Archive for April 6th, 2009

In search of the best value

Monday, April 6th, 2009

42 km, 3h 10 min, max temp 45 (ouch)

We were up early and arrived at the ferry company to buy our tickets to Langkawi more than an hour before departure. The folks at our hotel said they did not take bikes, so we were a little concerned; however, we need not have been. The receptionist at the ferry company told us we would need to pay a 15 MYR per bike handling fee a the dock, but otherwise no problem. We were placed on the second sailing (8:30) because the Captain of the 8:15 did not want the bikes.

Since we were so early, we had plenty of time to head back to Little India and find breakfast. We had a wonderful Roti Canai and a brief discussion with a vacationing long bearded Aussie who lives in rural Indonesia and teaches Islam.

When we arrived at the ferry, we were immediately charged the handling fee for the bikes. Once they were paid, there was a little bit of confusion. The two captains negotiated, and we ended up being moved to the 8:15 sailing – which was better for us, as it was the direct boat and got us into Langkawi sooner.

The bikes were loaded with the rest of the luggage and we were sent downstairs to find a seat. Passengers are not permitted to sit up top with the luggage. The boat is a high speed (about 21 knots) tube. It felt pretty much like being in an airplane, but with a view of water rather than clouds.

Unloading the bikes from our High-speed ferry

Unloading the bikes from our High-speed ferry

By 11 am we were on Langkawi, we grabbed a quick lunch and hopped on our bikes. The majority of beach resorts, and the less expensive accommodation is all on the west coast, with the nice beaches. It’s a pleasant 32 km ride through rolling hills which were a nice change after the long climbs last week.

We were not in a rush to find a place, so we surveyed many different resorts. The prices ranges from 20 MYR a night for a shared room in a hostel to 600 MYR for a villa at a resort. We checked a bunch of places on the Tengah beach and south end of the Cenang beach, but nothing on the north end. After three hours of touring, we still had visited fewer than half of the options – lots of choice!

For cyclists, we have three recommendations based upon your budget and preferences:

  • Cheapest, starting at 20 MYR per person per night, the Zackry Guesthouse. If you want a room with AC, call in advance. When we arrived they were almost fully booked. We were offered a shared room (three twin beds) with shared bath for 20 MYR per person. If you are looking for a hostel experience, this place was booming with activity.
  • Midrange, starting at 80 MYR per night but negotiable with discounts for longer stays, the Kedawang Beach Inn. The receptionist was very friendly and really wanted us to stay, but we really wanted a pool or beachfront and this place did not have either. The rooms were exceptionally clean and you had 24-hour access to a shared kitchen. They are close to the beach and snuggled between the Sunset resort and some stores. No Internet, but an Internet café is at the street out front.
  • Higher mid-range, listing at 150 MYR but we got a discount to 130 MYR, the Langkawi Boutique Resort. We love the natural setting pool. The first room we saw was a little musty – all rooms have carpet. We asked to see a couple more rooms and found one that was perfect. Rooms have AC, minifridge, and TV, and they are huge so no need to trip over our bikes. There is free Internet at the lobby, and Internet by coupon (10 MYR per 24-hours) in the rooms, although for most of our visit the in-room Internet wasn’t working {frown}.

We checked out a few of the higher-end resorts as well, and were surprised to find several were either full or mostly full. It seems the package-tour business is still going strong, at least at the top end. (Lee, we tried to get a tour of the rooms at the Pelangi Resort (1000 MYR – 3000 MYR per night at the desk – much cheaper on the Internet), but they were full. Too bad. We’re betting their spa doesn’t have a snow room or a salt room, like the Cappadocia Cave Resort though!)

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