Langkawi, officially known as Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah (Malay: Langkawi Permata Kedah) is an archipelago of 99 islands (an extra 5 temporary islands are revealed at low tide) in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. On July 15, 2008, Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah had consented to the change of name to Langkawi Permata Kedah in conjunction with his Golden Jubilee Celebration. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of some 45,000, the only other inhabited island being nearby Pulau Tuba. Langkawi is also an administrative district with the town of Kuah as the capital and largest town. Langkawi is a duty-free island.
With stunning and magnificent vistas, Mount Mat Cincang and the Langkawi Cable Cars is a big attraction. From the very top of Mount Mat Cincang , you'll get a 360-degree view of the the whole island group, the Datai peninsula (left pic below), Andaman Sea and the southern Thai islands of Ko Tarutao and the southern Thai province Satun coastline.
The 15-minute journey up the mountain is definitely breathtaking and the scenery below that shows off the 4,167 ha of virgin jungle of the Mat Cincang Mountain Forest Reserve (right pic above) and Telaga Tujuh/Seven Wells is a feast for the eyes. There are viewing platforms, a restaurant and probably a suspension bridge over the valley.
The most interesting and rare feature of this cable car project is the angle station – this means from the middle station, the gondolas make a 45-degree turn to reach the top where there are more viewing platforms and walkways. Visitors are given the option of getting down at both stations to walk about and enjoy the scenery. All in, 35 gondolas used to ferry visitors to the mountain and in an hour some 700 people can be taken to the top.
Langkawi Sky Bridge
Suspended at 700 meters above sea level the unique curved pedestrian bridge spans 125 meters across a scary chasm. Views are spectacular offering a panorama over the landscape, the Andaman Sea, offshore islands and beyond...neighboring Thailand.
Unlike straight bridges where you can see from the starting point, Langkawi Sky Bridge has been curved to provide different perspectives over the land and sea. Convenient triangular platforms located along the curved bridge provide rest areas so you can sit and appreciate both the beauty of nature and an incredible feat of engineering.
Datai Bay Beach
Pantai Teluk Datai sits on a secluded area at the Northern tip of Langkawi. Characterised by boulders at both ends of the beach and dense forest in the background, Pantai Datai slopes gently into the clear turquiose waters.
Facing the beach directly is the delightful little island of Pulau Anak Datai. The bay is home to some of the island's most exclusive resorts and the stunning Datai Golf Course.
Pantai Tengah is about 500 metres south of Cenang Beach. This lovely beach is a great place for you to relax and unwind.
The water is clear blue most of the time except for the rainy season. It might get murky a little bit. Pantai Tengah is not really suitable for swimming unless you're immune to jellyfishes.
You can choose your type of place to stay - from low key chalets to luxury resorts as the beachfront is chock-full with hotels, resorts and a variety of restaurants. One particular place to go for some good Mediterranean and Malaysian food is The Lighthouse Restaurant & Beach Bar. A semi open-air concept restaurant, The Lighthouse is ideal for evening drinks and sunset dining. What's more interesting though is an old kampung house right next door which offers an experience to learn a few tips on how to cook Malaysian dishes with Chef Shuk.
Tanjung Rhu Beach
Tanjung Rhu is one of Langkawi best beaches. This beautiful beach fringed with tall casuarina trees is located 22 km away from Kuah - on the northernmost tip of Langkawi island. During low tide, you can actually walk across a sandy stretch to the rocky outcrop of Pulau Chabang. There are also a number of caves as well as mangrove swamp that you can explore nearby.
Tanjung Rhu is safely sheltered by the curve of the bay. The water is shallow and calmly blue. This beautiful secluded bay of white sand is constantly caressed by the gentle breeze blowing in from the vast Indian Ocean.
You can hire a boat to cruise around the islands. There is also the Tanjung Rhu Riding Centre which offers equestrian sports. The exclusive Tanjung Rhu Resort, set on its edge is one of the resorts on this bay.
Pulau Tuba is the only inhabited island besides the main island of Langkawi itself. This Langkawi island gets its name from the tuba roots. It is the only other island that offers accommodation and there are a few places to stay. If we're not mistaken, there is a resort there called Sunrise Beach Resort. We recommend you to try Tok Janggut's chalet on Pulau Tuba. The owner of the chalet charges RM30 per person and that includes 3 meals a day plus accommodation.
At Pulau Tuba, you can also experience traditional fishing village life with fishermen returning home in the evenings in their quaint fishing boats. Pulau Tuba offers a homestay program organized by fisheries development Authority of Malaysia as an innovative tourism products. You may want to try this out - it's an opportunity to personally experience the lifestyle of the islanders.
There are 30 houses registered under this program and all of the household head works as a fishermen. Apart from fishing they do some farming, raring animals like chicken/cows/water buffalo/goats and mend their orchard. Occasionally the islanders go into the jungle to collect forest product including herbs, medicinal roots, honey bees and wild fruits. The woman folks weave pandan mat and making other handicraft products to supplement their family income.
How to get there? You can hire a boat from the Kuah jetty which will costs RM30 per way.
Pulau Dayang Bunting
Pulau Dayang Bunting is another beautiful Langkawi islands. This island is located about 17.6km from Kuah. It's the second largest island within the archipelago. Pulau Dayang Bunting was named "The Island of the Pregnant Maiden" as inspired by the legends which surround the lake or by the physical appearance of the island itself which resembles the belly of a pregnant woman. The legend is that the lake bestows fertility, although not scientifically proven, only enhances the mystery that surrounds the island.
Pulau Dayang Bunting is also famous for it's mangrove swamps, lush rainforests and wildlifes. You can find over 90 species of birds including the hornbill, kingfisher, drongo, woodpecker and kite.
Gua Langsiar is located on the western coast of Pulau Dayang Bunting, this "Cave of the Banshee" is recommended only to serious cavers with mountain climbing experience as the ascent to the cave demands great climbing skill and absolute physical fitness. Surprisingly, you'll not find any stalactites and stalagmites here. Instead, the huge gloomy chambers are permeated with lurking shadows, reinforcing the superstition that the cave is haunted by the spirit of a woman who, like Dracula, lives on the blood of humans.
Bats and Banshees?
Gua Langsiar is a cave so deep and dark that the previous generation of the locals would not dares to venture in. People today claim that thousands of bats live in it but the local people of yesteryear would not set foot there, not even for all the riches in the world. They are convinced the cave is home to a female vampire called the langsiar, which, after having lured men to its lair, would suck their bodies dry of blood. No one would go near Gua Langsiar, for they believe that the eerie sounds that come from the depths of the cave are the cries of the banshee and it is enough to make their blood run cold and their hair stand on end?.
Taman Burung Langkawi
Taman Burung Langkawi is the Asia's first fully covered walkway bird park is home to over 2,500 birds with over 150 exotic species. Here, you'll have a close encounter with the world's most beautiful birds like Cockatoo, Myna, Toucan, Hornbill, and Rhea.
Telaga Tujuh is located in the north-western corner of Pulau Langkawi. The waterfall is so named because its cascading water is broken by a series of seven natural pools. The lush green forest that surrounds the waterfall adds a mystical touch to the natural splendor. Legend has it that fairies used to come down to the waterfall to bathe and frolic.
Underwater World Langkawi
The Underwater World Langkawi is a marine showcase featuring both fresh and salt water fish and other forms of marine life. It's located at Pantai Cenang, a popular beach on the island. The aquarium features more than 5,000 types of marine life, exhibited in more than 100 tanks of different sizes. The highlight is a giant tank housing large marine species such as sharks, stingrays, groupers and green turtles, with a 15-metre tunnel for visitors to walk through and enjoy a spectacular view of the exhibits. Underwater gardens of weeds and sea plants together with exotic fishes and exhibits of fossils and shells add to the range of interesting sights.
The latest residents are 20 Rockhopper penguins from Nightingale Island, some 2,000km west of South Africa. The birds are part of the newest attractions under our RM30mil expansion project which includes the sub-Antarctic, temperate and tropical rainforest ecosystems. The temperate section will house the Blackfoot penguins and seals.
The Ancient Tomb
The Ancient Tomb is located in the village town of Ulu Melaka. It's actually the tomb of an unknown person that measures about seven feet in length. The age of the tomb is yet to be determined. Legend said that this grave appeared suddenly and none of the locals could verify of any death that occurred in the village at that time. It is said as well that this grave might be that of one Tun Jana Khatib. He was a man of Arab descent who hailed from Pasai, Sumatra. In Singapore he was unjustly executed and his body had traveled mysteriously to Langakawi for eternal rest, as the local resident of Langkawi claims that the island is a land of fairness and will not tolerate this injustice.
Summer Palace Langkawi
The Summer Palace Langkawi is situated amidst lush tropical greenery at Pantai Kok. In 1999, 20th Century Fox commissioned the construction of this magnificent and expensive movie set for the making of the film "Anna and the King". Built almost entirely of local timbers by Malaysian and foreign artisans, the Summer Palace resembles a traditional Thai Palace. The palace encompasses an area of 675 sq meters and stands 16.6 meter high. A part from the original movie set, a restaurant, souvenir shops and pavilion have been added.
Hot Spring Village
Air Hangat Village is sited on four acres of land about 14 kilometers northwest of Kuah. This modern complex includes a 3-tier hot spring fountain, an 18-meter long hand-carved river stone mural depicting the legends that enshroud this location and souvenir shops. You can witness the making of local handicrafts and cultural performances.
The legend said that the hot springs in Air Hangat Village was caused by the fight between two giants, Mat Raya and Mat Cincang. Pots, crockery and the engagement ring which were hurled during the fight fell on various parts of the island. The spot where the cauldron of hot water was broken became the hot springs. Today the locals believe that the springs have curative and restoratives properties. Inside the complex, you can soak in the hot springs and enjoy relaxing traditional massage.
Makam Mahsuri is about 12 kilometers from Kuah. The tomb was erected to honor Mahsuri, a beautiful lady who 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. Fact or fiction, seven generations have since passed and today, Langkawi is a flourishing tourist destination.
Taman Lagenda(Lagenda Park)
Taman Lagenda is a very scenic park with beautiful gardens of vivid local blooms, plants and fruit trees - providing a picturesque and fitting backdrop for buildings showing Malaysia's rich cultural heritage. Within the park, there are some fine examples of traditional Malaysian handicraft and cultural objects.
Situated in Kuah, it gives you an introduction to Langkawi's legends. At the entrance, a giant-sized sirih junjung and bunga telur warmly welcome you in. The exhibits inside tell story about Langkawi's legendary history starting with its prehistoric, geological past, mystical battles of giant and mighty bird which led to the creation of various part of the island and of course, the legend of Mahsuri's curse and the awakening of modern Langkawi.
Dataran Lang is Langkawi's most prominent landmark for visitors arriving by sea. It's situated near the Kuah jetty and the main attraction of the square is the magnificent statue of the reddish brown eagle majestically poised for flight. According to local folklore, Langkawi derived its name from the eagle or "helang". In old Malay, "kawi" denotes reddish brown, hence, Langkawi means reddish brown eagle! Dataran Lang is beautifully landscaped and features scenic ponds, bridges, covered terraces, restaurants and barrel vaults made of bricks. Its close proximity to the sea and the soft breezes make it an ideal spot for leisurely walks and a tranquil setting for dining in the cool evenings. At night, the square is beautifully lit.
Kuah is the main town located on the south-eastern tip of Pulau Langkawi. This is the main entry point for visitors arriving by sea to Langkawi. 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. Once was a rustic town with a few streets, present day, Kuah is a thriving center of modern hotels and shopping-cum-business complexes, but without the overcrowding and bustle of modern cities. Kuah is a duty free shopping haven with a wide variety of goods sold at attractive prices and its restaurants offer excellent local delights, especially fresh seafood.
Malaysia Airlines (http//:www.malaysiaairlines.com) and Air Asia (http//:airasia.com) ticket can be purchase online. For reservations and further information, please contact:
Malaysia Airlines-Kuala Lumpur: Tel: 03-746 3000, Langkawi: 04 – 9666622 / 1300883000
Malayan Railway provides comfortable and economical rail services. Senandung Langkawi Express runs daily from KL Central Butterworth Padang Besar/Haadyai. Alor Setar (Kedah) and/or Arau (Perlis) are the nearest station to go to Langkawi Island. This train offers the Air conditioned Day/Night First Class (ADNF) and also the Second Class (ADNS), as well as the Air conditioned Second Class (ASC) and the Economic Class (AEC). The ADNF has 8 private cabins in each coach. Each cabin is equipped with two sleeping berths, wall fan, private air-conditioning control vent and wash basin with basic toiletries. The ADNS offers 40 berths in each coach i.e. 20 upper berths and 20 lower berths. The ASC and AEC are seated coaches with 52 seats and 74 seats respectively. From Alor Setar or Arau, buses and taxis are available to Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis respectively, and then proceed by Express Ferry Services to take you to Langkawi island. For further information about schedule and rate please visit: http://www.ktmb.com.my.
Air Asia-Kuala Lumpur: Tel: 03-202 7777, Langkawi: 04 - 9667750
Silk Air Kuala Lumpur: Tel: 03-292 3122 Currently Silk Air has no office in Langkawi, booking can be made at MAS
Driving has been much facilitated by the North-South Expressway. The journey by road from Kuala Lumpur takes approximately six hours to Kuala Kedah and approximately seven hours to Kuala Perlis, then proceed by Express Ferry Services to take you to Langkawi Island. Car parks service allow to leave cars safely behind for a minimum charge of RM15.00 a day. Car transit to Langkawi can be arrange one day before. Frequent express buses offer comfortable rides from Kuala Lumpur to terminal Shahab perdana in Alor Setar. Taxi to Jetty Kuala Kedah from Shahab Perdana RM.20 or take bus at RM. 2.00.
All other modes of entry from the mainland like Rail and Road, etc. must rely on the Ferry Services once reach Kuala Kedah,Kuala Perlis or Penang From mainland Malaysia, Express Ferries Services provide daily regular services to Langkawi Island, operate from three locations; Ferry Service also Available from Satun (Thailand) to Langkawi.