Langkawi Island

Pulau Langkawi… Gentle breezes ripple the waves as they reflect the rays of the sun; nearby, the majestic red eagle spreads its wings, ready to fly as high and as far as the eye can see. Today, at the beginning of the new millennium, Pulau Langkawi, like its namesake – the eagle, is set to soar to greater heights and new-found fame.

At the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, where the Straits of Malacca meets the Indian Ocean, there lies a cluster of mostly uninhabited islands just 30 kilometres off the coast of Kedah state. Of the 104 islands, only two are populated. Pulau Langkawi is one, and it is by far the largest island of all, at around 478.5 square kilometres. The interior of the island is hilly with dense forestation. Hardly surprising, as its equatorial climate favours plants with thick foliage. It sees lots of rain from April to October while its dry season is much drier than most areas of Peninsular Malaysia. Almost all the surrounding islands are not habitable as they are merely tiny deserted atolls.

Pulau Langkawi, a predominantly Malay area, has a duty-free status which makes it a popular shopping destination, especially among Malaysians.

Efforts have been made to introduce Pulau Langkawi to the international crowd and Pulau Langkawi now plays host to a multitude of visitors, both foreign and local, with international events like the Tour de Langkawi, an annual cycling competition which starts in Pulau Langkawi and ends in Kuala Lumpur. World class athletes make their way to this tropical island to compete in a prestigious event that is given world-wide coverage by the international media.

There is also the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace show or more popularly known as LIMA, held every year around November. Visitors to Pulau Langkawi during LIMA are naturally drawn by the opportunity to see the congregation of flying machines which have fascinated mankind since time immemorial. They simply cannot resist the temptation of being able to witness the flying stunts of pilots, both military or otherwise. The island also beckons with promises of lazy sun-soaked days at the beach with the waves lapping at one’s feet, not to mention the intriguing legends that abound in Langkawi.

Development on Pulau Langkawi is concentrated on its western coast. Tourism got off to a start in the mid-1980’s when the duty-free status for Penang was withdrawn and given to Pulau Langkawi. Since then billions of ringgit have gone into developing Pulau Langkawi and now the island lays claim to excellent roads, impressive resort hotels as well as numerous shopping centres.

The three western bays – Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok – are the most commercialised as they are the main beaches of Langkawi island. Pantai Cenang is by far the most popular one with its wide choice of comfortable accommodation at reasonable prices and its numerous restaurants and eateries. That is not to say that there aren’t any luxurious and expensive hotels there – there are indeed, and there is something to suit almost everyone.

Langkawi, in its original form is very pleasant. It boasts of pristine beauty; a mountainous inland with limestone outcrops, the vivid green of its vegetation contrasts greatly with the white sands of its beaches and the inviting blue-green waters just beckons to visitors.
Places of Interest
SUMMER PALACE LANGKAWI, situated at Pantai Kok, is one of the island’s latest attractions. 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’.Open: 9-00a.m/10.00p.m. (Daily) Admission: RM3.50 (adult), RM2.00 (child)
Dataran Lang (lang Square) is Pulau Langkawi’s most prominent landmark for visitors arriving by sea. Perched near the Kuah jetty 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” while “kawi” denotes reddish brown – hence, Langkawi means reddish brown eagle!
TAMAN BUAYA LANGKAWI (Pulau Langkawi Crocodile Farm) located at Kubang Badak, some 32 km from Kuah, has more than 1,000 crocodiles of various species. Here, one can witness and photograph crocodiles and alligators playing and feeding in a controlled environment that closely resembles their natural habitat. Open: 9.00a.m. – 6.00p.m. (Daily). Admission: RM7.00 (adult), RM5.00 (child).
TELAGA TUJUH sited in the north-western corner of Pulau Langkawi, is a geological marvel. The waterfall is so named because its cascading waters is broken by a series of seven natural pools. The surrounding lush green forest of the waterfall adds a mystical touch to the natural splendour. Legend has it that fairies used to bathe and frolic here.
TAMAN LAGENDA is a scenic park with beautiful gardens of vivid local blooms, plants and fruit trees. Within the park are some fine examples of traditional Malaysian handicraft and cultural objects, showcasing the country’s rich heritage. Open: 8-00am/11.00pm (Daily)Admission: RM5.00 (adult) RM2.30 (child).
THE GALERIA PERDANA at Kilim houses an impressive collection of over 2,500 state gifts and awards presented to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, YBhg. Datin Seri Dr. Siti Hasmah bt. Mohd. Ali. Open: 10.00a.m/3.00p.m. (Daily), 9.00a.m/6.00p.m. (Public/School Hols), 10.00a.m/2.15p.m & 3.00p.m/5.00p.m. (Friday). Admission: RM3.00 (Adults) RM1.00 (Child). 
CRAFT CULTURAL COMPLEX is located on the northern coastline of Langkawi Island in the vicinity of Teluk Yu, about 30 minutes drive from the airport or 45 minutes from Kuah town. Nestled on a hillside overlooking the sea, this magnificent complex offers a wide range of Malaysian handicraft such as delicate hand drawn batik and intricately carved silverware. Open: 9.00a.m. – 6.00p.m. (Daily). Admission: Free 
LANGKAWI CRYSTAAL along Jalan Kisap, 5 km from Kuah offers an attractive and exquisite range of glass products. Visitors will find a wide choice of skilfully crafted crystal items to suit every occasion. Enjoy the extraordinary glass blowing skills of craftsmen dedicated to producing glassware of the highest standards and quality. Open: 9.00a.m/5.00p.m. (Daily). Admission: Free. 
UNDERWATER WORLD Langkawi, a marine showcase featuring both fresh and salt water fishes and other forms of marine life, is a must-see attraction. Located at Pantai Cenang, this 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. Open: 10.00a.m/6.00pm (Daily) Admission: RM18.00 (adult) RM10.00 (child). 
PULAU PAYAR MARINE PARK, 19 nautical miles south of Langkawi, comprises the islands of Pulau Payar, Pulau Lembu, Pulau Segantang and Pulau Kaca. Surrounded by coral reefs, this marine park teems with a fascinating diversity of marine life and vegetation. Many endangered species of fishes and marine organisms live within its sheltered waters. Organised excursions are available.
MAKAM MAHSURI is the shrine erected in honour of Mahsuri, a fair maiden 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.Open: 7.30a.m/6.00p.m. (Daily). Admission: RM2.00 (adult) RM1.00 (child).
AIR HANGAT VILLAGE is sited on four acres of land about 14 kilometres northwest of Kuah. This modern complex includes a 3-tier hot spring fountain, an 18 metre long handcarved riverstone mural depicting the legends that enshroud this location and souvenir shops. Open: 9-00a.m. – 6.00p.m. (Daily). Admission: RM4.00 (adult), RM2.00 (child). 
KAMPUNG BUKU MALAYSIA in Langkawi is the first and only book village in South-east Asia. Situated in a rainforest reserve at the foot of Gunung Raya, the highest peak on the island, the Book Village provides book lovers a tranquil setting to indulge in their hobby. It is located at Lubuk SembilanOpen: 9.00a.m/6.00p.m. (Daily) Admission: Free.
TASIK DAYANG BUNTING (Lake of Pregnant Maiden), lies in an island south of Langkawi and is the largest lake. The outline of hills and rocky outcrops on one side of the lake resembles the shape of a pregnant maiden lying on her back. However, the name of both the island and the lake is attributed to the legend of a lovely fairy princess who married an earthly prince. 
LAMAN PADI LANGKAWI along Pantai Cenang, a popular tourist belt showcases the history, heritage and development of the nation’s rice growing industry. Visitors to this Complex can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Fields from a roof-top garden. Open: 10.00a.m/6.00p.m. (Daily) Admission: RM2.00 (adult), Free (child below 12 years)
BERAS TERBAKAR (Burnt rice) Another of Langkawi’s famous legends, telling of the Siamese invasion on the island. Todate especially after a rain shower, grains of ‘charred’ rice can still be found on the grounds where the burnt, secret rice store was once located
TEMURUN WATERFALL A cool respite awaits nature lovers in a forest reserve located near to a popular beach, Pantai Pasir Tengkorak in Datai.
DURIAN PERANGIN WATERFALL Discover a scenic spot to refresh the spirit after a short track through a rainforest. Situated along Jalan Air Hangat where lies the Hot Springs Complex. 
TELAGA TUJUH WATERFALL Also known as 7 Wells due to a series of flowing waterfalls cascading into seven natural pools. Located in mountain Mat Cincang & playground to legendary fairy maidens, according to ancient myths. 
TG. RHU BEACH A popular white, sandy beach located in the area of the same name. Here casuarinas trees align the shoreline. Situated in the north and 22 km from Kuah town.
BLACK SAND BEACH The interesting feature of this beach is the colour of its sand, due to tin & mineral deposits. Located in the northern region of the island. 
CAVE OF BATS The home of the Malaysian fruit bats, this cave is located along the Kilim River and is only accessible by boat. Also houses gigantic stalactites and stalagmites. 
CAVE OF LEGENDS Associated with one of Langkawi’s famous legends, the mystical Battle of the Big Birds, this cave is accessible by boat and a climb on a wooden ladder from Tanjung Rhu. 
CHINESE OPERA A dying artform where artistes perform with gaily painted faces in traditional ornate & embroidered costumes. This ancient culture is presently preserved and can be witnessed Only at the Fook Look Chinese Restaurant.
ORIENTAL VILLAGE A unique & inspiring tourist complex, complete with an Inn, 4 restaurants & 25 individual duty free shops, the latter offering original designer labels for the discerning shopper. Situated at the foothills of mountain Mat Cincang in the north. 
SNAKE SANCTUARY A Beautiful Parkland with an undulating setting is home to a collection of venomous and non-venomous snakes from all over the world. Spacious Terrariums are located at various parts of the parkland along well defined paths for close public viewing of the snakes. An Interactive Clitro occupies a major portion of the site. 
Langkawi Cable Car – Station located within Oriental Village. 360 degree compass platform for easy orientation. Enjoy the fascinating view of the Andaman Sea and Langkawi Island. 
IBRAHIM HUSSEIN fOUNDATION & GALLERY This is a foundation for Malaysia’s foremost artist, Datuk Ibrahim Hussein. It showcases some of his finest masterpieces. Perched dramatically on a cliff that overlooks the sea amidst dense tropical rainforests, it is a place you really must not miss. 
Langkawi Bird Paradise – Discover the exciting world of birds and nature …. with hundreds of world’s rarest and most beautiful birds greeting you as you stroll through tropical gardens.