A day on the Malaysian island of Langkawi

On Dec. 15 we entered the multi-island country of Malaysia and spent the day on the northern island of Langkawi. The best way I can describe this pretty little island is to compare it to Cancun or Huatulco, Mexico…it is a manufactured resort. By that I mean that 20 years ago it was mostly rice fields. The government decided to develop it for tourism and declared it duty-free. So resorts and attractions were built.

We did a ship’s tour called “Langkawai Highlights” and we saw a small “geopark” which describes the history and process of growing rice (with a very nice museum), a new marina complex, a batik store and the Underwater World attraction in the town of Pantai Cenang. None of these was earth-shaking in itself, but we did get to drive around the entire western side of the island and thus were able to see many of the resorts and homes here.

It is a modest place that has been nicely developed for tourism. I really did not come all this way to go to an aquarium but Underwater World seems popular with visitors from elsewhere (approx. $10 US admission). The batik store did offer some higher quality goods than we had seen elsewhere so was a decent shopping stop.

Those who took the free ship’s shuttle into Langkawi were dropped off at Underwater World and were generally unhappy with the shops in the vicinity (it appears that there is better shopping elsewhere). However, one couple was smart enough to walk behind the attraction to take a very nice walk on the beach.

If I ever return, I think I would hire a cab over to Kuah Town which appears to have a bit  more to do and maybe better shops. There is at least one “shopping mall” in Kuah and the Westin Hotel is here as well.  I would recommend that in the future the ship’s shuttle drop off passengers both in Pantai Cenang and Kuah Town. They are not that far apart and would offer far more to do.

Last night we had the second on-deck barbeque of this cruise. They do these very well…they set up tables on decks 7 and 8 and put on a lavish spread under the stars. Champagne and wine are poured freely (remember, all alcohol is included) and there is great entertainment and dancing. Better yet, it is over fairly early and we are definitely an early-to-bed bunch of folks.

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