Travels around Malaysia – Part 12: Langkawi

This is the twelfth in a series of blogs that describes our continued travels on the Malaysia Peninsular and the Malaysian portion of Borneo.

The Beaches and The Birthday

Sunset Back to Kuala Lumpur and a short plane ride finds us at our final destination for this trip, Langkawi. Situated off the coast of Kedah this cluster of ninety nine islands is probably best known for its abundance of beautiful fine white sandy beaches and it’s on one of these that we’ll be basing ourselves for the next few days. The Danna, where we were staying, is quite exquisite and the perfect place for Linda to be pampered for her special birthday. Situated at Telega Harbour, we walked out the back of the hotel to stroll along the beach, take in the view and the romantic sunsets where the sky was awash with smouldering oranges. Walk out the front and we enjoyed the sight of the boats gently swaying in the marina and a fine selection of restaurants to satisfy our hunger pangs.

The ancient Machincang mountain range form the backdrop to this end of the island, so we went off to the cable car near the oriental village to see more. The journey to the middle station alone covers an impressive 1,700m and the final steep climb into the station makes this an impressive feat of engineering. From the viewing stations at the mid-point and the top we were rewarded with stunning views of the coastline, the surrounding islands and southern Thailand. On the mountain itself we could see the dramatic views of deep chasms and the seven wells waterfall.

Cable car Next day we hired the only Jaguar on the island and its owner for the day to give the birthday girl a luxury tour of the island. Our driver explained that the duty free status of Langkawi makes tours in luxury cars a viable proposition and he always wanted a Jaguar. In fact during the day he explained many of his recent proposals to local government to enhance tourism on Langkawi, he would have done well on Dragon’s Den.

First stop was Air Terjun Temurun a cooling mountain fed waterfall that is a beautiful respite to the heat of the day.  We then went on to see some of the mangroves and marvelled at the frighteningly intertwined root systems. They seem straight out of some horror movie, beckoning you in, ensnaring and digesting you (I really shouldn’t have watched that film). Next stop was Dataran Lang to see the magnificent 12m tall statue of an eagle poised to take flight. According to folklore Langkawi’s name came from two Malay words helang (eagle) and kaki (reddish brown). Close by is the bustling ferry port providing services to Thailand and the other islands. It was then time to immerse ourselves in local legend and visit Kota Mashuri.  Beautiful Mushuri was wrongly accused of adultery whilst her husband was away at war. Eagle statue Sentenced to execution her blood ran white as proof of her innocence and with her dying breath she cursed Langkawi to seven generations of bad luck. Many locals cite failed crops and multiple attacks by Siam as evidence the legend is true and that only after seven generations did Langkawi flourish and prosper as a tourist destination. Makes your spine tingle doesn’t it?

On this site there is also a Kedah Village that displays traditional houses using ancient architectural designs. It’s a testament to the skills of the craftsmen that not a single nail is used, just wooden pegs. They’re very sturdy: we walked around one to make sure.

What I had expected to do on this part of the trip is dig my toes into the sand and recharge the batteries, you can see I’ve turned into a coconut I’m so chilled. What I didn’t expect was that, away from the tourist spots, many of the islanders are fishermen or farmers. The farmers are environmentally friendly and build owl houses in their fields to let this natural predator deal with the mice. The fishermen’s well-worn boats bristle with lamps and contrast starkly in the Marinas with the luxury yachts. There is pristine rainforest over much of the island but most surprising of all was the wildlife. Coconut head White faced monkeys peeked at us from the mangroves, Macaque (bandits) scavenged by the side of the road, Sea Eagles effortlessly rode the thermals over the beach whilst swift style birds provided an energetic and acrobatic display around the hotel. There were buffaloes and cows munching in the nearby pasture and horses from the local school cantered along the beach. Pale crabs skittered wildly around underfoot as we walked along the beach, making crazy micro patterns in the sand. Last of all there were mud skippers doing exactly what mud skippers do (I have absolutely no idea what).

Sadly we had to leave these warmly hospitable people and this feast of natural beauty as another trip to Malaysia came to an end.

For holidays to Asia, Silver Travel Advisor recommends Selective Asia.

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Steve Aldridge

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