Malaysia, Langkawi

We’d exhausted our list of things to do on Penang and I’m not one for sitting on the beach, this one had more jetskis and touts than holidaymakers. I can only take a couple of hours lazing round the pool also – it was time to get on the road again.

The three hour ferry to Langkawi cost 225 RM (2,250 baht) for the four of us, it was minus 12 degrees and uneventful. Local holidays meant that 90% of the accommodation on the island was booked up and we either had to stump up 5k per night plus plus or stay in the town. The bustling little town of Kuah won and we found ourselves a little box hotel with probably the smallest bathroom in Asia – on the up side it was surrounded by duty free shops.

You only get to find out how much your government is shafting you with taxes when you arrive on a duty free island such as Langkawi. Import beer (Tiger, Bud, Carlsberg) from 2 RM a tin, Aussie Shiraz from 20 RM per bottle, Black Label litre bottles for 75 RM and single malt litres for under 90 RM – this place is a pisshead’s heaven. It also has a fair bit for chocoholics with department stores full of the stuff.

It is the only place I have ever been where it costs less to hire a car than a couple of scooters – everything was jacked up for some holiday or other. On four (small) wheels this time we headed across the island to Cenang Beach, the main tourist spot where the big star resorts, Italian restaurants, scantily clad sunburnt westerners, and yet more duty free shops can be found. On the way we stopped at a little local beach to chow down on Laksa, one of Malaysia’s national dishes which looks like it came out of a canal!

Cenang beach could have been Phuket so we ventured north to a crocodile farm which had some impressive specimens and shows. Langkawi is a relatively small island so getting around it doesn’t take long, with the price of gas being 2 RM per litre it doesn’t cost much either – unless you take a taxi.

Today was a little clearer so we headed to the cable car, the island’s premier attraction. Being at the top of the ‘to do’ list meant that everyone else was also there and a two hour queue was necessary to get on the ‘Skycab’. Unfortunately the ‘Skybridge’ was closed for maintenance but I could still get a few shots of it from the ascending cable car. This was one of the better tourist attractions we visited and the views from the top were stunning as was the engineering on this, the steepest cable car in the world.

Our time was nearing an end and we booked the ferry to Satun province in Thailand for the following day. The journey was also uneventful (which is probably a good thing on a ferry), and we were through immigration and customs in no time. They didn’t even check how many bottles we’d brought back – just as well really!