A guide to Langkawi

28/10/2014

When it comes to travel, the term ‘unspoiled beauty’ is often overused for places where it does not truly apply.

However, when talking about Langkawi, Malaysia, it is a phrase that one cannot help but use again and again.

Even though parts of the marvellous archipelago have become increasingly ‘touristy’ over the last few years, the scenery and landscape is so magnificent that it has, in the past, been dubbed Malaysia’s Eden of Islands.

Here’s our guide to this spectacular collection of isles.

The islands

Although the majority of Langkawi's big attractions are on the mainland, the real untouched beauty of this area can be found in the 100 or so smaller islands that surround the main hub.

The majority of these little dots in the ocean are uninhabited and therefore completely devoid of any form of tourist attraction, making them the perfect place to explore.

To reach these hidden gems and soak the true magic of the archipelago you will need to take a boat tour around the islands.

The Geopark

Langkawi is home to the very first geopark in south-east Asia and it is a must-see for anyone visiting this diverse island.

The different landscapes that make up this park are hundreds of million years old, a fact that has earned Langkawi the title of ‘birthplace of the region’.

In the north-west of Langkawi, you will find the oldest Machincang Formation in the world which dates back 550 million years. As well as this, there’s also the Chuping Limestone which is 280 years old.

It’s not just these incredible rock formations that make the geopark worth visiting but the interaction between the locals who live within that is also something to behold.

These people help maintain the park through conservation and the promotion of ecotourism, making the park an even more intriguing place to visit.

For more adventurous travellers, there are intense jungle treks available that take you up two mountains to the falls. These can be very difficult and are not recommended for families with younger children.

Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls

The name Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls translates into English as seven wells, and that is, in effect, what you will find here.

These seven natural pools are connected together and filled by seven separate waterfalls in the western highlands of Langkawi.

Known as the archipelago’s most wonderful natural attraction, tourists can reach the area after a rewarding hike up towards Mount Mat Cincang.

As you ascend up towards the wells, you will see some brilliant, lush fauna such as Sintuk, a type of climbing vine that grows throughout the area.

Gunung Raya

This is Langkawi's highest mountain and as a result boasts some of the most remarkable views on the island.

According to Malaysian folklore, the mountain is the remains of an ancient giant Mat Raya, who was transformed into the nightly land formation amid a battle with other ancient monoliths.

To get to the 881-metre summit, you will have to take a long winding road through the jungle. This path is a scenic treat in itself, with lush vegetation and wildlife aplenty as you trek.

Expect to hear the exotic calls of the bird species who live in this verdant forest as you ascend to the top of this sleeping giant.

Cable car ride

If you are not a fan or arduous hikes through lush jungles then do not worry, there are other places you can get a great view of Langkawi’s majestic beauty.

The Langkawi Cable Car ride climbs up one of the world’s steepest inclines to the top of escarpment of Mount Machincang, where you can see for miles and miles.

Especially designed so that you can take in the views, this L-shaped route also contains the world’s longest free span ride for a single rope cable care at 950 metres in length.

Langkawi beaches

Malaysia has some of the best beaches in the world. So when you consider that Langkawi is said to have the best beaches in the country, then you know you are in for a real treat

The area has a wide range of different beaches, from upmarket luxury spots to lesser-known, quieter beaches. Which one you head to just depends on your taste and personality.

Pantai Cenang is without a doubt the most popular beach in Langkawi, with tourists and locals all making use of this beautiful stretch of sand. The beach is lined with restaurants, bars and other places to eat and drink, making it a very touristy area.

To avoid the massive crowds, head down the Pantai Tengah for a more relaxed and peaceful place to spend your day.

Tanjung Rhu and Datai Bay also showcase the more lavish side of beach life, however the surrounding scenery is still incredible.

For a place that is all about the setting, head to Pantai Kok. This beach is 12 kilometres north of Cenang and is surrounded by impressive mountains and limestone caves. The heavily-forested areas that the surround the beach resemble something of a lost work. Definitely a place for lovers of the great outdoors.

If you want to avoid massive crowds and tourist traps then Pantai Kok is the beach for you.

Getting there

There are two main ways for you to get to Langkawi; by air or by sea. Langkawi International Airport is relatively small but is perfect for those looking to fly over from mainland Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang all have regular flights to the airport.

For a cheaper but longer journey, you can take a ferry for the following towns: Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah, Penang, and Satun in Malaysia or, if you are travelling from Thailand, Ko Lipe.

Once you arrive on the main island you will find that there is no public transport. In order to get around effectively you can rent a car, motorbike or scooter, or make use of the local taxis.

Credits for main article images: Thinkstock

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