There are a couple of bus options – economy(RM32) or VIP (RM37). But they both go on the same bus! If you are going to Langkawi there are a couple of options – go to Penang and take the ferry, or go to Kuala Kedah, changing at Butterworth and Alor Star on the way. That’s the option I took.
The bus was quite luxurious to Butterworth, and stopped at Ipoh for a rest. You can buy snacks here, but the range is limited to one hawker selling some sort of . . . whatever, and small doughnuts. The toilet is 30c for entry and paper is RM1.
The trip to Butterworth takes about 4.5 hours. The stop is at the main bus station. If you want lunch there is a large hawker centre here, but by walking in the general direction of the station you will have women asking you where you want to go and bundling you off to the right counter and the bus leaves at 1pm which is in 2 minutes and here’s your change THANK YOU!
So I found myself not waiting at all. But I did spy some other tourists from my bus still asking the driver where they were. Situational awareness! Jeez.
The bus to Alor Star (sometimes spelled Alor Setar, but the first is more common) is a bit more clapped out, but still has air conditioning. The driver didn’t want to hang around so we were there within 1hr 15 min. I alighted next to the UMNO building and wandered around looking for a toilet (the signs are LIES) and had decided to take a taxi to the bus station because I just couldn’t be bothered. But when I arrived back at the bus stop (also taxi stand) a man was shouting ‘LANGKAWI!’ so I got on. Lonely Planet lies again! No need to go to the central bus station.
It was a local bus, so it had a lovely wood plank floor, though which I could see the road, and a billion people on board. I was on the back seat next to the door so it wasn’t too hot.
It takes about 30min to get to the Kuala Kedah jetty. The bus stop is on the opposite side of the road. Ferries go at random times, so anything about ‘regular services every 30 min’ (Lonely Planet) are again LIES. I had to wait for an hour to catch the 4.30 sailing.
The jetty is also the hq of a fishing boat fleet. Don’t go outside unless you want a whiff.
When I arrived at Langkawi I was surprised at how big it was – I had planned on walking to the hostel, but it turned out to be 20km away! I had to take a taxi (no buses on Langkawi) at the fixed price of RM24.
The main development outside Kuah is at Cenang Beach.
I checked in to the Blue World Guest House – new, and therefore clean, RM15 a night. It only has 4 beds and only 1 other was occupied so it was quite nice. I walked back down the road to the night market (Thursdays only)