We were evaluating our options of where to get PADI certified in the region. Thailand had many locations to offer, but given that our timing coincided with Thai new year, or Songkran celebrations, we decided to look go to Malaysia to avoid the crowds. The whole trip – one week – was planned around the days of diving training. We needed a hotel that offered great children facilities for our kids to enjoy their stay while we were not there. We chose the Meritus which more than exceeded our expectations. As usual we had made no advance plans and counted on the hotel to point us in the right direction. Within an hour of our arrival, we had had a preliminary conversation with Jeff, our dive master, and had an early morning pick up arranged for the next day; we had hired a babysitter to look after the kids in collaboration with the staff at the kids’ club; and we had selected the menus they would have in our absence. It was that easy. On top of that, we were upgraded to a large ocean front cabin which had direct access to the beach. The room was spacious, bright, and very clean.
Over the next couple of days, we enjoyed diving in some wonderful locations which offered not only coral reef but also wonderful ship wreck sites. The marine life was colorful, lively and abundant. The course was done over 3 days, although we did have to read quite a bit over 2 nights in order to also pass the written exam on the last day.But as much fun as we had, the kids enjoyed themselves even more. In the hands of the kids’ club staff, they went to play tennis, mini golf and watched movies. On top of that, the resort is equipped with a fantastic aqua park next to the pool complex, where kids can go through water tunnels, play with giant super soakers or have buckets of water poured over them from the mouth of a dinosaur. In fact, I almost think they were disappointed the first day we were back and they got to hang out with us.
On top of the diving, we actually took some of the water tours. We enjoyed visiting the monkeys in the mangroves, and seeing the eagles hunting. The visit to the Sky Bridge, arguably the longest curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge. The views from the cable car and the bridge were outstanding. For dinner, we had a myriad of options walking distance from the Meritus. Of note was the Mumbai Palace which had a very comprehensive menu, but more importantly the nicest staff to children.
We loved the ultra peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in Langkawi, as well as the people’s friendly disposition. We would definitely go back. If taking the diving course (3-5 days) a week is the right length of time for the visit. If not, then 3-4 days would be our recommendation.