Funky beachside cocoons
Hands down the most unique accommodation choice in Langkawi is Tubotel, whose catchphrase is, “Don’t be square!” Located just north of the entrance to Pantai Cenang at the end of Jetty Pelancongan Cenang, this colourful curiosity has a prime waterfront location offering rooms at guesthouse prices.
The rooms are cocoon-like structures made from large diameter drainage pipes. Each cylindrical suite is closed at one end and fitted with double glass doors and a window at the other. Each tube has its own theme defined by the handpainted mural on the interior wall. It may be a bit tight on leg room, but with the view and the adjacent sea-front verandas you won’t get this close to the water at these prices anywhere else on the island.
Tubotel isn’t for everyone, but its unique qualities have brought in travellers from budget-minded backpackers through to the just plain curious. Its communal bathrooms don’t allow the privacy of en suite bathrooms, but they’re spacious and clean. The tube-rooms have air-con for an additional fee, but the thick concrete walls’ insulation and provided fans keep the temperatures quite comfortable. They also offer a limited number of non-waterfront non-drainpipe rooms, which have air-con and more space, which will suit those seeking a more standard accommodation.
With the amazing seafront view, community deck, plush loungers and saltwater jacuzzi pools, Tubotel is almost like a mini-resort. The on-site restaurant and bar offer reasonably price meals from breakfast to sandwiches, pizza and daily set meals priced from to 10-28 ringgit. They also have free Wifi, a pool table and satellite TV.
Tubotel provides free bicycles to guests, but scooter and car rentals are available in nearby Pantai Cenang. Cenang beach is within walking distance from the hotel, either by the scenic main road or the shortcut across the river to the beachfront. There on the main drag you’ll find an abundance of shops, mini-marts, restaurants and other markers of civilisation — including a mall, if you so require. Rooms start at 148 ringgit including a delicious breakfast, but early bookings direct through the hotel website can save you 10% or more.
Be warned that due to current construction work on the new lagoon fishing harbour, the jetty road that leads to Tubotel gets a bit congested and rutted towards the end. But once within the grounds of Tubotel it’s location, location, location and it’s easy to overlook the current chaos going on.
By Vanessa Workman
Last updated on 28th February, 2016.