| Part 3: Langkawi
16.12: KL -> Langkawi
Hotel Mutiara Burau Bay, Langkawi.
RM310 (special reduced package price for Malysian nationals and their
families) for a chalet with two rooms (one sleeping room and one living
room), buffet breakfast included. No seaview, the chalet is in the
forest. In the sleeping room they place a baby bed and an additional
bed for Alissia at no extra charge (we actually booked a triple room).
The room is clean, has A/C, a TV, a fridge, nice furniture, bathroom
with shower and a bathtub; there is also a hair dryer in the bathroom.
The chalet is definitely good, but is old and a bit run down. They
could charge less for this chalet. No or very few mosquitoes in the
area. Black monkeys walk around the complex freely and are not afraid
of humans. I recommend this place, just be aware that you are a bit
isolated, far away from shops and restaurants. The only real restaurant
option, unless you want to take a taxi, is the restaurant of the hotel,
which is not bad, but overpriced by Malaysian standards.
Weather: overcast in KL in the
morning. Mostly overcast in Langkawi as well, although the sun shows up
briefly in the late afternoon. Tropically hot, no rain
We get up at 7am, have breakfast and check out. By 9 something am we
are in a taxi to the airport (driver is charging us RM90 for the trip,
we could probably have negotiated this down a bit). Around 10:20am we
are at the LCCT terminal of Airasia, where we check in. The Airasia
flight AK6304 takes off almost on time. The hostesses are
We arrive in Langkawi around 12:30pm, then take a taxi to the hotel
(RM24, coupon system at the airport. We check in at the hotel and spend
the rest of the day doing not much. Alissia and I enjoy the hotel pool
for a while. The area surrounding the hotel is quiet and peaceful.
There is a nice beach, with few tourists on it. No mass tourism like
Mallorca, Phuket or even Chaweng beach on Koh Samui. Come here if you
want to relax and enjoy a holiday. The sea water is not crystal clear,
but the beach is clean and nice.
Around 5pm I go with Alissia to the Oriental Village, from where the
cable car to the hill takes off. By the time we are ready to take the
cable car the sun has disappeared, so we change our plans. At 6pm
Alissia and I have a dinner at the Japanese restaurant in the oriental
village. The dinner is overpriced for Malaysian standards and I am
still hungry when I leave. Later in the evening I have a second dinner
in the restaurant of the Mutiara hotel.
Hotel Mutiara Burau Bay, Langkawi.
Weather: overcast until 3pm, blue sky
with a thin clouds layer after that. No rain.
We get up at 9am, and have breakfast shortly before 10am. After the
breakfast we hang around a bit, then Alissia swims in the children
pool. Around 1pm we take a taxi (RM 26) to Cenang beach. This is a
tourist area with shops and restaurants. The idea would be to shop
around a bit, have lunch and use an Internet cafe.
Once there we notice that it is in practice not possible to walk around
the area with a baby stroller, because there is no pavement. There are
several roadworks ongoing, mud and heaps of stones everywhere. So we
just have a lunch in a restaurant, then I send Shirley with the kids by
taxi (RM 24) to the Langkawi Parade Mall in Kuah, where they can do
some shopping. In the meantime I check my emails in an Internet cafe.
When I finish I take a taxi and join Shirley at the Langkawi Parade
Mall. This is a small mall with three floors in Kuah. Not too
impressive but I guess you can't expect too much from an island.
Around 4pm we have some food in the Marrybrown fast food restaurant of
the mall. Then at 4:15pm we drive back to the hotel, but first make a
stop at the bald eagle square in Kuah. It takes 10 minutes to get to
the square. There are some Islamic style buildings and this oversize
statue of the white headed eagle. At 4:45pm we drive back to the hotel,
arriving there around 5:30pm.
Since the sky now is almost blue, I seize the opportunity to take the
cablecar to the hilltop while Shirley and the kids take a rest in the
room. I'm in the Oriental Village at 5:50pm, and by 6:05pm I on the
first station on the hilltop. Nice view, but lots of haze. Poor
visibility in the distance. Strong wind and quite cold on the hilltop.
The haze is so strong that it becomes almost impossible to see Koh
Shortly after 7pm I'm back in the hotel. In the evening we have dinner
in the hotel. The holiday has so far meant loss of sleep for the kids,
because they can't sleep at the usual times. Especially Natasha is
suffering because when she would sleep she is with us somewhere
outdoors (and of course she is still jet-lagged).
Hotel Mutiara Burau Bay, Langkawi.
Weather: almost blue sky in the
morning, later in the day the sky becomes essentially spotlessly blue
with not a single cloud in the sky.
We get up at 9:15am and during breakfast run into a Taiwanese-German
couple. He's German (from Munich), she is Taiwanese, they have three
kids and currently live in Singapore. Now Shirley has a friend here in
the resort with whom to chat. After breakfast, at 10:40am, we go to the
beach and spend the next hours until after 1pm on the beach swimming
and relaxing. Alissia overcomes her fear of the water and manages to
swim with the swimming ring in the sea.
After that we have a lunch in the Malay restaurant outside the hotel. I
order some fish (a Seabass) - not too bad, but relatively pricey at RM
39. Apparently I ate a 650 grams fish - didn't notice that there was so
much meat. Then Shirley gets back to the room and takes a rest with the
kids. She is not too crazy about taking the cablecar to the mountain,
so, while she is in the room, I get out on my own.
At first I head again to the beach for some more photos. Then I walk to
the cablecar and get again on the top. Today the visibility is much
better than the one we had yesterday, so I seize the opportunity to
take some panoramic shots. Long queue at the cablecar station, I manage
to be on top only at 5:30pm. Strong wind again on the top.
At 6:15pm I get down and am back on the beach at 6:45pm for some sunset
shots. The sun sets at 7:10pm and then Shirley joins me with the kids.
We are on the beach until 7:45pm, then get back to the room. The day
ends with a dinner at 9pm.
After that I surf a bit the web in the hotel lobby (RM 10 per half
hour). I notice that the Euro is now at RM 5.03 to the ringgit.
Something must have happened in these few days that sent the Euro up
and/or the RM down or a combination of both. In any case, our holiday
is getting cheaper.
Hotel Mutiara Burau Bay, Langkawi.
Weather: spotless blue sky the whole
day. Only in the late afternoon some isolated clouds show up. Very hot.
We don't do much today. We have breakfast in the morning, then Alissia
swims in the pool until noon. I don't swim in the morning because the
sun is strong and getting stronger and I'm sunburnt. Will swim in the
Around 1pm we take a taxi (RM 8) to the Marina harbour near Burau bay.
We could actually have walked to this place, but it's very hot, there
is no pavement along the road and with two kids it's not an option to
walk along the street under the sun. In the Marina we have some lunch
in a KFC restaurant, then Shirley goes with the kids to an indoor
children playground while I walk to the Internet cafe, arriving there
The owner of the Internet cafe, a young guy, is sleeping while I
arrive. I check my emails and evaluate my travel options. At the moment
I'm thinking of staying in Malaysia until Jan. 1st, then fly to
Australia for 7-9 days, then fly back to KL. I'll focus on Sabah (will
visit Sarawak during my next trip, most likely next year in June). It
seems that I can't book Airasia flights KL-KK until Dec. 26th and the
same flight with Malaysian Airlines is only available in the business
class on Dec. 21st for RM 1103.
I make several phone calls and check if a Rafflesia flower is blooming
somewhere. There is indeed one in Ranau blooming right now, but I can
only be there on Sunday which is almost too late, as the flower will be
rotting already. Pulau Tiga is an option, although I wonder if I should
spend the time to visit another island. Doesn't make too much sense to
get there just for one or two nights. The Internet connection in this
cybercafe is painfully slow, especially when you try to access sites
located outside Malaysia.
Around 3:30pm Shirley joins me in the Internet cafe. She couldn't find
a taxi to go back to the hotel. After 10 minutes I'm done with the
Internet. I walk out and look for a taxi. Nowhere is there a taxi
stand. So I start walking along the road towards the hotel, thinking of
either stopping a passing-by taxi or getting to the hotel and taking a
taxi there, whatever happens first. After about 200m a private car
stops and the driver asks if he can help. For RM 8 this guy will bring
us to the hotel. Fine with me, we first get back to the Internet cafe.
The owner is still sleeping, so I put RM 6 (the rate is RM 4/hour) in
his hand before leaving. I guess this guy is not afraid that somebody
might steal his computers or that some customer won't pay. Probably
there is very little crime in Langkawi or in this part of Langkawi and
the people here (locals and tourists) are honest.
Back in the hotel it's tea time in the lobby (free tea and cookies).
While Shirley and the kids take a rest in the room, I have some tea,
then explore a bit the hotel park and the beach. Later at 5:30pm I meet
Shirley and the kids on the beach. Alissia and I swim and build sand
castles until the sunset. Then we have a dinner in the hotel
restaurant. It's a buffet dinner (RM48/person) with delicious food and
cool desserts. There is even a chocolate fountain where you drip in
pieces of fruits or cookies.
After dinner I book flights from KL to Kuching (Malaysian Airlines) on
Dec. 21st and Kuching to Kota Kinabalu on the same day very late in the
evening. I'll rent a taxi for half a day and visit a longhouse and a
pepper plantation along the way (or make a sidetrip to the Gunung
Gading NP in case they have a Rafflesia). Will arrive in KK on Dec.
21st at 11:45pm.
Hotel The Summit, Subang Jaya (half an
hour by car from KL). RM 156 for a deluxe room (booked from the
Internet). The room is big with a single bed and a double bed. The A/C
is too strong and the thermostat doesn't work. After complaining with
the reception the staff explains that there are three possible settings
accessible via buttons next to the bed (low, middle, high). Even in the
low setting the A/C is too cold however. Breakfast not included.
Adjacent to the hotel is the Summit shopping mall.
Weather: blue sky with a few small
clouds in Langkawi. Hot and no rain.
We get up as usual at 9:15am and after breakfast pack our things. At
12pm we check out, then are in the lobby until 1pm. After that we take
a taxi to the airport, arriving there around 1:30pm. Once there we
check in and have lunch. Then we proceed to the gate. The AirAsia
flight to KL takes off with a very small delay at 3:40pm and lands in
KL's LCCT terminal one hour later. In the baggage reclaim area no
trolleys are available anymore, so Shirley walks out and takes one from
outside the reclaim area. We take a premier taxi (RM 77), which has a
larger boot area, and drive to the hotel.
Around 6 something pm we check in the hotel. Almost at the same time
Sara and Shirley's mom arrive. They will spend the night with us in
another hotel room. For dinner we drive with Shaun, Shirley's brother,
to a Chinese restaurant in Subang Jaya. After the dinner we drive to
the Sunway Pyramid mall for some shopping.