Relaxing on Malaysia’s Western Islands: Langkawi and Penang

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Langkawi

We hopped on a quick flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi to start the next part of our Malaysia visit.  Langkawi is an island that is part of an archipelago of approximately 100 islands off the coast of Malaysia.

We stayed at the Best Star Hotel that was located right on the Pantai Cenang Beach. We had a great sunset view from the powdery sand beach every night. There were plenty bars were you could get cheap beers ($1 USD) and restaurants with pretty good food.

Langkawi is a duty free island which means some things are very inexpensive. Across from our hotel was a duty free shop for all your alcohol, tobacco and snack needs. There were also a few places to eat and some clothing and souvenir shops in the building if you wanted to escape the heat. Besides hanging out at the beach behind the hotel, we decided to go on a couple day trips to enjoy some of the attractions.

 

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-Sunset view from the beach-

 

Island Hopping Day Trip

After lounging at the beach and getting the lay of the land the first day on Langkawi, we decided to book an island hopping day trip.  The trip would take us to three stops in a 10-15 person boat to partake in the different activities.

First we visited an island that was home to many monkeys and, after a hike up some gnarly stairs, a freshwater lake.  The lake is named Lake of the Pregnant Maiden as the outline of the islands mountains bear a resemblance to this image. During our trip up the side of the island, we saw dozens of monkeys and many of them were engaging with the people as they walked by. We saw some people get their food stolen and pretty much anything else that wasn’t zipped, buttoned or tied down seemed fair game for these guys. One monkey was awesome enough to pose for a sweet photo with me. Once you finished the hike and arrived at the lake, you could go for a swim, rent paddles boats, walk around a short hiking trail or just hang out and take in the views.

 

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-View on the way to the lake-

 

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-Looking for more victims-

 

Next up, we visited an island cove to watch some eagles feed. At one point we saw what looked like an old pier and bridge to get onto the island but it was not passable anymore. After a few minutes we were on to the next island.

 

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-About to go fishing-

 

At our last stop on the trip, we arrived at an island with a secluded beach where you could just relax or float around in the water a bit. We noticed a few jellyfish in the area so we didn’t spend too much time in the water. Other people snorkeled and sunbathed. There was a small hut that sold potato chips and sodas but not much else was on the island. Monkeys lived there and some people would toss them water bottles and other things to play with…not the best thing to do but it was entertaining to watch.

 

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-Last stop on the island hopping trip-

 

Day trip to The Langkawi Cable Car/Langkawi SkyBridge

The Langkawi Cable Car (SkyCab) takes you to the peak of Gunung Machinchang, which is the second highest peak in Langkawi. The degree of slope between the Base Station and the Middle Station is 42 degrees, which the signage indicated was the steepest in the world.

There are three stations during your SkyCab adventure: Base, Middle and Top.

We arrived at the Oriental Village which is home to the Base Station of the SkyCab.  It consists of 30 buildings that show off different types of Malaysian and Oriental architecture.  Here we purchased a ticket for the SkyCab and SkyDome.  During your wait in line, you were shown a short movie in the SkyDome and then entered the final queue for the SkyCab ride up the mountain.  During peak times, you can wait in line for hours.

 

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-The queue for the SkyDome and SkyCab before you take the journey up the mountain-

 

The Middle station is where the SkyCab takes the 45 degree ascent up the mountain. At this station there are some spectacular views. You can continue on up to the top here or get out and look off of the platforms and snap some photos of your surroundings before continuing.

 

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-View up the mountain from the Middle Station-

 

The Top Station has two tall viewing platforms and some other small amenities.  This is where you buy your ticket to cross the SkyBridge.  The SkyGlide is an inclinator (small car that rides on tracks and goes up and down) that will take you to the SkyBridge but this costs extra and we were cheap so we opted to walk.  If we go there again…I will gladly pay extra for the SkyGlide.  The 15 min walk on the side of the mountain down a not so well maintained path wasn’t the smartest thing we did.  The steps were sometimes rocks, sometimes fallen branches hammered together with pieces of lumber or sometimes cement.  It was fairly strenuous and treacherous but once you get there, the views from the bridge were amazing. There were several glass panels along the walk on the bridge where you could look down from the walkway to see the forest and mountain below. After walking around on the bridge a bit and taking some photos, we headed back down.

 

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-Some views from the top station-

 

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-View of the SkyBridge from one of the observation decks on the Top Station-

 

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-The SkyBridge-

 

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-Top is the walkway we took to get to the SkyBridge.  Bottom is the SkyGlide that we SHOULD have taken to the SkyBridge-

 

We spent the rest of our time in Langkawi just hanging out and walking around the main street looking at the shops and checking out the food. It was a nice lazy beach town highlighted by the warm calm water and powdery white sands.

 

Penang

We embarked on a 3-hour ferry ride from Langkawi to Penang, another island state in Malaysia.  I read about some horror stories of rough seas and crowded ferries but the ride was fine.  The seats were comfortable and I got to see Behind Enemy Lines for the 15th time.  We arrived at the ferry station on Penang without much fanfare and walked to where I thought was supposed to be a taxi stand, but it was just a bunch of drivers asking everyone who got off the ferry if they needed a ride.

Our hotel, the Hotel Neo+, was located in Penang’s capital city of George Town.  It was a fairly new, modern looking hotel with very nice rooms, onsite restaurant and a rooftop pool.  It was in a good location within walking distance of a few nice places to eat, malls (more malls!) and a McDonalds!  One night, while we walked over to the mall where McDonalds was located, we stopped by a place called Times Square and saw a girl pop cover band put on a concert.  The audience was full of mall patrons and people eating outside watching the performance.

We didn’t have much planned for Penang when we arrived.  There was an area about 1km from our hotel with some nice street art that we checked out one afternoon and took some photos.  We spent some time walking around the jetties, checking out the water traffic and taking in some of the old buildings around Georgetown.

The island is famous for street food and has a strip of beach resorts but the high humidity socked our ambitions to see much other then the pool.

 

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-Some of the street art we came across while walking around Penang-

 

From Penang, we were headed back KLIA2 airport in Kuala Lumpur for our next adventure in Myanmar.

 

Check out some more photos in our Malaysia photo album below!

 

Malaysia Cover

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