Day 1 – Langkawi

It was sad to say goodbye to the wonderful Traders Hotel and it’s view of the Petronas Towers. The hotel was incredible given how cheap it was compared to Australian hotels and the fact that it just smelled so great as soon as you walked through the doors was such a unique experience. The only downside really to the whole hotel was that they looked after us so well we didn’t really eat anywhere other than the hotel!

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We went down to checkout at the normal reception, but it was packed, so I raced up to Club Lounge and checked us out from there. They also booked us a cab to the airport and charged it to the room, so it was all prepaid. It was a bit more expensive because the cab was the blue colour (which are meant to be of better class) – if we had crossed the road the cabs waiting there it would have been cheaper, but it was a longer walk carrying all that luggage. The driver was a speed demon so I white knuckled the whole drive, but we made it in one piece. I much preferred the cheaper ride to KL with the relaxed driver with a radio.

Arriving at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) very early we were bombarded with noisy announcements, noisy people and annoying ladies at the check in counters who told us we were in the wrong queue when the sign said otherwise. We then had to struggle with the poor Celcom guy at the counter who didn’t speak English very well. He was trying to fix an issue I had where I was getting sms’s about not enough data every minute. We spent probably 40 minutes trying to get it silenced and finally got it quiet after calling in backup. Claire was going a bit mental at this point because of all the noisy announcements – I have to admit the sound was way too intrusive. We made jokes afterward that the next time we come to the LCCT in a week or so I’ll make Claire wear headphones so she will be oblivious. We made it to our gate eventually and waited around eating really awesome cookies from a Famous  Amos stand. At least they have free wifi there to use.

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The Air Asia flight was quick, modern and uneventful and before we knew it we had prepaid the taxi and were racing our way to our new hotel. The differences between Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur were obvious even before we left the airport. There were a herd of buffalo meandering about the entrance near the road, then the site of blue ocean as soon as we turned the corner. The drive to Pentai Cenang took less than 10 minutes and took us past Go Cart tracks, rice paddies and posh looking hotels. We were dropped off right in the middle of Pentai Cenang at the Malibest Resort – our cheap accommodation for the week. It didn’t start off well with a guy arguing with the receptionist about the room he was staying in wasn’t close to the beach. Claire tried to check us in, but the credit card machine was down so they wanted us to pay up front in cash immediately. She wasn’t having that, so agreed to pay for the first night and would try again tomorrow. After maybe 20 minutes we finally got escorted to our room.

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After staying in some pretty amazing hotels over the last few months, it was a bit of a comedown to walk in to a pretty old looking place with a boxy tv, but it was expected given how much we were paying – at least we had air conditioning.

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But it didn’t matter anyway cause the whole reason we were staying there was because we were on the beach the second we opened our front door.

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We didn’t spend long in the room, just enough time to dump our bags then we headed out to explore. Wandering down the beach, we checked out the jetski hire prices,

avoided paragliders flying overhead,

eyed off the outdoor spas

and laughed at the guy riding his bicycle through the water.

For lunch we discovered Tomato Nasi Kandar, a place Claire had read about as being not much to look at but with great indian food. They were right about it not being a design star – plastic chairs, outside dining, cars coming and going in front, cats wandering nearby – but geez, they were also right about the food being good.

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I decided I hadn’t eaten proper indian food ever in Australia after dining at this place. The tandoori chicken was divine, the naan bread cooked perfectly and the vege curry was swoon worthy. We were so hungry we just got stuck in with our hands and demolished it quickly. The best thing was that the whole meal was under $15 for the two of us and that included the teh tarik and cokes that we bought. We vowed we would return.

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Wandering back to our room we hung out for a while, then headed to the other end of the beach to the Casa Del Mar for cocktails. This was as far removed from Tomato Nasi Kandar as you can get. One of the more expensive hotels in Pentai Cenang, it had a lovely pool, a hut for a bar and dining with your feet in the sand.

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We spent an hour or so there trying out the incredible cocktails – with items like Spiced & Peppered Pineapple Mojito and a CDM Colada with nitrogen charged coconut cream, why wouldn’t you?

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We lazily watched the sun set from our drunken perch, listened to the hotel give a talk to their guests about all the things on offer then wandered back to our room.

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Our first impression of Langkawi wasn’t a great one. We constantly compared it to Thailand which was a bit unfair. The water wasn’t as nice, there wasn’t as much music, people didn’t smile and the sand wasn’t as yellow. Our room was such a downmarket jump from the hotels we were staying in that we were really disappointed with that also. Somewhere along the way Claire and I had become accustomed to the finer things in life and a place that would have once seemed awesome now disappointed. But things got better throughout the day once we discovered the food and the drink, so we were almost happy by the end of the day. Aren’t we spoilt brats. 🙂

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