11 May - 21 May 2013 Pantai Cenang

Southeast Asia
Flawed-democratic Federation of Malaysia
Kedah Darul Aman
Langkawi Island aka Pulau Langkawi
Pantai Cenang
Tstar Cottage +6049555551 tstarcottage_langkawi@hotmail.com
Brand-new, stylish and comfortable double-bed cottage (no. S 05) with private bathroom, private verandah and private koi pond (a high-output mozzie breeder) for the introduction price of only MYR 45.- or US$ 15.- per night. Free but agricultural wifi. Sweet-tempered, pisang-goreng and keropok-lekor chomping, obese Malay staff.
Beer: 320-ml cans of ice-cold Malaysian Skol Beer (5.0 % alc./vol., “Enjoy Responsibly”) for MYR 1.90 or US$ 0.65 (tax free) from the grumpy but cheap Chinese Happy Souvenir supermarket diagonally opposite.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Tstar Cottage in Pantai Cenang and for directions:

Matt: Exploring the 2km-long, very touristy Cenang Beach aka Pantai Cenang, a heavily commercialised and overdeveloped beach section with fine powdery sand but totally defaced (i) with a gazillion of ugly beachfront bars with rip-off mentality, (ii) with overpriced pseudo-international fast-food eateries with the usual priceless menus, (iii) with a plethora of deadly dull “Malay” spas with prices two to three times higher than in neighbouring Thailand, (iv) with just enough well-stocked Chinese Malaysian duty-free outlets filled with all kind of non-halal and dirt-cheap booze, e.g. 1-litre bottles of carefully selected Hayman's James Brookes Highland Piper for MYR 25.- or US$ 8.30 per bottle, and (v), last but not least, with countless rather home-made holiday resorts with a service morale for each budget.

Matt: Hiking the almost bucolic hinterland of Cenang Beach (Kampung Temoyong, Kampung Ketapang and Kampung Lubok Buaya) and, all of a sudden, landing in a parallel universe, only a few kilometres away from madness, with very friendly Malay kampungniks, well-tended rice paddies and simple warungs selling cheap and delicious Malay food, thus, once more, becoming aware of the tourism industry’s negative effects on (i) a country’s psychology (e.g. mammonism instead of hospitality), (ii) a country's ecology (e.g. concreted-over areas instead of natural habitats), and (iii) a country's economy (e.g. regulated two-tier pricing instead of free-market economy).

Matt: Discovering a lesser-known piece of clean public beach nearby and enjoying melancholically the distance of exactly one diameter of the planet Earth between Konni and my aloneness (only shared with regular visitors from the animal kingdom: a shy morning gang of dusky leaf monkeys [Trachypithecus obscurus] and an aggressive afternoon barrel of long-tailed macaques [Macaca fascicularis]), thus having nearly a whale of a time and having sufficient time to prepare my upcoming solo travels to Korea/Japan and Borneo/Kalimantan.

Matt: Flagging  down a Malay taxi (with the Muslim cartelist all the time munching on his greasy nasi lemak whilst driving) to Langkawi International Airport (c. 15 km, ½ hour, non-negotiable flat rate of MYR 18.-), taking off with Firefly (“Your Community Airline”) +60378454543 in a clean ATR 72-500 from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur’s Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport for the steal of only MYR 35.- or US$ 11.20, all inclusive, and taking thereafter the Rapid KL bus no. U81 (MYR 2.50 per person, no change) from Subang to KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur’s main railway station and hub for all kind of airport buses, jumping here into a yellow Aerobus coach (Wawasan Sutera Travel & Tours +60361892711) to Kuala Lumpur’s International Airport (KLIA-LCCT) at Sepang (c. 70 km, 1 ¼ hour, MYR 8.- per person), killing the small hours in the airport’s convenient Food Garden, flying thereafter, early on the next morning, with Air Asia X (“Now Everyone Can Fly Xtra Long”) in a worn Airbus A 330-300 to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport for US$ 102.- per person, all inclusive, changing in mid-air my watch from Malaysia Standard Time (GMT/UTC + 8:00 hours) to Korea Standard Time (GMT/UTC + 9:00 hours), being issued with a South Korean visit permit for 90 days on arrival, free of charge, and taking eventually the flashy airport limousine bus no. 6002 for KRW ("won") 10,000.- or US$ 9.- per person straight to the excellent Kimchee Dongdaemun Guesthouse +8227426696 in Jung-gu; anyeong hasseyo, Korea?!

Click below for more blog posts about Malaysia's very useful duty-free islands
22 Feb - 10 Mar 2013 Tioman
24 Oct - 26 Nov 2011 Kuah
30 Sep - 03 Oct 2009 Labuan

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2013 Map Konni & Matt

Facing Korea
© Konni & Matt

Recommended books – click below for your Amazon order from the United Kingdom:
For Amazon schnaeppchens from Germany, please click here
For Amazon bargains from the United States, please click here
For Amazon bargains from Canada, please click here

From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to trust words;
It’s good to dovetail actions.
Keep your bearings!