Langkawi, part one
Langkawi, Jewel of Kedah, well not if you go off season it’s not *sheepish grin* the downside of planning not to plan means that things don’t always go to plan. But we didn’t know it was the off season, not yet anyway.
We arrived after a quick 35 minute flight from Penang, our bags are still far too heavy for overland and ferry but we hope soon to downsize enough to make all forms of transport more attractive affairs. My bag has stubbornly remained at 20kg despite my not buying anything and using on a daily basis the 4kg of toiletries I brought with me to use up. We are hoping my mother will visit again soon and if not we are planning to sea freight a good few kilos back to the UK. Our bags are ridiculous, anyway…
We arrived to a cloudy but beautifully warm day, bought a taxi voucher at the airport, as we seem to need to do at all the airports we visit, and headed to our hotel, the Aseania. And that’s really where it all began to unravel. We were asked for a 200rm security deposit, which having paid for this hotel in advance I was loathe to give, reasoning that they did in fact have a lot more of my money than that. Every hotel does it, I was told. Well none of the hotels we’ve been to so far have but anyway. Not willing to give them my credit card details we handed over the 200rm in cash. It was 12.30 and check in is not until 3pm, which is fine and perfectly understandable. But we were told this with no suggestion as to what we might fill the intervening two and a half hours with or what we could do with our large and bulky luggage. Finally after our frustration was evident and our suggesting it, we were advised we could wait by the pool, awesome! Now just to get my bikini from my bag, did they perhaps have somewhere I could do that and change? Seemed I was pretty much expected to do that in the foyer until they remembered they had a bathroom by the pool. Our bags were brought down and oh dear it was all just too much for me, it was like prisoner cell block H. So back up we went, asking for the manager and sat in the reception. The manager appeared, heard our disappointment with the check in process and miraculously our room was ready.
Except it wasn’t. The long walk to the promisingly named West Wing, where we were to be staying was like walking through a really gross, smelly dorm hall. Rugs every 10m were filthy and the smell of damp was pervasive. We’d chosen the Aseania for it’s huge pool but didn’t think we’d be expected to stay in rooms that stank of pool too. Our room 8213 was large, that’s actually the only positive thing I can say about it. The sofa had so many stains on it that you could not actually see a stain free 10cms on any part of it. Mould was growing down from the A/C unit as well as along the silicone at the back of the sink. There were stains on the pillows, sheets and towels along with hairs that belonged to neither of us. Crumbs littered the carpet and I killed several small bugs within minutes. We are trying to stick to a budget of £20 a night without compromising on cleanliness, location and facilities and so far we’ve managed this pretty well. A few have been above as ‘treats’ and this was supposed to be one of them, double our daily budget, and the shittiest room we had seen by far.
After our check in experience I was not in the mood to stay here, quite frankly and called expedia, who we had made the booking through. Cutting a frustrating story short; three hours of calls, seeing another room, more calls, we were fully refunded and free to go on our way. Er yes hello where to? Well in the last half hour of the negotiations we’d looked at what else expedia had on Langkawi and the only suitable one was D’Coconut Villas. They were not answering the phone but showed available rooms, again over our budget but we figured we would stay for a night or two, regroup and look for somewhere within our budget from there. So off we went with Aizat, who was to become our driver for the next few days.
We arrived rather worryingly on a building site. D’Coconut Villas is beautifully positioned on a west facing beach, below the airport runway, with a beautiful pool, and was not finished. But what was finished was lovely. We were shown to a seaview and poolside bungalow with open bathrooms and spacious bedrooms, choosing the seaview one and immediately agreeing to the price. Twice our budget dear lord we are crap at this. We only wanted to stay a night or two so surely it didn’t matter. It was clean and new and there were cats, always a winning factor. But no restaurant, or in fact anything within walking distance. So Aizat drove us to the nearest supermarket and we stocked up on fruit, water, milk for tea, instant noodles, bread and peanut butter and jam for the two days we would be staying and happily returned to the villas.
The pool having not been used previously whilst huge and inviting was pretty gross so Roslin, seemingly the manager, set about cleaning it while we explored the lovely deserted beach. It was then that Jason saw a dead cat. We whistled and called to no response, in case it was just sleeping. Poor thing was upside down, legs stiff and at funny angles. I thought we should probably tell someone and bury him, I know I know, anyway I wanted to have a look to make sure it was dead and not just hurt. ‘Don’t’ Jason was shouting ‘I’ll go’. But I was so close, tears in my eyes, and then her chest moved and this clearly relaxed dead asleep jerkface of a cat woke up, yawned, stretched and came over for a stroke. There were several more cats, Felixa, black and white and a female version of the Felix cat food cat and Sheba, who slept on our porch and was by far our favourite. Aizat brought us some cat food much to JHubz amusement, bought with my birthday money so as not to completely screw the budget. The pool was cleaned by the next midday and peanut butter and jam never tasted so good.
Morning came and the sun was bright and hot and we relaxed in and out of the pool with two of the cats nearby and then sat by the sea watching the sun set a few hours later with a beer in hand. It was pretty idyllic and just what we had been looking for.
The next day we woke at 4am in the midst of a massive thunderstorm with the roof sounding like people were stomping on it, and that was the end of the sun, because dorks that we are came in off season *sigh*.
To be continued…