Planning where to head to for our long weekend holiday on account of Republic day in India on Jan 26th, we had nearly decided on a Singapore Malaysian cruise given the long weekend is really short to do anything much. But most of us were not interested in the idea of being on the water with land out of sight for hours, so one of us suggested that we visit Langkawi, and thereby the idea took form and we planned this short visit to Langkawi from Chennai for 4 days.
The Journey between Chennai -> Langkawi:
KL (Kuala Lumpur) is about a 4-hour flying time away from Chennai. And Langkawi is about 1-hour flying time away from KL. The connecting time at the airport were about 1.5 hours for the onward journey and around 3 hours for the return journey.
I was initially a bit anxious whether we can make it on time for the connecting flight as we have to cross immigration. But on advice from a helpful member from TA I had booked a single airline (Malindo Air) from Chennai-> KL -> Langkawi. The baggage is checked-in all the way up to Langkawi, so that saves a lot of time. The international and domestic flight arrived and departed from the same airport, but in separate terminals. To change the terminal from international to domestic, one has to take the airport train or bus which can be boarded from inside the airport itself. The security staff inside the airport are quite helpful and will guide passengers if requested. The immigration is found in the transfer counter in KL before the gates and they were quite vacant when we arrived by around noon in KL with no queue at all. I suggest to have all your travel documents out and ready with you to show to the immigration officer to save bit of time. They interview one person at a time and so if you are traveling as a family you still would need to present yourself one at a time. The immigration officers seemed bit stern and unfriendly.
The travel documents needed to be presented by Indians, to the Malaysian immigration officers are mainly:
- Passport valid from 6 months before the date of return
- eNTRI visa which can be obtained at minimum 2 days prior to travel from this website – https://www.windowmalaysia.my/evisa/evisa.jsp for 1300 INR. You don’t have to go through any agents, and the eNTRI can be obtained within ½ hour of uploading your details to the site and is valid for 15 days from the date of entry.
We travelled by Malindo air which is a full-service budget airline. The tickets were booked directly from the Malindo airline official website – https://www.malindoair.com/ and the booking process was smooth. The cost includes one 15 kg check in baggage, 7 kg hand baggage, a minimal inflight entertainment system and a meal during journey. The journey was uneventful, but just don’t expect too much from a budget airline. It was the cheapest airline we found to fly from Chennai to Langkawi as compared to the competition – Malaysian airlines and Air Asia, and hence we booked it. The flight stewards were friendly, smiling and greeting when we entered the aircraft and were not snooty, so that is a plus. The flight entertainment system was showing 4 Bollywood movies and 1 Tamil movie and a few Hollywood movies amongst movies from other countries and a few TV shows. Headsets were not provided for the inflight entertainment system during the onward international flight. However, the system works with any earphone or personal head-sets. So, we just used our Samsung and iPhone earphones with the inflight entertainment system. The meal options were Indian Vegetarian Biryani and Malaysian Non-Vegetarian (Chicken Redang). Initially we were told by one of the flight attendants that the Non-Vegetarian meal option was not available. As Indians they tried to convince us to take the Vegetarian Biryani. But my mom found the Biryani spicy and when she saw a passenger sitting in the adjacent row having some white rice she asked the attendant for that meal. Then with some hesitation the flight attendant gave the same meal to my mom and we eventually found that it was white rice with Chicken Redang, so they did have Non-Vegetarian meal options available after all. The flights were on time and the baggage weren’t late either and we did not encounter any lost baggage both ways. So overall, considering the uneventfulness and the cost I would still fly with Malindo air though their inflight services need to be tweaked a bit and I believe that will make Malindo one of the best airline to fly with.
|Airline||Route||Date||INR PP||USD PP|
|Malindo Air with Batik Air||Chennai->KL->
|25-Jan-2018 (Onward), 29-Jan-2018(Return)||~20,000||~300|
Our herd prefers to stay amongst the hustle-bustle, activities and are drawn to vibrant atmosphere. After looking around the reviews on the internet, we decided to stay in Pantai Cenang @ hotel Nadias. We booked directly with the hotel instead of the online hotel booking websites as the Deluxe Quad room which can accommodate 4 people at a time was not available through the other websites.
We were 6 of us and we booked 1 Deluxe Quad room and 1 Deluxe Double room. The Deluxe Quad room was quite spacious with a 4-seater sofa, 4 beds amongst other amenities like tables, chairs, slippers, iron-board, air-condition et cetera. The king double room is much smaller, and not much of space to move around. It may suit a couple who just uses the hotel room to sleep for the night. If you are a family with kids, I recommend to go for the Deluxe Quad room. The kids will definitely love it and you get a lot more space to move around as well. The bathrooms are more spacious in the Deluxe Quad room type and are provided with toiletries like toothbrush and paste, shower, conditioner, body lotion and shower cap. Don’t expect any view from the rooms. The rooms don’t have balconies as well. What you will see from your windows are buildings under construction.
Room cost with Breakfast:
|Room type||INR /Room/Night||RM /Room/Night||USD /Room/Night|
|Deluxe Quad room||~6500||400||~100|
|Deluxe King room||~4400||270||~65|
The path from the lift to the rooms is a long corridor with rooms on either side. Be careful, the floors are very slippery especially when they are cleaning the floors and the water is not wiped fully as it is allowed to air-dry. My mom slipped once on it. So, if you are with elderly or children be a bit careful when walking to your room. The hotel overall is clean though. They do have an indoor pool which the kids used once, but it was very chilly, but that did not deter the kids from using it. The beach is about 5 mins walk from the hotel and is full of activities like banana boat and jet skis. The hotels provide pool towels and beach towels. The area around the hotel and the beach are bustling with restaurants, food stalls, massage parlours, roadside shops selling clothes and electronic items, and duty free mini malls. The breakfast is not very elaborate, but it will do. They don’t have a dessert spread, but they have English breakfast like Sausages, Salami, French toast, live Egg station, herbed baked Potatoes, Milk, Coffee, Tea, spreads like Kaya (my favourite spread), Peanut butter, Jams, Salads, Cereals and local fare like Redang Chicken, Fried Rice or Noodles. There is also a tour operator available inside the hotel, but we did not use them. We instead used the operators in the street outside the hotel. There are plenty of tour operators you will come across when you take a walk on the street.
Will I stay here again- Yes, I think the Deluxe Quad room is good and spacious, and the hotel is clean, amidst the action zone.
We used cabs through Uber, Grab apps and at times Prepaid cabs to move around the island. Grab is a local app and is more popular with the local passengers and cab drivers. It was easy to install and user friendly. One of the drivers told us that the Uber and Grab charge point to point based on the kilometres travelled, whereas the prepaid taxis charge zone to zone. So, the prices are therefore sometimes cheaper with Uber and Grab compared to Prepaid taxis. Uber accepts cards, but we paid the Prepaid and Grab cab drivers using cash.
Cost of the cab transport:
|Cab Type||From destination||To destination||One way/Return||RM|
|Prepaid||Langkawi Airport||Hotel (Pantai Cenang)||One way||25|
|Uber||Langkawi Airport||Hotel (Pantai Cenang)||One way||10|
|Uber||Hotel (Pantai Cenang)||Langkawi Airport||One way||20|
|Prepaid (SUV)||Hotel (Pantai Cenang)||Kilim Jetty (For mangrove tour)||Return||120|
|Uber (SUV)||Hotel (Pantai Cenang)||Jetty (for Island hopping tour)||One way||10|
|Uber (SUV)||Hotel (Pantai Cenang)||Kuah Town Night market||One way||40|
|Uber (SUV)||Hotel (Pantai Cenang)||Sky bridge||One way||35|
|Prepaid (SUV)||Sky bridge||Underwater world||One way||50|
The Hotel had WIFI, but off-late I have developed the habit of buying local SIM cards from the countries I travel to as souvenirs and hence I ended up buying DiGi which was available from near the exit of the airport. If I remember correctly it costed 40 RM for a prepaid plan that allowed 5 GB of data, unlimited local calls (I think) and 40 mins free calls to India which was more than sufficient for us for the 4-day stay.
Cash or Card:
Our hotel and big restaurants like The Cliff, Manhattan et cetera, accepted credit cards, but we used the local currency Ringgit(RM) to pay shopkeepers, cabbies, tour operators and local food stalls. We converted the currency in the exit at the airport and there were also some money exchangers in the Pantai Cenang main road. The Cenang mall beside the hotel has few ATMs where one can withdraw local currency if you have an international credit, debit or travel card.
Read about the Sights of Langkawi here:Sights of Langkawi
Read about the Food of Langkawi here:Food in Langkawi