Before setting of to Malaysia we had two days in Krabi after Ko Lanta. On our journey back to Krabi we shared a minibus with an English couple, one of them worked for the C.I.D anti terrorist department - we had a very interesting conversation with them!! So our last few days in Thailand were spent eating some very yummy food from the weekend night market - I had the most amazing dessert ever - caramalised sticky rice. We also had our last thai massage which turned out to be the best ever.
So off we went to Malaysia, we had to get a minibus at 6:30am, we woke up at 6:40am - our alarm didn't go off! Luckily we had packed the night before so we just grabbed everything and ran out the front of our guesthouse and the van was waiting - phew! We had the most irresponsible driver ever, he must have been taught by Lewis Hamilton we literally flew over potholes and other bumps and we kept hitting our heads on the roof - it was really bad. When we arrived in Hat Yai which is a city in the south (there were lots of police vans driving around there with policemen hanging out the back with massive guns!) we had to change minibus again to go to Satun. We thought we would be crossing the border by land and had used all of our thai money up the night before thinking we would be able to get cash out at the border - we had one pack of ritz crackers and half a bottle of water for the journey. In Satun the driver also seemed to be a courier and we had lots of stops while he dropped various packages off. We then were deposited at a ferry point and realised that we would be going straight to Langkawi island from thailand. We had just missed one ferry and the next one wasn't for another 2 and a half hours. There were no ATMs and we had eaten all our crackers a few hours earlier - it was also really hot and there was nowhere cool to sit! We were a bit miffed and extremely hungry and thirsty. Finally 4pm came and we got on the ferry which was very pleasant - it took 2 more hours to get there and the water was very still. As we approached Langkawi there were big tree covered rocks jutting out the water and as we floated in there was a huge statue of an eagle. We changed our clocks one hour forward so it was now 7pm and we were starving and dehydrated!! One of the first things we saw when we got off the boat was a KFC - we ran in there :-) It felt really good to be in another country and the sun was beginning to set over the calm water. It was so different from Thailand - there were more attractive buildings and a lovely park near the jetty, it also felt a lot more laid back and there was no one shouting Tuk tuk at you!
We decided to stay in Kuah which is the main town by the jetty (as it was the cheapest place we could find) which was OK but as Langkawi has no public transport it meant we would have to get taxis or hire transport around. We found out it was quite cheap to hire a car (only a bit more than a moped) so we hired a cute little Kia picanto for 2 days. I let Kam drive as I was a bit scared off damaging it! They drive on the same side of the road as us so it wasn't too bad. We did a little tour - first of all going to the main beach resort of Cenang which is on the west coast - I think we should have stayed in this area as it had lots of restaurants and the beach was pretty nice, unfortunately it was raining when we walked along it! There were plenty of hardcore sunbathers lying in it though! We then drove north through thick jungle - saw some monkeys on the side of the road and headed to the north western tip, we went on a long winding road which suddenly just ended with a very big gate accross it with lots of security cameras - we later found out that it was part of a resort called The Datai which is very, very expensive and has its own private beach. So we went driving off again and found black sand beach and another very nice sandy beach with lots of men on jetskis! It didn't take long to drive from one side to another but we spent the whole day just exploring and it was lovely to have our own transport to do so. I found it quite interesting that on some of the tourist maps it warned you not to go down a certain road as there was a burmese refugee camp - we wondered if they said it because they didn't want to ruin the islands image? We found it a bit sad.
It was nice to have different food than Thailand, because there is a mix of indian and chinese culture you can get some really yummy stuff! Another big contrast to the other places we have been in S.E Asia is now the main religion is Islam, one night we went to watch the sunset near the jetty from a restaurant - perfect timing for a beer but they didn't serve alcohol!
On our last day we had the car until 4pm so we went back to Cenang beach, on our way there it started to pour down and it got so heavy that we had to pull over. We stopped in a car park and the rain got even heavier and then we had a thunderstorm which seemed to be directly above us - the thunder was so loud it shook the car. When the rain eased off a bit we went to Cenang beach and saw an English tearoom, we thought we would take a look and they served tea and scones! We got a drink and sat down to some postcards on the wall - the one next to Kams head was from Littlehampton, and there were also ones from Arundel, Worthing and Brighton - the owner must have been from sussex but they weren't there which was a shame. The weather was still rubbish so we walked along the beach for one last time under the umbrella and then took the car back at 4pm as our ferry to Penang was at 5:15. We're really glad we came to Langkawi it was really pleasant and one day it would be nice to be able to afford to stay at The Datai!