Monday, May 10, 2010

Malaysia Holiday Day 5-7: Penang to Langkawi

(Dave is feeling much better, for those who are curious.)

After I wrote my last post, I had another look at the Langkawi ferry website to figure out how much it was going to cost, and I realised that my initial understanding that we couldn't book in advance was wrong.  So I went down to Hotel Royal's booking desk to ask them to get us tickets.  It was quite late, just after 5pm, and the guy on the desk was very rude.  He told me that we had to book in advance, that the ticket office was closed now, that there was no way we could get a ticket for Sunday morning, and that we should pay for one of their drivers to drive us up the coast to Kuala Kedah and get one of the half-hourly ferries from there.  I asked him if he was completely sure that there was no way we could get tickets and he said there was no way.  Then when I walked away to head back to our room I heard him laughing with one of the drivers that was hanging around.  Understandably, I was pretty upset, so I woke up Dave and explained the situation to him.  He also did some digging and we worked out a back-up plan: taxi to KOMTAR, bus to Bukit Mertajam, train to Alor Setar, taxi to Kuala Kedah, ferry to Langkawi (whew!).  But we decided to try to get tickets to the ferry in the morning anyway, so we arranged for a taxi to pick us up first thing, got crappy room service from the crappy Hotel Royal, and went to bed.

We got up early, had our crappy breakfast buffet, checked out and took our taxi to the ferry office, where the lady cheerfully told us there were plenty of tickets left.  After explaining our ordeal of the previous evening, she implied that the hotel had been basically trying to rip us off.  So don't stay in the Hotel Royal in Penang, ever, they are total crap.  But we got our tickets to Langkawi.  So it all worked out in the end!  The ferry ride was surprisingly pleasant, the ferry was nice and it was very pretty sailing through the islands.  When we got to Kuah on Langkawi, we jumped in a taxi around to the private jetty for the boat to take us to Rebak Island Resort.

Rebak Island Resort is FABULOUS.  I could stay here forever.  It reminds me of those British Empire movies or books, where the British Aristocracy live in India or wherever with an army of servants.  There are staff everywhere and they always greet you and ask you if you need help with anything.  They jump to help and are friendly and polite and everything is so perfect!  Our room is fabulous, the beach is beautiful, the pool is beautiful, the food is excellent...I love it here, it's so relaxing and the perfect end to our holiday.

After we checked in yesterday we basically lazed around in our room, had dinner in the resort restaurant, and then lazed around again.  Today we had a bit of a sleep-in before having a delicious buffet breakfast in the resort restaurant before catching the boat across to the main island for some shopping and sight-seeing.  We took a taxi (because there's no public transport on Langkawi) across the island to the Komplex Kraf Langkawi, which was much better than the craft complex in KL, and did some shopping while our taxi driver waited (for RM10 for the hour, around $4).  Then we took the same taxi to the Oriental Village and Cable Car.

Oriental Village was crap, touristy and full of crappy little trinkets, and with a very sad animal farm.  They also did elephant rides, but I refused to even go and look at the elephants after seeing the state of the animal farm. So we went straight to the cable car.  It was very high and very long, and after we got off at the station two-thirds of the way up to see the view from the lookout, it shuddered to a halt and something fell off one of the cars.  I was soooo glad that we were not suspended in mid-air in a stuffy enclosed space with a pair of strangers when that happened!  But we were most of the way up, so decided to keep going to the top anyway.  The view was really good and it had this neat suspension bridge with more views.  While we were exploring the top of the mountain we heard thunder and saw a big storm coming over the island, so we rushed back to the cable car and started down.  The trip down was scary and I was willing myself to relax: a couple of times it slowed right down and I thought it would stop but we made it to the bottom safely and grabbed another taxi back to the jetty.

The rest of this afternoon we have been lazing in the resort pool, drinking cocktails (me) or rum & cokes (him) and getting tanned (me) or burnt (him :P).  Then we came back to our room and sat on the deck to dry out and now Dave is watching some crappy movie on HBO while I think about what's for dinner tonight!  Tomorrow we do an island-hopping tour and then it's more of the same in the afternoon and possibly a massage or spa treatment of some kind, before we start our long trek home on Wednesday.  I really don't want to leave here and we will definitely be back!

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