mardi 7 septembre 2010

Voyager à Langkawi

Je fais ma fainéante, je ne traduit même pas! Ca date de 5 ans par contre...
D'autres infos sur cette île splendide sur le site de l'office du tourisme de Malaisie.

"There are four main ways to get to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur, and I have tried three of them. Each way has its goods and bads. The most common for tourists is to fly of course, but you can also go by tour bus or train or rent a car and drive yourself. I have done all of these except for driving myself, and I hope to do that sometime this year.
For those of you whose main point is to lounge on the beach, dive, and snorkel or are limited in time, flying is still the best option. You can take MAS or Air Asia, as both have daily flights to Langkawi itself. MAS is an excellent airline and Air Asia is the budget alternative. I have covered those somewhat in other reviews.
The first trip I made to Langkawi was by bus, and I’m actually glad I went this way. I wasn’t on a limited time schedule, so it worked out rather nicely. There are several different companies running buses to Langkawi, and the prices range from RM20 to RM25 one-way. Actually, the buses take you to Kedah, where you take a boat to Langkawi. The cost of the ferry is RM12 one-way. You can catch these buses at the Puduraya Bus Station in Kuala Lumpur. They leave about every hour on a daily basis.
Beware, though, as the journey can take as much as 12 hours. To make matters easier, most of these buses are really nice. The chairs are all nice recliners that are similar to business class seats on an international flight. Many of the buses have TV’s at the front, but they will be playing a Malay language feature. The buses do stop at least two times at rest areas, and there will be hawkers and food courts there. What are the big advantages of this you may ask? Well, if you are traveling with several people, you will save some money. The main advantage to me, though, is really seeing the country. You get to have someone else drive you while you see the scenery. If you aren’t up for a round-trip this way, and I wouldn’t be again, you can take a bus one-way and fly back.
The train is also an interesting way to get to Langkawi and can be quite nice and a bit romantic for a couple. The cost of a train will run anywhere from RM18 per person one-way for a basic seat to RM100 for a private cabin with a small table, beds, and a sink. It can be quite romantic and a nice way to travel in first-class on a train for a cheap price. They have a dining car that serves both Western and Malaysian dishes at a fair enough price. It’s also a good place to strike up a conversation or play a game of cards with other passengers. The journey takes about 10 to 11 hours; the train runs every day and can be caught from Kl Sentral.
I recommend the private cabins for a couple, but the highest grade seats aren’t too bad; they are better than coach on an airplane but not as nice as business class. Once again, you can take the train to Langkawi and fly back, as a round-trip journey would be a little redundant. It’s a nice experience but I like trains, and they are preferable to the bus. The trains information and timetables can be found here. Remember, when searching for fares on the site, that the KL terminal is called "Sentral Kuala Lumpur" and the train is called the #8 EKSPRES LANGKAWI. Malaysian Train KTMB
I have yet to rent a car, like I have said above, but it looks to be an interesting journey. From riding on the bus, I can tell you that most roads are pretty good. Its mostly a four-lane highway, and there are towns spaced equally along the way that may make for interesting exploration. There is also parking at the pier once you get to Kedah and take the boat to Langkawi. You cannot take your car onto the island from what I understand."

Une autre source assez complète spécial train de nuit, ça me tente pas mal d'ailleurs!

"Most people fly or drive to Langkawi Island. There is also an option to get there and back on a leisurely overnight train.
About Langkawi:
Langkawi is a beautiful tropical island on the North East Coast of Malaysia. It's not affected by the monsoon season, so is accessible all year round when most of the beaches and islands on the East Coast of Malaysia are closed due to tropical storms towards the end of the year.

The route

To get there by train you will have to take the train from KL Sentral station to Arau, Perlis. Then catch a Taxi from Arau staion to Kuala Perlis. Finally you have to take an hour long ferry from Kuala Perlis to Kuah Town, on Langkawi island.

Tickets and schedule

It's difficult to get tickets during peak time towards the end of the year and school holidays. Tickets can be bought 2 months in advance at any KTM station including Komuter stations as well as on-line. If you're planning to go back by train also, it is recommended that you buy your return tickets at the same time. When I went, the tickets on our return trip were booked out for the next few days.
Ticket prices are RM103 for the top bunk, and RM95 for lower bunk for a total of RM198 one way for two people to ensure that you have a cabin to yourselves. This is recommended for those with young kids, as there is space for the kids to jump around and also a sink for washing up.
For those traveling on on their own, or without kids, then second class sleeper which is essentially a bunk bed with a curtain is better value.

Train schedule

Be sure to check the latest online schedule at time of writing the times are:
  • KL to Arau - Leaves KL in the evening at 8pm arrives at 8:20am next morning.
  • Arau to KL - Leaves Arau in late afternoon 5:30pm arrives at KL Sentral 5:20am next morning.
On board service
It is recommended that you have a nice dinner in KL first before you board the train. There is no dining carriage, but a buffet one. Those in the first class cabins will be provided with a simple cake and bottled water. Grab some snacks at the train station and enjoy the evening view before getting some sleep.
There will be announcements 7 minutes in advance at each station in English the next morning. You will also get a nice reminder knock on your cabin door from the ticket master if you're in the first class sleeper cabins.

Arau Station

There is nothing much in this sleepy town. A short walk from the station there is a convenience store and also some places to eat local food. Standard fare here such as fried noodles (Mee Goreng), fried rice (Nasi Goreng), tea, coffee and soft drinks. The places cater to locals so the prices are cheap at around RM5 for a dish and drink. Do this if you want to take your time and catch the 10am ferry and not the 9:00am one.

At Arau, you'll need to catch a taxi to the Kuala Perlis, Ferry terminal. There are taxis waiting here for the train, so you won't have a problem catching one. From here onwards and in Langkawi expect taxi's to charge per person. Standard rate is RM12/person to the ferry terminal.

Ferry to Langkawi

There are ferries almost every hour during the day. During off-peak times, you should be able to reach the terminal in time to catch the first 9am ferry to the Island. It costs about RM18 per person. Else you may have to wait to catch the next one.

Returning by train

If you already have a return train ticket, going back is similar, except the train leaves at 5:30pm, so you should catch the 3pm ferry back to be safe, although the train usually arrives late. The locals recommend to take the 4pm ferry back though, buy this ticket in advance and make sure you get on the small faster ferry that only takes an hour.
Return trip is more scenic, as it leaves in the late afternoon. Expect to enjoy a few hours watching the paddy fields and country side before going to sleep.

Further information

For further information on Langkawi check out the WikiTravel page:
My recommendation is to get accommodation near Pantai Cenang or Pantai Tengah. This is a very convenient area with nice long beautiful public beach. There are lots of places to eat, organize activities and travel within walking distance. The more expensive resorts, are out of the way, and so you're stuck either catching a taxi or dealing with the on resort services.
Also if you have a drivers license, I recommend hiring a car. Even a 7 seater van is RM180/day and cars can be as cheap as RM50. Since taxi's charge per person, you may as well hire a car and drive around the island at your convenience."

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