HIT THE BEACH ... AND THE SHOPS

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET LANGKAWI -

Cel­e­brat­ing 10 years of UNESCO World Geopark sta­tus this year, Langkawi in Malaysia is high on Aussie trav­ellers’ radars right now thanks in most part to cheap flights and its un­touched allure.

Be­yond the co­conut tree-lined beaches, crys­tal-clear wa­ter and pris­tine con­ser­va­tion ar­eas, its tax laws mean you can add duty-free shop­ping to an itin­er­ary of div­ing, snorkelling and wildlife sa­faris.

On the main is­land of the Langkawi ar­chi­pel­ago – more than 99 rugged, rain­forest­cov­ered is­lands jut­ting from the An­daman Sea – time seems to have stood still, with tra­di­tional hand­i­crafts and by­gone ways of farm­ing and fish­ing ex­ist­ing along­side lux­ury re­sorts and at­trac­tions such as the SkyCab ca­ble car, Un­der­wa­ter World aquarium and zip lin­ing.

Dean Heke from Hel­loworld Travel Ka­toomba, NSW, says when book­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion in Langkawi you should think about why you’re there.

“Is it a beach hol­i­day, all about lo­cal cul­ture and food or scuba div­ing and snorkelling?” he says.

We found three Langkawi re­sorts to suit all bud­gets.

CE­LESTE MITCHELL When you have one thing and one thing only on your mind – shop­ping – a beach­front room is not nec­es­sar­ily high on your list of wants. A kilo­me­tre from Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Air­port, The Smith House pro­vides free trans­fers to get you to your ac­com­mo­da­tion quickly so there’s more time to take your credit card for a spin. Don’t for­get to take your swim­mers, though; there’s a rooftop pool crown­ing the 75-room ho­tel, which opened in De­cem­ber, with views over the Langkawi hills. Down­stairs you can re­treat with a book in the li­brary, make the most of Happy Hour at Ab­solum and dine in at Ab­so­lut. For a bud­get ho­tel The Smith House overde­liv­ers with free Wi-Fi, 24-hour re­cep­tion, hair dry­ers, break­fast and more in­cluded in your room rate.

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