Langkawi, officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah (Malay: Langkawi Permata Kedah) is an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia.
Surrounded by turquoise sea, the interior of the main island is a mixture of picturesque paddy fields and jungle-clad hills; Langkawi is the ultimate holiday paradise that offers a natural backdrop of sun-drenched beaches and ancient rainforests teeming with exotic plant and animal life. Langkawi is also a Duty Free island. Perfect for shopping!
The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. On 15 Jul 2008, Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah consented to the change of name to Langkawi Permata Kedah in conjunction with his Golden Jubilee Celebration.
Some of the most popular beaches are Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, Burau Bay, Pantai Kok and Datai Bay. Pantai Cenang is a picturesque beach with long stretches of fine white sand. It has numerous restaurants and bars for evening entertainment, several hosting live music and for watching the sunset. The beach is lined with tall coconut and casuarina trees. Pantai Tengah is separated from Cenang by a small cape.
Burau Bay, fringed by rocky outcrops, is the favourite place of migratory birds in Langkawi. Pantai Kok is a quiet beach against a backdrop of limestone hills. Datai Bay has a combination of forests and sea, its white sandy beach is backed by lush forest.
The 10,000 hectares of Langkawi and its 104 islands were declared a Geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2007.
Cable car: The Langkawi Cable Car takes visitors up to the peak of Gunung Mat Chinchang, where the Langkawi Sky Bridge is located. The Sky Bridge was closed in 2012 for maintenance and upgrading, but reopened in February 2015.
The start of cable car ride is located in the Oriental Village where there are a number of attractions, including a 3-Dimensional art museum known as Art in Paradise.
The Kilim Karst Geoforest Park (The Kilim River): This area actually consists of three river estuaries that stretch from the Kisap village approximately 10 km to Tanjung Rhu and they are all interconnected. They are rich in wildlife and tourists may see hairy nosed sea otters, brown winged kingfishers, monitor lizards and swimming macaque monkeys. Limestone, inherently porous, forms caves and there are several in the mangroves. One of Langkawi’s natural beauty spots is the Pirate Lagoon just outside the river. Technically this is a collapsed cave (hong) consisting of a cave entrance from the sea emerging into a hidden lagoon with towering, limestone escarpments and smaller caves.
The island is also recognized for its excellent diving opportunities and this tropical gem hides a treasure trove of other exciting holiday opportunities. From the expansive Underwater World Langkawi to the soaring Cable Car in Pantai Kok, Langkawi is an electrifying locale that keeps visitors coming back for more.
Langkawi – The name…
The name Langkawi is thought to have existed by the early 15th century, although in the 16th century the island of Langkawi was also marked on maps variously as Langa, Langka, Lansura, and Langapura.
Langkawi is synonymous with ‘tropical paradise’. Since 2008 the archipelago’s official title has been Langkawi Permata Kedah (Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah), no doubt inspired by the island’s clear waters, relatively pristine beaches and intact jungle.
There are many suggestions for the origin of the name of Langkawi. According to one interpretation, Langkawi means island of the reddish-brown eagle in colloquial Malay. The Malay word for eagle is helang – which is shortened to “lang”, while kawi is the name of a red stone used as a chalk to mark goods. This interpretation was used to create the landmark sculpture of an eagle as the symbol of Langkawi at Dataran Lang (Eagle Square) in Kuah.
It is however widely believed that Langkawi is also the same as the Lanka or Langkapuri mentioned in Indian sources. The name is thought to be related to Langkasuka, an old kingdom thought by some to have links with Kedah, and puri means a castle with a moat or a palace. Some also thought that Langkawi means “many beautiful islands”, langka being a Sanskrit word meaning “beautiful” while wi means “many”.
Be transported back in time with the enthralling folklore and fascinating legends of Langkawi.