- The fastest way to get here is by air. Langkawi has an airport and it hosts airlines from not only various parts of Malaysia but also from some of its neighbouring countries.
- Another way to get here is by ferry. The ferry from Penang took about three hours. The whole ride is quite enjoyable especially if you sit on top of the ferry with a drink.
Where to stay:
Many of the travel websites have been stating that there are very limited backpacker hotels and hostels in Langkawi. They are not totally right. Yes, they are a bit hard to find but you will find them if you know where to look. The beach road near the Cenang Beach has atleast five hotels and hostels which can provide accommodation at affordable rates of around 40-60 RMs. Dorm beds can cost as low as 15 RMs. I stayed at the AB Motel and even though it is not the cleanest of the motels in the area, but its proximity to the beach and the markets really makes a strong case for AB motel.
What to do (in Cenang and near abouts)
- The best thing to do while in Langkawi is to be at the beach, all day. Doesn’t matter whether you are lazing around under the palm trees with a worn out novel in hand, getting a tan, or participating in water sports, it doesn’t get any better than being close to the water.
- The Underwater world is located right in the middle of the Beach Road. Even though, it may not be “out of this world”, I feel it is still worth a visit, especially if you stay in the area.
- Go on a day trip. There are plenty of travel agents and tour operators offering you different ways to spend your day. From jungle walking to fishing, they have it all. The Island hopping tour which costs about 25 RMs and takes you around 3 different islands, is a pretty nice way to spend your afternoon.
How to spend an awesome day in Cenang
1.Get up early in the morning and head to the beach. Splash around in the water and participate in some water sports, if you are into those. Otherwise, just grab a good book and a drink, find a good palm tree and relax. Watch out for jelly fishes which usually come to the shore in the morning.
2.Have breakfast at one of the many beach side cafes and restaurants. There is a bakery right next to the AB minimart which is pretty darn awesome.
3.Head to Underwater World. This helps in two ways. First, it is fun and educational. Second, it is one of the better ways to spend some time indoors. Its air conditioned interiors are an excellent respite from the usually hot Langkawi weather.
4.Head to the Arabic restaurant right on the beach next to the AB motel reception. Order a chicken soup, which would be thick and creamy, not to mention delicious as hell. Most of the mutton preparations, though a bit heavy and a tad spicy for the western palette, are quite delightful. If you are not into Arabic food, you can head to Tomato, which serves Indian, Western and Malay cuisine at very reasonable rates.
5.After a hearty lunch, head to the one of the tour operators in the area and book an afternoon “Island hopping tour”. The tour lasts for about 3 ½ hours and is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in Langkawi. Another great way to spend the afternoon, though a lot more expensive is to hire a private car and head to the Temurun and Durian waterfalls.
6.After the trip, (and a quick shower and a change of clothes, in case it is hot), you can head to the Artizans for some really good pizzas. In case you want some local flavours, you can head to the sidewalk near the Underwater World where you can find some nice Nasi Lumak and Nasi Campar. There are also road side carts selling of chicken, fish, and squid satays.
7.Langkawi doesn’t have much to offer as far as nightlife is concerned but you can roam around in the night markets or take a long walk at the beach. Not only is the weather usually pretty good in the evenings, but the walks can help you work up an appetite for dinner.
8.For dinner, head to the end of the beach road. Right next to the Turkish restaurant and opposite the famous Casablanca Sea Food restaurant, is another sea food restaurant (forgot the name), run by a Chinese family. Try the chilly crab with some fried rice and drinks.
9.After dinner, head back to the beach and take another long walk. You might see the locals pulling out the fishing nets from the water. If you wait long enough, and I suggest you do, you will see their day’s catch of fishes, crabs etc. (maybe mermaids too). One of them might be on your dinner plate the next night.
10.Sit down with the waves at the Rafiis right on the beach and enjoy some local music while knocking down a few beer cans. Shyam, the waiter there is extremely friendly and will make sure you have a good time.
Awesome Day accomplished.