Six Accomodation Options for Every Budget in Langkawi

Langkawi is set to be Malaysia’s next big thing. Easily accessible through both Malaysia and Thailand by sea and air this island is only in it’s infancy of becoming a tourist hot spot.

Here are six accomodation options for every budget and every holiday type.

Alamanda Hilltop Villa

Alamanda Hilltop Villa is one of four listings hosted by Siti Hajar on Airbnb. The villa is fully furnished and has breathtaking views. The four villas share an incredible infinity pool and common area. Whilst the villas do not come with breakfast  they all have a full functioning kitchen and theres a small supermarket down the road that has many fresh cooking ingredients. Martin is the site manager and will host you during your stay, he is incredibly friendly and able to provide many details on the island including day trips and the best eats on the island.

  • Prices from $100 AUD per night
  • To check prices, get more details & book click here

The Coconut Langkawi

This budget friendly accomodation is a real winner. Located right in the centre town, the rooms are clean, simple and affordable. Whilst breakfast is not included you’re only seconds walk from a huge array of restaurants. Each room features it’s own small patio surrounded by leafy palms – perfect for an afternoon beer!

  • Prices from $42 AUD per night
  • To check prices, get more details & book click here

The Gemalai Village

Gemalai Village is a quaint hotel consisting of six traditional Malay chalets. The chalets are situated amongst lush green fields and only a short walk to the hub of Pantai Cenang. Breakfast is included in the nightly tariff and brought right to your front door, you have the option of Malay or Western. Be aware as the chalets are located in a field right beside a busy road they can at times be a little noisy at times. Never the less, the affordable nightly rate coupled with the included breakfast and beautiful styling definitely outweighs the occasional motor traffic noise.

  • Prices from $75 AUD per night
  • To check prices, get more details & book click here

Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort And Spa, Langkawi

The Meritus Pelangi is one of Langkawi’s very first resorts, its a beautifully designed and expansive property. Higher priced rooms have gorgeous beach views of Pantai Cenang, whilst others are scattered among well kept gardens, some facing the two large swimming pools and others over looking small lakes. Every chalet features a graciously sized wooden deck and freshly renovated modern bathroom. In terms of eating, you’ll be spoiled for choice, the resort feature many options including Malaysian fare at Spice Market, sunset cocktails by the beach at Cba, and tapas at Pelangi Lounge.

  • Prices from $184 AUD per night
  • To check prices, get more details & book click here

Bon Ton Resort

This unique property is wonderfully situated, located only 7 minute walk to the beach, though you’ll feel like you’re in another world. Nestled on a 100-year old coconut plantation Bon Ton Resort offers 8 boutique villas. The quaint room are centred around the pool and lagoon receiving a cool tropical breeze in the evening. A small breakfast is included in the room the rate and delivered each night. Each villa has its own unique style and story, they’re perfect for those both into art and history.

  • Prices from $200 AUD per night
  • To check prices, get more details & book click here

The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort

This tropical oasis is a luxurious gem. Located just seconds from the beach The Andaman is a peaceful Malaysian getaway overlooking Datai Bay. The Andaman offers a wide range of room options, each well appointed with crisp modern features. This resort is absolute opulence – featuring a wide array of eating options, a spa and wellness centre offering beuaty treatment and fitness classes just to name a few.

  • Prices from $280 AUD per night
  • To check prices, get more details & book click here

Have I missed any wonderful stays on beautiful Langkawi? Let me know! I’d love to hear about your time on the island.

Day Trip From Langkawi to Koh Lipe

A few years ago in 2014 I took my first trip to Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia.

Pulau Langkawi dominates the some 99 islands that make up the Langkawi Archipelago. Interestingly, despite its pristine waters and faultless hectares of jungle, in 2014 Pulau Langkawi was quite underdeveloped in terms of tourist facilities. I returned to Langkawi in January this year (2017) and what I have to say next may shock you.. IT WAS STILL THE SAME. Well.. not quite. Whilst, there had been some obvious changes such a new road it is yet to be developed beyond recognition.

So, what I actually wanted to post about was something I really struggled to gather information on both times I’ve visited Pulau Langkawi. In 2014 I’d heard about going from Langkawi to Koh Lipe for a day trip. I endlessly tried to find information on this and when I did it was always really mixed reviews. I was only on Langkawi for a few days and didn’t have much time to chase up any further leads. HOWEVER, I made sure when I went back this IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN and it did and this is how:

The incredible Pattaya beach that welcomes you

Departing Langkawi for Koh Lipe

Langkawi features two departure points when leaving for Koh Lipe; Kuah Jetty and Telaga Harbour located near Pantai Kok. Whilst Kuah Jetty runs year round ferries also departing or other islands and Telaga is seasonal, Telaga is more centrally located being only around 15 minutes from the airport.

Purchasing Your Ticket

Like I previously mentioned, this is what I really struggled to find information on, particularly; where to buy a ticket and which companies were reliable.There are two ways you are able to get yourself a ticket!

The first and how I got my ticket was by approaching a tour desk on Jalan Pantai Cenang (the main road that runs parallel to the beach). You won’t be hard done by locating a tour desk as there are literally hundreds flogging day trips to the Thai Islands.

The second is to purchase your ticket online. Telaga-Terminal offers direct online booking as well as services providing information on things to do in Koh Lipe.

It’s important to note that which ever tour desk you purchase your ticket from on Jalan Pantai Cenang will be putting you on the same ferry at the same time. However, it’s best to look around and chat with each agent before committing. Some ticket prices will include a shuttle from where you are staying to the terminal whilst others may charge an additional fee.

Langkawi to Koh Lipe Route

Malaysia to Thailand Immigration

Your journey will start at Telaga Harbour ferry terminal. The building is bright blue and hard to miss, however if you’ve had a shuttle included in your ticket they’ll take you right to the door. My boyfriend and I rode our scooter (as we were staying quite a bit out of town and the shuttle didn’t cover that area) and easily identified the building due to the swarm of backpackers!

You’ll fill out an immigration form and hand over your passport so they can ‘check you in’ (very smiliar to checking in for a flight) except the crew will hold onto your passports, these will be returned once you’ve arrived on Koh Lipe. Once everyone has gone through his process you’ll start to board the ferry via the immigration office.

Your chariot awaits!

Immigration part two (once you’ve arrived)

The ferry lands a fair way back from the beach and you’ll be shuttled via longboat to edge of Pattaya Beach, you’ll have to walk a way through water. Don’t wander off after this, you must complete immigration. Follow the crowd of people and you’ll find one of the workers handing out passports that have been cleared for your arrival. And that’s that. You’re free.

This is ‘immigration’ where you will go to when you arrive on Koh Lipe & also where you’ll check in before returning to Langkawi.

So, what now?

If you’re planning on staying on Koh Lipe you’re free to make your way to your accomodation

For us, we had only planned a day trip. Once we’d cleared immigration it was about 10am (Thai time) this gave us approximately six hours to do as we pleased. The first thing was to get some baht, we wondered down the beach a little and turned up a small street, instead of exchanging money we just took some out of an ATM.

We couldn’t afford to miss the returning ferry in the afternoon as the next day we had a flight to Indonesia. We knew that the main reason we had come to Koh Lipe was to snorkel and spend a day out on the boat checking out some other islands. We didn’t waste anytime and chatted with the first tour deck we saw.

These guys were conveniently located right beside immigration

The day trip snorkel adventure cost around 530,00 BAHT which is about 20 AUD. This price included all snorkel gear, four snorkelling destinations, drop off at a secluded beach and a few other stops at various islands, that we didn’t quite managed due to being pressed for time. We knew we weren’t going to have much time to grab lunch so we went to the also conveniently located restaurant next to the snorkel guys and grabbed some take away.

The snorkelling in Thailand is by far some of the best I’ve ever experienced. The coral was much more vibrant than anything I’d seen in Indonesia.

If you’re staying on Langkawi this is a really great way to experience something else. The boat road is pretty un-strenuous and really doesn’t take long. I definitely recommend giving this day trip a go or if you don’t know where to go from Malaysia this is brilliant way to move on to your next destination.

Oh, I’ll also point out that the ferry can be quite bumpy if you’re prone to sea sickness it may be best to rethink your options or take some anti-nausea medications. Another point is, the immigration in terms of attitude is very similar to the airport. In other words, they don’t take any shit. It’s best to be well mannered and in a clear state of mind.

Five Tropical Indonesian islands that aren’t Bali

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Indonesia’s numbers astound the hundreds of thousands of travelers that pass through its islands each year. Home to more than 17,000 islands of which around only 8000 are inhabited. Indonesia however, to the common traveler has become most known for it’s island that is Bali. Emerald waters of Bali’s south western tip attract surfers to its word renown surf breaks, world class dining of dining in Seminyak, thriving nightlife ad Kuta and not to forget lush paddies that stretch for miles in Bali’s cultural Centre, Ubud.

Take a moment to think about what makes Bali so appealing; the welcoming smiles, gracious hospitality, the exoticness and tropical weather just to name a few.

Take another moment and think on the fact that these features are not only unique to Bali but rather the rest of Indonesia. Beyond Bali lays many of these features and more. Weather you’re planning your first trip to Indonesia or visit Bali regularly consider expanding your horizons and make room for some of Inonesia’s other wonders. This list is guaranteed to have you booking your next trip.

Nusa Lembongan

Only a stones throw away from Bali, Nusa Lembongan is one of Bali’s closest neighbors. The island offers amazing diving, pristine beaches (as pristine as can be expected for Asia), pumping swell and a more laid back vibe than its big brother Bali. Nusa Lembongan has recently hit the scene big time, definitely one of the more known destinations featured on this list. In spite of its growing popularity you can still find accomodation to suit any budget or travel style, from boutique villas to shabby beach side surf houses.

Nusa Lembongan is a great option if you’re looking for something easy and quickly accessible – via a thirty minute fast boat road departing four times daily from Sanur, Bali.

View of Jungutbatu from Villa Atas

The Gili Islands

Allegedly, good things come in threes. This couldn’t be more true of these three islands, Meno, Trawangan and Air. There’s no need to look at the picture and halve the affect in regards to these tiny islands, what you see is what you get. Each island features palm fringe beaches where turquoise water laps the sand. These islands are exploded in popularity recently, possibly more so than Nusa Lembongan. The appeal of the Gilis could very well be due to its own unique way of doing things, no motorbikes or dogs being allowed on the island!

Each of the islands have their own special identity, Trawangan has become know for its bar hopping and party central vibes. Perfect for backpackers. Gili Meno is the smallest of the three and boasts deserted beaches with a real rustic feel. Honeymooning couples usually flock to Meno, landing its self as the romantic island. Over on Gili Air, more accomodation, bars and cafes are starting to pop up. The shallow beaches are perfect for those not wanting to venture to far in, Air is a great option for families or people travelling with children.

Lombok

Long overshadowed by its infamous neighbour, Lombok lives 35km east of Bali. Populated by the Sasak people,Lombok differs vastly to Hindu Bali. Its vast green hills, uninhabited beaches, lack of traffic and pollution are just to name a few differences. Tourist facilities on the island are much more sparse than the previously mentioned islands, in saying this it won’t be long before we see Lombok taking after Bali. Lombok is far more laid back and very easy to get around, roads are easy to navigate and a select number of tour agencies provide daily trips over the island.

The major draw of Lombok are its pristine beaches. The trio of Gili Islands lies just off the northwest coast, which are consistently bringing more visitors to Lombok each year. Whilst the resorts of Senggigi on the west coast accomodate the majority of tourists, Kuta on the south coast is a popular surfing destination, also offering a number of tourist facilities.

Flores / Komodo Islands

Flores has recently become Indonesia’s next ‘big thing’. Having recently returned from visiting the island, it’s pretty clear to see why. Labuan Bajo is islands entry to the exquisite Komodo National Park. This port has become an insanely bustling tourist destination, as divers base themselves out of Labuan taking day trips into the National Park. Labuan Bajo’s main drag is littered with a great number of restaurants, bars and cafes serving an array of cuisines. Excursions to the nearby islands make for great day trips, offering snorkelling and lazing on deserted beaches.

The waters of the national park offer some of the best diving in the world, which explains the increasing number of dive shops and liveaboards popping up. Many shops are starting to offer Open Water Diver and Dive master certifications, note that it is important that the shop you visit is credible, the best will be associated with PADI. Blue Marlin located on Jl. Soekarno Hatto (main drag) is my top pick.

Flores however, isn’t just for divers. The island itself, aptly named Flores meaning ‘flowers’ offers fertile mountainous landscapes, making it by far one the most alluring landscapes in the Indonesian archipelagos. All of Flores’ major towns are linked via bus routes, however due to the great size of the island these can be slow, over crowded and unpleasant at times.

Raja Ampat

If you’re looking for a place where you can dive, snorkel, relax and experience traditional culture, then Raja Ampat is for you.

Raja Ampat is sparsly populated and embodying around 1000 islands located just off the coast of Sorong. Supreme untouched beauty consisting of jungle covered islands, white sand beaches, hidden lagoons and impressive birdlife, Raja Ampat is among the most beautiful island chains in Southeast Asia. For divers, Raja Ampat is the jewel of the deep – with with more than 1300 species of native reef fish and 70 per cent of the world’s varieties of soft and hard coral.

Several resorts have popped up in the archipelago, but due to the immense size of the area, if your purpose for visiting is to dive, the best recommendation would be to jump on a liveaboard for a few days. A great benefit of Raja Ampat is that it is a year-round destination, although many diving operators cease diving between July and September, when the usually calm seas can get quite rough.

 

Despite all the craziness of Bali, I still love it very much. But sometimes a trip to a quieter, less-commercialized and sprawling destination is in order.

Have you been to any of these islands, or have a suggestion of another I should plan a visit to? I’d love to hear from you! X

 

 

Twenty Travel Quotes to Inspire Travel & Wanderlust

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In spirit of my first post on Gypsy Soul, I thought I’d share some of my favourite travel quotes that invoke the ethos of adventure.

So, without further ado, let these quotes bring as much travel inspiration to your life as they do mine!

  1. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch
  2. “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” ― Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
  3. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ― Helen Keller, The Open Door
  4. “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” ― Anita Desai
  5. “Travel sparks our imagination, feeds our curiosity & reminds us how much we all have in common.” – Deborah Lloyd
  6. “Personally I like going places where I don’t speak the language, don’t know anybody, don’t know my way around and don’t have any delusions that I’m in control. Disoriented, even frightened, I feel alive, awake in ways I never am at home.” – Michael Mewshaw
  7. “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”― Diane Arbus
  8. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson
  9. “Travel is the healthiest addiction” – unknown
  10. “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson
  11. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
  12. “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed
  13. “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends… The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy
  14. “Travel is the only thing that makes you richer.” – unknown
  15. “Traveling allows you to become so many different versions of yourself.”
  16. “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart
  17. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius
  18. “There are several ways to react to being lost. One is to panic. Another is to abandon yourself to lostness, to allow the fact that you’ve misplaced yourself to change the way you experience the world.” – Audrey Niffenegger. Her Fearful Symmetry.
  19. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”- Mark Twain
  20. “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware” – Martin Buber