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Feeling very sad that our visa to Thailand has expired, we deliberated over the easiest way to cross the border into Malaysia, whilst spending the most time we could in one of our favourite places in Thailand (Trang!). Weighing up pros and cons of decisions is a consistent theme to our travelling, which all of us can debate and everyone has a say – it’s good! So, it was decided we’d travel by minivan from Trang to Tammalang Pier near Satun right at the southern end of Thailand, and from there board a ferry to Langkawi, Malaysia. After the stunning and untouristy islands of Thailand that we had found, we expected, and were afraid of finding, a more commercial isle.

Feeling a bit weary after our van-ferry combo trip out of Thailand!

The south west of Langkawi is tourist-central, but with a long wide white sandy beach (lined with the largest jellyfish we’ve ever seen!). It was raining heavily so we didn’t dare go in the sea for fear of not being able to spot the blighters!

Suspicions confirmed, we decided we’d hire a car and uncover off the beaten track places and see if there were any jewels left in this ‘Jewel of Malaysia’ (so says the tourist hype!).

Driving north, we explored traditional villages with wooden houses on stilts, jungle-clad roads and local’s beaches, and had our first taste of authentic Malay food. This is what Langkawi used to be like and it’s sad that it’s not very visible anymore, although for the people of the isle there appears more prosperity?

For the few days we were there, we were lucky to be hosted at The Temple Tree in a traditional Penang colonial-style house. Next to us were other buildings that had been relocated and preserved from other parts of Malaysia, showing the different old wooden styles. Have I mentioned before that I’m a bit of an obsessive about local architecture?! Hidden away from the busy areas and close to local food courts, we felt cocooned from overt tourism!