Took this shot of Thailand from Malaysia on the way to Mangrove’s Tour ! The distant islands in light blue are actually Thailand… 🙂 A great feeling being able to see two countries standing from a place, isn’t it?
Out of 29,673 cities in Asia, my favorite is Langkawi, Malaysia. It’s actually a group of 104 Islands in the Andaman Sea. The largest of these Islands is Pulau Langkawi having a population of around 65,000, which is a duty free island. That’s right – if you are a chocolate lover, and you are planning to visit Malaysia, Langkawi is the place to buy them from !
Langkawi has been blessed with two of the nature’s most beautiful gifts, i.e. beautiful sandy beaches & lush green mountains both at the same place. In the morning you can go as high up as 850 m on the Gunung Raya mountain, enjoy the breath taking panoramic view, and in the after noon you can relax by taking a walk on soothing golden grainy sand beach with your partner.
In my view, here are the attractions which make Langkawi the best vacation in Asia:
1) Beaches & Beach Resorts
Beaches are obviously one of the most special places and Langkawi’s beach resorts provide not only a quite comfortable spacious accommodation right next to the beaches, if you choose the resort with a the right location, you can also go shopping in duty free malls in the evening, visit the underwater world with your kids, have sea food dinner at traditional Chinese restaurants or grab a big Mac at McDonald’s – all within a 5 minutes walk! Rent-a-car, souvenir T-shirt shops & money changers too.
One such great place where we stayed was Sunset Beach Resort, a mere 10 minutes drive from the airport, very friendly staff, great breakfast with cool beach breeze in your face. After that you can have a go at para sailing (50 RM), go for a tour of the nearby small islands on boat, or simply go for a swim !
2) Motorbike ride around the island
Total area of Langkawi is 478 sq. kilometers. Taxis are easily available here, but I would recommend to rent a bike, not a heavy bike, rather a simple 125 CC Honda to move around the Island. One can truly enjoy the beauty of Langkawi this way, there is very little traffic on the roads so you can enjoy a peaceful ride, making short stops where ever you please, to take a detour to visit an ancient tomb or to have Langkawi’s traditional dish being served by the roadside, Laksa for example.
Plus the thrill of getting lost is invaluable ! Not to worry, the Island is very safe and if you know the basics of how to read a map, there won’t be a problem. We drove 150 kilometers around Langkawi, I was driving and my wife holding the map and camera in the back seat. The bike can be rented for approx. 30 RM/24 hours, though even if you are a bit late in returning the bike, (like us) you probably wouldn’t be charged extra, thanks to Aadi the guy who rented us the motorbike.
3) Tour of the Mangroves
The Mangroves tour is a guided boat tour of a number of attractions in the Kilim Geoforest Park (on the way to which you can also view Thailand in the distance), including the floating restaurant, beaches, crocodile cave, bat cave, eagle feeding, monkeys, different species of fish etc. The lunch at the floating restaurant was very delicious, I have never tasted fish like that anywhere. And the motorboat ride in the sun with the breeze blowing through was really refreshing too. Just don’t forget to take sunblock with you !
4) Mardi Agro Technology Park
If you love greenery, and if you love exotic fruits, there can’t be any better setting than Mardi Agro Technolgoy Park. I tasted the best ever pineapple here, a yellow colored water melon, a start shaped fruit (Star Fruit), Durian, Cempedak, Jack Fruit etc are some of the other amazing furits that you can eat over here. The tour guides will also take some very amusing pictures of you and your family with the fruits.
5) Water Falls of Langkawi
There are about three water fall sites at Langkawi. We had the chance to visit two them i.e. Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls & Durian Perangin Waterfalls. The first one is situated at walking distance from Oriental Village/Cable Car, it’s a must go if you want to witness the waterfall’s majistic beauty as well as indulge yourself with a little feet dipping.
The second one is more thrilling, more dangerous – I almost got dragged with the water while trying to save my bike’s rented helmets from falling into the water. Thanks to my wife & a kind native Langakawian who yelled “NO NO Ma’am you stay Ill go”, I was saved in time though !
6) Oriental Village – Cable Car Ride & Sky Bridge
The cable car ride & sky bridge in the Oriental Village is also an exciting place to be ! The cable car leads to The Sky Bridge which is 700 meters high, and there’s a walkway of about 125 meters. The view point beside the sky bridge is fantastic ! It’s the same place where a scene of the Indian movie DON 2 was shot.
There are also some good souvenir shops at this place.
Among other places to visit in Langkawi are Langkawi Wildlife park, Underwater world, Snorkeling, Snake sanctuary, Ferry & Cruise Ride, Helicopter tour of Langkawi, etc.
If you are planning on coming to Langkawi, you should at least spend five days here. It will be worth it !
By : Rashid Ali