I always thought that Langkawi is overrated. Many Malaysians go there just to shop for the cheap stuff. That is all I know about Langkawi until my recent visit to the island. I was given the task to plan another family trip in Langkawi and things began to be more fascinating. This time around, the trip is slightly different than what I normally do as it involved my family members. This is the list that I made:
Kuah is the main town in Langkawi. It is also the point of entry for visitors coming from the mainland by ferry. If you love to shop for branded material and want them cheap at the same time, Kuah town has many shops and markets that fulfill your appetite.
Chocolate is the most popular good among Malaysian visitors. HIG Mall (Haji Ismail Group Mall) is the most popular and you will be spoiled at the chocolates section. To be safe, you should do the shopping on the last day of your Langkawi trip to avoid overspending and also melting chocolates. You may also find branded kitchen sets sold at a very cheap price too.
2. Dataran Lang (Eagle Square), Kuah
I would say even though this attraction is corny, it is definitely a Langkawi landmark. At least make a short stop and take picture with the huge eagle. The name of the island itself comes from the word helang which means eagle. The statue is seen as if he is taking off to the open sea. Though the area is poorly maintained and flock by a lot of people, you will find the landmark to be massive and fascinating. I would advise the visitors to visit Dataran Lang first before exploring the island.
3. Langkawi SkyCab
The cable car is claimed to be the longest free span mono-cable car. I don’t really know what does that mean but sounds cool enough. However, the thing that really caught my attention is the location of the SkyCab itself. The base is located at the foothill of Mount Machincang. The gondola will bring you to the top of the mountain at 708m above sea level. The mountain is consisted of the oldest rock in South East Asia, the Machincang formation from Cambrian Period (estimated to be 500 million years old).
Not just that, you will also have the opportunity to walk on a suspended bridge erected 82m above the mountain top. It is claimed to be the longest free span and curved bridge in the world and awarded by Trip Advisor as one of the World’s Most Spectacular Pedestrian Bridges.
You can also go up to the top in the evening and stay to witness a beautiful sunset too.
4. Telaga Tujuh
Just a stone throw of away from SkyCab, there is a famous waterfall in Langkawi. The name is Telaga Tujuh which means Seventh Well. The trail to the top of the waterfall is quite easy but you need to go up slowly and enjoy the lush green tropical forest.
You will be offered a nice view of Andaman Sea from the top. The water is also quite clean and cool. It is worth all the energy.
5. Mahsuri Mausoleum
Legend has it that a woman and new mother named Mahsuri was false and maliciously accused of committing adultery while her husband was away from the village. She was dragged and tied by the locals and executed. However, many stabbing attempts failed. Mahsuri told them that only family’s keris could kill her. When she was stabbed, white blood flowed from her wound and she cursed the whole Langkawi to be in the state of drought and destruction until her seventh ancestry is born.
Coincidentally, Langkawi was attacked by Siam after her execution and the paddy fields were burned down by the Siamese. Soon after that, Langkawi went through periods of droughts until few decades ago at the same time when her descendant Wan Aisyah was born in Phuket. Mahsuri descendants apparently migrated to Siam and they resided in Phuket. As a remembrance, the state government built a memorial museum at her tomb.
Cenang Beach is very popular among tourists. It is just like many other beach town in this region such as Ao Nang. There are small shops, narrow road and white sandy beaches at the back of the hotels and resorts.
The beach is also located quite close to the airport. So it is easily accessible and you can also see flight going in and out the island. During low tide, you are also able to walk across the very shallow water to Rebak Kechil Island.
There are many activities at this beach. Just name it. Parasailing. Banana Boat. Jet skying. Sun bathing.
Not very far from Cenang and located next to the airport is the famous food stall. The stall sells laksa (noodle with fish broth) and many other dishes. The difference between the laksa there is that they served laksa with literally a fish in it. That is what I heard from the people but my experience there is not what I expected to be. Probably we ate at the wrong stall.
7. Island Hopping
For those who appreciate a long boat ride and also a chance to explore many islands, this activity would be great for you. Island hopping is also the most popular boating tour as you are able to stop at an island and play at the beach. I do not have chance to do island hopping but I will find time to do it one day.
The tour mainly stops at Dayang Bunting Island, Singa Besar Island and Beras Basah Island. The tour spans about 4 to 5 hours and most of the agency will pick you up from the hotel. The price per person could be as low as RM35. Check more information and experience here: Island Hopping.
Dayang Bunting Island is the island with prominent legendary story. At this island, you will get to hike to Pregnant Maiden Lake. Legend has it that if you swim in this lake it could help you to get pregnant. Geologically, this island is mostly formed by limestone. Over time, due to erosion, a subsidence formed this lake which is above sea level.
At Singa Besar Island, you will make a short stop for eagle feeding. 20 minutes away from Singa Besar is Beras Basah Island. This island is where you could swim and play in the water.
8. Mangrove Tour
This tour is a must for every visitor. You do not want to miss the beauty of mangrove forest and wildlife in their habitat. The price for the tour could be as low as RM250 if you rent the whole boat of 8 occupancy. You can also pay it per head at RM40 depending on the agency that you pick.
Usually the tour will consist of:
- Eagle feeding
- Kelawar Cave
- A short stop at the Kilim sign,
- Boat ride experience in open ocean of Andaman Sea
- A visit to floating restaurant for lunch.
The main highlight would be this sign here hanging at the cliff. The mangrove forest is called Kilim Geoforest Park and gazetted under UNESCO. That is why you can’t miss this tour.
9. Tanjung Rhu Beach
This is the beach that is facing directly to the north to Andaman Sea. The beach is also white and wide. There are many luxury resorts located here such as Four Seasons. However, the beach is not suitable for swimming because it is too steep and deep. Tanjung Rhu Beach is also the starting point for mangrove tour.
10. Paddy Field at Ulu Melaka
What is more peaceful than a breezy evening at the paddy field?
At the beginning of the year, the paddy is almost ready for harvest and will become yellowish gold. A motorcycle or bicycle ride would be nice though.
The paddy field area is also not that far from Cenang Beach.
There are many other places in Langkawi worth exploring such as Datai Beach, Temurun Waterfall, Mount Raya experience (golfing or hiking), Hiking Mount Machinchang, Canopy Adventure (Langkawi Canopy Adventure), Underwater World at Cenang, the food and many more. This is a good website to understand Langkawi better.
So, what are you waiting for! Langkawi is definitely a place to visit. It is not just popular among locals but also popular among foreign tourists.