We were in Koh Lipe, Thailand, and our return flight back to Paris from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was only few days away. When you look at the map, you see that Koh Lipe is one of the closest Thai islands to Malaysia. If you are on your way to Kuala Lumpur, it makes a lot of sense to stop in Langkawi, one of Malaysia’s prime beach destinations. We took a speedboat from Koh Lipe to Langkawi and in just over one hour we crossed the border and were welcomed by a customs officer who drove us to a customs building and then to our hotel (these services came with the speed boat ticket). And I had thought it is easy to cross borders in Europe!
Our brief stay at Temple Tree at Bon Ton (http://www.templetree.com.my) was truly delightful. If you have been to India, you may know the Neemrana group of hotels (http://neemranahotels.com)? Every Neemrana hotel is a heritage building and rooms are decorated with local textiles, objects of art and antique furniture. Well, this is what Temple Tree is about, too. Temple Tree consists of eight villas; colorful, wooden heritage buildings that originate from different parts of Malaysia, representing different eras and aspects of Malaysian history. “Bon Ton” in the name refers to Temple Tree’s sister hotel, which is a short walk away (http://www.bontonresort.com.my).
Upon arrival, we were welcomed like royalties with excellent Australian Chardonnay and an upgrade to Colonial House, usually reserved for honeymooners. After a dip in the pool and a walk around the estate, we enjoyed a sample platter of Malay cuisine and char-grilled lamb racks. Just one word: excellent. The next evening we flew with Air Asia back to Kuala Lumpur (there is a flight almost at every hour!), very pleased with the idea to stop in Langkawi. I would recommend Temple Tree to anyone looking for an original hotel with a soul.
We had nothing to complain about our stay, but some words of advice may become handy. First of all, there is no beach. Both Temple Tree and Bon Ton face a lagoon (see the photo above). It is very idyllic with birds and butterflies, and very green, but should you want the beach, you can take a short cab ride (costs about 2USD one way) to Cenang Beach. Secondly, the owner loves animals and she is a proud owner of an animal shelter. There is a dog at the reception (a very quiet one, it seemed) and many, many cats at both hotels. If these two points do not bother you, then this your pearl in the middle of otherwise rather tourist island of Langkawi.