Have you ever been to Langkawi? I have been to Langkawi many times. Normally I would go to Langkawi once every year. What is there to do over there? Actually, not a great lot but here’s some of them. Langkawi Tourism. Personally, I like Langkawi because when I am there, everything slows down tremendously. It is unlike Genting Highlands where you see huge crowds everywhere you go and during holidays, you can hardly move! It is not like Penang where even driving from one place to another takes a long time during peak periods / hours. Langkawi by comparison is slow and steady. You can even get a car for 3 days for just RM100! Especially towards the evening time, typically it’s cheaper compared to early morning. of course, there’s the added attraction of continuous drinking for those who just must have alcohol.
Recently, nearly every major dailies reported on a huge new development in Langkawi. It’s called Perdana Quay and the GDV is RM4 Billion. This is the first ever integrated leisure, retail, residential and commercial development in the island targeting luxury travellers seeking an ecological and nature oriented option instead of just the conventional Phuket or Bali. I have been to both Phuket and Bali and if I were to choose, I prefer Bali instead. Culturally as well as places of interest, Bali wins hands down compared to Phuket which is much more famous for its beaches and ‘Thai Girls’.
Coming back to Langkawi’s development. Would it ever catch Phuket and Bali? Many would say, not likely, not in the near future. I actually agree. However, attracting luxury travellers would be a different market altogether and also because in terms of property development, I would still rate Malaysia as better than both Thailand or Indonesia in terms of legal protection or even the market development. I can only say for myself but if I were to choose a holiday destination, I rate Bali first, followed by Phuket and then Langkawi. However, for a longer term stay or for a better connection to other attractive places, I would choose Langkawi instead.
The main issue I would think Langkawi would face problems would be connection into Langkawi. It is definitely not as well connected as Bali. Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport handles close to 13 million passengers yearly and expected to hit 20 million passengers within 5 years. Phuket meanwhile handles over 11 million passengers in 2013 which meant both airports are HUGE! Langkawi airport meanwhile handles less than 2 million passengers per year. Thus, the main problem with Langkawi is not due to the lack of attractions but it is a matter of ‘if I love to come, is it convenient for me to come?’ There are at this moment no answer to this question. Thus, if we are talking about continuous growth, it is a YES. if we are talking about matching Phuket or Bali in terms of total visitors, it will not be possible even by 2020.
written on 1st April 2014
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