Looking more like the location for a post-apocalyptic movie than a condominium in a tropical paradise, Sri Lagenda is a prominent 13-storey apartment block located close to the center of Kuah in Langkawi, Malaysia.
Here it is possible to rent apartments for short or long-term lets, either privately or through one of the well-known booking portals.
After enjoying a short one-week stay there the previous year, we were keen to get to know this Malaysian archipelago of islands a lot better. So, for our second visit we decided on a much longer stay on the island – thirteen weeks in fact.
Our task was ‘simply’ to research the most suitable locations on the island for long-term lets.
Our Langkawi Accommodation Plan
To appreciate the island more fully, our initial plan was to choose 3 locations in different areas of the island, and spend a month in each. The locations we were considering were Kuah (the capital) in the South-East, Cenang (the popular beach resort) in the West, and Tanjung Rhu (a more secluded beach resort) in the North-East.
We started our accommodation search several months in advance. We were hoping to find some reasonably-priced deals for medium-term lets of 4 weeks or so in each location.
The results we found online were not promising. Unless we wanted to stay in basic backpacker-style accommodation (...and not even near the beach) we could expect to pay around €50 per night – even for an extended 4-week rental.
At these rates, calculating the accumulated costs over 90 days begins to make your eyes smart 😳
So we decided on a compromise. We would bite the bullet, go online and book one of these expensive places for just the first 4 weeks. Once we were there we would start looking around for places to rent for the remaining 9 weeks.
Surely we would be able to find better deals if we were there in person, paying in cash… Right (?)
Accommodation & Apartments in Kuah
For our first (online) booking we decided to choose an apartment in Kuah. We wanted the place we booked to have free access to a swimming pool (since we were not near the beach), and it needed to have a reasonably well-equipped kitchen, a separate bedroom and a decent sea-view.
Although Kuah isn’t really handy for the beaches it does have a selection of apartment complexes and is well located for facilities such as shopping malls, supermarkets, banks, and restaurants. It also features the beautiful Lagenda Park.
The main apartment complexes we considered were:
♦ The Kondo Istana: Located close to the center, this is an up-market high-rise apartment block with a swimming pool. At around €50 per night however (booking online) we would be paying the same as we would for a small hotel in Rome.
♦ The Seaview Hotel Apartments: Close to Lagenda Park and some big supermarkets, the Seaview Apartments are just 5 storeys high which means you’re not necessarily guaranteed an actual sea view. They also cost around €50 per night when booking online.
♦ The Chogm Villa Apartments: Well equipped spacious apartments with a pool, but at a cost of around €60 per night (online) and only ground-floor level (no views).
♦ The Century Suria: A little out of the way, West of the center with a very small and very public pool. The apartment we considered was a bit shabby but still cost around €50 per night. It did have good views.
♦ The Sri Lagenda: At around €40 per night for an online booking, this was not only the cheapest of the lot but also promised to fulfill all of our requirements. An additional bonus was the fabulous sunset view from the sea-facing balcony.
So we went ahead and booked the Sri Lagenda apartment for 31 nights for a total of €1,250. Fingers crossed that all would be well for the longest single holiday apartment let we had ever made…
Sri Lagenda, Kuah – First Impressions
As mentioned earlier, when seen from a distance your first impressions of Sri Lagenda may be a little worrying. There is a discolored facade and the common areas of the building suffer from neglect and limited maintenance.
This isn’t enhanced by the pad-locked steel security grids in front of many of the apartment doors, and what looks like red police eviction notices taped across many others.
You could be forgiven for thinking you were in that French movie – The Horde – about a group of police who storm a condemned zombie-infested high-rise in the heart of a derelict Paris neighborhood.
But once you get beyond that, actually into the building and inside one of the apartments, you may well be impressed with what you see – and especially with the view you have looking out from the building.
Sri Lagenda actually comes in 2 flavours: There is the 13-story Tower block, and behind this you can find a low-rise condominium complex arranged around a swimming pool and play area. This is called the Sri Lagenda Garden Resort, but we re-named it ‘The Ghetto’ for reasons explained below.
Either way you can rent apartments in both places either online or directly from the owners.
Sri Lagenda, Kuah – The Tower Block
The Tower block has a security guard in place 24 hours at the main entrance, and there is a second entrance secured by an electronic key.
There are 2 official (paid) parking areas – one open and one covered. There is also a free (unsecured) public car park close by and plenty of places to park in the street.
The public parking area looks a little suspect, but we experienced no issues for the 4 weeks that we parked our hire car there. The only patrols in this area are stray dogs and macaque monkeys.
There is a good-sized swimming pool in front of the main entrance to the Tower, and a management office just to the side. This office is closed every day from 6 pm until 10 am.
You need an electronic key to enter the building, and can use one of the 2 large elevators to reach your floor. There are around 16 apartments on each floor, some more securely pad-locked and gated than others.
Sri Lagenda, Langkawi – ‘The Ghetto’
The Sri Lagenda Garden Resort also has a 24-hour security guard in attendance. The place itself is in a sad state of disrepair, with many of the apartments open and abandoned. We noticed a few of the upper apartments had no doors or windows and were home to a variety of birds and pigeons.
This isn’t the kind of place where you would want to spend much time.
10th-Floor Flat – 4-week stay at Sri Lagenda
We arrived late in the evening for our first night at Sri Lagenda and were met by the owner of the apartment we had booked.
This was a small apartment with combined living and kitchen area. There was a separate bathroom and a small bedroom. After the gloominess of the outward appearance of the building it was refreshing to discover a newly-refurbished modern apartment.
It was clean and tastefully furnished, with the fittings necessary for a short stay.
The most important feature of the apartment – and evidently the reason for the €1,250 per month price-tag – is the sunset view from the balcony.
The price didn’t include private parking, although this can be arranged for around €4 per day. There was a small television with a very basic cable-TV package and an internet router with good internet reception.
Important too were the air conditioners – one in the living area and one in the bedroom (unfortunately positioned right over the bed).
So far so good. But … we would be staying here for an entire month.
The Not So Good…
The kitchen was actually a kitchenette – 3 electric rings, a fridge and a kettle. OK for a few days, but not for a few weeks. There were insufficient pots, pans or cutlery to comfortably cook anything. The whole point of staying in a flat with a kitchen was to make good use of the kitchen. Unfortunately, this was not feasible.
The stunning sunset view from the balcony had an unforeseen downside. After 1 pm each day the sun would beat down mercilessly into the living area. Even with the air conditioner full-on, it was very uncomfortable to spend time there from 1 pm to 6 pm. There were no curtains or any other way of stopping the sun turning the living area into a greenhouse.
The small bedroom had 3 drawers, but no wardrobe or any space at all to hang clothes. Most of our stuff therefore had to stay packed in our cases on the floor by the bed.
There was no washing machine, but we discovered a small launderette service downstairs where a lady could wash your clothes for a small charge. The problem was we could almost never find her, and on the one occasion we did get her to do our laundry we later discovered that she hadn’t returned a couple items.
We ended up mostly washing our own clothes and hanging them to dry in the bathroom or on the balcony.
We also felt a little insecure for our valuables when we left the flat, since without solid locks or security grate our door was clearly the least secure on the floor.
Was it worth it?
This place was great for a 3 or 4-day stay, but totally unsuitable for a longer let. As we were also to discover later, the price we paid for our 4 weeks was far in excess of the going rate for apartments in Sri Lagenda, newly-refurbished or not.
So with another 9 weeks of our stay in Langkawi remaining, what were we going to rent next?
We weren’t idle during our first 2 weeks.
In search of a beach bungalow we traveled to Tanjung Rhu in the north of the island and found a small bungalow available at the Labu Labi Residence Resort. However at €55 per night for a really basic wooden hut we weren’t tempted.
This turned out to be typical of other beach bungalows we found in the more popular Cenang area.
We were beginning to ask ourselves how realistic we had been in hoping to find a well-equipped and well-located long-term beach bungalow in the price range we’d budgeted.
Kuah – A Change of Plan
In the meantime back in Kuah we found notices posted in public areas from people offering to rent out apartments privately. After a few local calls, we arranged a meeting with a lady who had several apartments to rent in the same building we were staying – Sri Lagenda.
This wasn’t our original plan, but an extended stay in Kuah has many advantages that we hadn’t initially taken into account.
She proposed a special rate for this period. The rental was offered at a discounted price of RM 3,700, plus an optional RM 600 for a parking bay in the secured area of the building (which she highly recommended).
This came to a total of RM 4,300 (plus RM 500 refundable security deposit).
Converted to Euros, this was €935 for 49 days, equivalent to around €591 per calendar month.
This was well under half of what we’d paid for the previous apartment, including a secure parking space normally worth €4 per day.
…and the apartment was 50% larger with panoramic views on two sides – one towards the sea and the other towards the mountains.
We still had a 3-day gap between leaving our first apartment and moving into her place. To cover this, she arranged with the building manager to rent us another flat – just for these 3 nights – in the same building on the 3rd floor. This was also priced at a very reasonable rate.
When we originally planned our 13-week trip to Langkawi we had deliberately left our agenda open after the first 4 weeks. Lucky we had, since now we were being offered an excellent, reasonably-priced accommodation deal which we could not have found online.
3rd-Floor Flat – 3-night stay at Sri Lagenda
On our return from our short trip to Songkhla in Thailand, we met up with the Sri Lagenda building manager and were given the keys to the 3rd-floor apartment.
For this short 3-night stay we paid RM 450 (€30 per night).
This apartment was much bigger than the first one and was located on the opposite side of the building, facing the Sri Lagenda Garden Resort.
There was a separate bedroom and bathroom, and open living/kitchen area. The kitchen was reasonably well equipped, including a microwave.
We spent our late afternoons on the balcony drinking G&T’s and observing life in ‘The Ghetto’. From this 3rd floor viewpoint, we could see into some of the abandoned upper level flats which were now home to a variety of winged wildlife.
Want Television & Internet? Come prepared
There was a good-sized television with the ubiquitous cable TV box. But without any pre-paid packages, the television would have been pretty useless to us. Fortunately, we’d brought with us a small HDMI media streamer through which we could play our downloaded movies and TV series, so all was good.
There was also no Internet reception. We solved this dilemma by visiting the local computer shop in Kuah and purchasing a 4G Mobile WiFi Hotspot. Together with a local 4G internet card and 5 Gbyte usage bundle, this allowed us to connect our phones and laptop for a fairly decent Internet service.
We’ll have more on Internet services in Malaysia Internet Access – Big Brother is Watching You!
This 3rd floor apartment was fine for the 3 nights we stayed there, but towards the end we were looking forward to moving into the 7th-floor flat on the other side of the building, with a view on the sea.
7th-Floor Flat – 7-week stay at Sri Lagenda
We moved into the third apartment at Sri Lagenda for the remainder of our 13-week stay in Langkawi.
Here we had the same sunset view as in the first apartment, but in addition to this we also had a beautiful mountain view towards the peak of Gunung Raya, the highest mountain in Langkawi.
This apartment was better equipped than both of the other places, and the kitchen was sufficiently equipped to finally allow for some decent cooking. Our hire car was securely parked downstairs, and we had lots of cupboards and wardrobe space in which to unpack our clothes.
The television and internet story was the same as in the previous flat, but by now we had our own hotspot and movie streamer.
The living room had only a fan (no AC), so it could get quite hot in the afternoons. At least here there were heavy curtains to block out the sun.
This was the only one of the 3 apartments we rented that had a washing machine. A fact that was really appreciated considering the hit-or-miss usability of the downstairs laundry. There was also a double set of security locks on the front door.
The swimming pool has changed color!
The only downside during our final 7-week stay at Sri Lagenda was the swimming pool. For the first 6 weeks it had been absolutely fine: A large, clean outdoor pool that we usually had just to ourselves.
Based in Kuah, access to a swimming pool really is a must since the good beaches are not close by. After a few hours shopping or sightseeing, it’s priceless to come home to a cool drink and a refreshing swim.
Sri Lagenda Swimming Pool – 50 Shades of Blue
Unfortunately for us, a maintenance accident (out-of-date chlorine) meant that the swimming pool turned a darker shade of green and stayed that way for around 4 weeks. We felt a little sorry for the short-term visitors who didn’t get to use the pool at all during their stay.
The pool was finally restored to normal, but only shortly before we were due to leave.
…and what a great hostess
Our hostess during these final 7 weeks couldn’t have been more helpful. Living just a few floors away from us she was always available to help and advise. We met up frequently to chat and drink tea, and learned a lot from her about local customs and etiquette.
Conclusions on Sri Lagenda, Kuah
Despite first outward impressions, Sri Lagenda turned out to be a good choice for an extended stay in Langkawi.
The location is very handy for access to local shops – even the Billion shopping mall is just 15 minutes away by foot. Lagenda Park and Eagle Square (Dataran Lang) are also just 15 minutes away if you take some shortcuts.
There are some excellent restaurants within easy walking distance, and the twice-weekly Night Market is even closer – just 5 minutes away.
Sri Lagenda isn’t close to any decent beaches but it does have a really good private swimming pool which is usually available.
There is a selection of well-equipped apartments available for rent directly from the owners. If you contact them directly (rather than using one of the well-known booking portals) you can get a much better deal.
If you enjoyed our review of Sri Lagenda Kuah Langkawi, check out these other Langkawi Accommodation options. Looking for what to do while you’re staying in Langkawi? then you may also like: