Saturday, June 6, 2015

Backpacking Langkawi: 3 Days Itinerary and Expenses

Langkawi, officially known as Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah is an archipelago of 99 islands (an extra 5 temporary islands are revealed at low tide) in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. 

I guess it is safe to say that Langkawi is the Boracay of Western Malaysia. Not only because of the sand or the turquoise waters but because of the the influx of tourists on this island, possibly due to its close proximity to Thailand. Boracay's sea and sand are better but Langkawi is not too far behind.

How To Get There

Save yourself from the pain of traveling for 8 hours and just book a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi since Air Asia runs airfare promos year-round. We booked a Kuala Lumpur - Langkawi round trip flight a week before our departure with Air Asia for only MYR 80 (Php 960++) per person. 

From the airport, you can take a taxi to take you to your accommodation of choice for MYR 20 (Php 240++)

If all the flights are fully booked or if you insist on being a hardcore traveler, then from Kuala Lumpur you could also reach Langkawi by sleeper train or by bus.

Where to Stay

Click here to identify which type of personality fits where in Langkawi. There are six different areas to choose from (Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, Kuah, Datai Bay, Padang Matsirat and Pantai Kok). Pantain Cenang (Cenang Beach) is the most popular and being the mainstream-hater wannabe that I am, I wanted to stay away from the touristy Pantai Cenang but thank goodness I did not. Pantain Cenang is the magnet of visitors for good reasons.

We stayed at The Cottage. Their rates attract backpackers and students. You could pay as low as MYR 20 per night (Php 240) for a bunk bed, we got their standard room for MYR 80 (Php 960). You may reserve a room via their Facebook page and they allow payment on arrival. We arrived at 9:30 PM and we did not have any hassle in checking in.

I liked the relaxed vibe, the free hot/cold water with coffee and tea, the friendly staff and the spacious room in this hostel, the only downside is that it is a little far from the beach. Well, it is not really that far as it is just a 5 minute walk to Cenang Beach but passing an uncovered road under the scorching sun during midday or a dark road late at night is not a recommendable experience. 

It would be better if you will rent a car or a motorbike if you will stay here or if you have more than MYR 100 to spend for a room per night, I suggest that you get an accommodation along Pantai Cenang beach. 

The Main Hall where the Backpacker's Lodge and Standard Room are located

This detached cottage is also MYR 80 per night

Standard Room with A/C and hot/cold shower

Common Room

Itinerary and Expenses

Day 0 - 5/27
Price (RM)

ETD KL Sentral to KLIA2 via bus
4:00 PM
5:00 PM

ETD KLIA2 via Air Asia
7:00 PM
ETA Langkawi Airport
8:00 PM

Taxi to The Cottage
8:20 PM
ETA The Cottage
8:40 PM
80 (3 nights)
Lights Out
10:30 PM

Day 1 - 5/28
Price (RM)

Wake up, Breakfast at a near Indian restaurant
8:30 AM
Stroll at Pantain Cenang
9:30 AM

11:00 AM
120 (2 persons)
Lunch at Nasi Briyani Restaurant
12:30 AM

Swim at Pantai Cenang
5:00 PM

Lobster Dinner
8:00 PM
Lights Out
10:30 PM

Day 2 - 5/29
Price (RM)

Wake up, Breakfast at a near Indian restaurant
8:00 AM

Island Hopping Tour via RBY Sea Tours
9:00 AM
Shawarma and Street Food Lunch
12:30 PM

Discover the souvenir and duty free shops along Pantai Cenang Road
6:00 PM

Shrimp Dinner
7:30 PM
Evening Walk and cocktails at Cenang Beach
9:00 PM
Lights Out
11:00 PM

Day 3 - 5/30
Price (RM)

Wake up, Breakfast at a near Indian restaurant
7:30 AM
Rent a car for 12 hours to go around Pulau Langkawi (Langkawi island)
9:00 AM
Arrival at SkyCab (Cable Car)
10:30 AM

Shawarma Lunch
11:30 AM
Langkawi Skycab and Skydome
12:00 PM
Langkawi Skybridge
1:00 PM
Arts in Paradise 3D Museum
3:30 PM
price included in Skycab
Drive to Eagle Square
4:30 PM

Roam around Dataran Lang ( Eagle Square)

Gas for rental car

Back to Pantai Cenang to return car
7:30 PM

Take a taxi to the airport
8:00 PM
Instant noodles dinner at the airport

ETD Langkawi
9:30 PM

ETA Kuala Lumpur
10:30 PM

TOTAL Expenses

1117 for 2 persons

Thoughts, Notes and Travel Tips

I was not expecting to like Langkawi because one of my favorite blogger just visited this island and she despised it but I guess you should never judge a place by its review even if it comes from one of your most trusted travel blogger. 

1. Forget about your diet/healthy lifestyle and EAT. The variety of restaurants along the stretch of Pantai Cenang Road could be a good enough reason to make me want to go back. Langkawi has a serious cuisine game going on and even if I am trying to maintain a guilt-free diet, I ditched it and happily dug in. After all, ang buhay hindi pahabaan, pasarapan.

2. It is better to sleep late and wake up late. As a morning person, it pains me to say that but the shops opens quite late in the day and the life in Langkawi starts after 9:00 PM. We walked along the beach at 8:30 AM and there were not much going on in the morning. I think it is better to plan most of your activities in the afternoon so you don't have to be under the unforgiving sun at noon. Even the Cenang beach is best enjoyed after 6:00 PM in my opinion.

3. Langkawi is the perfect combination of the beach and the mountains and to be able to enjoy both, it is best to rent a car or a motorbike. Unlike in the Philippines, there are no tricycle, jeepneys or habal-habal here. The most common means of transportation is hiring a taxi which could be quite expensive so it is better and cheaper to rent a car (as low as MYR 55 for 12 hours) or motorbike (as low as MYR30 for 24 hours). Fuel is NOT an issue because 1 liter only costs MYR 1 (Php 12++). Also, good news is they honor Philippine license even if we are a left-hand drive country (Malaysia is right hand drive). We rented a Perodua car at Tshoppe along Cenang Beach.

4. If you are like me who did not brought any swimwear/beachwear in Malaysia, it is cheaper to just buy in Langkawi than to search the whole Kuala Lumpur for stylish bathing suits. You could show up in Langkawi without any luggage but with the right amount of money and you will easily survive as there is an abundance of shops along Pantai Cenang road that have almost everything you need.

5. Bring an adapter for your electrical gadgets. This is one of the things that we forgot and luckily, The Cottage staff let us borrow multiple adapters free of charge.

6. If you plan on visiting the SkyCab and SkyBridge, wear something comfortable and do no forget to bring a cap/hat, sunblock and sunnies. It gets scorching hot at the top, especially on the SkyBridge which is uncovered. Also, they will take a picture of you and will try to sell it to you in each station of the SkyCab, note that the price at the Top Station is the cheapest.

I initially wanted to go to Kuala Terengganu and visit Redang, Perhentian or Kapas islands but I figured that the person I am doing this trip for would enjoy Langkawi more since there are more things to do here. 

I thought that having been able to experience the world class beaches in the Philippines will spoil my trip but it is not always how white and fine the sand or how crystal clear the water is. I ended up loving Langkawi because of the diversity of the culture that is packed in just one place.

The Langkawi Series
Backpacking Langkawi: 3 Days Itinerary and Expenses
Backpacking Langkawi: 10 Things To Do

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