The archipelago is officially known as ‘Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah’, and a jewel it most certainly is. Its shores are scattered with a variety of properties, from entertaining and family friendly resorts to hotels offering unabashed luxury or understated elegance.
Langkawi’s principal town Kuah is the busiest place on the island and, although featuring none of the archipelago’s famed beaches, is great for duty free shopping. The town also features a few interesting attractions including Dataran Lang, a substantially sized sea eagle sculpture, and the Moorish-style Al-Hana Mosque. The Malay word 'Kuah' translates to gravy in English and a fanciful legend has it that the town stands on the exact spot where two giants spilt curry during the course of a fight.
Among the island’s top attractions, aside from the beaches which may be tough prising oneself from, is the Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge. Leaving from the island’s Oriental Village, the cable car ascends over rainforest and the Seven Wells Waterfall to a height of 708 metres above sea level via a middle station at 650 metres. The peak of Mount Mat Cincang offers breath-taking 360° views of Pulau Langkawi’s forested landscapes, the Andaman Sea and an array of uninhabited islands and islets. The Langkawi Sky Bridge may seem like a bridge to nowhere but this incredible curved suspension bridge provides a unique bird’s eye view of the virgin forest below and, on a clear day, the views can be as far reaching as the Malay Peninsula mainland and northern Thailand.
Langkawi isn’t short on exquisite natural wonders and nature lovers won’t be short changed when it comes to places to explore, sights to see and wildlife to witness, both on land and below the surface of the inviting Andaman waters. Lush mangrove forests, limestone rock formations, white-sand beaches and crystal clear lagoons await at the remarkable Sungai Kilim Nature Park which is brimming with life, not least rare birds such as hornbills, Brahminy kites and giant sea eagles. The Pulau Payar Marine Park, located some 20 miles from Pulau Langkawi, is a fantastic spot to delve under the waves of the crystal clear Andaman Sea. Well known for its coral reefs, the park is a popular setting for swimming, snorkelling and diving.
It would be remiss not to mention a couple of the most popular and idyllic beaches, because let’s be honest, these are foremost in the mind when considering a holiday to these distant shores. The popular Pantai Cenang is the main beach on the main island of Langkawi and boasts soft sands, inviting waters, island views and a quiet and laid-back atmosphere. The exquisitely secluded Datai Bay plays host to two of the island’s most luxurious resorts – The Datai and The Andaman – where verdant rainforest descend from hillsides to meet talcum-white beaches and turquoise waters... sheer bliss.
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• A tourist tax applies to all hotels in Malaysia and is only payable locally.