One of the reasons why I decided to study at the Malaysian Campus was to explore more places around the world before I graduate. However, given how busy we are with our assignments and labs in EEE, I haven’t had much of a chance to go around Malaysia apart from Johor and Kuala Lumpur. So when a week break for the Chinese New Year came up, it was a no brainer to go around Malaysia this time, particularly to Langkawi, perhaps Malaysia’s most popular island for visitors.
Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands situated off the north-east coast of Malaysia, near its border with Thailand. It’s accessible by air and sea, with direct flights from Kuala Lumpur and ferry services to Kedah and Penang. In addition to pristine beaches, Langkawi is also famous because of the fact that the island is completely tax free. That not only means that you won’t have the ‘GST'(Goods and Service tax) on every bill like in the rest of Malaysia but also the fact that chocolates and alcohol(among other products) are available for a very cheap price in Langkawi.
We decided to take a flight to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur. After arriving at Langkawi in the evening, we decided to check out the ”Pasar Malam’ in Kuah, the town area in Langkawi. Pasar Malam is a typical night market in Malaysia comprising of number of vibrant open stalls which sell a number local and South Asian dishes. Apart from Malaysia’s iconic Satay(Chicken/Beef/Lamb skewers), you can find a number of snacks and drinks here. This is perhaps your best bet for local food at very low prices. One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed about stalls in Malaysia is how creatively they can pack any kind of food for convenient take-away. After that, we decided to go around the beach for a night walk. One of the biggest beaches in Langkawi is the Pentai Cenang. Even at around 12 AM, the beach was lively and had the finest sand I’ve ever come across at any beach.
The next day we decided to stock on some chocolates first. Hershey’s, Toblerone, Cadbury, Ferrero Rocher, Lindt and all kinds of chocolates very available in plenty at the duty free shops in Kuah and at a considerably lower price than the market price as they were duty-free. After that, we went to the Eagle Square in Langkawi. The word Langkawi itself means a ‘Red Eagle’ apparently, and on the tip of the island near Kuah, there is a large Red Eagle statue to symbolise that. Going there around the sunset time is a plus for some gorgeous views.
Last day at Langkawi and we decided to visit the Cenang beach again. While the beach is pristine, the other main attraction there is the chain of restaurants around it offering various cuisines like Arabic, French, Indian, Italian and Malaysian. In particular we came across an authentic French café, managed by a French couple. The café served delicious Waffles, Pancakes, Croissants, Pasta and wraps at moderate prices.
Overall Langkawi is your go-to island with a bonus of extremely cheap chocolates. Car hire is your best option to go around and do try the food across the island which offers some authentic cuisines from across the world.