Previously posted on LivingAlpha.com – Visit to read more interesting travel stories.
Once again I’m on the annual trip to the Asian mecca of paintball, the World Cup Asia in Langkawi Island, Malaysia. It’s my second time to Langkawi this year (last time I was DJing at Cba in Cenang Beach) and its good to catch up with old friends.
I started by catching a Visa Run minivan from Koh Phangan to the Thai border port of Satun, which was supposed to cost 1000 baht ($35 USD), which instead left me somewhere in the middle of nowhere, where I had to negotiate first another minivan, then a truck to the actual ferry terminal, luckily making it there before the final ferry that departs at 4pm Thai time.
As is usual with all types of transport in South East Asia, the boat had the Air Conditioning somewhere at -30 degrees, and requiring some sort of polar type clothing to survive, regardless, I somehow lived while wearing shorts and a singlet, I put it down to the excessive consumption of beer.
Upon arrival, I did what any sane individual would do after leaving an island with no fast food, headed straight for KFC and spent the education budget of a small third world nation on a burger and fries before jumping into a 25 Ringitt (250 Baht!) taxi to the Cenang beach and my home for the next week, Rainbow Bungalows.
I managed to rent a bike without a deposit of any kind (big mistake for them) and drove to the Langkawi Mansuri Hall to check out the tournament site. Caught up with the Asian bigwigs of paintball and started drinking almost instantly – this was a sign of things to come (the eventual hangover put me off drinking for almost a month).
I wake up the next day and venture back to the hall, and airport on my bike to meet my partner in crime Vitaly, who has flown all the way from New Zealand to join me. He is of course caring a massive paintball gear back, and a backpack – where I only have a scooter. Somehow we manage to drive back to the guesthouse without killing ourselves which is no mean feat. Vitaly proves to be a god amongst men and has managed to smuggle pineapple lumps and New Zealand beer in his bags, which of course have managed to open the twist tops and are now swimming in a massive puddle of day old open beer. We make do with the dregs, find bikes and head to the duty free.
Of course having gone with the budget fan room, we didn’t have access to a fridge, so a makeshift icebox was created in the bathroom sink for our copious amounts of beer, cider and spirits, which were to be drunk in honour of the paintball gods.
The next morning and the familiar hangover, this time we ventured out to continue our touristy vibe with a trip around Langkawi Island to the Langkawi cable car. To call these high would be an understatement – I have simply never been on a cable car this high before (apart from the year before, when well, I was on the same cable car) and it was great to absolutely terrify my Russian friend.
The trip continued in a much similar manner, with more drinking and debauchery, until, well I found my head started to itch, and then itch some more. I thought nothing of it until the next morning I woke up with every travellers worst friend… lice. A quick trip to the electronics store and some Bacardi 151 later and I was hairless and lice free, a quick travel tip, Bacardi 151 is a cheap lice remover, but is also terribly painful in your eyes, and well, flammable – use at your own risk.
Finally we actually got to the paintball side of the trip. We met with the team, got our ID cards and walked the fields. Standard 5 man race fields on an astroturf field, indoors and air conditioned – heaven for anyone who is used to playing paintball in Bangkok’s heat. Not only that – they shop had pies, actual meat pies that you just cannot buy in Asia. I was in heaven.
The tournament started well with two wins against the D3 teams, but even though our skill level was high for our division, we had not played as a team before and it showed. We got some silly penalties and dropped some games that we shouldn’t have, and by the end of Saturday it was clear we wouldn’t make the Sunday Club. This was probably a blessing in disguise as we really didn’t have the cash for Sunday paintball, and I had to DJ the players party.
So, Sunday was spent in meetings to discuss PALS (Paintball Asia League Series) and organise the prize giving and players party refreshments (50 slabs of beer and LOADS of whiskey, all free for the players as well as sorting out my playlist for the party. The rest of the evening is a blur of free booze, loud music and drunken driving. I have no recollection of how I got home, except for nicking one of the event signs and telling Vitaly to slow down because we were drunk, before speeding off through a police checkpoint and home to bed.
Waking up in the morning I went out to the bikes only to see that the tires were shredded, absolutely torn to pieces. Quite how we got home alive is beyond my imagination, we simply should have crashed considering the state we were in. And then the hangover followed… the two day hangover, and trying to work out how to cheaply fly to Bangkok.
It turns out the Langkawi isn’t the cheapest place in the world to fly to Bangkok, even with Air Asia, and especially with overweight baggage full of paintball gear. So, on the ferry I jumped to Penang, where a cheaper airport, decent Indian food and some old friends awaited..