Langkawi is the foremost of a group of 104 islands lying off the coast
of Kedah, in
northwestern Malaysia. Clustered together in a confusing, labyrinthine
mass and situated along a major trade route, the Langkawi islands
have--like the Islands of the Bahamas--a long history as a refuge of
pirates. Also like the Bahamas, the Langkawi islands have in recent
times become an internationally-known resort destination, since the same
attributes that made the islands so advantageous for piracy makes them
ideal for tranquil, romantic holiday escape. With a wealth of soft,
powder-sand beaches, limestone hills wreathed in mist, and cool emerald
green jungle forest, the natural beauty of these Malaysian islands is
In addition to their natural beauty
and checkered past, the Langkawi islands are notable for the wealth of
legends with which they are associated. The most well-known of these
tales is that of Mahsuri, a lovely maiden executed after having been
falsely accused of adultery. As the blood flowed out of her dying body,
Mahsuri laid a curse on the island--that Langkawi would be barren for
seven generations. Soon after, the Siamese attacked the island and
ravaged it. Evidently seven generations have passed, as the island today
possesses an abundance of enchanting flora and fauna in addition to a
wealth of world-class holiday accommodations.
the many leisure activities available on the islands are snorkeling,
scuba diving, boating, water skiing, wind surfing and parasailing. There
are many scenic beaches on Pulau Langkawi, among them Pantai Cenang,
Pantai Rhu, Pantai Kok, Pantai Tengah and the black sand Pantai Pasir
Hitam. The seas around the island teem with fish, and fishing trips can
be arranged through your hotel. Car rental is readily available for
visitors interested in exploring Langkawi's interior; the roads are
good, the scenery beautiful. Rustic Malay kampongs, rubber estates,
scenic padi fields, and placid water buffaloes all mark the landscape.
Migratory birds favor Langkawi, and the islands are also home to a
number of species of butterflies not found anywhere else in the world.
Exploring the Langkawi Islands:
The main town of Pulau Langkawi, it has a population of about
11,000. Located on the southeast of the island, the town offers
handicrafts of shell and local marble as well as duty-free shopping. Its
single main street runs along the waterfront.
Located about twelve kilometers from the main town of Kuah on Pulau
Langkawi. Mahsuri is the island's most famous legendary figure.
Air Hangat Village
Formerly a popular hot spring known as Telaga Air Hangat, Air Hangat
Village is now a combination spa and cultural experience park. Located
on an extensive site about sixteen kilometers north of Kuah, the village
presents performances of Malaysian and Southeast Asian dances and
traditional games as well as cultural shows and activities such as
trained elephant performances and padi planting. The hot springs have
been converted into an impressive three-tiered fountain that is
accompanied by a hand-carved stone mural of their origins. Air Hangat
Village also offers duty-free shopping, as well as fine Malaysian, Thai,
and Indonesian cuisine served in its on-site theatre restaurant. Air
Hangat is open from 10 am to 10pm daily.
Taman Buaya Langkawi (Langkawi
The crocodile farm is situated at Teluk Datai, about thirty
kilometers from Kuah Town. The farm has more crocodiles than one can
easily imagine--over 1000 in all, including several rare species, as
well as some alligators. Although there is an exhibition centre with
displays on the life cycle of the crocodile and many specimens and
photographs of every conceivable aspect of crocodiles, the real draw
here are the lurking thousands of live animals. The farm has
conveniently divided its ponds so as to satisfy a whole range of common
fascinations. The ponds include:
The Species Pond. A good place to start for those
who are still a little fuzzy on that crocodile/alligator
The Breeding Pond. A glimpse into the intimate
lives of average crocodiles.
The Bridge-Over-Pond. The litmus test of people's
crocodile fears, this pond allows the visitor to get a little more
The Feeding Pond. An incontrovertible
demonstration of the fact that crocodiles are way too fast and
dangerous to be your friend.
The Show Pond. Man versus crocodile. An
opportunity to ponder why anyone would ever decide to wrestle a
The Lankawi Crocodile Farm is
registered with The Convention on International Trade and Endangered
Species (CITES). The farm includes dining and parking facilities as well
as a souvenir shop. It is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily. Admission
Fee: Adults RM5, Children RM3.
Located about fourteen kilometers from Kuah Town, the attraction of
this modest village is that it offers visitors a chance to participate
in a number of traditional Malaysian cultural activities. Kampung
Tanamas is open daily from 8.30am-6.00pm. Entrance Fee: RM1.00 per
person. (You can enter free of charge if you have the receipt to enter
Pulau Singa Besar
Located about forty minutes by boat to the south of the main island
of Langkawi. Because of its diverse ecological environment, this small,
undeveloped island has been designated as a Bird and Animal Sanctuary.
While there isn't much to do here other than to observe nature, the
nature of Pulau Singa Besar rewards such attention.
By Air: Malaysia Airlines has a direct
flight to Pulau Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur and also from Penang.
There is also direct service from Singapore.
By Rail: Rail services are available from
Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar; then take a taxi to Kuala Kedah for the
ferry to Pulau Langkawi.
By Road: The North-South Expressway makes
driving pleasurable from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Perlis, a journey
which takes about 5 hours. From here board a ferry to the island.
(Regular ferry services are available from Kuala Kedah and Kuala
Perlis on the mainland to Kuah, the main town on Pulau Langkawi. The
trip takes about an hour.)