Friday, 16 September 2011

Langkawi trip – 16 Sep 11

Air Asia starts to implement counter check-in fee of S$5 from 21 Sep 11. I never heard of any airlines charging passengers for counter check-in, Air Asia is trying every means and ways to earn extra income. Even though our flight to Langkawi is before the date they implement this, I decided to try out their online checking. I checked in using the Air Asia app in my iphone and a QR code was sent to my iphone. Upon arrival at the airport, I just need to scan the code at the kiosk and the boarding pass is printed out. Then I bring the boarding pass and passport to the check in counter for verification. Hmm... I really don't understand why Air Asia charge passengers for counter check-in when they still need to allocate manpower to verify the boarding pass.
Air Asia check in kiosk

We nearly missed the flight as we were still clearing the custom when it's "last call" for our flight. The flight to Langkawi is short and we landed safely after 1hr 20min.
Wave breaker

The immigration clearance tooks almost 1/2hr as there are only 4 counters for foreigners. After clearing the custom, there are many car rental companies waiting for us at the baggage carousels area. As I have done my research, I ignored the rest and head straight to Indrah Travel & Tours counter which is recommended by forummers. We rented a Proton Saga for RM240 for 3 days and paid a deposit of RM50 which is refundable upon return of the car. Car rental is cheaper during weekdays and can be as low as RM60 for Perodua Viva Elite. The price on their price list is inflated and the car rental companies creates the impresssion that they are actually offering you a discount. We also booked an island hopping tour with Indrah which we bargained from RM35 to RM30 per pax. We realised that Casa Fina charge RM25 per pax when we check in.
2 baggage carousels at the airport
Tourism office
Car rental counters
Majority of the cars are rented cars!

We waited for a while outside the arrival hall and one of Indrah staff came forward and guide us to collect our rented car. YQ checked the car and tested the engine. He's the driver and I'm the one reading the map and guiding him. No choice cos his map reading skill is poor. =p
Our rented car for this trip

We were given a map by Indrah which faciliates us in driving around Langkawi. We decided to head to the hotel and try our luck to check in even though the official check in time is 3pm. Casa Fina Fines Home is not difficult to locate as I know that it's opposite the Underwater World.
Entrance to Casa Fina Fines Home

YQ waited inside the car as we are not sure if we are allowed to check in now. It turns out that our room is available hence YQ parked his car at the carpark behind Casa Fina while I check-in.
Casa Fina Fines Home reception building
The rooms are bunglow style

The room is clean but a bit stuffy as the aircon takes a while to cool down the room. We left our belongings in the room and went out.
Standard King room
The bathroom is spacious

We have a hard time finding our lunch as all the restaurants that I researched are closed. I wondered if they are closed on public holidays? In the end, we have our lunch at Red Sky, a restaurant which is within walking distance from Casa Fina. We ordered a milkshake and pizza. The pizza is lukewarm and awful. This is the worst meal which we had in Langkawi.
Red sky restaurant
Bar counter
Strawberry milkshake
The worst Hawaiian pizza I have ever eat

We drove to the nearest petrol station to fill up the fuel tank. There is no petrol station in Pantai Cenang and the nearest petrol station is at Jalan Kedawang, few mins drive from Pantai Cenang. The petrol station here is self service which means that you have to pay before you pump the petrol. We pumped RM30 ~ S$12 the first time as I read in forum that RM30 is sufficient for 2 days usage.
Pay before you use

Then we drove to Galeria Perdana museum. My plan is to take the cable car ride but we have a change of plan as it is quite cloudy. The ride to Galeria Perdana museum tooks about 1/2hr and on some of the roads, there were no cars in sight. This make it relatively easy to drive in Langkawi.
The houses are very kampong style
No cars???
Shophouses in Kuah
Galeria Perdana Museum

The opening hours of Galeria Perdana museum is from 8.30am - 5pm (Closed on Mon).The admission for foreigner is RM10 ~ S$4 and camera fee is RM2 ~ S$0.80. I found that there are many attractions in Malaysia which charge cheaper admission fee for Malaysians but there are no such benefits in Singapore. =(

Galeria Perdana museum displayed gifts received by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, and his wife from world leaders, statesmen as well as Malaysians during his tenure as Prime Minister. It's really a brilliant idea of Mathathir to display the gifts here as I doubt that he'll have sufficient space to store all these gifts in his house and yet at the same time, he can earn from the admission fee.
The vase is almost double of my height
Glassware gifts
This resemble Borobudur
Who is the calefare?
This painting is made from gemstone
The museum is huge
I wondered how much does the ceiling cost?
Circular ramp
Red bull car
Guess guess what is this?
It's a painting from art punching technique
The ugly S-shape proposed causeway

I was searching very hard for the gift from Singapore and it turns out to be this painting from our Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. This gift really pale in comparison to gifts from other countries.
Gift from Singapore
Souvenir shop
Vintage cars
Solar car
Trishaw from Melaka

Next we went to Durian Perangin Waterfall which is few minutes away from Galeria Perdana Museum. The waterfall is about 15min trek from the carpark. The steps nearer to the waterfall are steeper but are manageable.
Path to Durian Perangin Waterfall
Steel suspension bridge
Middle course of the waterfall

The waterfall is not very spectacular but is definitely compared to the dry season. The waterfall dont seem to be a  popular attraction as there are only a few locals playing at the bottom of the waterfall.
Hmm... What is YQ reflecting at Durian Perangin Waterfall?

As it is still early, we decided to head to Pantai Pasir Hitam before watching sunset at Tanjong Rhu. Pantai Pasir Hitam actually means black sand beach,  the beach is black due to the large amounts of tourmaline and ilemnite. However only a small patch is black, the sands that are further away are not so black. This is not the 1st black sand beach which I have visited, the previous one I have been to is the Hac Sa Bay in Macau.
Pantai Pasir Hitam
White vs Black
The further the beach, the whiter the sand
Jetty near Pantai Pasir Hitam

We had coconut drinks at Pantai Pasir Hitam. Although the coconut is larger, the juice is not very sweet and there is not much coconut flesh, I still prefer Thai coconuts.

This Mak Cik is very skillful in chopping the coconut
Savouring the coconut juice

I have researched that the best sunset is at Tanjong Rhu but when we reached there, the sun is covered by the clouds. =( We left shortly and drove to Kuah.
Tanjung Rhu beach
Cow roaming by the roadside

The Dataran Lang (Eagle Square) was covered with scaffold as it's under maintenance. Hence I decide to skip it and head to Legenda park nearby. I only took photos of the Langkawi map outside Legenda park as admission fee is required and there is nothing much to see inside the park. 
Legenda Park

Then we drove to Bella Vista Hotel which is also nearby. The purpose is to take photos of this hotel as the hotel building resemble those Disney castle. I wouldnt recommend staying in this hotel as the review is not very good.
Bella Vista hotel
Sea view from Bella Vista poolside

We drove to Wonderland Food Store, near Bella Vista hotel but it's closed. We decided to purchase liqour and chocolates from Billions (beside Langkawi Fair shopping mall) before returning back to Pantai Tengah for dinner.
Billion duty free departmental store

Langkawi is a duty free island hence the liqour and chocolates are cheaper than elsewhere. It's a pity that I cant buy those liqours and bring back to Singapore. We only bought 2 cans of beer and some chocolates for supper tonight.
Lots of liquor, wines and beers
Chocolates section
Maxi lollipop
YQ eating US$

We drove back to Pantai Tengah and there are road blocks sealing the whole stretch of Pantai Tengah. We were damn pissed off as we are starving. There were no announcements or signage to inform people about the road closure. YQ told the traffic policewoman a white lie and she believe it. Bingo! Our car is allowed to drive in. When we are approaching Casa Fina, another policeman came forward to stop us and we quickly told him that this is our hotel. Phew...

We quickly parked our car and asked the receptionist how far is Orkid Ria Seafood Restaurant from Pantai Tengah as we thought of walking there for dinner. However, we walked pass T Jay's Pizza which was not open when we wanted to have our lunch here this afternoon. We decided to have our dinner here as we are starving! The restaurant is directly opposite Underwater World and we get to know from the waiter that it's close in the afternoon during the low season. If I remember correctly, the restaurant is open for lunch in Nov - Feb but it's definitely open for dinner! (Tel: +604 955 3995)
This T-Jay's pizza signage is at the main road pavement
T-Jay's Pizza cafe
Table layout

We ordered a Funghi pizza and a glass of lemon juice which cost RM30 ~ S$12. Their pizza is those normal crispy thin crust pizza and yet it's the best meal which we had during our Langkawi trip. Yummy!
Lemon juice
Yummy Funghi pizza
Chilli oil which is not spicy at all

There is road procession and gigs at the Underwater world. It almost ended when we were strolling back to Casa Fina after our dinner.
Merdaka day celebration

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