Malaysia

My favourite reasonably-priced bars and restaurants in Langkawi

After Penang, Langkawi was a bit of a shock food-wise. The food was more expensive, less delicious and lacking the quality we’d experienced in Penang. We didn’t realise it at the time, but in Penang we were well and truly spoilt! The best Laksa we’d ever tasted for RM 5 (approx €1), Lok Lok on the street for RM 1 per stick, crispy roasted pork on tap… Penang truly is food heaven. But I digress, this post isn’t about Penang – it’s about finding cheap yet good quality food and drinks in Langkawi! We stayed for 11 days and believe me, we had to kiss a fair few frogs to find our prince(s).

A quick note on alcohol in Langkawi: The island has been duty-free since 1987 so it’s the cheapest place for booze in Malaysia. If you drink beer, you’re going to be able to get drunk, very cheaply. Lucky you! Wine is harder to come by (a lot of restaurants simply don’t serve it) and good wine is almost impossible to come by if you’re on a budget, so lower your expectations and you’ll be grand.

So here you go, I’ve taken the hassle away for you! Here are all the best places in Pentai Cenang and Pentai Tengah to get a decent meal and drinks without breaking the bank!

 

CHEAPEST:

Cactus Restaurant

It was so good we ate here 3 times! Everything is reasonably priced, delicious and they have cheap beer and white wine for RM 10 (approx €2.50).

Category: cheap | Pantai Tengah | Cactus Restaurant on Trip Advisor

 

Palm View Seafood Restaurant

Lots of good Chinese options. Cheap beer and wine is RM 9 per glass, cheapest I found on the island.

Palm View Seafood Restaurant

Category: cheap | Pantai Cenang | Palm View profile on Google

 

Keladi Cafe

Cute little roadside place near The Kasbah. Friendly owner. Super-cheap and cheerful. No booze!

Category: cheap | Pantai Cenang | Keladi Cafe profile on Google

 

Rasta Bar

Mixed bag. When they were playing reggae it had a really good atmosphere but a couple of times we walked past and they were playing shitty Ibiza music, so we just kept walking!! They don’t have toilets so you have to use the toilet at Thirstday Bar and Restaurant (which I don’t recommend as it’s crazily overpriced.)

Category: cheap-moderate | Pantai Cenang | No website

 

One Love Reggae Bar & Cafe

Another place promising to be a Reggae bar but when we were there they weren’t playing reggae… anyhoo, cheap and cheerful and I love their mural.

One Love Bar, Langkawi

Category: cheap-moderate | Pantai Cenang | One Love on Trip Advisor

 

Lepak Bistro and Bar

The friendliest owner ever! (In fact, many people on Trip Advisor go as far to say it’s the friendliest bar on Langkawi!) The long-haired DJ / owner went up to every customer, asked them what kind of music they like and then played a song for them! Amazing touch ❤ And the drinks are cheap… what more could you ask for?

Category: cheap | Pantai Tengah | Lepak Bistro on Trip Advisor

 

MODERATE:

Hidden Langkawi Restaurant

My favourite place in Langkawi, just a shame that it’s a tad expensive – but in this case you absolutely get what you pay for!

Hidden Langkawi Restaurant

Hidden Langkawi

Hidden Langkawi

Hidden Langkawi

Category: moderate | Pantai Tengah | Hidden Langkawi restaurant on Trip Advisor

 

The Kasbah

Not the cheapest place but I really like the setting. A bit off the beaten track which means it’s the perfect place for a bit of peace and quiet.

The Kasbah, Langkawi

Category: moderate | Pantai Cenang | The Kasbah website

 

Pasar Gelap

This unassuming little place directly on the beach sells pints of wine for RM 15 (see photo! I’m not kidding!) and they have fire shows! Definitely worth checking out!! TIP: Don’t order the nachos, they’re terrible and a total waste of money!

Pasar Gelap

Pasar Gelap

Category: moderate | Pantai Cenang | Pasar Galap profile on Google

 

Red Tomato

We didn’t eat here (as it’s mostly over-priced Western food) but they have glasses of prosecco for RM 15 so I’m sold!

Category: moderate | Pantai Cenang | Red Tomato website

 

Fat Cupid – Cafe & Restaurant

Upmarket, Malaysian cuisine. Friendly staff (it’s owned and operated by three cousins according to the internet…) I probably wouldn’t got back as I don’t need my food served in ramekins… but it’s nice to go once!

Fat Cupid

Category: moderate | Pantai Tengah | Fat Cupid website

 

EXPENSIVE:

Bon Ton

I’ve thrown one expensive place in here, because why not eh? We didn’t pay to eat here, we got a 3 course meal for free as we were volunteering at Langkawi LASSie… but it was damnnnn good!!  The white wine was the best I had on the island and the food was beautifully presented on banana leaves which was a special touch! The views from Bon Ton restaurant are simply stunning and if you get there before sunset you will be treated to not only a magnificent sunset but also a “stork show”. Every evening a group of storks circle around the lake when the sun goes down, it’s one of the best ‘nature moments’ I’ve ever had and somethingI will never forget! Special thanks to Linda for the tip! If you meet her please do say hi from me, she’s awesome!! ❤️

Bon Ton

Restaurant @ Bon Ton

Have you ever been to Langkawi? Have I missed any hidden gems?

Hayley x

 

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Volunteering at LASSie animal shelter and sanctuary in Langkawi – Everything you need to know

Langkawi LASSie

Langkawi LASSie (which stands for Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary Foundation) is a non-profit animal shelter which was set up to receive, rehabilitate and care for animals that are neglected, abused and in need. It is located at the Bon Ton resort in Langkawi, Malaysia, close to Pentai Cenang beach.

Langkawi LASSie

LASSie a privately funded, small-scale operation (aided and supported by the Bon Ton and Temple Tree resorts) therefore they are always in need of volunteers to help out. We volunteered in Jan 2019 and had the most brilliant time, but when trying to plan our visit I couldn’t find much information online other than LASSie’s own website, so I’m here to rectify that now 🙂

So if you’re planning a visit… here’s all you need to know:

Langkawi LASSie

There are currently about 150 dogs on the property, we looked after about 50 and the rest are looked after by staff. I didn’t count all of the cats but I would guess at about 50-60! Some of the cats are free roaming so it adds a friendly feel to the resort, you might make some furry mates along the way!

Unlike other sanctuaries, for example Elephant Nature Park (ENP) in Chiang Mai and Lanta Animal Welfare (LAW) on Koh Lanta, Thailand, it’s completely free to volunteer here. This is because LASSie is small and not as “developed” as the other sanctuaries I have visited. It’s all about the animals, which I love!

Langkawi LASSie

How long can you volunteer for?

The minimum period for volunteering is 2 weeks, working 6 days a week with one day off – so if you’re able to commit to that – in return you get to spend a couple of weeks with some fantastic cats and dogs. Of course they prefer longer stays if you have the time! 🙂 We’d love to go back for 2 months if we can! LASSie currently welcomes up to four live-in volunteers at a time.

Langkawi LASSie

Are there other ways to help out? 

If you can’t dedicate that much time, you can come and help walk the dogs in the morning, from 10am – 12 noon. Unfortunately this is only for people aged 16+ as a lot of the dogs are quite large and strong! Kids are welcome, but they won’t be able to walk the dogs themselves.

You can also spend some time socialising with the cats. Again, I’d recommend coming between 10am – noon as there will be more volunteers around at that time to help you.

Playing aka socalising with the cats

Playing aka socalising with the cats

Multi-tasking :)

Multi-tasking 🙂

You could adopt a pet (!!) or donate toys, treats, medicine, building materials, food, or money. The best thing to do is send an email via the website to see what is needed at that time. (For example when I was there, the dogs had loads of balls, but they didn’t really like to play with them, they preferred squeaky toys and ropes.) If you’re looking to adopt it’s probably best to make an appointment.

Cats at Langkawi LASSie

Cats at Langkawi LASSie

Volunteer Accommodation

Free staff accommodation is included. (No, you won’t be staying at the Bon Ton resort… hahahaha!!) It’s basic and very rustic, but has everything you need including mosquito nets, air co, fridge, kettle, toaster, shower and a flushing toilet (sometimes 🙃). You’ll have a few flatmates; we had geckos, centipedes and a beetle! (I swear it was a cockroach but the Dutchie maintains it was a beetle…) We also had 2 dogs on our front porch: Rosie and Gizzy ❤️❤️ they’re absolutely adorable!!

Staff accommodation at Langkawi LASSie

Staff accommodation at Langkawi LASSie

Rosie <3

Rosie ❤️

Gizzy

Gizzy ❤️

Staff Food

You get free staff meals: breakfast is milk, bread, butter and jam. Then lunch and dinner changes on a daily basis but is generally rice, one type of protein, lots of veggies and sometimes noodles. It’s good hearty Malaysian food and will fill you up after a hard days work.

Food at Langkawi LASSie

When eating, you sit in the staff ‘restaurant’ – which is a actually a store room – with a few furry friends! There are fans and wifi, so no complaints here! Once you’ve finished eating, you need to wash up your own plate, cutlery and glass. Remember: you’re a staff member so no one is cleaning up after you.

One staff drink per day is included for example tea, coffee, soft drinks, fresh juices etc. And the cherry on the cake is that once a week you get to enjoy a 3 course meal at the Bon Ton restaurant which is superb!!!

Bon Ton Resort, Langkawi

Bon Ton Resort, Langkawi

But a volunteer isn’t in it for the free stuff, right? The main focus here is the cats and dogs.

What do the volunteers do?

The day starts at around 9.45am when you walk your “own” dog(s). We looked after Rosie and Gizzy, the volunteer next to us also had his “own” dog called Jon Jon. Then you start walking the rest of the dogs at 10am.

Dog walking at Langkawi LASSie

Walking Happy and Peaches

Walking Happy and Peaches

All of the dogs are walked in their “packs” to avoid fights and all “packs” are kept at a safe distance from each other. Each day follows the same routine so that the dogs all know roughly when they’re going to be walked.

Depending on how many volunteers there are, the walking finishes between 12 and 12.45pm. If you finish early you can play with the cats until lunchtime.

Cat heaven!

Cat heaven!

Between 12.45 and 1pm the dogs are all fed and it’s the volunteers duty to help with the feeding, pick up empty bowls and then wash them all ready for the next feed. Once this is all done, the humans get to eat!! Yum!!

We generally finished eating around 2pm so we’d go back to our bedroom and cool off in the airco / lie down ready for the afternoon shift!

‘Rotation’ starts at 3pm where dogs are let out in a large yard to have a run around off the lead. Again they are let out in their individual “packs” and get around 10-20 mins to play, get flea and tick checked and depending on the day some of the dogs have a shower under the hose. Rotation follows the same pattern every time, again so that the dogs get into a routine (it also makes it easier to remember for the humans too!)

Poppy enjoying the run

Poppy enjoying the run

Rotation at Langkawi LASSie

Rotation at Langkawi LASSie

Playing with Jack during rotation

Playing with Jack during rotation

Once all of the dogs have had their allotted time, been flea and tick checked and are all safely back in their cages for the evening… the last job is… you guessed it… picking up all the poo!! You’re done by about 6pm!

Poo duty!

Poo duty! (That’s paint on his shorts… don’t worry!)

Is it difficult working at LASSie?

Generally the work is really easy if you love animals and don’t mind getting dirty!!

Excited for walkies!!

Excited for walkies!!

Occasionally there will be a difficult situation, for example dogs fighting… but never try to break it up with your hands!! We used loud noises such as clapping or if they were really naughty… spraying them with water!

We also experienced a few animals dying. At the beginning of one week someone had dumped 6 kittens, unfortunately by the end of the week there were only 4 left. There was also a cat dropped off in a polystyrene box one day, it looked like she’d been in a road traffic accident and we didn’t see her again so I don’t think she made it either 😢

If you can’t handle situations like this, I wouldn’t encourage you to volunteer. LASSie are doing an amazing job, but as with anything, they can only do their best.

Kittens at Langkawi LASSie

Kittens at Langkawi LASSie

Kitten at Langkawi LASSie

Kitten at Langkawi LASSie

Would you recommend volunteering at LASSie?

Wholeheartedly, YES!!!! It was only my second ever volunteering experience but now I’m totally hooked. The Dutchie and I both absolutely loved it. Yes, it’s hard at times but it’s 100% worth it. The work is just so rewarding and you go to bed feeling like you’ve really helped with something! So if you get the chance: JUST DO IT!!

Group photo!!

Group photo!!

Dog walking with a view!

Dog walking with a view!

YOLO

YOLO

Is there anything else I need to know?

Cenang Supermarket is 10 mins walk away, apparently so is the beach (but we didn’t walk there directly from LASSie).

There’s a washing machine on site, behind the volunteer housing. (We didn’t know this and ended up paying to wash our clothes at a local launderette!)

To get around the island, you can either hire a moped or download the Grab app and take cheap taxis. (It’s the Asian version of Uber, except much less expensive!)

Recommended things to bring:

Travel towel (towels are not provided)

Extra pillow (your travel pillow will do!) and a sheet if you have enough room in your luggage

Refillable water bottle (you can fill your water bottles at the bar for free)

Coffee and / or tea if you like specific brands (otherwise you can buy tea / coffee in Cenang supermarket)

Recommended things to buy when you’re there:

Toilet roll (if needed… otherwise there is a bum gun… hahaha!)

Malaysian sim card (there is wifi but it only works in the restaurant)

Langkawi LASSie

Getting licked by Elvis!

Ok, I think that’s it!! I’ve tried to be as detailed as I possibly can, but if there’s anything I’ve missed or you have any questions, please fire away! And if you’re going to LASSie… lucky you! I’m jealous! Please say hi from me 🙂

Hayley x

www.langkawilassie.org.my

Update 9th Feb 2019: LASSie are currently trying to raise €6,000 to save 6 abandoned puppies, if you’d like to donate you can do so here. Thanks for your support!

 

 

MH17 – “Everyone knows someone, or someone who knew someone.”

On Friday morning I turned on my laptop to write a light-hearted post about my weekend trip to Utrecht. Instead I spent hours reading articles and blog posts about MH17 and listening to the radio for updates.

I won’t pretend to know too much about this tragedy. I only know what I’ve read. I didn’t know anyone on board. But the Netherlands is a small country, “193 people is a lot for us.”

“Everyone knows someone, or someone who knew someone.” (anastasiahacopian.com)

Such true words. At the gym, a woman broke down in the changing rooms. My instructor was also mourning her friend who had been on board.

It’s so incredibly sad. I’ve cried several times since Friday, reading about these people I don’t even know, but somehow I feel a connection. The Netherlands is my home now. Dutch people are MY people.

Therefore I couldn’t let this tragedy pass unmentioned. My blog posts can wait. In the meantime I just wanted to share a few links with you, in addition to the tear-jerking post from Anastasia above.

BBC: What we know

Amanda van Mulligen, MH17: A plane has crashed

Colleen Geske (Stuff Dutch People Like) A tribute to Antoine van Veldhuizen, a Dutch friend lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Personal message from the Expatica Team

My sincere condolences to the crew, passengers, families and friends of those on board flight MH17.

Hayley x