Our plan for this trip to Malaysia was quite unlike our other adventures to date. Having spent many years touching the surface of different Asian cultures through shorter visits, we now wanted to understand how it feels to live in just one locality. Spending 13 weeks in Langkawi seemed an ideal way to do this.
Better still – since we could afford to take the time – we would find that an extended event-filled stay on this tropical Malaysian island can cost the same as staying at home (even including flights…)
Our 13-week Langkawi Travel Plan
Located just off Malaysia’s west coast, this archipelago of 99 islands is part of the province of Kedah, and is aptly named The Jewel of Kedah.
The main island is mountainous, with its character defined by two of her most famous mountains: Gunung Raya and Gunung Cincang.
Many legends surround the origin and formation of Langkawi’s islands and mountains, adding a magical charm to rock formations that date back half a billion years.
Where to Stay in Langkawi?
A room with a view – what more can you ask for?
Our 13-week experience indicated that for an extended stay you need to look beyond the aesthetics of your accommodation and concentrate on the practicalities.
What to do? Start by climbing Gunung Raya
Among the most impressive features of Langkawi are the mountains. The highest of these is known as Gunung Raya, which dominates the island at 881 meters above sea level.
Although not for everyone, climbing Gunung Raya by foot is a challenging but massively rewarding experience.
You may need to become a ‘Visa Runner’
If you’re planning an extended stay in Malaysia, then its likely that at some point you’ll have to renew the limited tourist visa you are given on first arrival.
This procedure is often referred to as making a ‘visa run’, and will vary according to your nationality and location in Malaysia.
Explore Songkhla Thailand
Songkhla is a large city located in southern Thailand, near the border with Malaysia (see map above). We were inspired to visit this province not so much to admire the architecture as to renew a 30-day Malaysian visa, which was due to expire.
It also seemed to be an ideal excuse to spend a few days exploring this southern part of Thailand, and to find out what Songkhla city has to offer.
Visit Langkawi Wildlife Park
Unlike many other Animal Parks we’ve visited, the Langkawi Wildlife Park offers a unique experience. Here, they allow their visitors close interaction with a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish through individual feeding sessions.
The Legends of Lagenda Park Malaysia
Spreading around a 2 km circuit of beautiful parkland, pathways, sculptures and statues, Lagenda Park is indeed the ‘Park of Legends’. The park is artistically themed on folklore and myths of Langkawi from the prehistoric era to modern times.
Visit Koh Lipe in Thailand
If it’s crystal-clear water you’re seeking, head out north-west from Langkawi to Koh Lipe in nearby Thailand (see map above). Here you can find great snorkeling and diving while enjoying the mega-relaxed ambiance of this tiny paradise island.
Langkawi Malaysia Bars & Restaurants – Where to Eat… and to Avoid!
We’re happy to say we ate out very well almost everywhere in Langkawi. Of course, there was the odd couple of disappointments, but nothing to dampen our enthusiasm.
Whether it’s Indian, Chinese, Malay, Arabic, Thai or even Western food that you crave, Langkawi has it covered – often spectacularly.
Fancy Staying Longer? Checkout Our MM2H Application Experience
If you ever dreamed of a ‘home-from home’ in the tropics of South-East Asia, then this is for you.
The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) is a special visa promoted by the Malaysia Tourism Authority which allows foreigners to stay in Malaysia for a period of ten years. Foreigners who fulfill specific criteria are eligible, and a successful applicant is allowed to bring a spouse, an unmarried child under the age of 21, and parents who are over 60 years old.
Take a boat through the Kilim Geoforest Park
A visit to Langkawi’s Kilim Geoforest Park is high on the list of tourist activities. If you take the cheapest option and join a group you’ll typically experience a hurried, superficial type of tour. But there are other ways to arrange this – for a much more immersive and relaxing day out…
Malaysia Internet Access? Big Brother is Watching You!
Our Internet service experience in Malaysia was a hit-and-miss affair. Much depends on the Internet provider you choose as well as the sites you’re trying to access. Following on from the censorship applied to cable TV, without using a VPN we found limitations on what we could access via the Internet – and when we could access it.
Relax on Langkawi’s Beaches
If you like white sand you’ve come to the right place. Around Langkawi you can find long uncrowded stretches of sand beaches. Unless you’re located in Cenang you’ll need some kind of transport to reach them – ideally a hire car or motorbike.
The sea is calm and safe for swimming – provided you keep a good lookout for jellyfish during the season (January to June).
Our 90-day Budget
For a typical 30-day tour around a country in South East Asia we’d normally expect to spend around €3,500 based on 2 people sharing. The largest part of this cost would be the flights (around €1,000). This means we would typically be spending €2,500 per month for all other costs.
Using a similar budget over 90 days we expected our living costs to be less. This is because we planned to rent just 3 apartments/bungalows for around 4 weeks each.
We estimated our monthly costs would therefore drop to around €2,000 per month, bringing us to a total of €7,000 for the full 3-month period (flights included).
This clearly is not a backpackers budget. We intended to rent a hire car for much of the time and stay in well-equipped mid-level accommodation.
How did it work out in practice? Take a look at our actual Malaysian experiences in our related articles.
Note – Several of the above-referenced articles are still in preparation. If you’d like to get an instant notification when they’re published please Subscribe Now (no spam, promise 😇).
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