Where Prices Soar Like An Eagle

LIMA Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition

Where Prices Soar Like An Eagle

I went to my first LIMA in 1991. I stayed at the freshly minted Sheraton Langkawi, I think it is now the Century Langkawi Beach Resort. It was booked by the Australian High Commission in KL who hired me to photograph their military participation.

There was a mad rush to get the hotel and many other new hotels ready at the 11th hour. It was Dr M’s pet project and people were nervous. The Jacuzzi smelled of turpentine and shellac. I was thinking at that time that Langkawi was a pristine tropical Island or paradise and many hotels were not geared for the impact of such a show.

Many existing luxury hotels were already charging over RM 1000 per night. With the demand, many smaller and simpler hotels started charging ridiculous rates around show time. It was blatant price gouging. In the last 2 and a half decades, I attended LIMA, I have always fear the price and difficulty in getting rooms.

Not all visitors are rich or employees of aircraft manufactures. Many workers are there as support staff at the exhibitions, I met many airplane spotter hobbyists, Also, I met many German and Japanese journalists who were from specialised but low circulation military and aviation magazines. They always complain to me about the hotels exploiting the situation.

Today, it was published in newspapers that the Langkawi Tourism Association (LTA) finally admitted there are middle men or brokers who made block bookings for profit. Of course with technology, the overpriced hotels are pricing themselves out.

Shopping for a room is now much easier and comparison of rates are simpler and faster. Those days we needed to call each hotel, one at a time, after scanning the Yellow Pages. Today I checked via Agoda and many rooms are still available. During one year, I met a German who told me his paid booking for a USD 500 room was cancelled to give the room to a Malaysian VIP.

Few hotels want to disown a paid booking these days as they don’t want to risk getting dropped from lucrative online booking sites for breach of contract.

The beauty of a real time interactive booking system is that the popular ones were showing updated status like “last few rooms available” today. I think many of the hotels allow penalty free last minute cancellation because they know an unprepared roomless guy will walk in later.

I created a special page with tips to finding a hotel in Langkawi. I have also linked the many hotels I stayed at before. Your taste and budget may be different and I included a wide enough range at:


While it is easy to cast brickbats, people rarely praise the mom and pop shops run by locals from Langkawi. The makcik and pakcik gerai didn’t increase their prices although they could have. They redeemed the island’s image.

#lima2017 #lima #langkawi #airshow

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