Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Loving Langkawi

As I mentioned in a previous blog we spent eight nights on the gorgeous island of Langkawi as part of a two week trip around Malaysia and Singapore.

For our first three nights we stayed at The Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort. The rooms are all in little chalets that can be reached on foot or via golf buggies. We had a pool view chalet, which was great as it meant you could decide where to perch for the day before going to the pool area! The rooms were large with great big balconies as well as lovely bathrooms with a rain shower and separate soaking tub. Food and drinks at the hotel were reasonable and laundry was charged at a fair price. The two hour poolside happy hour daily was a great touch and meant drinks were cheap and the breakfast had everything you could wish for as well as inside and outside dining space.

The best thing about this hotel, is if you come out of the main entrance and turn right within less than a 5 mins walk you will be in the center of Pantai Cenang filled with bars, restaurants, shops and tour operators.

Our two favorite restaurants here were the Orkid Ria Seafood restaurant, which was full every night so be prepared to wait. It's a no fuss plastic chair open aired establishment. They have large tanks full of different fish to choose from, which is priced depending on the weight. Overall we paid £75, there are cheaper places in Langkawi but for a dozen satay, a couple of rum cocktails and beers, giant prawns with mixed veg & rice and a grilled lobster you cannot really complain! Everything was fresh and tasty, the restaurant is noisy and busy with lots of groups but it all adds to the fun holiday atmosphere.

Our second favorite place was The Cliff Restaurant and Bar situated at the opposite end of the strip to our hotel. The restaurant is elevated above the sea to give lovely views. The staff were friendly and attentive and the atmosphere is dark, subdued and romantic. We tried a Thai Green Chicken Curry, a Mutton Masala, mixed veg and two portions of rice. The dishes came with a free glass of house wine and we also ordered a post dinner liquor all for the bargain £26!

We took a trip from this hotel to the cable car, the taxi was 26 MYR each way including the 90 mins wait whilst we visited the area. The cable car was great fun, especially watching the other halves face as we ascended bearing in mind he is terrified of heights! This is very touristy and you will have to queue but the views are spectacular looking over the rain forest and beaches of the island.

For our final five nights on the island we took a taxi to the opposite and quieter side of Datai Beach (considered one of the best in the world) for a stay at The Andaman. This hotel and area is the complete opposite of our first three nights. It's quiet, it's beautiful, it's peaceful and it's mainly couples, this would be ideal for a honeymoon. We had a deluxe rain forest room, which does not really have a balcony, if it's within the budget I would try and take a room with a balcony but the views and sounds of the forest were still amazing. The pool area is set into the rain forest with wildlife all around, including the occasional monkey sneaking by! The beach is secluded, clean and beautiful with a back drop of rain forest.

The hotel offers morning and evening forest walks for free, I would definitely recommend these, they teach you all about where you are staying and the wildlife around you. The spa here is absolutely stunning, you cannot beat a massage in a hut over looking the bay and the best part is happy hour from 5-6:30pm based on the maximum daily temperature.

Once here you will not want to leave this hotel. Food and Drink is expensive for Malaysia but still cheaper than London and you can sign for services at the neighboring Datai hotel. Be warned you are isolated here and taxi journeys will be long for experiencing other areas. The hotel does also offer a variety of tours so it might be best to book directly with them.

The food options and costs:

We tried the Japanese Restaurant at the hotel. We chose to eat at the Teppanyaki grill although inside and outside dining is also available. The menu is set with a mixed and dressed salad, egg fried rice, vegetables, miso soup, a selection of ice cream and your dish of choice. We opted for the king prawn and wagyu beef, all cooked in a fun display by the chef at the grill. The bill was just shy of £100 including a large beer and bottle of water, so still cheaper than a London equivalent.

We also tried the Pavilion at the nearby Datai, the hotel will organize transport or you can take a short walk along the beach. The setting is stunning, elevated high up and surrounded by rain forest on one side and the candlelit hotel on the other, it's very romantic. We had a mixed starter consisting of a spring roll, fried chicken and papaya salad followed by a duck curry, wok fried beef and deep fried chili vegetables. With a bottle of water and two beers the Thai meal was just under £60. Rice is unlimited and complimentary and make sure you say little spice if you are particularly sensitive to chili!

Also at the Datai is the fantastic Gulai House. This is set in the middle of the rain forest and all you will see and hear are the sights and sounds of the wildlife, it's incredible. The service is very good and the staff friendly and knowledgeable. We went for the mixed satay and vegetable fritters to start followed by the coconut chicken curry, wok fried veg, a butter naan, lamb shank and one rice (more than enough for two people). With a glass of white wine, two beers and a large water the bill was around £95.

For our final evening in this wonderful area we chose the hotel's Jala Restaurant. This specializes in fish and what is most exciting is during the day you will see the fisherman delivering the catches. On arrival your shoes are taken and you dine barefoot with your feet sinking into the sand. You choose fresh fish from the selection at the counter with the help and advice of the chef. It is then cooked to your liking and served with your sauce of choice and three side dishes, again of your choice. It works out at about £40 per head for the food.

We loved Langkawi and would thoroughly recommend a relaxing break on the island. If time allows split your time between the fun and happening atmosphere of Pantai Cenang and a quieter, calmer, out of the way hotel to get the best of both worlds. Happy Holidays!