Langkawi: Tax Free Paradise

Welcome to Langkawi, a small tax-free island that can be found stranded in the Andaman Sea close to the border between Malaysia and Thailand. Langkawi is a regular hop between Thailand and Malaysia attracting a range of different people, from those looking for a paradise island holiday, those die hard full moon party goers who are here merely on a visa run (leaving Thailand and then re-entering in order to gain an extra few weeks on their visa), and those, like us, who are here to enjoy a bit of cheap, tax free fun – let’s face it, no one enjoys paying tax on things!

As I found out the other day when we rented a scooter, this is the only place that I have visited so far where petrol is the same price (and sometimes even cheaper) as water! Fucking nuts. I popped a couple of litres in the tank of our little prick of a scooter (I will explain in a moment!) and, completely baffled, I only needed to pay just over 3 Ringgit (50p). Absolutely great, we drove around the whole island, which took up most of the day, and only spent 6 Ringgit (£1) on petrol.

On our day of exploration, we drove across to the western corner of the island to check out the SkyBridge. In true cheesey, touristy fashion, there were lots of other activities available all with “Sky” in the name, SkyCab, which is the cable car which takes you up the mountain to do the SkyWalk to the SkyBridge, there is also a thing called SkyDome which is basically a massive screen which makes you feel like you on a rollercoaster, which was pretty shit, and only really succeeded in making Soph motion sick! There is also other crap like SkyRex – this was closed, but I can only imagine it was something to do with dinosaurs, fuck knows, but we did watch a cool 4d film thing, called, fuck knows, SkySomething. All in all lots of shitty tourist crap to choose from, so we picked the cheapest, most basic package for 45 Ringgit each, and took a gondola (SkyCab) to the top of the mountain and went over the to SkyBridge, which was a bridge across an epic canyon between two peaks. Awesome views, but like I say very gimmicky. The over enthusiastic, very persistent, employees were constantly trying to take photos of us in front of green screens and with people dressed as cartoon characters, and then by the next corner we walk around the photo was printed and they try to sell it to us. “No, I don’t want a photo with Donald Duck, thanks, please leave me alone.”

After our morning’s “SkyFun”, and a spot of lunch – whichever genius came up with the idea of wrapping fried rice in an omelette, I don’t know, but I would shake his/her hand! – we headed to the north of the island to a lesser known, quiet and serene beach called Tanjung Rhu. The beach, the sea, the views and the much more peaceful feel (compared to Pantai Cenang where we are staying) were all great, making the 45 min – 1 hour drive well worth it, even if my forearms and knees got annihilated by the sun!

So, back to that little prick of a scooter! Having been in India / Sri Lanka for the past 3 months, technology has eluded us a bit. We therefore had a bit of an episode trying t get the pesky little shit started. After some confusion, minor panic, a bit of sulking on my part, and a bit of proactivity on Soph’s part by calling a guesthouse back in Pantai Cenang and asking for some help, we determined that the only reason the little scooter wouldn’t start is because the kick stand was not tucked back in. Really!? What utter bollocks. I have driven plenty of shitty little scooters over the past few months and have never had to deal with such pointless techy nonsense. So, after both of us proclaiming that we were stranded, panic was finally over! So we hit the road again, not knowing if I was more pissed off with myself, the scooter, or the people we got the scooter off. In the end, after a short drive, I determined it was the scooter that I hated the most, so hence – “little prick”.

A bit traumatised, and feeling a bit stupid, we drove back to Pantai Cenang, via the island’s main town of Kuah – where we found pretty much nothing to be honest, apart from the odd park and some duty free shopping outlets. No shopping allowed on a budget though, so we had to settle for an ice cream, and then drove home!

We have just today/tonight left to continue enjoying cheap drinks, tasty food, and beautiful beaches on Langkawi, before we fly to Penang, another island closer to the mainland. It was only a couple of £s more expensive to fly than catch the ferry, and much, much quicker, so we thought fuck it, why not! We also have only one more night in our cushy little guesthouse, called KG Guesthouse, located just off the main strip of Pantai Cenang, complete with lots of cats, and some rowdy bastard cockerels that like to crow at what seems like all hours of the day and night – reminds me of life growing up on’t farm!

Anyway, unfortunately I am still unable to upload photos, lets hope Penang has better internet options for me and I will get some Kerala Backwaters and Langkawi photos uploaded.

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