With a large number of the private yachts in Thailand being registered in the port of Langkawi, Malaysia, many owners and boaters are familiar with this pretty group of 99 islands just across the southern border. For most a visit to Langkawi may be nothing more than a one night stop on the annual “visa run” for their boat but the next time you go take a little time to stop and appreciate the hidden beauty of Langkawi, the jewel of Kedah.
There are two marinas suitable for checking in to Langkawi, Telaga Harbour on the west coast and the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club in Kuah town on the east side of the island. Telaga is the easiest point of entry if you are making a quick stop or are on passage further south to Penang and beyond. There is a good fuel dock on the right as you enter the marina which is supplied directly by the Petronas service station next to the marina office. There are berths with fingers 10, 12 and 15 metres long and at the western end of the marina there is a superyacht dock with one 36 metre finger and stern to berths with mooring buoys for vessels up to 50 metres.
There are a wide range of restaurants overlooking this pontoon with cuisines ranging from French North African, Malaysian Fusion Cuisine, Italian Trattoria, Tapaz and Chinese Seafood. Nearby attractions include the Oriental village, a pleasant open air mall with shops selling souvenirs and clothes and a few restaurants. The Langkawi cable car starts from here and ascends over 700 metres to the top of Mount Mat Chinchang, Langkawi’s second tallest mountain which stands at 709m above sea level. At the top station of the cable car is the Sky Bridge with unobstructed views of the whole of the west coast of Langkawi. On a clear day you can see the Butangs and Tarutao island in south Thailand.
The Royal Langkawi Yacht club is currently being refurbished with a planned reopening date of the end of October 2015. The shore facilities are being completely redeveloped and the marina upgraded with additional superyacht berths. The fuel dock at the marina is a little tricky with strong currents pushing on or off the pontoon at times and the fuel quality has sometimes been poor but this should improve with the refurbishment of the marina. The proximity to Kuah town means this is the best place for some duty free shopping and provisioning and there are dozens of restaurants in the town catering for just about every taste. It is a long walk into town so grab a taxi at Jetty point just next to the club. The simple but truly excellent Wonderland Food Store, behind the Bella Vista hotel is a favourite with locals and visitors alike.
Motor boats must now use an agent to check in and out of Langkawi while sailing yachts can for the moment still check in and out by themselves. The marina offices can act as agent for you. At Telaga Harbour there are separate counters for harbour, customs and immigration but if as often seems to happen one of the required counters is unmanned then a trip to the nearby airport or sometimes across the island to Kuah town is required. In this instance the marina office cannot help you and you will need to hire a car or employ the services of an independent agent such as Mira Desa of MT Asia, Tel; +60 (0)17 595 0010. Her fee at the time of writing was 9,000 baht. In the Royal Langkawi Yacht club you can use the services of the marina office or alternatively call Paul and Sheila Brennan of Nautical Bits, Tel; +60 (0)12 555 8588. They can help with any issues or requirements you have and also check you in and out for only 3,500 baht.
Next month we will bring you more details on the best anchorages Langkawi has to offer.