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Getting around

Part 5: Merang, Lang Tengah

25-26.6: Munich -> Dubai -> KL
27.6: KL
28.6: KL
29.6: KL -> Miri
30.6: Miri -> Mulu
1.7: Mulu -> Camp 5
2.7: Pinnacles
3.7: Camp 5 -> Miri -> Kuching
4.7: Kuching -> Singapore
5.7: Singapore
6.7: Singapore
7.7: Singapore -> KL
8.7: KL -> Merang
9.7: Merang -> Lang Tengah
10.7: Lang Tengah
11.7: Lang Tengah -> Kuala Terengganu -> Pulau Kapas
12.7: Pulau Kapas -> KL -> Teluk Intan

13.7: Teluk Intan
14.7: Teluk Intan, Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar, Taiping
15.7: Teluk Intan -> KL -> Kuching
16.7: Kuching, Kubah NP, Matang wildlife reserve
17.7: Semenggoh, Kuching wetlands NP, Kota Kinabalu
18.7: Kota Kinabalu -> Labuan
19.7: Labuan -> Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei)
20.7: Ulu Temburong NP -> BSB
21.7: BSB -> Seria -> Tasek Merimbun -> KL
22.7: KL
23.7: KL
24.7: KL -> Dubai
25.7: Dubai -> Munich

8.7: Kuala Lumpur -> Merang
Hotel G'Rimbun chalets, Merang. RM 50 for a basic bungalow with A/C, attached bath with cold shower and squat toilet. Soft beds. Basic, but quiet and clean place next to the beach. Cockroaches outside the room however.
Weather: overcast in KL. The sky surprisingly opens up in the afternoon. No rain.

I sleep late until 9am then get up and make myself ready. Shirley went out with Sara and Alissia for some shopping, leaving the small one here with me and with the grandparents. At 11 something am I take a taxi into town (Bukit Bintang).

Once in Bukit Bintang I have some breakfast/lunch at the Delifrance restaurant in the BB Plaza shopping complex. Then I head to an Internet cafe and the first thing I check is the result of the semifinals match Germany-Spain. 0:1 for Spain, Germany is out.

Then I investigate a bit the accomodation options on Pulau Kapas. I call two places but they have no accomodation available. It is also mentioned that the waters in Pulau Kapas are not that clear due to the proximity of the island to the mainland (apparently just 6km, while the Perhentians and Redang are much further away and therefore have clearer waters).

Pulau Lang Tengah catches my attention. Looks like an interesting place where to spend a couple of days. Accomodation looks pricey however. It seems that the only meaningful way to get there is with a package.

I get out of the Internet cafe and walk to a travel agency in Bukit Bintang. No domestic packages, but the travel ageny in the 3rd floor of BB Plaza has, according to what the lady tells me. So I get back to BB Plaza and find this travel agency.

The package to Pulau Lang Tengah 3D/2N with single supplement and excluding the flight which I already have costs RM 650. A bit expensive, but I decide to take it, since it seems to be the only option to see this island. I ask if I can go tomorrow, and yes a room is available but the price is now RM 690 because I'm going over the weekend.

So I get this package, then buy some groceries and some T-shirts (the ones I have are old and dirty and I was thinking of getting rid of them after this trip).

I'm back at Sara's place after 4pm. At 5:30pm I take a taxi to KL Sentral. RM 12 to get there. The KLIA Express still costs RM 35, which totals RM 47 to get to the airport, compared with RM 90 if you go by taxi. I manage to catch the 6pm train.

By 6:28pm I'm in KLIA, then I take the 6:40pm bus to LCCT (RM 2.50). It takes the bus a surprisingly long time to make it to LCCT - we only arrive at 7:08pm, partly because the bus made a stop at a petrol station to refuel the tank.

The flight is delayed by half an hour and only lands at 9:30pm. Then I take a taxi (RM 50) to Merang, so that tomorrow morning I have more time and don't have to rush to the jetty. We arrive in Merang well after 10pm, and initially stop at the Kembara resort. They have no more rooms with A/C, so we go to the Sutra resort which turns out to be too expensive (RM 200), so finally we head to the G'Rimbun resort.

9.7: Merang -> Lang Tengah
Redang Lang resort, Pulau Lang Tengah. The package costs RM 690 and includes two night, single supplement, boat transfer to/from Merang, all meals, two snorkelling trips, one jungle trek. The room is definitely overpriced, because it is quite old, has just basic furniture (no cupboard, place where to hang the clothes, no phone, TV, fridge etc.). In the room there are only two beds and a place where to put the luggage. Room has A/C and an attached bathroom with a hot shower. But then the price includes the boat transfer, all meals (including a 4pm tea time, not bad) and the snorkelling trips. The resort itself is on a nice beach.

Weather: sort of overcast in the morning in Merang (thin clouds layer, milky sky). A mix of sunny and overcast on Lang Tengah. The sky opens up after 3pm, then sunny blue sky after that. No rain.

I wake up at 8am, get ready, then walk to the beach. The beach is actually very nice, long, white coral sand. The sea water itself is clear enough. It would be worthwhile to spend a few days relaxing here.

It's 9:20am and I try to get a taxi to the jetty to Lang Tengah. The problem is that there is no taxi and also nobody in the reception of this sleepy place. And sleepy it really is, because there is almost no life or activity in the area. Finally I ask the guy who is painting the wall, and he stops a car. The driver agrees to bring me to the jetty.

Actually I was very close to the jetty but didn't know it. By 9:35am I'm at the jetty. This is somewhere along the river. Some people, all customers of the resort like myself are already waiting there and more are arriving. 90% of today's tourists are Asian and 90% of them are Chinese (almost certainly all Malaysian Chinese). It seems that this place mainly caters to the Malaysian Chinese.

At 10:10am the boat finally leaves, first very slowly while it crosses the river, then faster when it reaches the open sea. Not too fast however, because it will take one hour and a half to reach Lang Tengah. This boat which looks like a fast boat, is in reality a slow boat. The advantage is that the boat does not bump like crazy on the waves as the fast boats.

Once we arrive at Lang Tengah the boat does not stop at the main jetty, because this is too far away from the resort, and instead unloads the passengers through a mini-jetty straight in front of the resort.

The resort, well, is a bit surprising, because for RM 690 for two nights I was actually expecting some more luxury. The rooms are quite basic (see above), but never mind because the package includes everything.

At 12pm I have a lunch (buffet style). The pepper chicken is not bad. I then have a quick look at the beach. With Maxis there is full coverage, i.e. it is possible to make mobile phone calls. There must be a radio base station nearby, because I have five bars in the phone but we are 30km from the mainland.

At 2:30pm the snorkelling trip starts. Basically it's two boats full with resort customers circling Lang Tengah island and stopping at two places. Almost all Asian tourists wear the life jacket, probably because Malaysians are not good swimmers.

In each place where the boat stops the same scene repeats. Like in a plane dropping parachuters, the hotel staff drops tourists with life jackets and masks & fins into the water, one by one. The tourists then float on their life jackets and look into the water. Nobody tries to dive.

At 4pm we are back in the hotel. After a brief shower to rinse away the salt, I go to the beach and take some pictures. The sun now is really strong. At 4:30pm there is tea time, then I get back to the beach. Dinner is at 7pm. 

10.7: Lang Tengah
Redang Lang resort, Pulau Lang Tengah. The food they serve for lunch and dinner tastes very well. Drinks included in the price are hot water, cold water and very heavily diluted fruit juice. There are other resorts on Lang Tengah; Redang Lang seems to be the lowest end one.

Weather: overcast in the morning, the sky opens up in the afternoon. Thin clouds layer most of the time. No rain.

This morning I do the jungle trek across the island. Leaving at 9:45am the trail climbs to the highest point of the island (100m) then climbs down to the opposite side of the island. The trail is quite short. Even walking slowly it takes us less than half an hour to arrive to the other side.

The group spends half an hour on the other side of the island, then walks back. Some swimming in the sea after the climb. The access to the sea is full of coral rock pieces, so you have to walk carefully into the water. Brief beach volleyball match after that.

It would have been also possible to do snorkelling in the morning instead of trekking. A boat was leaving at the same time (9am).

After the lunch I skip the afternoon snorkelling session at 2pm and do a bit of swimming/relaxing. I walk along the beach and find two other resorts, the Sari Pacifica and the D'Coconut resort where there are more western tourists.

In the evening (it's Saturday) there is some music and activity in the resort. The Malaysian Chinese tourists are very active and noisy. Until about 22:30pm, after which the resort becomes suddenly very quiet. It seems that these tourists are quite disciplined.

Next morning the boat is leaving at 8:30am, not 9:30am as mentioned by the travel agency. I also ask how much one night is if I book separately and am told that they only take package tourists.

No Internet access on the island, so I use mobile data to check my emails.

Copyright 2010 Alfred Molon