Vacation in Malaysia, Langkawi Island
I will be writing a series of hubs on islands around Peninsular Malaysia. At this point, I am not sure how soon I can finish them. Just need to juggle with work, family and writing. Here is the first of the series – Pulau Langkawi.
Update: I have completed the series on islands around Peninsular Malaysia:
“Pulau” means island in the Malay language.
Known as “Jewel of Kedah”, Pulau Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands of which 5 of these tiny islands can only be seen during low tide. Kedah is a north western State in Peninsular Malaysia and to the north of Kedah is Thailand. These tropical islands are situated at the meeting point of the Straits of Malacca and the Andaman Sea. The largest island among these is named Langkawi. Langkawi comes from two Malay words, Lang and Kawi. “Lang” means Eagle and “Kawi” means the colour reddish brown. Put together it simply means reddish brown eagle. Maybe there were once many reddish brown eagles in these islands. Langkawi is shrouded with so many legends and myths that people called it Legendary Island. To me, the beauty of this island is legendary.
Attractions in Langkawi
Known for its sandy white beaches, Langkawi has numerous picturesque coastlines with crystal clear waters and gentle sea. Langkawi is blessed with sunshine all year round. Beach is called “Pantai” in the Malay language.
Top 3 Beaches in Langkawi:
The hallmark of a good beach is the fine, white grains of sand that doesn’t stick to you. Pantai Cenang has these qualities. This 2 kilometer stretch of white sandy beach is decorated with tall swaying coconut trees and elegant casuarinas. Being Langkawi’s most popular tourist beach, Pantai Cenang offers a wonderful shopping experience and vibrant nightlife. Underworld Water Langkawi is located here. With a small entrance fee, you get to see thousands of tropical and marine fish species and also corals. It opens daily from 10.00am to 6.00pm.
Want to be away from the crowd? Located on the west of Langkawi, Pantai Kok is relatively more isolated. Admittedly not as beautiful as Pantai Cenang due to some vegetation growing in some parts of the beach, this beach has something different to offer. Often said as one of the most relaxing place on the island, this beach offers privacy, serenity and lush greenery with hills and trees. You can relish the flora and fauna here.
“Tanjung” means cape in the Malay language. Located on the north tip of Langkawi, Tanjung Rhu is known for its abundance of whispering casuarina trees. Also called Casuarina Beach, Tanjung Rhu is sheltered by the bay making its waters shallow and warm. Bordered by limestone caves and uninhabited islands, Tanjung Rhu is scenic and undisturbed. Highly acclaimed Four Seasons Resort is located here. Four Seasons combines indigenous architecture with gracious service, offering a resort experience unmatched in Malaysia.
Top 3 Island Tour in Langkawi:
Day trip to neighbouring islands via speedboat is a must do.
Pulau Payar (Marine Park). This marine park is a combination of four islands south of Langkawi. The waters around the marine park are a dazzling display of corals and aquatic species. This is a great spot for diving or snorkeling. For those who cannot swim, you can hop into boats with transparent fiberglass bottoms and see the life below from above.
Pulau Dayang Bunting. This is the second largest island of Langkawi. The name means Island of the Pregnant Maiden. The outline of hills on this island resembles the shape of a pregnant maiden lying on her back. Nestled amidst lush green rainforest, is the largest lake in Langkawi. The lake is called “Tasik Dayang Bunting” which means Lake of the Pregnant Maiden and is believed to have magical properties. The water grants barren women fertility, hence its name. Many have claimed to be successful. See below for legend of this lake.
Pulau Tuba. Not all islands in Langkawi are inhabited. Just a handful of them are. Pulau Tuba is a charming, remote island that is home to a group of traditional fishermen. This island allows visitors to experience traditional village life with fishermen. You can mingle with them and see some of them returning home in evenings in their fishing boats. This is also a fantastic place to do bird watching (over 200 species of birds in Langkawi) and jungle trekking.
Note: Monsoon season is from July to mid September. During this period most guides will not do the tour especially when the sea is rough.
Top 3 Places to visit:
Kuah is the capital of Langkawi and the largest town. Kuah is a duty free shopping haven. A wide variety of goods are available here at attractive prices. There are many good restaurant here which offer excellent culinary delights, especially fresh seafood. See below for myth of this town.
Seven Wells Waterfalls
The breathtaking view of this place can only be appreciated after climbing a series of over 300 steps (slippery when wet). The waterfall was given this name because of its cascading stream feeding into seven natural rock pools. The lush green forest that surrounds the waterfall adds a mystical touch to this natural splendor. Many visitors enjoy taking a dip in the pools. From that altitude you can see the beautiful valley below surrounded by lush green forest. It’s a magnificent sight. See below for legend of this place.
Cable Car Ride
The cable car ride is another must do. From the Oriental Village the cable car takes you up to the peak of Mat Chinchang Mountain. As you go higher you will begin to see bird’s eye view of Langkawi and the Andaman Sea. The cable car takes you up to around 700 meters above sea. It’s an exhilarating experience. Winds are strong and cold up there. A windbreaker could be real handy here. You can explore the observatory platform on the peak at your leisure. Nearby Langkawi Sky Bridge is suspended between two mountains which you can cross and experience the rush of the wind blowing between the two rock faces. Don’t miss this!
The Andaman - Built in the heart of a 50 million year old virgin tropical forest, this hotel is cradled between the majestic Mat Chinchang mountain and the deep azure Andaman Sea.
Bon Ton - Rated as "Best 101 Hotels in the World" by Tatler Travel Guide, UK 2009.
Casa Del Mar - The heart of Casa del Mar's (Spanish for 'Home by the sea') philosophy is to tailor a unique experience around individual guests, providing them with a tranquil hideaway.
The Datai - Located on a private stretch of sandy shore and overlooking the breathtaking Andaman Sea, this hotel is an idyllic natural retreat.
Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort - Experience the celebrated “ahhhh” of the Sheraton Sweet SleeperSM Bed. Relax alongside the infinity pool which overlooks the Andaman Sea.
Tanjung Rhu Resort - Enveloped by the cool shade of rustling casuarinas, this hotel looks out to the aquamarine Andaman Sea and is flanked by a landscape of centuries old limestone caves and uninhabited islands.
Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa - Infused with breathtaking natural beauty, this hotel is a haven of sandy beaches, the beautiful Andaman Sea and lush tropical foliage.
The above are 5 star and boutique hotels in Langkawi. Mid range and budget hotels are in abundance here.
By Air - Langkawi International Airport
- Ferry Service from Mainland Malaysia to Kuah Jetty, Langkawi.
- Ferry Service from Ko Lipe Thailand to Telaga Harbour, Langkawi.
Taxi is available. Rent a car or motorbike is a popular choice.
The minimum recommended stay in Langkawi is 3 days. Those with lots of time at their disposal can stay as long as they wish in order to enjoy the full array of offers and activities in Langkawi.
Click here for Map of Langkawi.
1) Duty Free Island
The government of Malaysia has declared the entire Langkawi Island a duty free zone. All goods sold in this island are exempted from government tax. A can of beer is as cheap as a can of Coke. However, you need to stay in Langkawi for a minimum of 48 hours to take back home a reasonable amount of tax free goods.
2) Eagle Feeding Tour
Up close and personal on how eagle feed. See how an eagle dives from the high up in the sky into the waters to feed. Do this only once.
Legend of Mahsuri
This is the most famous of them all. A beautiful maiden named Mahsuri was unjustly accused of adultery. According to legend, she bled white blood at her execution as a sign of her innocence. In her dying breath, she laid a curse on the island that it would remain barren for seven generations. Fortunately, seven generations have since passed and today, Langkawi is a flourishing tourist destination.
Legend of the Pregnant Maiden
The name of both the island and lake is attributed to the legend of a lovely fairy princess Mambang Sari who married an earthly prince Mat Teja. Her first child died shortly after birth. She was so sad and depressed that she buried the child in the crystal clear waters of the lake. Before she returned to her celestial abode, she blessed the waters so that any childless maiden who bathed in the lake would conceive thereafter.
Myth on Kuah town
The name "Kuah" is a Malay word meaning "gravy" and is associated with an ancient legend of two battling giants who overturned a gigantic pot of curry at the spot where the town now stands.
Legend on Seven Wells Waterfall
Legend has it that fairies used to come down to the pools to bathe and frolic. These fairies delight in bathing in the cool waters which are supposed to possess soothing healing properties. A mountain prince, who once lived near the wells, tried to capture one of these fairy maidens, but until today, they remain elusive. It is believed that the unique lime trees and the sintuk, a climbing plant which has large pods, that grow around the pools were left behind by the fairies. Locals who visit the Seven Wells waterfalls often use them to wash their hair in order to cleanse themselves of bad luck.
For more on Langkawi legends, click here.
4)Anna & The King Gallery
20th Century Fox commissioned the construction of this magnificent and expensive movie set (Summer Palace) for the making of the film "Anna and the King". It is located in Pantai Kok near the Oriental Village.
For more information on Langkawi travel, click here.
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Travel Malaysia, Langkawi Island
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