Langkawi is all sun, sand and beach with a whole lot of other attractions, culture and fun activities. It is also referred to as the Jewel of Kedah, an achipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman sea. Langkawi attracts all kind of tourists, backpackers, family travelers, honeymooners and locals alike. Resorts, hotels and places of interests are all found on the main island. There are many ways to get there but they are mainly by boat and flight. Don’t be surprised if you end up spending weeks lazying and dipping into the warm blue water with tropical rain forest and paddy fields setting the contrast of the town. Unlike major cities in Malaysia, since there are no trains and frequent buses, the best way to get around is renting a car from the airport.
Langkawi stands upon many other smaller islands and island hopping is a great way to explore these other islands that are spreaded out around the constrained main island. For those who prioritize convenience, booking a day tour on a catamaran or speedboat is as easy as peanuts. Everything is sorted and all you need to do is get yourself on the boat and off you go seeing some of the popular islands like Pulau Dayang Bunting (Island of the Pregnant Maiden). If you want to avoid sardin packed islands and fighting off other visitors on the best views and spots on the island or want to go off the beaten path and scout for unexplored islands, be your own version of Robinson Crusoe. Kuah Jetty and Tanjung Rhu Jetty offers boat for rent though remember to whip out your bargaining skills. If you’re in doubt, ask a boatman for local tips and make your own itinerary. For couples, try visiting Casa Del Mar’s Castaway Picnic – literally a gourmet picnic for two on a deserted island for a more holiday like getaway experience.
Stopping by to look at Langkawi’s “Pantai Pasir Hitam”, also called as Black Sand Beach just 2km from Tanjung Rhu Beach in the center of Langkawi’s north coast not too far from Kuah can be an unusual experience to be awed by mother nature and it’s myseries. Staying true to it’s name, this stretch of beach is mostly black sanded with little or some soft shade of white. The beach is not attractive for swimming but serves more as thing to see when in Lankgawi for it’s unsual color of sand. Just as Langkwai is thought as a place of plenty of legends, myths and tales, the black sand beach is not left out on this. It is believed that a beautiful mermaid was raging at a fisherman for taking her ring away and left a curse that made the sand black. On a more rational note, it is also partially said that remnants of burnt soil from the paddy fields during the Siamese war was what caused the beach to be black.
Both ladies and men who need some tender loving care for their bodies can look into “Air Hangat Village” which is one of very few saline hot springs in the world. The man made long hand carved stone mural goes as long as 18 metres and triple tiered hot spring fountain explains some legend making the experience a lot more mytifying and would up your faith in these healing spring waters.
The legend suggests that the spring came forth from a harsh brawl. The therapeutic affects of the hot spring will tempt you to soak your feet into the hot springs. With high mineral content, from everything to calcium, lithum and radium, this is ideal for travelers whose feet have been worn from all the snorkeling, walking and traveling. Foot reflexology is also offered in the premise. There is also a batik painting presentation on the 2nd floor with an advantage of having a go at painting your own batik no matter your skill or talent.
A little adventure for singles, couples or family alike is the Langkawi Sky Cab. It is one of the longest and most elevated at the highest peak of 708m, to the top of Mat Chinchang. If you have a fear of heights, you might want to reconsider or take it as an opportunity to face your fear once and for all. Imagine being in a little box and moving that high above the sea and having a 360 degrees view of the islands, forest, flora and everything that makes it impossie for the view of the eye on normal grounds. There are numerous types of cables cars – the communal cable car, the private cable car and the glass bottom cable car where you can see tree tops and other things on ground below you. Hold on tight and and enjoy the ride. Perhaps the little scary stiff is what adds to the excitement too. After taking the cable car, you can choose to walk across the Sky Bridge, a suspended bridge also known as “The Longest Free Span and Curved Bridge in the World.” It’s really just a bridge unless you want to do somersaults and jump hops but the view is magnificient enough to steal your breath away.
Selfies and art – what could be a better combination than that? Langkawi Art in Paradise 3D Museum is a haven for those who want a cute photo collection of themselves prancing around these 3D things on a foreign land. Art doesn’t get any better when it pops out as nearly life-like especially when photographed and not. Check out these 200 over impressive artwork that sort of come alive to you. A lot of the art is painted with great detail and expands in 3D form just like any other live being. It also has some specific and iconic themes like the Petronas Twin Towers, Egyptian pharoahs, pyramids and Sphinx making it feel you’re being transported back into a Indiana Jones type of adventure at one point of a time. The museum is divided into different interactive zones like optical illusion, safari, aquatic, fantasy, landsacpes, castles and more.
Langkawi is not short of waterfalls despite their sandy beaches. For a more private experience of having the whole waterfall to yourself without other tourists or aged local men with their fat bellies standing around, Temurun Waterfall is ideal being less familiar. Duriang Perangin tend to be more popularly crowded with locals as a picnic spot. The sights are very scenic and calm with clear water making it very irresistible to want to throw yourself into the water with the locals or by yourself.
Other than snorkeling, parasailing and jet ski-ing are some of the things best done in Langkawi. Jet ski-ing can be done in groups, and the tours are very informative – everything you want to know about the islands from a local’s eye. Fly through the blue steady waters with green mountain peaks around and on white sparkling waves like the people in the Bond movie. There are all kinds of water sports action in Langkawi with some very reputable companies that follow tight safety procedures.
If you have had enough of beach activities but want more nature explorations, don’t miss out on Kilim Kart Geoforest Park for amazing view of mangroves, batcaves and eagle spotting. On a tour, you get to sit on a boat, bypassing massive mangroves, a batcave, and see romantic stalactites and rock formations that are about 220 million years old. Being in the middle of the forest, you will also learn about trees that have medicinal properties, see monkeys swinging by and occasionally a giant Langkawi eagle flying in the clear skies. You can stop by at the “Hole in the Wall”, a fish farm which offers a tour of a number of mega pools with big and spectacular looking fishes.
Makam Mahsuri proves that not all pretty girls lives’ end in a good story. It is a museum based on the life of Mahsuri, known to be Langkawi’s most beautiful girl at the time, wife of a famous warrior and how she suffered condemnation on the island that resulted in punishment and death. Her beauty was envied and got her into trouble, making her leave curses on seven generations. The tomb of Mahsuri is placed right in the middle of the ground and is the central attraction here. The place is hardly a bore, and in fact very interesting, historically informative on Langkawi and has a little eeriness in the air, like all that has been said had just happened right there and right then, which adds to the experience. As you go along discovering Langkawi’s different legends, you’d probably conclude two things about the women in Langkawi then. They have the power to curse when offended. And they’re not to be messed with.
Langkawi also does not forget to look into your gourmet bellies. Stop at Ayer Hangat, one of Langkawi’s night market showcasing Langkawi’s best local specialties like the blue colored rice made from butterly pea sprinkled with strips of sour mango and other typical Malay dishes and food like Nasi Dagang, Fish Curry, satay, grilled chicken, samosa, handmade lemon juices, candies, pancakes and much more. Be sure to try this dish called “lemang” in Malay where sticky rice is stuffed in a bamboo pole and have fun messing around trying to eat it. There are different night markets around, but they are at different locations depending on the day of the week.
A trip to Langkawi is a must for those who are visiting Malaysia. These are just some highlights of Langkawi and there is so much more to explore if one has the time and energy. It is not too heavily touristed like Bali and Phuket but has enough interesting spots, things and culture to delve into for a memorable and exciting experience.