We decided to volunteer in Langkawi island for nearly 2 weeks as we wanted to stay in one place for longer and experience the Malaysian culture more. We found an opportunity volunteering for a hotel and it had lots of reviews on the workaway website and after emailing many other volunteering listings they were the only ones who came back to us and said that we are welcome to volunteer.
Once we got there, we we were told that Patrick (volunteer from Italy) was going to be in charge of us while we are there and that there were no guests in the hotel so we will be doing mainly maintenance and cleaning. Patrick took us to our room that we soon found out didn’t have a working toilet but other than that it was like a basic hotel accommodation. The hotel’s reception’s internet didn’t reach to our room so we used our 4G internet that was only 3G there because of the bad signal.
The hotel was a run down hotel, when we arrived the swimming pool looked disgusting but some of the volunteers cleaned it a couple of days after our arrival so we were able to use it. It was so good after working hard in the heat, we would jump in after most of our volunteering shifts which were sort of between 9am-1pm. We were told we were going to need to do 5 hrs a day but luckily we would normally go for lunch at around 1pm but sometimes a bit later. It was tiring working as a volunteer and also teaching English in the evenings but we survived. The beautiful beaches nearby and the cheap uber made it worthwhile.
We didn’t always see that we made any difference as the hotel owners were trying to sell the hotel as the hotel didn’t last under the hands of groups of volunteers, it needed so much refurbishing. To be able to run a huge hotel like that, the hotel needs really strong management and a great staff team and I guess it didn’t have either. We started to dream what if we were given a hotel like this, what we would do and how it could be made awesome. Well we quickly forgot about our dream once we heard how much they are trying to sell the hotel for which in my opinion was way too much for a run down hotel like that even in English standards (£5million).
For the first time since our travelling, we were able to cook for ourselves and even cooked for the volunteer team once. The other volunteers we were working with were Italians and Argentinians, they were a nice bunch of people.
In the afternoons we went to the beach, our favourite beach was tanjhung rhu that was only 15 minutes away from the hotel although the first time we went a tropical storm started and we got soaked. Ah yes, rainy season in Langkawi did mean that it rained pretty much every day for like an hour or some days longer.
We saw lots of animals while staying in Langkawi, sometimes monkeys would be hanging around the hotel and there were lots of toucans flying around. We went to a beautiful waterfall and we were warned just beforehand to be careful as some locals were washed away by the waterfall a day before. We went to one more popular beach where you could do lots of fun activities for a good price.
We made friends with a couple called Camila and Leo and one morning when I was painting with Camila we got onto the topic of life, faith, mental health, Christianity and the whole morning was spent on her asking questions and me answering. She said that everything I said made sense to her and she was interested in having a relationship with God. A couple of days later we chatted with Leo as well and he also asked us a couple of questions. We decided to hold our first ever church service in our room as none of the churches in Langkawi (2-3 churches) responded to our messages. We invited all the volunteers and even the hotel owner as well. They showed interest but at the end it was only Camila and Leo who came. We had a great time, our theme was why Jesus is the way, the truth and the life to God and what that means for us. Leo said it was the best church service he has ever been to as they were able to ask questions and it was very informal. We prayed for them at the end and one of them decided to become a Christian there and then. We are praying for them, we pray that they will continue this search and both of them will grow and learn more about who God is and that God will be close to them. We pray that they will find churches and Christian communities so that they can carry on growing in their relationship with Christ.
The owner of the hotel wanted to know everything that we did at our church service the next day so I told her the theme and showed her some worship songs as well. The other volunteers were very sceptical and even mocking us but that reassured us that God is real and that when something awesome happens the devil does not like that and will try to take that away from us. But God is so much bigger so we do not need to be afraid.
In summary, Langkawi is a beautiful tropical island and totally worth a visit. The cheap uber transport makes it easy to get around. There is lots to do and lots of beautiful places to see. If you go in the rainy season, it is very likely that you will experience tropical storms quite often. If you become a workaway volunteer, you can meet some awesome people while you are travelling.