While having travelled solo to other european countries before, I had never ventured into Asia alone. Spending Christmas and NYE away from family and celebrating with complete strangers made the experience absolutely unforgettable!
Only one week after coming back from my three week Europe trip, I was to board a plane once again… this time direction Malaysia ! First stop? …
Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands that are besotted with mystical legends and local fairytales. While the island’s blossoming tourism industry is largely due to its tax-free status, Langkawi is also popular amongst travelling nature enthusiasts and adventure-seekers due to its rich landscape of untouched rainforests and exotic wildlife.
While Langkawi had indeed some hidden treasures, I would definitely not give the beaches so much credit. Altough I agree on the tax-free status, the cheapest beers – ever.
My flight arrived in Langkawi late afternoon, and I took a taxi from the Airport to the “Pantai Cenang” beach for 20 “ringit”, the local currency. Having travelled before to other countries such as Thailand and Philippines, it looked strangely similar on the first sight. typical little beach streets with a lot of touristy shops and street food everywhere.
I had booked a bed in a little hostel named “Melati’s VIP Female Dorm”. Being my first time to travel to a muslim country, I felt safer to stay in an only female hostel, at least for the beginning. If this is not the first post you read about Malaysia you have probably found the same horror stories from female travellers that I encountered! At the hostel I was warmly welcomed, and soon met with many fellow solo female travellers and backpackers that had been travelling around the Asian continent. Ratings: Mood 9/10, Clean 7/10, beds 7/10, location 10/10.
If you are travelling solo and on a budget I can recommend this place (as long as you are a girl, of course). But if you can spend a bit more and happy to take a shared dorm there are probably nicer places around!
Now, if you do stay in Langkawi… make sure you rent a Motorbike (60 ringit for a day – sooo cheap and really new)! On my last day I rented a bike with a girl from the Hostel and we went together to the cable carts (a beautiful drive with very good streets) and to the beaches in the north afterwards. Beware however of the monkeys that come out of nowhere, especially when taking the sharp curves up the mountain.
The cable carts provide an aerial link from the Oriental Village at Teluk Burau to the peak of Gunung Machinchang, which is also the location of the Langkawi Sky Bridge. It is a bit touristy up there, but the views are absolutely stunning and I can not recommend this sight strong enough. If you are a bit afraid of heights this might not be your favourite attraction… The exhilarating 15 minute cable car ride is 2150 metres long and climbs 680 metres, with magnificent views high above the treetops of dense rain forest.
Opening hours are daily from 9:30am to 7:00pm. Ticket prices as follow:
- Adult RM 40
- Child (2-12) RM 30
- Adult Express Lane (no queuing) RM 90
- Child Express Lane RM 80
- Adult RM 55
- Child (2-12) RM 40
- Adult Express Lane (no queuing) RM 105
- Child Express Lane RM 90
The ticket price includes entrance to the SkyDome, a cinema showing simulated roller coaster ride lasting about 10 minutes and Sky Rex, a 3D dinosaur-themed experience.
Entry to the SkyBridge costs an additional RM5.
After spending four days in Langkawi I must admit I got quite bored of it, and was anxious to see something more of Malaysia. I took a boat from the Langkawi to Penang (1.5h – 70 ringit) and arrived in this spectacular place at the pier in Georgetown.
Malaysia’s ‘Pearl of the Orient’ carries a natural beauty and cultural splendour like no other place. Its name comes from the Malay translation of betel nut – ‘Pinang’. Every year, thousands of visitors come here to experience the unique cultural heritage and scenery. It is also a very cosmopolitan city, perhaps the second busiest in the country after Kuala Lumpur.
My stay was going to be including NYE, so I decided to go for a party hostel – “The Tipsy Tiger Hostel”. And do believe me, this place is like no other, you REALLY want to stay here.
They have huge rooms with 20 person per room, mixed. At first I was rather worried about this, considering I would be sharing a sleeping space with so many different and unknown and possibly loudly snoring guys (DO bring earplugs – livesaving I tell you). But it was extremely chilled, everyone super respectful and nice.
The so called “Hangover lounge” downstairs is trapping, the couches are super comfy and you can go here to relax after a long day exploring, or a long night partying!
Every night at 8pm there is happy hour – this means you get two drinks for free – also means you are going to meet everyone because no one is willing to miss out on this deal (at least for the fun bunch).
Without being sure of what to expect in terms of the street art in Georgetown due to it being a protected UNESCO Heritage site, I simply decided to venture out there with no expectations, walk around and get lost while soaking the culture in.
I found that many of this street arts were by one Lithuanian Artist: Ernest Zacharevic you can find the walking trail here:
While getting lost in the little streets I fell in love with this charming city. The cultures are very mixed, and you can see people with chinese as well as indian ethnicity. You will start to check all the beautiful doors, which are conserved still from the colonial time, with filigran drawings and carvings. The buildings and colours also have a special flair which you will remember.
My first impression also reminds me of Singapore in arab street, with the tiny houses in beautiful colours are found.
Little india is another place you should visit during your time here, most of the indian population stays here, and you can hear indian music playing loud on the streets, woman with long black hair and their beautiful dresses going shopping for spices and flowers. Dvd shops for indian movies are also to be found here.
During your explorations you should try the fresh coconut icecream topped with peanuts (6 ringit), it will refresh you from the intense heat that gets trapped in the city. If you want good indian food, go to “el capitan”, the food is delicious and you have big variety!