Monday, July 21, 2008

Langkawi Island

Comprising 99 islands that nestle serenely off the coast of Kedah, Langkawi is a world-famous holiday destination boasting fine beaches, luxury resorts and unique natural attractions. Langkawi has the distinction of being Southeast Asia's first Geopark, a status accorded by UNESCO for its geological formations. Its duty-free status makes it a paradise for shoppers. The island has a international airport, wellconnected roads as well as state-of-the-art marinas and superb golf courses. Myths and legends shroud many of the destinations in Langkawi, the famous being the legend of Mahsuri, a beautiful maiden who was unjustly accused of adultery and sentenced to death. Many destinations on the island derive their names from ancient legends.
Eagle Square
Eagle Square or Dataran Lang is Langkawi's most prominent landmark. Situated near the Kuah Jetty, the beautifully landscaped square features covered terraces and vaulted ceilings.Its main attraction is a huge statue of a reddish brown eagle, overlooking the sea and poised for flight. It denotes the meaning of the word 'Langkawi' which is 'reddish brown eagle'. Nearby, Taman Legenda features carving related to local folklore.
Kuah Town
Kuah is Langkawi's main town and the take-off point to the neighbouring islands. The word 'Kuah' means 'gravy', as it is said to be the site where two battling giants overturned a huge pot of curry. Shopping is a popular activity here, as the town offers a variety of duty-free goods such as chocolates, cosmetics, electrical items, tobacco and liquor.
Sun-Kissed Beaches
Washed by the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea, Langkawi is a paradise for sun-seekers. Pantai Tengah and Pantai Cenang are the liveliest beaches on the island, offering plenty of water sports, a string of trendy cafes and beach bars. Further north, Pantai Kok and Burau Bay offer lovely stretches of sparkling sands and clear waters. Nestled on the northwestern cape of Langkawi, the scenic Tanjung Rhu is famed as the most beautiful beach on the island. For those who prefer a tranquil holiday, the secluded Datai Bay beckons with luxury resorts.
Pulau Payar Marine Park
Encompassing the islands of Pulau Payar, Pulau Lembu, Pulau Segantang and Pulau Kaca, this marine park is well-known for its colourful corals and marine life. Just off the beach, savour the thrilling experience of feeding baby sharks. Visitors can get to Pulau Payar from the Kuah Jetty by catamaran or speedboat. The journey takes about 45 minutes to one hour.
Day trips to Pulau Payar can be arranged through travel operators or hotels. Booking must be made in advance. Admission fee to Pulau Payar Marine Park; RM 5 (adults) RM 2.50 (children). For catamaran service, contact: 04-9667318 (Langkawi Coral)/ 04-9661368 (Coral Island).
Sungai Kilim
Spread over an area of 100 sq m, Kilim Nature Park features a beautiful mix of well-protected green mangrove forest, isolated white beaches and blue lagoons. Take a boat cruise to view mangrove inhabitants such as brown eagles, tree crabs, iguanas and macaques. The unique limestone formations here have been dubbed as 'the Temple of Borobodur', 'the Elephant Stone' and 'the Hanging Gardens'. Visitors should not miss a chance to watch the eagle-feeding activity.
Tasik Dayang Bunting
(Lake of The Pregnant Maiden)
As with other places in Langkawi, this lake tells a tale. Situated in Pulau Dayang Bunting (Isle of the Pregnant Maiden), this freshwater lake is associated with the legend of a beautiful celestial princess who married an earthly prince. Unfortunately, her child died soon after birth and was buried in the lake. Before returning to her celestial abode, she blessed the waters so that any childless women who bathed in the lake would conceive thereafter. Pulau Dayang Bunting is a accessible by boat and is a popular destination for island-hopping trips. Activities include swimming and Kayaking.
Kota Mahsuri
A visit to this magical island will not be complete without a visit to this significant site. Situated about 12 km from Kuah, this memorial was erected in honour of Mahsuri, a fair maiden who was unjustly accused of adultery. According to legend, in her dying breath, Mahsuri laid a curse on the island, that it would not prosper for seven generations. Fact or fiction, sven generations have passed and Langkawi is today a flourishing tourists destination. Visitors can view a recorded interpretation of her legend at the museum here.
Opening hours : 8.00 am - 6.30 pm daily
Admission fee : Malaysians : RM 5 (adults) RM 2.50 (children)
Non-malaysian : RM 10 (adults) RM 5 (children)
Tel : 04-9556055
Underwater world Langkawi
Situated at the popular Pantai Cenang, this marvellous attraction showcases three different eco-systems (tropical rainforest, temperate and sub-Antartic) under one roof. Visitors have the opportunity to see 500 species of animals and marine life, exhibited in more than 100 tanks o different sizes. A not to be missed highlight is walking along an 8 m tunnel while watching adorable penguins from the Rockhopper and African species. Delight in watching leopard sharks, stingrays, moray eels and hawksbill turtles in the marine section. Other unique attractions such as fur seals, anaconda, arapaima (the largest freshwater fish) and marmoset (the tiny monkey) will turn a visit here into an unforgettable adventure.
Opening hours : 10.00 am - 6.00 pm daily
Admission fee : RM 28 (adults) RM 18 (children)
Tel : 04-9556100
Craft Culture Complex
Lying on the northern coastline of Langkawi in the vicinity of Teluk Yu, this magnificent complex offers a wide range of Malaysian handicrafts such as hand drawn batik and intricately carved silverware.
Opening hours: 10.00 am - 6.00 pm daily
Admission is free
Tel : 04-9591913
Langkawi Cable Car
Enjoy an exhilarating cable car ride to the top of Gunung Mat Cincang. Visitors can enjoy marvellous views of the Andaman Sea and the Langkawi island group, as well as breathtaking sights such as overhanging cliff walls and isolated pinnacles. With a lenght of 919.5m, the Langkawi Cable Car has been recognised as 'The Longest Free Span Single Rope Cable Car' by the Malaysia Book of Records. It also has one of the steepest gradients in the world, at 420C. At the middle and top stations, walking trails and viewing platforms are available for visitors to further enjoy the panoramic views. Another impressive attraction here is the 125m suspension bridge. A remarkable feat of engineering, the curved bridge links the cable car station to the Machincang mountain range. Langkawi Cable Car is situated at the Oriental Village in Burau Bay, about 30 minutes away from Kuah town. After the ride, drop by at the Oriental Village to browse through the assortment of souvenir.
The cable car operates from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm (Mondays to Thursdays)
9.30 am to 7.00 pm (fridays, saturdays, sundays and public holidays)
Admission fee : RM 25 (adults) RM 18 (children)
Tel : 04-9594225
Galeria Perdana
Step into this marvellous gallery to view an impressive collection of over 2500 state gifts and awards presented to the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. The exhibits here include crystalware and gifts, musical instruments, islamic art and crafts, textiles and weapons. A striking attraction in this gallery is its beautifullly embellished ceiling.
Opening hours : 8.30 am - 5.30 pm daily
Admission fee : Malaysian RM 5 (adults) RM 3 (senior citizens) Rm 2 (children)
Non Malaysians : RM 10 (adults) RM 4 (children)
An additional fee of Rm 2 will be charged for cameras. Video camera RM 5
Tel : 04-9591498
Laman Padi Langkawi
Gain an insight into the paddy planting activity. Within the 14.28 acre museum, visitors can learn about the traditional tools that are used for cultivation as well as visit a multi-tiered rooftop rice garden and a herb garden. For a unique adventure, visitors can try out some of the rice planting or harvesting activities. The restaurant here serves authentic Malay fare, with rice as its main ingredient. Facilities include cyber cafe, a spa and a travel agency.
Opening hours : 8.00 am - 5.00 pm daily
Admission is free
Tel : 04-9554312
Langkawi Wildlife Park
Touted to be the first fully covered wildlife park in Asia, this 25000 sq m park is a delightful retreat for animal lovers. Designed to closely resemble the natural habitat of animals, the park houses over 150 species of birds, as well as animals such as a bearcat, a cream coloured squirrel, pigtail macaques, slow loris, crocodiles and snake.
Opening hours: 8.30 am - 6.00 pm daily
Admission fee : Malaysian RM 12 (adults) RM 6 (children)
Non Malaysians : RM 18 (adults) RM 10 (children)
Tel :04-9665855
Sailing In Langkawi
Langkawi boasts excellent sailing infrastucture with numerous marinas and yacht clubs. These include the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (04-9664078)
Rebak Marina Resort (04-9669960), Telaga Harbour Park (04-9592202) and Awana Porto Malai Langkawi (04-9555111)
Langkawi has been accorded the Global Geopark status by UNESCO for its outstanding geological heritage. The island has the distinction of being the first geopark in Malaysia as well as in Southeast Asia. Dubbed as the 'birthplace' or 'fetus land' of the region, the island has a history dating back to some 550 million years. There are three geoforest parks here; the Machincang Cambrian is reputed to be the oldest geological formation in the country. At the Kilim Karst, one can view magnificently formed landscapes of nearly verticle to subrounded karstic hills as well as pinnacles of various shapes and sizes. The Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park boasts fine marbles. The Geopark Centre at Oriental Village offers more information and exhibits. A visit to Langkawi's geosites is best enjaoed when accompanied by a guide. Interested visitors can contact travel agents for a tour.
The Geopark Centre is open from 8.00 am - 7.00 pm daily
Tel : 04-9667186
There is a choice of three world class golf courses in Langkawi. The Golf Club Datai Bay offers great golfing with luxurious accommodation at the award winning resort of the Datai and the Andaman. Situated at the foothills of Gunung Raya, is the 18 hole Gunung Raya Golf Resort designed by Mex Wexler. The Langkawi Island Golf Club is another popular spot for golfers.
Crystal Village
Browse through an exquisite range of glass products and bring home extraordinary souvenirs.
Opening hours: 10.00 am - 10.00 pm daily
Admission is free

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