From the airport, we took a taxi to our place in Pantai Tengah called Crowded House. This area is next to the slightly busier Cenang and we heard it was supposed to be a bit nicer. However, we also knew it was the start of Ramadan so we had only booked a night to see if it was too quiet. The place we were staying had quite a hippy feel to it, with it being was off the main road, down a track surrounded by trees, fields, and cows. We went in search of food around this area however the usually quite good local, cheap food places were mainly shut. We managed to find a Chinese restaurant called Boat Noodles where we ordered three small plates of food for 6RM each (fried rice, Indian noodles, and Mee Hoon) to try them all which turned out to be quite tasty.
We went for a walk to the local beach, Pantai Tengah, which had a very steep drop off to the sea and quite big waves. It is also where most of the parasailing happens which was interesting to watch people run and fly up in the air and then ungracefully fall to the sand/ get dragged along for a bit! The view out of the sea and the other islands was fantastic though. We wandered along further into the main Cenang area and to the beach there, which was gorgeous, much longer, nicer sand and calmer water. At the other end of the main road, it turned into rice fields, which were a lovely contrast to the beach. Although there was still not loads open over in this area there seemed to be a bit more life and there were at least options in the malls for western food. We sat on beanbags at the Yellow Cafe on Cenang beach and watched the sunset, which was beautiful, so many different colours cast into the sky illuminating the sea, other islands and the beach. The atmosphere was made when the live piano player started too. We had been initially been waiting around this area as Cenang was supposed to have a walking street night market- each beach area has one on one night of the week normally. However, due to Ramadan, these weren’t on as there were Ramadan food bazaars out of the main town. Instead, we found a bit more expensive Indian restaurant (Tulsi Garden) on our way back to our place, having delicious vegetarian meals (17RM each meal). When we got back to ours we were also told there wasn’t really much internet there; it had to be hot spotted from the owner’s phone when he was about. This was the nail in the coffin for us moving to a different place in Cenang, which was a bit more central.
The following morning we had breakfast at the Hornbill Hut, which was nice for the price and then I went to buy a SIM card in Cenang at the Mall whilst Dave checked us out. This was so that we could order an Uber to the area we wanted to stay in Cenang rather than pay for a taxi as the price was drastically different. We took an Uber over to the other side of Cenang, on the other side of the road to the beach where there were many budget options. We ended up at Rainbow Lodge budget rooms where we met Raj who offered us a room for 45RM a night and was very pleasant. He made our stay there as he was incredibly friendly and willing to help us out with renting scooters, booking tours and transport for reasonable prices. Our room was a budget one so just a double bed with a fan and a cold shower but it served its purpose. Thankfully we spent a lot of time out of the room as we would have struggled to chill out there during the day due to it getting suffocatingly hot if you weren’t in the area where the fan blew. We wandered down to the beach, which was only a few minutes walk, and went for a refreshing swim. Afterwards, we wandered down to the mall and grabbed a snack from KFC for lunch as there were not too many other options (particularly in our price range).
In the evening we met up with Cam again, as she had been spending a few days exploring the island on her scooter. We headed back to the Yellow Café and spent a few hours having beers and watching another beautiful sunset on Cenang beach. We found a local restaurant for dinner where I had Nasi Biryani (10RM), Dave had tandoori chicken naan set (10RM) and Cam had a Tosai where the sauces blew her head off a bit. Afterwards, we headed back to the beach to Kutan bar where we chilled out on their bean bags having a beer, then shisha (watermelon, apple and mint flavour) whilst watching the fire show. A very good evening and way to say goodbye to Cam, as she was off the next day.
In the morning, with very dry throats from the shisha, we had an average breakfast at the Lodge, which was the café on site at our place (7RM each). After saying a final farewell to Cam we rented a scooter and headed off out for the day. First of all, we headed to the Geopark so we could go up on the Cable car there. On our way there though it clouded over and started heavily raining to the point we had to pull the bike over and wait for it to subside a bit before continuing. We nearly didn’t go to the park as we were not sure if the weather would be good enough to get a decent view or for the sky bridge to be open. However, we hoped it would clear up so we bought our entrance ticket, which also gave us access to some other parts of the park. It is a bit of an attraction park with a 3D museum, skydome and various simulation rides. You could buy tickets for what you wanted to visit or package tickets. Mainly we went for the Skycab so we bought the standard ticket (55RM each), which included the cable car, T-rek simulation ride, Skydome and 3D art museum entrance. There is also a Skybridge at the top of the cable car but you buy entrance to this up there in case the weather changes and it isn’t open. As we bought our ticket it started raining again and they put that the sky bridge was currently closed in the main ticket entrance so instead, we took the opportunity to do some of the other things. First, we went to the Skydome where we were treated to projections of a space ride, under the water themes and stars overhead. The graphics were not great but the space ride did make us feel a bit queasy! This was followed by a 4D simulator T-Rek ride where we were whisked through a dinosaur park before our ”jeep” derailed and we had to make it through the legs of dinosaurs and away from the T-rek! Other people’s reactions- screaming at the screen was funny even if it wasn’t great.
Thankfully the weather cleared up so we took the opportunity to head up the cable cars. We had to get a cable car to the half way station, which is the 2nd steepest cable car in the world overlooking jungle, waterfalls and the sea it was quite insane. From here it was then another cable car up to the highest point where we could buy tickets for the Skybridge and make the 10-minute walk there. The Skybridge extends across a vast expansive of jungle, literally hanging you in the sky and clouds. The views whilst they lasted were great although it very quickly clouded over. On the way back down in the cable car, it felt like we were descending into the clouds and mist but very worth the money.
We thought we would get our money’s worth of the ticket so after finding some lunch, getting actually Malaysia beef Rendang from the food court (8RM) we headed to the 3D art museum. Here we had way too much fun messing about taking pictures with the interactive artwork in between all the families with their kids! We even got to see the laser projection show in there.
From the Geopark we took the short journey on the scooter to the 7 steps waterfall. We climbed what seemed like a million steep stairs to the top where the view was good and there were a few pools to cool off in which was very refreshing after the climb. However, it wasn’t as great as we had hoped for the effort we put in as you couldn’t see the waterfall cascading down. We also didn’t feel comfortable both going in the water leaving our stuff as there were some quite naughty macaques that had already tried stealing other people’s stuff. On the way back down we thought we would try the path off the midway point and were rewarded with a great view of the waterfall. There were also much better pools here to take a dip in but we just enjoyed the view as we had pretty much already dried off. We would just recommend going to this point though rather than going all the way to the top.
In the early evening, we headed to the Ramadan food bazaar that was out at the airport, grabbing some food and taking it back to eat. We got some Laksa (3RM) which is a Malay noodle soup however it was cold and very fishy, not to our taste. You can get different curry laksas in other places though. Dave also had lined up for some chicken rice as there was a good line of locals, which usually means there is decent food and we weren’t disappointed. They ladled all different types of sauces over the chicken (6RM). We also got some chicken sate skewers with a really good peanut sauce. As the room was so hot we used this as a good excuse to walk into town and get an ice cream from McDonald’s as they had Chendol flavour. This is palm sugar (Gulu Melaka) flavoured ice cream and it was delicious. It became a staple in Malaysia, as it was cheap and delicious (2.95RM).
Ramadan food bazaar and food, chendol
The following day it was raining again in the morning so we took that as a good excuse to lay in before wandering down the road to try one of the other restaurants for breakfast. Armani cafe was simple but the food was ok for the price plus they had big mugs of coffee for 2RM. We then went out on the scooter for the day.
We first went back towards the pier so we could take photos of and with the eagle statue of Langkawi that is quite impressive. Near to here was Legenda park which was much bigger than anticipated and has lots of structures throughout the park detailing folk stories of the island about giants etc. We walked about for a bit enjoying the greenery. We had planned to get food out at a local restaurant but there wasn’t much about so again we ended up in KFC as there was one at the pier and it meant we didn’t have to think about it. We then headed north driving about enjoying the scenery, stopping at a local Hindu temple. We had wanted to go to one of the waterfalls as well as head up to the highest peak but the weather turned bad so we decided there was no point. We went for a quick look at the black sand beach before driving to the public part of Tanjung beach. This was an incredibly gorgeous beach looking out to more islands as well as Thailand in the distance. Unfortunately, the weather was still not great so we didn’t spend much time there and headed back down the road where we grabbed some chips (10RM) and a drink (5RM) at Scarborough Fish and Chip shop. Due to the weather, we headed back to Cenang after this but we did get to see some more lovely rice field views on the way back.
We were going to head to Cactus for dinner in the evening back in Pantai Tengah as we had heard the food was good and it was cheap. However when we got there we discovered in the evenings it is run by completely different management, serving different food at higher prices. After waiting for 15mins to be served by anyone we gave up as we didn’t really want the food there anyway and went for a drive. Eventually, in Pantai Tengah we found Melayu Malay restaurant serving actual Malaysian food at a reasonable price. It didn’t open until 8.30pm though so we spent an hour on the beach there having a drink and watching the parasailers in the sunset. We were glad we waited as the food did not disappoint and we actually got to try some Malaysian food. We had a Malaysian beef curry, roti jala (pancake threads with a sponge like texture that you dip in curry sauce) and cucur udang (prawn fritters with chilli, bean sprouts, coriander, turmeric and spring onion) which were crispy and pillowy at the same time with a peanut sauce.
The next day we had breakfast again at Armani cafe before being picked up for the mangrove tour. We booked this through our accommodation for 80RM each. We collected others and were driven back up to Tanjung beach as this is the starting point for the mangrove tours. We were given a safety briefing along with introductions (a novelty after the rest of our travel in Asia) then divided into boats with a guide per boat. We first visited a fish farm where a staff member there told us about each type of fish and showed them to us in the pools. People were also given the opportunity to feed and touch the fish, which the children in our group particularly enjoyed. From here we then headed back on the boat into the mangroves. Our guide explained about how the mangroves are formed and it was just good to see another type of environment that was equally as stunning. Whilst on the water our guide pointed out a mangrove viper snake on one of the trees, we saw a group of macaques that live in the mangroves and even swim in the water. We didn’t like that the guides fed them and enticed them onto the boat as we would prefer they are left alone but at least they were fed local fruits. We also saw a lot of eagles diving after the boats churned up the water for the fish to come to the top. We headed through the crocodile cave (only so because of a legend, there are no crocodiles here) before we got off the boat at the bat cave. We had to pay entrance fee here but the cave itself was interesting and quite large with lots of colonies of bats, with babies too. We spent more time looking around here rather than doing the outside jungle walk as it was just full of more macaques that are known to be quite aggressive. Once finished here the boat took us out to the open sea which provided us with stunning views of the islands but definitely jarred my back and squashed my insides as we hurtled across the waves back to the fish farm restaurant for lunch. We had the included lunch rather than paying for fish which was extra. Included was tom yum soup, fried chicken rice and fruits for dessert. Lastly, we were given half an hour to enjoy time on Tanjung beach. We were glad about this as the weather was much better today and it meant we could actually enjoy it, going for a swim in the cool water.
Once back at our accommodation we quickly extended our stay for the night as we had forgotten to do this in the morning, luckily we weren’t charged any extra and then we booked our boat tickets through them to Penang for the next day (90RM each with transfer to the jetty from Cenang). The rest of the evening we enjoyed still being on Langkawi. This meant grabbing another Chendol ice cream and heading to the beach. The plan was to watch the sunset from Thirstday bar so we ordered a jug, however, the sunset never came as it was too cloudy. The view was still good though and then we had food at a local Malay restaurant (Bella) where we had some sort of beef dishes (6ish RM each) before packing up our things ready for leaving the next morning.
In the morning we had a very chatty driver take us to the jetty at 9 am and get our tickets to Penang for us, we had a terrible KFC for breakfast as we did not have time to get it from anywhere else and then we boarded the boat to Penang at 10.30am.