Kuah, Langkawi Sunset

Kuah, Langkawi Sunset
Kuah, Langkawi Sunset

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

langkawi nightlife: reggae bar

this is one of the most popular places of langkawi. totally reggage, nothing else. everynight they have their own reggae band playing (same songs always, but it's fun anyway). drinks are quite cheap compared to other bars and atmosphere is really warm.

it's in pantai tengah. you can see its sign on the left while driving from pantai cenang through pantai tengah, right at the opposite of holiday inn resort. they also have a shuttle launching from a few places in pantai cenang, it's also a reggae mobile (an old ww van with jamaican colors, some reggae guy is driving).

their band is all malays, they have a very good percussionist who really looks like anthony anderson in rasta mode (scary movie 4). they have a very good sound but the problem is they always play the same songs. but as far as people are going to langkawi for 3 to 5 days that's okay. place is nice, warm, welcome, drinks are cheap and lots of tourists are going there. i was also there for christmas' eve party of 2006, which was i think the best night of reggae bar.

i heard that it was on the beach of pantai cenang before (right in front of langkapuri resort) and much more better than this one. but langkawi is an island with very few places to go at night so this is one of the best.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

nights in langkawi : sunba retro bar

lovely, friendly and exotic atmosphere. clean and quality service and very good drinks. when i first came here frankie the dj was the first (and the right) person i've met. he is a one hell of a dirtytalking good retro dj and a cheating go-cart racer (kidding, he is very good at driving). place is owned by jeffrey. you can see him; an asian with glasses and long grayish nice hair. he can help you out with anything.

place looks like a jungle bar. but it's totally closed. fans on the ceiling is usually enough to have some air, after a few of the exotic coctails you won't be needing any fresh air anyway. they have a flaming special coctail which is served with a nice show. usually the party boy/girl gets this one.

when you look at the menu, it seems like the most expensive bar in langkawi. but when you compare it to other places in malaysia, it's not. and drinking in malaysia is cheap compared to other countries.

music matches the name; totally retro. sometimes it's boring but usually people have fun with these well known old songs. "dancing queen" was the song i've heard most. maybe it's because of the swedish people always coming around. and one bad thing about retro is sometimes the age average is kinda high. but as long as people having fun, it's okay.

a must stop spot in langkawi. you will eventually hear about it when you ask "what can i do tonite?". there are really a few places in langkawi to spend a night drinkin' and dancin' . this is one of the good ones.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

satellite tv in malaysia

not much related to travel and touristic stuff but you will need this when you decide to stay more than a month.

in malaysia there is only one legal satellite tv provider, astro. actually it has a good variety of channels and satisfying enough for a touristic island. i mean, there are always better things to do than sitting and zapping. they have movie channels, lots of news and sports channels, music stuff etc. most of them are in english so language is not a problem. but the subtitle and sound selection do not work. just in a couple of channels. sound quality is good but visual quality is poor. it is digital broadcast but not a good one. when you are using a regular tv, this is not a problem but with a hi-res tv like a lcd or plasma tv, or a projection like my friend's epson, you can see the poor quality of the broadcast. but as i said, sound is okay. it's not surround most of the time but some movies have surround.

one totally annoying thing is censorship. they are sensoring every single bad (!) word, shit, fuck, whore, bitch etc. also hot kissing scenes so of course they censor all kind of erotic scenes. but something interesting is they also censor arabic / Islamic related words like selamin aleykum, or Allah-u Ekber. i have no idea why they are doing this, this is an Islamic country and these are very common words in Islam. i was just watching kingdom of heaven and they censored all these speeches of saracens.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

malaysia visa requirements

while i'm writing here about coming to langkawi, malaysia, wonderful beaches etc. i forgot to talk about legal stuff. here is the list of countries with visa details. Info is up-to-date from Immigration Department of Malaysia (you need IE to view the page properly, not all the features work with Firefox).

Countries that require visa:
Afghanistan (Visa With Reference), Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo Democratic Republic, Congo Republic, Cote D'ivoire, Djibouti, Equat. Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong (C/I or D/I), India, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar (normal passport), Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Serbia & Montenegro, Taiwan, United Nations (Laissez Passer), Western Sahara

Commonwealth countries that require visa:
Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Countries that require a visa if the visitors stay will exceed 3 months (90 days) period:
Albania , Algeria , Argentina , Australia , Austria (Vienna) , Bahrain , Belgium , Bosnia-Herzegovina , Brazil , Croatia , Cuba , Czech Republic , Denmark , Egypt , Finland , France , Germany , Hungary , Iceland , Ireland , Italy , Japan , Jordan , Kirgystan , Kuwait , Kyrgyz Republic , Lebanon , Lienchestien , Luxembourg , Morocco , Netherland , Norway , Oman , Peru , Poland , Qatar , Romania , St Marino , Saudi Arabia , Slovakia , South Korea , Spain , Sweden , Switzerland , Tunisia , Turkey , Turkmenistan , United Arab Emirates , United Kingdom , Uruguay , Yemen

Countries that require a visa if the visitors stay will exceed 1 months (30 days) period:
Armenia , Azerbaijan , Barbados , Belarus , Benin , Bolivia , Bulgaria , Cambodia , Cape Verde , Chad , Chile , Costa Rica , Equador , El Savador , Estonia , Gabon , Georgia , Greece , Guatemala , Guinea Republic , Haiti , Honduras , Hong Kong SAR , Kazakhstan , Latvia , Lithuania , Macao SAR , Macedonia , Madagascar , Maldova , Mauritania , Mexico , Monaco , Mongalia , Nicaragua , North Korea , North Yemen , Panama , Paraguay , Portugal , Russia , Sao Tome & Principe , Senegal , Slovenia , Sudan , Surinam , Tajikistan , Togo , Ukraine , Upper Volta , Uzbekistan , Vatican City , Vanezuela , Zaire , Zimbabwe

Countries that require a visa if the visitors stay will exceed 14 days period:
Iran (15 days) , Iraq , Libya , Macao (Travel Permit/Portugal CI) , Palestine , Sierra Leone , Somalia , South Yemen , Syria

USA: No visa is required for citizens visiting Malaysia for social, business or academic purposes (anything other than employment).

Other Asean Countries: No visa is required for a stay of less than one month for nationals of all ASEAN countries except Myanmar. For a stay exceeding one month a visa will be required, except for nationals Brunei and Singapore.

Israel: Visas are required and permission must be granted from Ministry of Internal Security.

Republic of Serbia and Republic of Montenegro: Visas are required and permission must be granted from Ministry Of Home Affairs.

Nationals of countries other than those stated above (with the exception of Israel): All citizens are allowed to enter Malaysia without a visa for a visit not exceeding one month.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

langkawi bird wallpapers

Here are some wallpapers I've made from the photos I took at Bird Paradise, Langkawi.

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  • All photos are taken with a Canon 350d digital slr body and a Canon 60mm macro lens in natural light conditions.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

cheap ticket season in malaysia; air asia vs malaysia airlines

air asia and malaysia airlines are in a battle on cheap tickets. it's holiday season here; gong xi fa cai (chinese new year, year of the pig) time and everybody's going somewhere. also the end of high season is very close.

whenever i open newspapers star or new straits times i see discount flight fares from malaysia to anywhere in the world. this year air asia started international flights with very cheap fares. also they always have a 0.99 rm or 1 rm (~$0.28) excluding airport taxes etc. domestic flights are getting cheaper day by day and with air asia increasing the number of destinations they are flying to. this is air asia web site and this is malaysia airlines web site. of course online booking is available on both of them. try to check them often if you are interested in having a vacation in southeast asia and looking for cheap plane tickets.

a few notes about service; malaysia airlines is always up to schedule. if you are flying at 15.45 you fly at 15.45 . but air asia is definitely not. sometimes it's worth the price difference. mas (malaysia airlines) is always more expensive than air asia. but as far as i know especially on international flights this price difference is huge. let's get back to schedule, 3 years ago while i was flying to johor baru to go to singapore my air asia flight closed the doors 5 minutes earlier. so me and a bunch of passengers couldn't get on the flight, than they gave us other tickets for the next day. than last year while i was coming to langkawi for the first time my flight delayed for 50 minutes. list goes on like that. but you don't have this kind of problems with malaysia airlines. but air asia has really pretty planes, well painted, nice leather seats, smoke effect air condition (yes, really fantastic). mas planes don't look that pretty. in flight service quality is good in both of them (i'm talking about domestic flights, i haven't had an international flight with air asia yet).

the prices varies a lot so i won't even try to give a hint.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

tanjung rhu beach panorama

today me and my wife suddenly decided to go to northern parts of langkawi. but time was kinda late so we just went to bird paradise and tanjung rhu beach (pantai tanjung rhu).

it was one of the most beautiful beaches i've ever seen. all white sand together with beautiful trees very few buildings, a river's path, small islands and very few people. it was nothing like cenang beach (lots of water sports agents, lots of buildings at the edge of trees, but it's beautiful anyway).

water is not deep, you can actually walk 100 meters into the sea. but it's totally muddy because it's the end point of a river (i don't know the name yet). i took this tanjung rhu panorama over one of the dunes surfaced close to the small islands. we walked there all the way. sometimes in the water and mud, sometimes over small dunes. through the sunset water has started to rise and slowly close the way we came so we had to got back before the full sunset. but we watched a wonderful view in cool breeze totally alone right in the middle of the sea.

while taking this 360° panorama, i also took a photo of my wife which i've been thinkin' to do for almost a year and never find time or place to do so. or i was just lazy. so here it is, my first clone panorama photo.

there are some shops and big resorts there. two of them are tanjung rhu resort and four seasons resort. as far as i've seen tanjung rhu resort had a wonderful pool. we are thinkin' of spending a weekend there. next time we will check out the details about shops and resorts there.

Monday, February 12, 2007

a view from chogm villa

i've told about chogm villa (where i live) before. it's really suitable for long term stay. here is a view from my balcony, you can enjoy this every evening:

my new japanese car

i've changed my car yesterday. my plumber decided to rent his car; a 2001 nissan cefiro 3.0 . very nice and clean car, have cruise control, 3.0 v engine etc. i was happy with the perodua kembara but this one is cheaper. kembara was rm1200 / month (~$342) and this car is rm1000 (~$285). there is a huge quality difference. this new one has a real air-con, abs, cruise control (yes, i said this before), 3.0 v6 engine, two airbags, a huge baggage compartment etc. it's my plumber's family car so it's really clean compared to my rent-a-car perodua. (btw it has a sound system better than my 5.1, am i lucky or what).

okay, kembara was a nice small suv with no comfort maybe more suitable for an island like this. it was like a station wagon in the shape of a jeep with 4wd. but most of the roads here are very clean and smooth, so you don't always need jeep, actually you hardly need a jeep when you are living here.

i will put its photos here when i have time to shoot them. here is a photo from www.thaicar.com:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

my blog directories

as a first time blogger, i'm trying to submit this thing to blog directories. when you are new to these stuff and also late, you get surprised how huge they spread through the net. lots and lots of them ...

Friday, February 09, 2007

my stay

before i arrived i was looking at the perdana beach resort which had an apartment looked nice in photos. it had a pool, nice flats, by the sea etc. my friends were also living there back than. but the truth is it's in the middle of nowhere. not many people are living in it and there is nothing around it. also because of the wave breaker the sea is dirty and muddy. actually generally it's muddy here, because of the current, because of the all sand sea base, it's always muddy. you can't see anything. and especially these times there are lots and lots of jellyfish here. and they are big, really big.

when i arrived my friend has moved to a house in pantai cenang (cenang beach). a nice house which needs hell a lot of repairs and renovation. the former owners were most probably living like animals (as my friend said after his first arrived). it was much better when i arrived. i stayed with them for 2 months. living around pantai cenang is the best thing a tourist can hope for, life is here. it's a very nice and long beach, close to other nice beaches, bars, pubs, restaurants, shops , all here. so you might like to stay in one of the resorts or guest houses here. btw; they are paying rm1000 for the house (~$285).

but as a long term resident i needed a house or flat with furniture. so i started looking for it. there was only perdana beach resort kinda close to cenang beach. but when i went to see it, i definitely didn't like it. also it was quite expensive for island standarts, rm1500 / month (~$428). than i asked around and found out there are 3 apartments with furnished flats in kuah. kuah is the town in langkawi island. i will give the details in another post. the three apartments are century suria, kondo istana and sri lagenda.

century suria is close to the west entrance of the town, close to the sea. the flats and furnishing is kinda nice. but the pool is too small, almost like a pond. flats have 3 rooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and a saloon. view is really nice, if you have a flat on higher levels. most of the rich people of langkawi live there. price is rm1800 / month (~$514). it also has a small mart, gym and sauna in ground floor.

kondo istana is very close to the town center. looks like century suria, 3 rooms, 2 bathrooms, open kitchen and saloon. very nice view (especially mountain side). when you ask the reception they say rm3600 (~$1000) / month. Yes, it's really expensive and believe me it doesn't worth it. if you are lucky you can find a home owner there and rent from them. than the price drops around rm1400 (~$400) which is logical. But the furniture might not be good.

sri lagenda is a budget apartment. monthly rents are around rm600 (~$170). Small apartment with poor furniture and no facilities.

than luckily, a guy from kondo istana has showed me a flat in chogm villa. that's the best place you can get if you intend to stay for a long time. or 1 month even. wonderful big and clean pool, single flats or doublexes in a very nice site. now i'm staying there with a very nice pool view. sauna and gym are right by the pool. very quite and windy. sometimes children are making a lot of noise by the pool but you get used to it. large windows to the balcony which i love. just open it all the way and enjoy your stay. we are paying just rm1200 (~$342) / month which is totally worth it.

the thing about staying in kuah is it's 25 min drive from pantai cenang. but it's okay if you like to drive, because the coast road is very nice and clean.

my high season

since i came here everybody was talking about a high season; "it's gonna be good, langkawi will be crawling with people, business will be good, beaches will be full..."

yes, now there are hell a lot of people than it used be. but the high season came quite late. it was supposed to start around mid november, but it started in christmas. since than, it's getting better. it's not my problem though, but i have friends who have nice restaurants, bars here and i want them to have good business. i will start reviewing them as soon as i have some time to do so; red tomato splash and garden, jungle bar, sunba retro bar, sun cafe restaurant, adda maya cafe and restaurant (i love the nasi goreng there).

so, this year high season is between mid december and ... it still goes on.

okay, so what is nasi goreng; it's fried rice. but in adda maya they make it a little different. they already have the one with chicken, prawns, egg, chili etc, but i prefer the special one they make for me, it's made with tomato, lots of veggies, no soy sauce and egg. it's really delicious. anyway, i will get to the details of adda maya's menu in my next posts.