From Langkawi to Koh Lipe

I realised there are many articles on how to get to Koh Lipe and they are written in a very general style. Hence I am writing this article, focusing on the excitement & frustration of the journey from Telaga Terminal Jetty Langkawi to Bunga Resort Jetty Koh Lipe.
You can find out easily when is the open season for the direct ferry route – Langkawi to Koh Lipe and it will take you about 90mins for the ride.
If you arrive at Langkawi airport, it will take you about 15-20mins and 26ringgit taxi ride to Telaga Jetty.

  
I will recommend you to purchase the ferry tickets online because when the ferry season is open, there are plenty of tourists taking this route.

It is also advisable you arrive at least 60mins before your scheduled timing for check-in. The official recommended timing is 2 to 2.5hr before scheduled timing.

Once you have arrived at Telaga Jetty, you will fill up the Thailand Immigration Card and your passport will be detained by the staffs. 

  
Then you will walk to the Langkawi Immigration Office by foot, about 5mins away. You will wait for the staffs to call out your name then you will collect your passport from him/her. You will then wait in the queue to have your passport stamped by the Immigration to indicate that you are exiting Malaysia.  

You will then return back to the ferry, handover your ferry ticket and passport to the staffs. Your passport will be kept by the staffs until you arrive at Koh Lipe.

  
 On the ferry, they adopt a free seating style so first come first served for the seats.   

The ferry will docked near to the Koh Lipe Jetty and you will board a long tailed boat to arrive onto the beach, the Koh Lipe immigration is here on the beach. This beach is called Pattaya Beach, which is on Koh Lipe.

 

You will then get down from the long tailed boat and land on the shallow water of the beach. So please remove your shoes. 

 

You will be whisked towards the immigration office and you will validate your return ferry ticket with the staffs.

   
 
Now it is a waiting game. You wait for your luggages to arrive and the staffs will just place it on the beach.

  
You will also wait for your name to be called then you collect your passport and stand in queue to get landing rights onto Koh Lipe.
There is no system here and the staffs are not your friendly customer services. They really man-handle you so please don’t get offended. You are on holiday and don’t let these negativity ruin your vacation. 
You cannot collect the passport for your boyfriend, husband, Aunty or Uncle. Each person will collect their own passport once their name are being called. So please wait around patiently. 
Finally you are done and you can either walk/motorbike taxi to your resort.

  
Koh Lipe is beautiful and we have a great time on both the sunrise & sunset beach.

  
On your return trip, you are also advised to check-in 2-2.5hrs before scheduled time.
You will handover your passport to the staffs and wait patiently again for your name to be called. 

  
Then you proceed to clear immigration to get stamped exiting Thailand. You will not get back your passport because the staffs will detain your passport until you arrive back at Langkawi.
You will now proceed to board the long tailed boat in order to board the ferry.

    

Upon arriving at Langkawi, some passengers are complaining because they have a flight to catch in an hour time. 

However, the staffs want to unload the luggages before passengers can alight. I will suggest you to have ample time for transfers. The ferry will not always arrive on scheduled time. 

   
 
In addition, you still have to collect back your passport and clear immigration after you alight from the ferry.

  

After you have clear the immigration, you still have to hail a taxi to go to airport, which is about 15-20mins away.

  

Please remember your luggages because luggages might go missing. Please have an open mind else you will end up getting grumpy and frustrated by these issues.

Alternatively, you can always travel to Koh Lipe from other parts of Thailand. This will enable you to skip the Malaysia & Koh Lipe immigration. 

  
Have fun.

How to do cash/credit card tax refund in Europe

In summary:

In Japan (Tokyo):

  1. You meet the minimum spending requirements and the store will process the tax refund for you on the spot.
  2. You have to produce your passport and the store keeper will keep the tax refund slip inside your passport.
  3. The tax refund is processed immediately and deducted from the total payment.
  4. Upon leaving Japan, there is no need to do any customs inspection or tax refund.
  5. Yes, as easy as ABC.

In Thailand (Bangkok):

  1. You meet the minimum spending requirements and the store will process the tax refund for you on the spot.
  2. You have to produce your passport and the store keeper will keep the tax refund slip inside your passport.
  3. Upon arriving at Bangkok airport, you have to locate the customs inspection before checking in for your flights.
  4. You show to the customs your tax refund slips and obtain a stamp on your tax refund slips. You may have to show the customs your purchases.
  5. Then you can proceed to check in for your flights and check in your luggages.
  6. You have to clear the immigration and enter the transit area.
  7. You will have to locate the tax refund office inside the transit area and show them the stamped tax refund slips.
  8. You will then receive your tax refund in Thai baht.

The reason why I have listed down both Japan and Thailand tax refund procedures is to differentiate the different procedures. Also, to highlight the challenges.

In Europe:

I am restricting this tax refund process to Paris CDG airport. It is more or less the same procedures in Europe.

No matter where you have purchase your items eg. Italy, Spain, Germany, France and etc. You only can claim your tax refund from the airport you are flying out of Europe.
Just make sure you have meet the minimum spending requirements and the store keeper has issued you a tax refund slip. At this point of time, the store keeper will give you two options for tax refund. Although some shops only have credit card option, please ask the storekeeper.

(1) through credit card (it don’t have to be the same credit card you use to pay for your items) – you will get back the full 12% tax (depending on the country) and it will need at least two months for the refund.

(2) through cash – you will get back less than 12% tax (depending on the country) and a charge fee of 3€ per tax refund slip for commission.

  
Therefore, you can consolidate your purchases and process the tax refund on the same day. You cannot purchase today and process the tax refund tomorrow. You have to process the tax refund on the same day you purchase your items. 

For example: you can buy Prada bag, LV bag, Chanel Bag from three dirrenent stores on the same day in the same shopping mall. Then you take these three receipts to the tax refund counter and process them into one single tax refund slip. This one single tax refund slip will cost 3€ commission fee instead of three tax refund slip which will cost 9€.

Next, it is the most crucial part on how to get back your tax refund.

I am restricting these process to Paris CDG airport. It should be more or less the same in other airports.

  1. Locate the tax refund counter in the airport.
  2.   
  3.   
  4. There is a bar code on the top right corner of the tax refund slip.
  5. Use the tax refund counter machine and scan the bar code.
  6.   
  7. It will tell you whether the bar code has been verified.
  8.   
  9. If it says error, then proceed to the human tax refund counter.
  10. If it says verified then you are good to go.
  11. Do not proceed to check in your flights and luggages, you have to collect your tax refund before you check in your flights and immigration.
  12. If you have chosen cash refund, then take your verified tax refund slips to the human tax refund counter and s/he will proceed to process and return you the money. Please take note that you will not get back the full 12% tax refund because they will charge a commission. However, you get back your money on the spot.
  13.   
  14. At this point, the officer may request to check your purchase.
  15. If you have chosen credit card refund, then take your verified tax refund slips and insert into the envelop provided by the storekeeper. Then you will seal it and drop into the mailing boxes provided at the tax refund office. There is no need for stamp as it is a prepaid envelop. You will have to check again in 4-8 weeks on your credit card bank statement for the refund.
  16.   
  17.   
  18. You can proceed to check in your flights and luggages now.

I hope you have fun shopping and a smooth journey for claiming back your tax refund in Europe.

Yes the branded names in Europe are definitely cheaper but only in relative terms.

Please spend within your means.

Prego/A bientôt/You’re welcome/不客气

Life goes on

If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve. -Lao Tzu

From Taipei, we travelled clockwise to Hualien-Cingjing-Taichung …

The mosquitoes season in Taiwan are causing me serious allergies. But the funniest thing is that moncochon has nothing, no bites, at all.

For the past two days, the red spots got itchy and my scratching has cause my legs to be swollen. They do look like fleas bite. I must say both of legs and arms are pretty scary looking.

I did manage to see my dermatologist and got prescribed with steroids. These medications are some harmful drugs but they can relieve my symptoms.

So much so for trying to get pregnant on the trip!

Mad Rush

Luckily I managed to wake up in the middle of the night. For the past few nights, I have been sleeping early and left my writing untouched. If I did not managed to wake up, I will be so screwed up. I had an early flight and my bags were unpacked.

In fact, it was left unpacked since Sydney but moncochon and I were heading to Taiwan. We incorporated a photoshoot session and planned to tour around Taiwan.

In any case, I brought my stuffs along to finish on our 20 days trip.

Then come next month, my whole family are going to Taiwan.