Langkawi is an island group in Malaysia. It is an entrancing and amazing destination for tourists from around the world. From backpackers to families, all have something to be attracted by this beautiful place.
Renowned as the “Jewel of Kedah”, the Langkawi archipelago is mostly about nature. In case sunsets, beaches and pristine forests are loved by a person, she will end up visiting this paradise and never leave. Many are spell bound by this gorgeous treasure of a place.
Langkawi was awarded UNESCO World Geopark status in 2007. It is home to white sandy beaches, lush forests, caves, waterfalls, mangroves and lime stone cliffs. Besides its natural beauty it has a rich culture. It is a land of enchanting folklores and its many features are steeped in legends, adding to the mystique of the place.
Popular activities in this island are kayaking, sailing, bird watching and trekking in the jungles. For those who are more laidback, curling up with a book and a cocktail at the beach side would be the ideal choice. The popular means of transport on the island are rental bikes and cars. Using these, the main island can be explored, which boasts of 65% of intact forest cover.
When to Visit
Though weather is a major concern for planning a vacation, it is of less importance in Langkawi. It has official dry (December to February) and wet (March to November) seasons, but it has the most stable and moderate weather among Malaysian islands. Temperatures are moderate and consistent, making it ideal for year round tourism and best stay with cheap hotels in Langkawi.
For Family Vacation
Langkawi is a great destination for a family holiday. Here interesting excursions can be combined with active entertainment. One such centre is the Annvs Kiddies Jungle Gym. It has a big entertainment centre which features interesting gymnastic and inflatable attractions. Then there is the Crocodile Adventure land which is an amusement park that is also a crocodile breeding centre. Visitors can learn interesting facts about crocs and even hold them.
Kids will also love the Children’s museum, Langkawi. The museum showcases the unique features of the island. One of their main attractions is unusual three dimensional drawings. The pride of Langkawi and leading family attraction is the Langkawi Wildlife Park which is unlike other zoos. All animals of this park are tame and roam freely, interacting with their little visitors.
Guests of Langkawi are also entranced by the diversity of underwater inhabitants of the underwater world of Langkawi. It is a modern, huge oceanarium featuring hundreds of jelly fish, sea stars and colourful fish. There are even penguins and seals.
Culinary traditions of the island are an amalgam of Thai, Indian and Chinese elements. Continental fare is also widely available. But for local dishes, be prepared for an abundance of spices which is used generously. Outdoor cafes serve exotic national delicacies like many versions of sea food. Some popular items are steamed rice with curry, Kebabs or Satay, Ox-tail soup and noodles with spicy sauce (Laksa kedah). Most local restaurants offer food items at reasonable prices which is a draw for gastronomic tourism. Indian restaurants are the cheapest and serve great vegetarian curries apart from regular fare. For dessert, there are numerous stalls selling soft drinks and ice cream.
Many are attracted by the rich culture of the island. Locals observe many old and interesting customs. They date back to many centuries ago. The Hibiscus flower is held in high esteem. Its five petals are symbolic of the five precepts of Islam, the leading religion of locals. The plant is used widely for making medicinal concoctions.
Shamanism is common but an unusual practice for tourists. Sometimes tourists are allowed to view rituals practiced by Shamans which are usually banned for outsiders. Local shamans enjoy much respect in society.
A number of festivals are held on the island like International Water festival (for water sport competitions) and the Langkawi International Festival of Art (LIFA) (for promoting art). A gastronomical festival called as Langkawi International Laksa Carnival (in May) and a cultural festival called as Langkawi Geopark Carnival (in June) add much colour to island life.
Begin exploring the island from its capital, Kuah Town which has picturesque buildings, graceful bridges and interesting monuments. Its main attraction is the Perdana gallery which has over 2500 artistic exhibits. Batik art is also a unique local attraction on the island. Langkawi has also religious centres like the serene Buddhist temple, Wat Koh Wanararm.
Langkawi has several pristine beaches. It’s largest and most popular is Pantai Cenang which is as long as the Philippines. It features powdery white sand. It has a long stretch of shops, restaurants, bars and hotels. Other notable beaches include Pantai Tengah and Tanjung Rhu.
Cable Car and Sky Bridge
Perched high above Mount Machinkang, the SkyCab is a cable car system which offers bird’s eye view of the island. One can also take a walk on the SkyBridge that is one among the longest curved suspension bridges covering 125 m.
There are a few waterfalls on the island but most spectacular one is the Telaga Tujuh. It is regarded as the most beautiful attraction on the island. Its name means Seven Wells Waterfalls which refers to its seven connected natural pools.
Duty Free Shopping
Since 1987, Langkawi has been duty-free. Popular items on sale in the island include electronics, cooking ware, food items, souvenirs, cosmetics, apparel, tobacco, spirits and wine. Many of the duty free shops can be found either in Kuah Town or besides Pantai Cenang.
Langkawi offers several opportunities for outdoor sports and adventure. Some of these are:
- Mangrove kayaking
Explore the waters encompassing thick and flourishing mangroves.
- Nature cycling
This is a fun 3 to 4 hour biking tour via forests, river banks and paddy fields.
- Jungle trekking
One can indulge in trekking through the rain forests best in the morning or early afternoon. Afternoon trek offers the opportunity to spot nocturnal animals like squirrels and lemurs.
Sailing cruises are also popular recreation in Langkawi. The ninety nine islands of Langkawi are best enjoyed by boat.
These are all the top attractions for visiting Langkawi, truly an island paradise.