After boarding the Malindo Airways overnight flight from New Delhi, we spent 2 hours at the layover destination ‘Kuala Lumpur’ and finally landed at the Langkawi International Airport at around 9:40 in the morning. I was enthusiastic and overwhelmed to kick start the day. Ugh! What came next was not really a good start to the trip. We were standing at the luggage belt for an hour only to realize that our luggage has been left at the Kuala Lumpur Airport. Which means another half an hour being wasted to fill up forms and interacting at the Airways help counter. Anyways, we moved out of the Airport to get to our Hotel. Since we were not getting our luggage before 5 pm, we freshened up, settled in our beautiful room and quickly made our way to the first destination of the day.
Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah, is an archipelago of 99 islands sitting on the west coast of Malaysia. Surrounded by the turquoise Andaman Sea, it offers a thousand shades of the lush green rainforest and a number of iconic places which will make you awestruck. Further, I am sharing some of the best places to visit in Langkawi from my trip’s experience.
1. Kilim Karst Geoforest Park
This nature park is a delight to the eyes as it offers a number of sights and experiences for tourists. Surrounded with tropical rainforest, that every inch you move ahead is heaving with flora and fauna. Flashing back to our trip, we took a 2 hour tour in a shared motor boat (carries 10 people at a time), though you have the option to take a private boat with longer span tour. The tour guide had already alarmed to keep our cameras ready.
The first stop was Bat Cave (‘Gua Kelawar’ as called in Malay). As you get off your boat, the tour guide will walk you over the wooden bridge leading towards Bat Cave. “Maintain Silence and Turn off the flashlight of your camera/ mobile” is what you will be requested before entering the cave. This is necessary to have a smooth and harmless walk inside as there are over 1000 bats residing in the cave. The guide will then show you the bats hanging at the ceiling with the help of his torch. The cave is dark and spooky, however, the sound of different creatures and the sight of bats will make it worth your time.
Did you notice the large thick shrubs growing from under the sea? If not, you surely would while walking back to your boat. These fleshy trees are called Mangroves and are present there in abundance. The roots of the Mangroves are so strong that it is claimed to have saved the island from damage during the 2004 Tsunami disaster. Locals call it nature’s guard against Tsunamis.
Next seen was the Crocodile Cave. Unlike the name there are no crocodiles in the cave, however, this used to be the natural habitat for them and hence got the name. The fruit bats can be spotted at the lower ceilings of this cave as well.
We moved to our next sight – Paksu Fish Farm. The guardian of the farm gives a mini tour, showing all the pet fishes that he takes care of. There are various sea creatures at the farm like Stingray, Sea Urchin etc. However, my favorite was the Archerfish because of the way it shoots down the food with water droplets from its proficient mouth (or better call it a water pistol!). It was unbelievable at first sight and so entertaining at second.
Is there anything as blissful as the sight of an open, never-ending sea? Answer this only after the Open Andaman Sea is right in front of you. The sky never seemed so close and the jewel blue sea song was soothing to ears. Cut short, we were fascinated by the beautiful view of the sea and sky getting one.
Its time to return to the port. But not before you see the eagles on your way back. The tour guide/helmsman will make sure you are enjoying the ride with the high-speed boat twisting and turning sides. The boat will slow down at a place to show you the Eagles and if you are lucky enough, the White Eagle would make a guest appearance too. Note that you can also opt for the eagle feeding session in the tour.
2. Underwater World Langkawi
Home to more than 200 different marine creatures, it is one of the most popular attractions in Langkawi. The Underwater world is divided into three sections – Temperate, Tropical Rainforest and Sub-Antarctic. There are rockhopper penguins, giant rays, sharks, flamingoes, the Araipamas and many more. We got to see the Penguin feeding session which was really fun. Overall, I would say the place is really nice but not the best in the list. We expected it to be more of underwater tunnels than just showcasing in the tanks.
3. Eagle Square
Standing on a star cut deck is the 12-meter high sculpture of Langkawi’s iconic Eagle. The place is called Dataran Lang and popularly known as the Eagle Square. According to the oral history, the island got its name from two Malay words – ‘helang’ (meaning eagle) and ‘kawi’ (reddish brown), hence the name Langkawi. The reason Eagle is considered as the symbol of the island. If you are insta-ready to post some cool pictures, this is indeed the right place to click as many of them. The scenic beauty of the place and the sun will give you unblemished photos so much so that you would want to re-check to make sure it’s real.
4. Cenang Beach (Pantai Cenang)
The most popular beach with budget facilities, Cenang Beach is located at the busiest part of the island, Pantai Cenang. The beach is so long that even at the busiest hours it doesn’t seem crowded as people are spread across the beach. It offers various water sports activities which attract tourist in large numbers. I did parasailing on the beach and had a wonderful experience, however, you can opt for many other activities like para-motoring, jet ride, swimming etc. The beachside area is also backpacker friendly offering many budget resorts and restaurants along with lively nightlife.
5. The Oriental Village
A tourist multiplex situated at the feet of Mount Machinchang, the Oriental Village offers more than 50 different activities. We deliberately chose to visit in the morning hours so as to have a clear sunny view of the island, though in vain. As soon as we reached up to the hill, the clouds graciously welcomed us. However, I must mention the place still managed to give us a thrilling experience with its mind-blowing activities and breathtaking scenic view. The five most popular activities of the place are-
SkyCab: Perhaps the number 1 attraction in Langkawi, the Skycab is arguably the world’s steepest cable car ride. This is a 15-minute exhilarating ride from the base station to top giving ample opportunity to view the flora and fauna as you move higher than the compact rainforest. The entire journey to reach the top is completed in 2 parts – first is from the base station to the middle station (650m above the sea level) where visitors stop by to click pictures and have a 360-degree view. The second is from the middle station to the top station (708m above the sea level), from where the famous sky bridge can also be accessed. Both the stops give a magnificent view of the island and some parts of neighboring country Thailand.
Sky Bridge: Up for a walk in heaven? Yes, the Langkawi Sky Bridge is no less than heaven at 660m above the sea level. Hanging up from a single pylon, the bridge can accommodate up to 200 pax at a time. The bridge swings a little to give a spine chilling experience and you can also find glass floor at intervals for those picture perfect moments. The bridge is at a distance from the top station, so you can either opt for SkyGlide (a glass cabin which can move upward or downward) or Jungle Trail or maybe both just like we did to reach there. We chose to trek from the top station to the Sky Bridge and took SkyGlide while returning. The tickets to the SkyGlide can be purchased at the counters set up there. It was an unforgettable experience walking on the bridge with an unobstructed spectacular view.
3D Art Langkawi: A three floor build up inside the Oriental Village is the largest 3D Art Museum in Malaysia. The attraction displays more than 100 hand-painted lifelike artworks created by several talented artists. You will step inside the museum barefoot to truly relish the nine different theme zones it offers. The artworks are interactive and great for capturing creative pictures which seem real because of their three-dimensional presentation. So, keep your cameras or mobiles ready as you take a tour inside. This was my first 3D Art Museum experience and I absolutely loved it.
SkyRex: Its a five minute 3D ride on a tram designed simulator which claims to provide adrenaline triggering adventure to the visitors. The tram is surrounded by 3D projectors and parked on a motion base. Honestly, despite being quite popular, it failed to impress us as we have been to Speed of Magic 4D Ride at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi which is much better than this. So, you can perhaps skip the SkyRex if you are short on time or left with other must do things at the village.
SkyAdventure Park: Highly recommended! This is a one-stop place which provides different adventurous rides. Not the one you would just sit onto and watch but be the actual driver yourself. You can pick from two options – ATV and Fatbike. Also known as an all-terrain vehicle, ATV is driven on low-pressure tires and works well on any kind of track. Fatbike is a modified bike with oversized tyres perfect for unstable ground. Its challenging yet fun riding through the jerky tracks and exploring the beautiful nature.
Other activities at the village include the SkyDome, 6D Cinemotion, Time Travel etc.
Well, you have traveled this far to this Malaysian Paradise, then why not visit the national capital too. If you do plan to visit Kuala Lumpur then check out the Must See Places in KL for the tourists. Happy Travelling!