Still a good place despite the changes
Nearly four years after our last visit to Malibest and Langkawi, we returned to find the developers had taken hold of this sleepy little Cenang beach, as well as Malibest. I see Malibest has enlisted the capital of Baron to construct the ugliest multi-story accommodation at the back of the wooden units along the beach. Baron's name is ubiquitous along the Cenang street, and is obviously one of the major developers in the area.
Having said that, it appears the tourists, locals and Malaysian holidaymakers don't appear to be at all concerned that Cenang is a congested strip of poor quality shops and restaurants - they pour in in their thousands. Supply and demand.
The beach is still a beautiful place to walk and swim, which is why the public flock here. Alas, the beach has turned into a traffic lane with constant motorbikes and vehicles driving up and down and no control of this whatsoever. I'm certain accidents will eventuate, but unfortunately it is most likely children that will be hurt. Motorbikes even believe the new walkway extending the length of the beach has been made for them, and I witnessed not a few close calls with children there.
We stayed along the beach front, and they tell me every unit on the front is priced at MYR 220. But there are things to consider if you are staying longer than a few days. Many of these beach-front cabins have no sit-out facility that is under shade. Most of the trees have been removed so that even tree shade is scarce or non-existant. The beautiful old traditional huts have been replaced with modern ones, which have verandahs walled on three sides, so get no breeze.
Of the few that have a sheltered sit-out, some are too close to the swimming pool, and thus get a lot of noise during the day. We stayed in Cepu, which after considerable thought, appeared to be the best option. There is much advantage-disadvantage weighing up, of so many factors the more discerning guest would need, but in the end, I'd be unhappy with any but Cepu. Having said that, discerning guests are few and far between, so this advice will apply to only a very small number of people.
In general, the units were clean and stuff worked, but forget about the TV unless you are Malaysian - no other channels worked, which is no bad thing actually.
We walked the full length of the beach-front accommodation, and frankly found nothing as pleasant as Malibest, with all its faults - so there, that says something, if only about the poor taste of those who build these places.
Keep in mind that, although once the beach turned into a party from 4pm till sunset, now the party goes on pretty much all day unless it rains. The mornings are still very pleasant, but the afternoons are crazy-crazy, which has its charms considering the incredible range of cultures that holiday here.
Having said the multi-story unit block, that now supports the financials of Malibest, is ugly, I will say that it does give tiny beach-facing balconies, although it doesn't appear anyone every uses them to sit on - perhaps there are no chairs in the rooms. I did observe a high degree of stinginess by the owners of Malibest, or let's say, a distinct lack of facility attention and generosity, which I find odd considering how much mulla they must be raking in. Nonetheless, they do cover the basics, so it's not that bad - it is Asia after all, not Spain or even Singapore.
If I ever did return to Langkawi, I'd still stay at Malibest - just can't see why I'd return to Cenang: it has tipped over the edge that has affected so many Asian beach scenes, and finally lost the charms it was originally known for. Maybe I'm just getting too old, and seen this part of the world change too much over the last forty years.
Couples - Oct 22, 2017