Dates: Depart 17/03/19 – Return 27/03/19
Coming up with something to live up to our amazing photo tour of Hong Kong last year was quite a daunting task. But we think we’ve cracked it! Another expedition to the far east, this time our destination is Malaysia – specifically the Langkawi archipelago. Not only do we have the white sandy beaches and palm trees of the coast, we have the iconic hills and the paddy fields of the interior to explore too. If that’s not enough for you, Langkawi is made up of 99 islands which are accessible by boat. And if that’s still not enough for you then Kuala Lumpur is an hour away by plane for those who want a bit more hustle and bustle.
The idea is to mix it up a bit. The plan is to do 3-4 days of model shooting working with fashion and swimsuit styles utilising the fab beaches and natural vistas. The cost also covers access to a private boat so we can explore the surrounding islands. The photography side of it will be lead by Michael – he will organise locations, models and provide photography guidance.
Our explorations will be guided by our colleague Sarah Wheeldon who has lived out there for 8 years now and loves it so much she has made it her home.
There is the option of doing excursions to Kuala Lumpar, Penang and Thailand which are all close. Return flights between Langkawi and these destinations are around £30.00 per person
It’s simple – get yourselves booked on flights and hotels (dates are Depart 17/03/19 – Return 27/03/19) and we’ll take care of the rest. This ensures that you get a hotel that suits your budget. Sarah has listed her hotel recommendations below based on proximity to where we will be based and a range of budgets. We are going to be somewhere that is convenient but not too touristy and the accommodation has been picked for a blend of local charm, amenities and value for money. You are welcome to find your own but if you do so please try to stay close so we can stay together. Feel free to contact us for questions and advice.
Return flights from the UK to Langkawi are between £450-£500 return per person at the moment. There is no direct flight to Langkawi so we would have to change at Kuala Lumpar. We will sort out transfers to and from airport to hotels.
Our cost for this photo holiday is £950.00. This covers models, tour guide, private boat hire, transfers and Michael’s photography guidance.
Total cost per person will be in the region of £2500 depending on your choice of accommodation. Any excursions to Kuala Lumpar, Penang or Thailand (optional) will cost around £30.00 for a return flight.
The following information has been put together by Sarah (our guide) and is correct at this time. Prices and details may change.
This is Sarah’s guide to the local accommodation
*There is a tourism tax in Malaysia – all foreign passport holders are charged RM10 (about £1.80) per person / per night when staying in any hotel or guesthouse (dorms are exempt). So any prices you see below or on the website are exclusive of this tax.
A really charming and authentic place to stay – prices are around £80 p/night based on two people sharing. But Sarah can secure around 15% discount as she knows the owners. It has a small pool set in a nice location with a cafe called Smiling Buffalo right beside it. The owner has a passion for old vehicles.
Sarah recommends this place because it’s set a little way away from the main strip but is still within walking distance. It’s approx 3 minutes walk to the beach, 5 minutes walk to the shops and the fishing village is just behind. There’s also a wave breaker nearby which is home to loads of birds and it’s in a quiet area.
This is a lovely, fresh modern hotel with all the accoutrements you could wish for. Good price too!
This is a great place to stay if you want to experience a traditional Malaysian wooden house. It’s set out like a village with about 8 houses, each in a different style. There’s lots of green space, swimming pool and a very nice restaurant. The only thing here is you must like cats – there is a vet and cat sanctuary located in front of the resort and a cats wander into the area.
It’s a bit further away from the strip but still within walking distance (about 10/15mins to the beach and strip) or you can hire a bicycle to get around. Prices start from £100 per night but again Sarah is friends with the manager so she can get a special rate (usually 15% off). Message us if interested in this one.
This is Sarah’s recommendation for budget accommodation. It’s £18 p/n for a room (2 sharing) with private bathroom and air-con. The place is clean, set within 3 minutes walking distance to the beach and strip and overlooks the paddy fields. There’s no breakfast available or swimming pool but for the money it’s
great – clean, convenient and the Italian owner is very helpful. There’s also a no alcohol policy (although you can buy your own and drink on your balcony) so you don’t get the typical rowdy, party crowd.
This is 5* £200+ per night resort – the luxury option.
Malaysia is made up of Malays, Chinese and Indians, and since the island is only an hour away from Thailand, there’s a lot of Thai people here too – so the food reflects this mix of cultures. You can also get very good western food and for those who don’t like foreign food, there’s Mc.Donald’s, KFC, Subway, Starbucks and Pizza Hut!
Street food is plentiful and good, and there is a night market every Thursday. It is generally safe to eat the street food but of course be careful!. In Sarah’s experience, she doesn’t often have any trouble with the local food at all.
Vegetarian food is available especially in Indian and western restaurants.
The tap water can be consumed but it doesn’t taste nice! We’d recommend boiling it first or just opt for bottled water. Ice cubes are safe to drink and so is brushing your teeth with the tap water. There are water stations located along the strip where you pay 20 cents p/litre to refill your reusable bottle.
There are plenty of pharmacies, clinics and a place called Guardian (like Boots) where you can buy most medical / cosmetics products. However, the only thing we’ve not seen here is Deet which we’d highly recommend bringing for the mosquitos. After sunset, during rainy periods and walking in rural areas you will experience them. While there are aedes mosquitos here which can carry the dengue virus, there are very few cases of it. There is no malaria so you don’t need to take tablets beforehand and for a short holiday you don’t need any jabs either. Please sort out your own travel/medical insurance making sure that your camera kit is covered too.
Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country so you will see a lot of women wearing headscarves. It’s not a strict country and the island of Langkawi is duty free, so cigarettes and alcohol are very cheap. Only the Chinese and Indians can sell alcohol but you will see many bars on the beach and a few nightclubs so you can feel free to drink and enjoy yourself! Westerners are everywhere so you can wear bikinis or speedos on the beach and western dress is acceptable.
The only time you will need to cover up a bit is if we go into the village (by cover-up we mean shorts and t-shirt – cover the shoulders and shorts of a decent length). And if, as a woman, you want to enter a mosque, you will have to wear long sleeves and trousers and cover your hair.
Pork is also not available so don’t expect to see it on any of the menus – even in Chinese restaurants.
So to re-cap this is a 10 day photo holiday including guidance, private boat for island hopping, models, transfers for a total target price of £2500.00! We hope this sounds as tempting to you as it does to us. Please let us know if you have any further questions.
If that has tickled your travel and photography tastebuds, please click the link below and we’ll get you on board!