lifestyle/January 30, 2024
Nestled off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Langkawi is filled with legends, nature and cultural gems waiting to be explored.
Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands perched by the Andaman Sea, and a tropical paradise teeming with natural wonders, cultural heritage, and exhilarating activities.
Whether it is watching the sunset at Tanjung Rhu Beach, discovering the ancient karts of Kilim, strolling across SkyBridge, or uncovering the island's many legends, Langkawi offers a multitude of experiences for every traveller. Here are some things to do in this beautiful destination.
Eagle Square, or Dataran Lang, is Langkawi's emblematic landmark, featuring a magnificent statue of a reddish-brown eagle poised for flight. This 12-meter-tall sculpture symbolizes Langkawi's name, which comes from the Malay word for eagle, 'helang'.
The square offers breathtaking views of the harbour and nearby islands, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and sunset watchers. The area surrounding the square is beautifully landscaped with scenic ponds, bridges, and covered terraces, ideal for a leisurely stroll.
Delve into the poignant legend of Mahsuri at Kota Mahsuri, a historical complex dedicated to this iconic figure of Langkawi folklore.
Mahsuri was a young woman whose beauty led to her being falsely accused of adultery. As she was executed, a curse is believed to have been laid upon Langkawi for seven generations.
Kota Mahsuri encompasses her tomb, a traditional Malay house, and a museum. Visitors can learn about the deep-rooted beliefs and customs of the locals here.
Laman Padi is a unique attraction dedicated to the history and legacy of rice cultivation in Langkawi. After all, the state of Kedah is considered the rice bowl of Malaysia!
The open-air museum offers insights into the process of rice farming, from seeding to harvesting. Lucky visitors can participate in interactive experiences like rice planting and harvesting. There is also a museum where one can learn about the history and significance of rice in Malaysia.
The Burnt Rice Field, tucked in the middle of a quiet Malay village, has an interesting backstory steeped in legend. During the Siamese invasion, the villagers burned their rice fields to prevent the enemy from taking control of their food supply. Take a closer look at the exhibit and you can see the remnants of scorched rice grains from centuries ago!
Right next to the field is a narrow alley lined with colourful stalls selling souvenirs, clothes and household items.
Gunung Raya is the highest mountain in Langkawi, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the entire island and beyond. Enveloped in lush rainforest, it is home to diverse wildlife including leaf monkeys, flying foxes, and hornbills.
Trekking enthusiasts can hike the challenging staircase of 4,287 steps towards the peak, while others can opt for a scenic drive up the winding road. At the top, you can enjoy an unparalleled view of Langkawi's stunning landscape.
Ayer Hangat Village is renowned for its natural saltwater hot springs, believed to have therapeutic and healing properties. After exploring Langkawi island, you can indulge in a relaxing soak in the hot springs.
The Oriental Village is a charming complex at the base of Machinchang Cambrian Geopark. Featuring oriental-style architecture, it is home to shops, eateries, entertainment outlets and attractions like the Langkawi Cable Car and SkyBridge. Before heading up on the cable car, you can shop for trinkets, savour local cuisine, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
Recognised as a UNESCO Global Geopark, Machinchang Cambrian Geopark is a geological wonder boasting some of the oldest rock formations in Southeast Asia.
Visitors can explore the ancient landscapes, learn about the island's geological history, and marvel at the breathtaking natural formations. On the way up in the Langkawi Cable Car, you can take in spectacular views of the geopark and surrounding islands.
The SkyBridge is an engineering marvel suspended above Mount Machinchang. At a dizzying height of 660m, this curved 125-metre pedestrian bridge offers awe-inspiring views of the Andaman Sea and Langkawi's lush forests. You can even spot Thailand if the skies are clear!
3D Art in Paradise is an interactive art museum featuring over 100 impressive 3D murals. Visitors can engage with the art, creating fun and surreal photos that defy reality.
It is a delightful experience for families and groups of friends, offering a creative and entertaining break from the usual sightseeing activities.
SkyDome is a 360-degree panoramic projection dome showcasing spectacular cosmic shows and virtual reality experiences. If you are want to embark on an immersive journey through space and time in an educational way, here's your chance!
Surrounded by hills and dense forests, Dayang Bunting Island is famous for its large freshwater lake, Lake of the Pregnant Maiden. Locals believe that the lake possesses magical fertility powers.
Visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim, kayak, or paddleboat ride in the tranquil lake. The island is also a popular spot for picnics and nature walks, offering a peaceful retreat from the bustling beaches.
Nature enthusiasts would definitely love the Kilim Geoforest Park! As part of the Setul Formation, it is one of Malaysia’s oldest limestone formation, a tapestry of mangroves and limestone cliffs inhabited by diverse wildlife.
The best way to explore the park's majestic attractions by boat, from watching eagle feeding to visiting a fish farm.
Nestled within the Kilim Geoforest Park, The Bat Cave is an intriguing limestone cave inhabited by various bat species.
A wooden boardwalk allows visitors to explore the cave and observe the bats in their natural habitat. The unique cave formations and surrounding mangrove ecosystem offer an insightful glimpse into Langkawi's natural diversity.
It may be called Crocodile Cave, but there are no ferocious reptiles here! This fascinating natural formation within the Kilim Geoforest Park, which is named after its resemblance to a crocodile, curiously appears during low tide.
The cave is only accessible by boat, and opens out to a cavern filled with ancient limestone formations and the occasional glimpse of wildlife.
Beautifully perched amidst the cliffs of Kilim Geopark, the floating fish farms give you the opportunity to learn about Langkawi's aquaculture and interact with various marine species. You can also make a pitstop for fresh seafood, cooked in traditional Malay style.
Kubang Badak Mangrove Reserve is named after a mighty rhinoceros believed to have protected the village from danger.
The mangrove reserve here has many fascinating discoveries, such as Jemuruk Isand, an ancient sea cave called Gua Pinang, abandoned charcoal factories of Kampung Siam, and Bukit Menora, where an 18th-century Thai settlement once stood.
Immerse yourself in Malaysia's vibrant art scene at Balai Seni Negara. This art gallery showcases an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary art, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of Malaysia. It is an art lover's paradise, with exhibitions that change regularly, ensuring each visit offers something new.
The Langkawi Craft Complex is a beautiful museum with a sprawling complex that tell the stories of the island's rich artisanal heritage. Here, the timeless art of Malaysian handicrafts comes alive.
There are two museums in the centre, each dedicated to different aspects of Malaysian heritage, such as marriage customs, traditional weaponry, music, cultural art and religion. You can also witness some traditional artisans in action, such as batik artists painting colourful works of art.
At Faizy Crystal, you witness a mesmerizing ballet of flames and glass. This is where the ancient craft of glass blowing is not just preserved but celebrated.
Local craftsmen in Langkai still use the traditional method of producing glasswork. If you are lucky, you can see how they create these exquisite crystal glass masterpieces.
Established in 1987, the intricate art of traditional Malaysian batik is masterfully preserved and showcased at Atma Alam Batik Art Village. Here, visitors can explore an extensive batik showroom, watch how batik is drawn and created, as well as buy gorgeous batik products.
Tanjung Rhu's lush mangroves are a hidden gem, lying along the same enchanting river that weaves its way to the Kilim mangrove reserve.
From the quaint jetty, you can hop on a boat tour that takes you into the heart of Kilim Geoforest Park – it's a world where sea eagles dance overhead and nature's drama unfolds around every bend. And just when you think it can't get any better, the tour glides out into the vast Andaman Sea for an island-hopping escapade.
Tanjung Rhu is a slice of paradise in Langkawi famed for its stunning white sand beaches that stretch endlessly into the horizon. It is named after the picturesque Casuarina trees, locally known as Pokok Rhu, that gracefully line its shores.
The cape has a sprawling sand spit that cradles a serene lagoon, set against a dramatic canvas of karstic hills and mystical islands.
Black Sand Beach, or Pantai Pasir Hitam, is a unique geological formation resulting from mineral deposits in the sand. The beach's distinct black sand creates a striking contrast with the blue sea and green foliage.
Locals believe that it turned black from the firewood that was burnt along the shore during a legendary civil war between the Underwater Kingdom and Land Kingdom.
Tucked away amidst Langkawi's lush landscapes, Wat Koh Wanararm stands as a beacon of tranquility. This Thai Buddhist temple is dubbed the Lucky Temple, believed to bring miracles to devotees who pray at the temple.
A spectacular Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) statue stands amidst the intricate Tibetan pagodas of the courtyard, beautifully carved into the limestone. There are also three Buddhist schools here offering Thai, Chinese, and Himalayan Buddhist studies.
Few would have come across this Thai temple, as it is hidden down a quiet backlane. Wat Tham Kisap is gracefully perched next to a limestone cliff. This serene temple is home to many statues, including a golden Sitting Buddha and that of an oddly lifelike wise man called a Lersi.
Masjid Al-Hana, Langkawi's largest mosque, is an architectural masterpiece that dates back to 1959. Clad in peach and gold, its design is a captivating blend of Moorish and Islamic motifs from Uzbekistan, which effortlessly merges history with spirituality. For the locals it isn't just a place of worship, the mosque is a symbol of Langkawi's rich cultural tapestry.
As with any mosque in Malaysia, be sure to remove your shoes when entering the prayer hall. Female explorers also should wear clothes that cover the arms and legs.
Here's something to spark your imagination! According to local folklore, fairies would bathe within the seven natural pools at Telaga Tujuh Waterfall. Nestled in the lush forests of Langkawi, this enchanting cascade offers a refreshing experience for those willing to hike up here.
From afar, you can see the waters tumling off the 91-metre cliff. The lower pools can be reached by climbing up roughly 200 steps. If you have more energy to spare, hike up another 638 steps the upper poolswhere the sevem namesake pools can be found. Some people believe that the pools have mystical properties - but you can be the judge of that!
Pantai Cenang is a vibrant stretch of golden sand that buzzes with life and activity. This bustling beachfront is a haven for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts alike, enticing you with everything from parasailing to jet skiing.
As the sun sets, the area morphs into a lively hub of night markets, beach bars, and restaurants, making it the perfect spot to experience Langkawi's dynamic coastal nightlife.
Pantai Tengah, a serene counterpart to its lively neighbour Pantai Cenang, offers a more tranquil beach experience on Langkawi's stunning coastline.
As evening approaches, the beachfront comes alive with charming cafes and bars, providing a perfect setting to bask in the sunset.
Marked by its unspoilt beauty, Pasir Panjang Beach is a serene escapade far from the crowded tourist areas. You would need to take a boat to reach here.
Framed by crystal-clear waters and vast stretches of sand (it is called 'Long Sand Beach' for a reason), it overlooks the Andaman Sea and Thailand's nearby border. You might even see your phone adjust to the Thai timezone!
Picturesque and tranquil, Pantai Kok shys away from the bustling hotspits on Langkawi island. Boasting the calm and clear waters of the Andaman Sea, it is an ideal spot for those seeking a peaceful retreat. Nearby, you can find attractions like the Cable Car and SkyBridge.
Located in Langkawi's northwest, Datai Bay is a scenic blend of tropical rainforest and pristine white sands facing the Andaman Sea. Renowned for its luxurious resorts, the area is perfect for those seeking elegance and tranquility. The bay offers a picturesque beach, water sports, and guided tours into the surrounding rainforest and mountains.
Did you know that there is a crocodile farm in Langkawi? Located on the road to Datai Bay, Crocodile Adventureland Langkawi is one of Malaysia's largest crocodile farms. The 20-hectare park is home to thousands of crocodiles of various species, including the dwarf crocodile and the larger saltwater giants.
Visitors can watch exciting crocodile shows that showcase the strength and agility of these reptiles, see crocodile feeding, and get up close to the prehistoric creatures. Not for the faint hearted!
Langkawi's hidden waterfalls are scattered across the island within the lush embrace of jungles. One such attraction is Durian Perangin Waterfall, known for its natural rock pools. Up on the steep 200-metre staircase, you can reach around 14 shallow pools gushing with refreshing water. Locals love to come here for picnics and to cool down in the hot Malaysian weather.
Galeria Sri Perdana is a museum and gallery in Malaysia dedicated to the life of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's longest-serving Prime Minister. It features a range of exhibits, including personal belongings, gifts, and memorabilia related to Tun Dr. Mahathir's tenure as Prime Minister.
Not only would you get a unique insight into the political history of Malaysia, you can also learn a thing or two about one of Malaysia's most influential leaders.
The award-winning Langkawi Wildlife Park (originally called Langkawi Bird Paradise) is worth a visit if you love animals. There are several themed sections, including a magnificent walk-in aviary filled with feathery friends. Be sure to look out for the exotic birds and rare mammals, such as the Fennec Fox and Meerkats.
Open every day, you can watch interactive feeding shows or get up close to different residents at the park. A must visit for families and animal lovers!
Cradled by lush rainforests and pristine coastlines, The ELS Club Teluk Datai is a 'hole-in-one' for golfers. Designed by the golf legend Ernie Els, this exquisite course is an 8-hole, Par 72 masterpiece, spanning 6,750 yards.
Whether you're teeing off into the serene embrace of the tropics or unwinding in the lap of luxury, The ELS Club promises an experience that's well above par.
Pantai Pasir Tengkorak, also known as Skull Sand Beach, is a hidden gem with its strikingly white sands and clear azure waters.
Steeped in local legends, its eerie name conjures stories of shipwrecks and mystical occurrences. What makes it truly remarkable are the rich geological formations along the rocky shore, with ancient wave erosional features like tafoni, sea caves, ripple marks and load casts.
This small, uninhabited island off the coast of Langkawi is rife with rich marine life and coral reefs, so it is no surprise that it is popular among snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
If you are taking a boat trip out at the Kilim Geopark, you can make a pitstop at Pulau Jong. The limestone rocks conceal ancient fossils of echinoderms, mollucs, rugose corals and foraminifera.
Right in the heart of Pulau Langgun is a spectacular sight - a freshwater lake formed by the collapse of the limestones centuries ago. Around it, the rainforest wraps over the rugged terrain, forming a natural habitat for plenty of flora and fauna.
Pulau Anak Tikus is not exactly where any typical tourist would go on an excursion. It is a different story altogether for geology enthusiasts.
You see, this uninhabited island is aptly known as 'Fossil Island'. Accessible by boat, it is teeming with century-old fossils like gastropods and cephalopods. You might even see the Cycad plant, which existed as far back as the time of dinosaurs.
Telaga Harbour Marina is a picturesque marina with comprehensive berthing facilities near Pantai Kok. You can check out Perdana Quay, graced by boutique shops, restaurants, and bars along a scenic boardwalk. Perfect for enjoying sunset views!
From Telaga Harbour, you can take a boat and explore the wider Andaman Sea. It has direct ferry services to the stunning Koh Lipe, Thailand.
Langkawi is filled with mythical stories of giants, mermaids, fairies, curses and legendary battles. Legend Park, a stone's throw from Kuah Jetty, brings all of these together within a lush landscaped area. Adorned with statues and carvings, you can enjoy a stroll in the park, and enjoy a little twist of local lore with each step.
Kuah is the main town and capital of Langkawi Island, filled with shops, eateries and local attractions. It has evolved into a bustling commercial center, offering a variety of shopping opportunities, especially for duty-free goods like chocolate and alcohol.
Kuah Jetty serves as the primary gateway to the enchanting Langkawi island, offering a dynamic blend of commercial and recreational activities. Located in the heart of Kuah Town, the jetty is not just a bustling transit point for ferries and cruise ships. The vibrant hub is where visitors can experience local culture and shop at the Jetty Point Shopping Mall.
One of the most popular night markets to visit in Langkawi is Pekan Kuah Night Market. Open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 5.30 pm to 10 pm, this bustling market near Kuah Jetty is a treasure trove of inexpensive local products like colourful toys, souvenirs, wallets, sunglasses, watches and clothing.
This food lover's paradise is also popular for its scrumptious street food, ideal for a late dinner while shopping.
Hungry for more? Eat your way through Ulu Melaka Night Market, which opens every Monday night at Kampung Padang Gaong.
Showcasing over 40 stalls, this vibrant market is known for its juicy fried chicken and Lokching, which is a Kelantan-originated satay dish made from meats like sausages and fishballs. You can also find an array of items from clothing to jewelry, along with a variety of fresh food.
Fancy seeing the wonders of the ocean without getting your feet wet?Underwater World Langkawi is recognised as Southeast Asia's largest fresh and saltwater aquarium. There are three main sections: Tropical Rainforest, Temperate , and Sub-Antarctic, each with unique habitats that cater to different marine species. A 15-meter-long tunnel welcomes you to walk among giant stingrays, groupers, green turtles, and schools of fish that gently swim around you.
Apart from aquatic creatures, you can also find other animals such as penguins, otters, flamingos, and seals.
For those who have an interesting in agriculture, there is something that would make your trip in Langkawi! Spread over 35 hectares, MARDI Agro Technology Park has been a hub for high-tech agricultural techniques since 1990.
Set against the stunning backdrop of Gunung Raya, you can embark on a guided fruit farm tour to learn about the many varities of tropical fruits in Malaysia. And of course, tuck into a fruits platter served as part of the tour.
Standing at 138 metres, MAHA Tower looks upon Kuah town and uninterrupted views of the sea. Architecture buffs would find its cutting-edge meets Islamic design interesting. Apparently, the tower is inspired by a bridal gown, as a way of honouring the legend of Mahsuri. Motifs of the national flower - the hibiscus - can be found across the site. At night, the grand tower glows in different colours in the darkness.
If you are travelling to Langkawi with young children, you may want to check out Splash Out Langkawi. Nestled in the heart of Langkawi, the water park boasts an array of water slides, rides, and pools, each offering a unique twist and turn to elevate your adrenaline levels. From the relaxing Lazy River to the heart-pumping Wild Water, there's something for every age and adventure level.
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