HIT THE BEACH ... AND THE SHOPS
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.