Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi has always been on the back of my mind for travel destinations but because there's so many places to go, I haven't made good of it until now.

For my 27th, we (me and le girlfriend) decided on a short 1-week getaway to Langkawi.

The weather's pretty damn hot (this was in February) because unfortunately we coincided with a heat wave that hit Malaysia's east coast. However, the heat didn't dampen our spirits and we weren't ready to be defeated by it.

Stepping out of immigration, you'll find a line of touts offering car rental services, with or without drivers. As a piece of advice, I strongly encourage anyone (reading this) to get your own car or just rent a car with a driver. I got a Perodua Myvi for RM60 per day (S$20) and it was pretty affordable. Public transport in Langkawi is almost non existent and I didn't even see much taxis around so getting a private vehicle's the way to go around here.

Pantai Cenang (Cenang Beach)
Pantai Cenang
Pantai Cenang is the 'main' beach in Langkawi due to its sheer length and amount of water activities available here. On weekends, the beach is completely filled with people and jetskis. The beach still remains relatively clean despite the amount of people. Not so sure about the water though. Nevertheless, one main draw of this beach is that there are many food places, shops and accommodation out of the main road. There's also Cenang Mall, a shopping mall located just in the vicinity. The sunset too, is beautiful, despite the amount of jetskis out in the water.

Just look at the amount of people!
Sunset at Pantai Cenang
Oriental Village
Oriental Village
The Oriental Village is a theme park that consists of several attractions. Lined with buildings of European architecture, this 'village' is the entry point to the much famed Langkawi Sky Bridge.

Here, you can find a 3D Museum, the Sky Dome, the Sky Cab (a cable car that takes you up to the Sky Bridge) and obviously the Sky Bridge itself. There are several packages that they offer so you can check it out there. I got myself a package that included the 3D Museum, the Sky Dome, the Sky Rex, the Sky Cab and the Sky Bridge for RM75 (S$25). 

Obviously, there's bound to be a lot of people here, but surprisingly, most of them are here ONLY for the Sky Bridge, so feel free to explore the area at your own pace but be prepared for long queues for the Sky Cab and the Sky Dome (which you'll be led into halfway through the queue for the Sky Cab).

Do take note too that the Sky Cab makes two stops, one at the middle of the mountain, where you can alight but there's nothing much to do except to be awed by the view, and the top of the mountain, where you can either walk down/trek to the Sky Bridge for free, or to take some sort of a tram for a few bucks (can't remember how much it was). I chose to walk as it isn't a terribly long way but it'll leave you kinda breathless.

The European architecture
3D Museum at Oriental Village
The Sky Cab
The Sky Bridge
The Sky Bridge

Gunung Raya
Highest restaurant in Langkawi
Gunung Raya is the highest peak in Langkawi and fortunately enough, there is a road up to the peak which cars can drive off, absolving the need to hike. At the top of the mountain, or end of the road, whichever you want to call it, there is a resort which you can opt to stay in but the time I was there (I was there twice), I didn't see a single soul staying in the resort. Anyway, there is a watch tower which you can go up to for RM10 ($3.30), and have a 360 degrees view of Langkawi. Pretty breathtaking. The air and wind was refreshing too. This was supposed to be a restaurant (the highest in Langkawi) but it was nothing of that sorts. There is an offering of free pepper tea though, but that's all. Doesn't matter. The view was just too pretty.

View atop the Gunung Raya tower
View atop the Gunung Raya tower

Pantai Pasir Hitam (Black Sand Beach)
Pantai Pasir Hitam
There's nothing extremely unique about this beach except the fact that it has black sand. The black sand got its color from the spring water that runs down from Gunung Raya containing ilmentie and granite. There's practically no one on the beach so that's a plus point and there are a few shops there where you can buy food, drinks and clothes but it isn't very exciting to be honest.

Pantai Pasir Hitam

Pantai Tanjung Rhu
Pantai Tanjung Rhu
Of all the beaches I've been to in Langkawi, this one was my favorite. Located inside a private area, half of it is opened to public while the other half is barricaded and left to occupants of the resort. The beach boasts fine white sand and clear blue waters - what more can you ask from a beach? I also liked the fact that there wasn't much people around because it isn't exactly easy to get to. At the guardhouse/clearance point, they'll issue a paper with a list of rules and regulations to obey by and that really helped with the peace and serenity since din-makers will be kicked out of the beach.

Pantai Tanjung Rhu
Pantai Tanjung Rhu

Ayer Hangat Village
Ayer Hangat Village
Ayer Hangat Village is a village known for its hot springs and hot springs are known to have healing properties. The place is nothing fanciful except for the hot springs, which to be honest, if you're not coming for a dip, there's no point coming. Entrance is RM2 (S$0.60) and you'll have access only to the disgustingly dirty public hot springs. However, you can opt for the RM150 (S$50) option, where you have a private hot spring, complete with shower, towels and a small veranda.

The private hot spring
Ayer Hangat Village

Langkawi Wildlife Park and Bird Paradise
The wildlife park and bird paradise, is to be honest, nothing more than a zoo, so do not put too much expectations to it being a safari of any sorts. That said, it hosts quite a variety of animals and also has a kids' area where if you coincide with their feeding times, you can participate in the feeding of the animals. Not much of an experience for adults, but if you have kids, this could be one of the places to go to.

Entrance costs RM28 (S$9.30) and it opens from 830AM to 6PM.

Kilim Geoforest Park
Kilim Geoforest Park
The Kilim Geoforest Park is a huge area filled with rock formations, accessible only by boat. Drive all the way in to the jetty and you'll be approached by a few boatmen offering to take you on their boat. There's no fixed price although there is a price board at the jetty stating the different type of tour packages because some of the boatmen there own their own boat, so prices are up to them to decide. I got myself an entire boat for close to 3 hours, for 200RM (SGD67) and a tour to the bat cave, eagle feeding session, the fish farm, the crocodile cave, and a short trip to the Andaman Sea, whilst such package written on the pricing board would cost you 400RM, with no certainty of a private boat.

The entire tour was well worth it. The karst formations were brilliant, the bat caves were .. filled with bats (and a certain monkey who stole my stuff), the crocodile cave was a cave that looked like a mouth of a crocodile, from which you enter and sail through. The fish farm had a lot of fishes (duh!) and a restaurant so lunch could be grabbed here depending on the time you're there (whether it was time for lunch or not).

The only issue was with the eagle feeding. It has been debatable online as to whether such practices should be encouraged and continued. The eagles are wild and boatmen bring meat and throw them into the water for the eagles to swoop down and claim their meals. Many are saying that this is causing them to lose their instinct to hunt and now are dependent on humans to feed them. My take .. there's definitely a party to lose when tourism invades. Whether you want to partake in it, your call.

The bat cave
The crocodile cave
Monkey-ing around
The Karst formations
The controversial eagle feeding
Eagles swooping in on their 'prey'
Langkawi is a duty-free island so whatever you find here is duty free. There's a few, quite a number actually, of duty-free shops and shopping malls for you to escape the heat when it gets to hot outside. Nothing spectacular, but shopping no less. Of course, alcohol, tobaccos and chocolates are particularly cheap here since there are no duties to them, so go enjoy!

Night Markets
Kuah Night Market (Weds and Sats)
One of the more unique things about Langkawi is that night markets held at different parts of the island, on different days and have no fixed location. An attempt at, I feel, is so that the different towns get to enjoy the pasar malam (or night market in Malay). No matter where is held at though, there's plenty of cheap food on offer. The night markets typically starts around 6PM and they last all the way through to around 11PM. Below is a list of where is held on that particular day of the week:

Monday - Ulu Melaka
Tuesday - Kedawang
Wednesday - Kuah
Thursday - Temoyong
Friday - Air Hangat
Saturday - Kuah
Sunday - Padang Mat Sirat

Air Hangat Night Market (Fri)
Temoyong Night Market (Thurs)

That pretty much sums up my experience in Langkawi, an island filled with a variety of exciting activities no less. Worth a visit, definitely.

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