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When you land in Malaysia you land back into an organised, civilised world where things happen the way that you are used to.
You join the ‘Foreign Passport Holders’ queue and get your 90 day Tourist Visa stamp. There is no ‘Arrival Card’ to fill in. But, they do scan both of your index fingers at the Immigration Desk.
With the Lessons Learnt from arriving in Denpasar, I did my sums in advance. The NZ$ single transaction ATM limit is $500. At an exchange rate of 2.78 this equates to RM1,390.
There was a young lady already at the ATM who was having trouble – all of her attempts kept failing. I stepped in to help. She was from NZ and was trying to take out the ATM’s maximum amount of RM1,500 from her NZ Savings Account.
She let me go first. I took out RM1,000 from my Current Account without any problems. She did the same.
From hereon, let’s keep things easy and say that NZ$1 = RM2.5 (after fees and commissions).
WIFI SIM CARD:
I had done my research on-line before arrival. The consensus was that the Maxis Hotlink card was the best card to get. Update: As with Gili Air in Indonesia, the internet information was wrong. Once on Langkawi, the expats told me that I should have got the Celcom simCard as they have a better signal coverage across the island.
I had, also, read that the free WiFi in Malaysia was a lot faster and a lot more reliable than the free WiFi in Indonesia. Even though I would use free WiFi where-ever possible, I still wanted the freedom of my own Mobile Data Plan.
All of the main Mobile Companies have kiosks at the Airport. The problem is that they are inundated and there are queues. I queued up at Maxis. Whilst queuing, I had a young Malaysian girl jump the queue in front of me (and get served) and when I got to the girl behind the counter next, she ignored me and played with her phone (presumably because she didn’t want to deal with a stupid Englishman who needed to discuss plan options as well as buy and initiate any resultant new simcard).
I walked away and decided to sort out my new simcard the next day in Langkawi… at least there I would get served and also be able to make sure that I was getting the right service provider.
CONNECTION TO LANGKAWI:
I was expecting to have to catch a shuttle bus (or something) from the KL International Terminal (where I arrived in from Lombok) to the Domestic Terminal (for my on-flight to Langkawi).
This proved NOT to be the case… the Air Asia Langkawi flight left from the same airport. I just needed to go up to level 3 and check in.
I queued up at the Air Asia ‘T’ counters and finally got to the desk after about 30 minutes; it took longer than usual because some Malaysian women had gone straight to the front of the queue and, when finally provided help from the check-in clerk, managed to ‘materialise’ another 6 members of their family. The poor check-in clerk looked a bit narked but what else could she do.
Anyway, I presented my eTicket on my Tablet screen (just as I did back in Lombok). She wouldn’t process me. She said that I had to pay RM50 for her to check me in. Obviously, I declined to pay anything. After some discussion with her workmate she explained that I needed to check in at counter Y1 where I should be able to print off my own Boarding Pass.
Off I went Y1 (about 50-100 metres away). I was wondering whether or not I had been ‘fobbed off’. I had not, at Y1 an Air Asia representative pointed me at an Air Asia Self Check-in Kiosk. At the kiosk I entered my Booking Number and out came a Boarding Pass.
I returned back to the ‘T’ counters and re-queued. Within 20 minutes I was checked in and off to find a late lunch.
KL TO LANGKAWI:
A normal domestic flight that went smoothly.
ARRIVING IN LANGKAWI:
As you exit the terminal you will see a Taxi Service Kiosk. This is where you get your taxi.
To eliminate ‘hawkers’ and to ensure that you pay the right (and fair) price for your taxi, the Malaysian system is for you to pay for your taxi at the service desk. You will pay a fixed rate and receive a ‘taxi chit’. It cost RM20 from the Airport to my hotel in Cenang Beach.
The ‘taxi chit’ actually has the number of your taxi written on it (yes! They even assign a specific taxi to you). When you go outside, men will help you locate your taxi… and, off you go. So organised and so easy. What a contrast Malaysia is to Indonesia…
I got to my target hotel Rainbow Lodge (I hadn’t booked) and checked in with an ‘off the street’ rate – which was better than the rate the guys I shared the taxi with had paid online.
I needed a cold one. I went to the Lodge’s restaurant and grabbed a nice cold can of Tiger. It cost RM4 (NZ$1.60). It didn’t last long so I grabbed another can of Skol. That cost RM3 (NZ$1.20). Things were looking up!
For more detailed Information about Langkawi click here.
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