Our family has many fond memories of trips to Langkawi, so as soon as we heard that we could travel to the island again, we booked straight away. The island is open to tourists, but how are hotels and restaurants coping and are they able to provide the services they once did? Let’s take a look!
Langkawi, here we come…
The government decided that per 12 October 2021, no more testing was needed before flying to Langkawi. We departed before this date, hence we still had to do our tests at the airport. All of them came back negative though, so we could leave for our holiday.
It was sad to see the airport fairly empty and lots of shops still closed. I was glad that I had packed some snacks for the children while we waited for our flight, since there wasn’t much on offer.
Despite this, there was a good holiday vibe on board the plane, everyone abided by the SOPs and the plane looked clean. As we landed in Langkawi, all passengers clapped and cheered, excited to be travelling again!
Just a short Grab ride from the airport (Grab cars are allowed to operate on Langkawi as usual, so we could fit four of us in one car), we turned up at The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa at Pantai Tengah.
Frangipani: great value for money
Frangipani doesn’t offer the kind of luxuries like some of the other larger resorts, but we all agreed that it offered great value for money. We opted to stay in a family room, which was basically two rooms with interconnecting doors. The room was a little dated, but clean and spacious with everything we needed. Our friends stayed in one of the sea view villas, which looked lovely and had great views. As soon as we arrived, the kids made use of the resort’s two pools, one chlorine pool and one salt water, and had great fun splashing while the adults relaxed.
The absolute best thing about Frangipani though is the location. The beach is both quiet and clean. It is separated from Cenang Beach by a cliff, so although you are within walking distance of the main bars and restaurants, the beach by the hotel has a more secluded feel. More info about the hotel here on their FB page.
We all enjoyed paddling in the sea and looking at the many starfish which had washed up along the shore. Just a five-minute walk along the beach takes you to restaurant and bar ‘Hidden Langkawi’, where we enjoyed a few cocktails and the most amazing sunset on our first night. It is kid-friendly, which is good, because we had a whole table full of kids. However, they didn’t get our food order quite right and mixed up the drinks, and almost gave a beer to the children’s table! It is right on the beach though, so kids can play while you have a drink and keep an eye on them.
What to do on rainy days with kids?
We did have a couple of rainy days on our trip and weren’t sure what attractions would be open, but we were pleasantly surprised. The kids enjoyed Underwater World on one of the days and we enjoyed some duty-free shopping. We even took a drive up to the Craft Complex on the opposite side of the island where they offered batik painting. Needless to say, it was a massive relief that these were open on a rainy day when we weren’t able to spend time on the beach or in the pool.
One of the many ways to explore Langkawi with kids on a sunny day is to join a mangrove tour. Have a look at our article here.
Businesses are trying hard
But it certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing and there were some downsides over the few days we were there. Our breakfast at Frangipani was a little disappointing – not everything on the menu was available and some of our food was cold when it arrived. Because of this, we opted to have breakfast at one of the nearby cafes or at one of the larger hotels like ‘Aloft’ which offered a really good buffet. More about this hotel in our review here. We found it was best to call and check things were open beforehand and ask what was available.
As the days went on, we found that many owners of the restaurants on the island are struggling to meet demand as they opened up. Some of the food offered on the menus was not available and one owner told us that getting supplies to Langkawi had been difficult. We also found the service in some places a little rough around the edges, for example, the wrong food being delivered or taking a long time. Again, another restaurant owner told us that they did not have a great deal of warning before Langkawi was declared open, so they weren’t quite as prepared for customers as they would have liked.
All this is completely understandable and to be honest didn’t spoil our holiday at all – you can tell that the staff are really doing their best in very difficult times.
Soon it was time to fly back home. We were relieved that we didn’t have to do a covid test on returning to the mainland, so everything went very smoothly and quickly on the way back. Overall, we had a great trip and Langkawi did not disappoint – it may just take a little longer for the island to be back to what it was before the pandemic.