February 19th, 2008 – by: stephandadam
Our death-trap ferry
Happy to be escaping the nasty backpacker area of Georgetown we headed off on foot to catch the 8.15 express ferry to Kuah on Pulau Langkawi. The ferry was much smaller than expected and this gave Steph a bit of a torrid time as she has a deep distrust of ferry safety. The trip is scheduled to take two to two and a half hours but ours turned out to be three as it was quite choppy and the ferry apparantly had to slow a little because of the waves. The inspired crew thought that showing the Poseidon Adventure on the TV was a good idea which added to Steph's woes and she understandably wasn't a happy bunny.
The views from the ferry jetty on Langkawi
We can't see an airline showing a movie about a plane disaster as their on board entertainment.
Back on dry land after the bumpy trip we were a bit wobbly as our bodies adjusted back from our sea legs. A chaotic scene evolved as the passengers were desembarked then had to climb back on board up the side of the ferry as the crew did not unload the luggage. How nobody fell into the water between the boat and the dock we have no idea. We knew we had no chance of getting a taxi on a meter here even though it's a legal requirement in Malaysia but also knew the fixed price to go to Pantai Cenang beach was RM 20. The first taxi driver wanted 25 so we turned him down and the second who we think must have been listening went straight to RM20.
Our new home
We had picked a place to stay from the guidebook but as we poodled along with the most careful taxi driver we've had for months taxi after taxi went by and we just knew we'd be in trouble getting a room. Sure enough when we arrived the couple in front of us took the last reasonably priced room. We looked at one hovel next door which was horrible and quickly decided it was a no no. Gutted we settled down in a cafe for a cold drink and plotted a new strategy. Leaving the bags with Steph, Adam headed off in search of a manger.
As is so often the way in these situation it all turned out for the best. As Adam was beginning the long hot slog from dump to dump a really friendly guy on a motorbike came past and offered to show a room in a new place set back a bit on the other side of the road. Nothing to lose so off on the back of the motorbike with the guy Adam thought had said his name was 'Rambo'.
Adam on our porch
Turned out the guesthouse was called 'Rainbow' but the guy will now forever be called Rambo to us. The room was great, super clean, new and best of all only RM30 a night a much better option than any in the guidebooks. Steph and the bags collected, we met the manager/owner who is called Addy and he was also super friendly in true Malaysian style. We immediately knew we'd found the right place and settled right in. He gave us a run down of all the best sights on the island and not once did he try and sell us a tour, he directed us to the cheapest bars, restaurants and convenience stores etc. A true gentleman and clearly not just out to make a buck of the tourists. If you're on a budget and are coming to Langkawi we would absolutely recommend this place.
First task was to get our laundry in as we are both just about out of clean clothes.
View of our beach, Pantai Cenang
We then had a hot stroll getting our bearings around the strip of road that runs behind the beach. Eventually we cut through onto the pure white sandy beach which was incredibly hot to walk on and strolled along the shore. Considering we'd had a bit of trouble getting a room the beach was relatively deserted. We grabbed some lunch at an Indian restaurant which in comparison with the rest of Malaysia was very expensive. We paid US$10 for a lunch!!! Still is was very nice and we've scouted a few much cheaper places since where US$3 should cover us.
Walking out of lunch we bumped into Debbie, a girl who had been on the same tour as us in the Cameron Highlands and had a quick chat. Later in the evening, after we'd had our afternoon swim, shower, backgammon and beers island routine, we ran into her again and all ate together at a little Mexican restaurant which might not have been the best meal choice we could have made but it was tasty and we had a good time.
View of our beach, Pantai Cenang
After dinner we adjourned to a bar appropriately called Debbie's which to be honest was a bit too western pub style, but we enjoyed the super cheap prices of beer as Langkawi has been designated a duty free zone by the Malaysian government. Beer on the mainland RM9 for a can at least on Langkawi RM2! Fantastic.
We'd been here less than 12 hours but already there were so many reasons to love Langkawi.
Pantai Cenang Hostels review
We were very lucky to come across Rainbow Lodge. Thankfully all the places in the usual guidebooks were full or run down and pretty disgusting. Just a… read entire review