A family wedding made us go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Since we had not travelled in a long time, thanks to COVID-19, we decided to extend the family event by travelling to Langkawi. I am glad we did it since the time was limited but the experience was rich and fulfilling.
Post the wedding we flew by Malaysian Airlines to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur. The duration was only an hour. On our arrival, we were greeted by Zakey, your private tour guide. He dropped us off at the hotel (Bayview Hotel) and told us to be ready at 4 pm to take us on a cruise.
Langkawi is also known as Jewel of Kedah and the name is derived from the Sanskrit word Langka, which means beautiful islands and wi identifies many. So, it literally means beautiful islands in Malaysia. Another interpretation says, Langkawi is an island of the reddish-brown eagle, a Brahminy kite in colloquial Malay. The Malay word for eagle is helang (colloquially shortened to lang), and kawi is a red stone used as a chalk to mark goods and includes 99 islands and is surrounded by greenery. Most of the trees are brought in from Bangladesh and look like miniature date trees. The population of Langkawi is approximately 99,000 and the Indian population is around 1,712.
At 4pm, the driver drove us to the cruise where we got on to a small boat (of course we were not expecting the Titanic) and it was (wo)manned by a bunch of young staff. There were around 15 passengers and we were served soft drinks since it was quite sunny. The river runs into the Arabian Sea and makes a great backdrop for photographs. It stopped for an hour in the middle of the sea and many of the youngsters dived into the water, went on a banana boat and we took a small ride in a banana boat. On returning, we went to the iconic statue of the Eagle which typically symbolises Langkawi. We then moved to the sunset point and saw the mighty sun in its burning orange colour dipping behind the soft clouds to create a myriad colour scheme. Post this we returned to the hotel and retired for the night.
On Day 2, we started at 10 am to visit the Underwater World along the Pantai Cenang and it was an awesome experience. The underwater world is an enigma where we saw various species of fish, snake, and plants. It was well-maintained and a feast for the eye of a photographer. Could not cease capturing snaps for remembrance.
We moved on to experience the Cable Car which is also known as Langkawi SkyCab in Pantai Kok. The gondola lift provides an aerial link from the Oriental Village at Teluk Burau to the peak of Gunung Machinchang, which is also the location of the Langkawi Sky Bridge. Though there were steps to work (282 one way) we decided to take the Cable car. Nice view and panorama to experience when you can see Langkawi from 708 m above sea level. The Cable Car takes you through Mt. Machinchang from the Base station to the top.
For me, the major attraction was the fantastic 3D art museum in the charming Oriental village. The three-storied building is divided into nine zones to include artworks based on different themes. The fun is you can stand below a painting of Albert Einstein and be his study in a test tube or you can sit in a gondola and ride your way through Venice (without a gondolier), to name a few. The optical illusions keep you stunned and rearing to try and indulge yourself in all the options available/displayed.
In the evening I strolled on the streets to see that the streets were dotted with makeshift shops-supposed to be a weekly fair. Saw a lot of food stalls-sea food etc also managed to see a shopkeeper making puttu. There were some clothes and toy shops too.
On Day 3, we visited the Kilim Geopark which is the first Geopark in South East Asia. It is located on the east side of the island and is home to a sprawling mangrove forest that includes gigantic limestone rock formations that are over 500 million years back. It is unique since it is probably the only place in Malaysia where one can find a coexistence of coastal karst and mangrove ecosystems. En route we saw the crocodile caves (of course no crocodiles) it is unique since it includes a natural tunnel layered with limestone with an underground stream. The bat caves were good where small colonies of bats were asleep on the ceiling of the cave. On the last evening, I walked the small streets, neat and clean and lined it with several duty-free shops.
- If you are a pure vegetarian, carry some readymade food.
- Do not bargain, respect the islanders.
- The three major seasons; namely the dry season (between November and March), the mid-season (between April and July), and the wet season (between August and October).
- Download an App called Grab for hiring a taxi.