LANGKAWI, one of Malaysia's island resorts, continues to exert a charm over foreign tourists, making it a must-visit destination in their trips to the country.
Tourist Oom Fahd from Saudi Arabia said she would return to Langkawi next month with her husband's family.
Oom Fahd and her husband visited the island for the first time some 18 months ago for their honeymoon.
Places such as the Mahsuri mausoleum, Pulau Dayang Bunting, the Cenang and Kok beaches, and Gunung Matchincang are among several sites that attract tourists to Langkawi.
A Shanghai tourist said that he decided to visit Langkawi after learning of it from his countrymen who described Langkawi as "enchanting".
Mohamad Dudha, a British national and his wife Noerunisa, who is a Malay from Capetown, South Africa, said they loved to visit Malaysia, particularly its islands, also because it is easy to find halal food.
"We are presently staying at a hotel in Kuah, and have spent nearly RM20,000 after staying in the country for almost one month," said Dudha, who brought along two of his children.
The family's favourite food in Langkawi is tom yam soup.
During their stay here, the couple hired a Toyota Avanza.
"The rental for hiring cars here are reasonable, and so many tourists hire them for easy transportation on the island," he added.
The influx of tourists means good business for local entrepreneurs.
Duty-free shops such as the Haji Ismail Group (HIG), Idaman Suri, Coco Valley and the retail outlets at Langkawi Saga shopping centre and Billion Supermarket are always full of shoppers.
"I like to shop at HIG. Customers can buy affordable batik, cutlery and chocolates, among other things. It's also near the ferry jetty, which is convenient for those who use the ferry," said Rosniyah, a teacher from Jitra, Kedah.
Many tour and excursion buses bring hundreds of visitors daily to shops selling all manner of things.
Overall, products here are cheaper than those sold elsewhere in Malaysia.
Indeed, some of the products are sold at double their price in other parts of the country.
An average-quality batik sarong costs around RM7 here, while a good-quality piece is available for around RM29 at HIG outlets here. The same piece of batik is usually sold for RM60 on the mainland.
As for accommodation on this resort island, the average price for a hotel room is affordable for tourists, both foreign and local alike.
There are several promotions for hotel rooms, which can also be booked online to facilitate early and group reservations.
For example, a chalet with three bedrooms, which can comfortably accommodate seven adults and is equipped with facilities such as a kitchen and microwave oven, is priced at RM300 a night.
Cheap food and lodging, as well as fascinating sites, are among the factors that continue to lure visitors to Langkawi. -- Bernama