we felt a little trepidation in our next stop.
The boat itself was comfortable even if not quite what was advertised – about 60 x 20 feet there was no on-board cafeteria the website claimed for the 3 hour journey – but we came prepared with plenty of food and drink.
The movie choice on big screen TV and piped over the loudspeaker was an odd choice too – the screams and roars of the dinosaurs in Jurassic World didn’t make the most relaxing travel – I guess Jaws could have been worse!
Once in Langkawi and in the grab, it felt strange to drive along large empty expanses of land with only hotels to break it up.
Being a “paradise” island we had blown our budget for a few nights away from hostels or apartments and opted for a hotel room in a traditional stilt house.
Unfortunately the place was empty with nothing around it and we felt a little isolated, we had however picked a location near to the Oriental Village – one of Langkawi top attractions.
This is an outside shopping mall of sorts, with attractions and restaurants.
One of the main draws here is the cable car ride up to the top of the mountain, unfortunately the place was packed and the line for the sky cab snaked off into the distance.
After trying another attraction “time travel” and demanding our money back (avoid it trust me) we had a sour taste in our mouths – luckily and un-expectantly the food court here is the best thing about it.
The Beef Rendang, roti canai and chicken swawarma were amazing and less than £4 for a meal for 2 – throw in fresh fruit juice for an extra £1.
Apart from the food the Oriental Village is nice to walk around but again it’s a big tourist trap.
A couple of days round the pool later we tried to relive our amazing day trekking in Penang, in Langkawi’s own version with the added bonus of ending at waterfalls and swimmable pools.
Unfortunately again it felt fake in comparison; with a concrete walkway leading you to the water fall – complete with gardener with petrol leaf blower in hand keeping it clean.
On the way actually we did experience our first run in with some hostile monkey who first blocked our path (after grabbing my phone out my hand) then full teeth baring aggression. A big stick soon chased them off though.
The waterfall and pools were cool, we played for a little while, lost our water bottle in an underwater cave, which I tried then chickened out from rescuing (it was pitch black under water) and then headed back for lunch at the Oriental Village.
Out of all the family I’m the water lover, but it’s always been the ocean. I have to admit that I didn’t trust what could have been in these pools – and what ever swam past my stomach whilst I was in the cave – had me out of there in a flash!
Keeping the water theme we did head to a fish pedicure the same day. I was proud of both the kids going for it and sharing a new experience for all of us together. What was proven with dramatic effect was that Emma had more of what ever the fish liked – the rest of us hardly got a look in.
This is one of the draws of Langkawi – it’s duty free and everything is cheap as chips – this also means there are chocolate shops everywhere.
We only spent 4 days in Langkawi and for us that was enough, I hate to have a negative view about a place but it just didn’t suit us – it also made us think that, had that been our only destination and had we not been traveling around; it would have been our only reference for Malaysia!
(Side note we tried to buy fresh fruit at every shop we passed in Langkawi with no luck, so imagine our frustration when we spotted this stand at the airport only to find out it’s all soap!)