Why we didn’t really like Langkawi

Langkawi has a reputation of being the best island to visit off the Malaysian Peninsula. Having been given UNESCO World Geopark status in 2007 for its forests, mangroves and Islands. In 1986, Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad started to transform the island into a flourishing island for tourism with an increasing number of tourists coming each year. Langkawi is a duty free island.

Langkawi is known for its beaches, untouched forests. It is what we thought would make a great holiday destination but to be honest we were left a little bit disappointed with the island. We enjoyed our time there but it is a place that we both know we will never return to. This is why……….. Continue reading

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Our review of Berjaya Resort, Langkawi

Berjaya Resort Langkawi is nestled between the lush rainforest and the waters of the Burau Bay. It is one of the oldest resorts in Langkawi but rooms have recently been refurbished. The resort is popular amongst families. Continue reading

Kayaking Langkawi’s mangroves with Dev’s Adventure tours.

The Sungei Kilim mangroves located on the North Eastern tip of Langkawi was given UNESCO status in 2007.  The rivers and estuaries twist through the park stretching 100 square  kilometres while the mangroves roots and branches fight one another to swallow up the water.

Earlier in the morning we were greeted by our guide Kieran, a stocky broad shouldered man. We were joined on a kayak tour with a group of six French, a couple on their honeymoon from Kuwait and three Australians. Continue reading

The beaches of Langkawi

Langkawi, an island located near the west  coast of the Malay Peninsula in the Andaman Sea is known for its beaches. They are supposed to be the best on the west side of the country.

During our six day visit and being the beach lovers that we are, we visited a few of the beaches that pop up along the shores of Langkawi Island. The beaches are  spread out around the island so if you want to see some of them you will need your own transportation or hire a taxi to get around as there is no public transportation on the island. One of the days we hired a taxi to take us around the north side of the island for four hours it cost us 125 RM around $40.

These are the beaches that we visited in Langkawi.

Pantai Cenang

This is the main beach on the island that originally brought the tourists to Langkawi in the 80’s. The widest white sand beach on the island stretches for around two kilometres, palm trees sway in the breeze. People lie on sun beds and  bathe in the sun, Pulau Rebak Besar  and Pulau Rebak Kecil rise from the water but it’s not as relaxing as described there is also the jet skiers, banana boats and other sea sport activities stirring up the sea.

When first stepping onto the beach we were quickly approached by touts offering these rides but once we politely declined we weren’t hassled again unlike other places in South East Asia similar in status to Pantai Cenang like Pattong in Phuket, Danang in Vietnam and Kuta in Bali.

Pantai Cenang though is built up similar to those beaches mentioned above. Resorts back up onto the beach. Shops selling souvenirs, junkets, swimwear and restaurants serving Malay, Thai, Middle East and western food as well as small spas performing various massages line the paved street.

It may not be party central like the Thai islands or Bali but for nightlife this is the place where the tourists go but unlike other islands that have a few different areas to explore at night. On Langkawi you really have only one choice and that happens to be Pantai Cenang.

Pantai Cenang may have been nice in the 80’s but like other islands it looks like it has lost its charm and has been built up to much for our liking.

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The relaxing, peaceful side of Pantai Cenang

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The other side of Pantai Cenang

Pantai Tengah

This beach is really a continuous to Pantai Cenang it is only separated by a headland that has the aquarium Underwater World and a large duty free shop. The beach is a little quieter than Pantai Cenang but the sand, water and views are the same. The beach width is slightly narrower than at Pantai Cenang. There are a couple of jetskiers and parasailing. There are 3 mid end scale resorts that run to the back of the beach. Some more restaurants including a USSR restaurant which caters for the Russian tourists who come to Langkawi to escape their bitter Winters.

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Black Sand Beach

This was the first time for us to ever see a black sand beach.  The beach gets its colour from the minerals in the granite bedrock. The beach is not long around 100 metres in length. The colour of the sand, the shrubby greenery of the plantation and a rickety wooden pier gives this beach a rustic appeal.

We walked the length of it , took a few photos and enjoyed having the beach to ourselves for the short time that we were there. If  you haven’t seen a black beach before then it’s worth checking out but there are better beaches close by.

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Tanjung Rhu Beach

Tanjung Rhu beach is  Langkawi’s number one beach and is on private property which belongs to Tanjung Rhu resort. The public have access til 7pm but are separated from the resorts guests. The sand is whiter here and the water is a shade or two bluer being in the close proximity of Koh Lipe in Thailand.

The day that we were there the sun was out in full force, the beach is not protected from any shade, there are no palm trees, no beach parasols so you are left to defend for yourself from the suns rays.

Behind the beach is where you gain access to the UNESCO mangroves which is one of the must do’s in Langkawi. Tanjung Rhu is isolated from the rest of Langkawi so if you decide to stay here you really only have the resort but if you can afford it then you may not want to leave the resort anyway.

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 Burau Bay

This is the beach that stretches behind the Berjaya resort where we stayed and was the only place that we saw a huge jelly fish washed up on the shores. The beach offers water sports activities such as jetskis, kayaking and banana boats. There are a few islands in the sea that you may want to explore by kayak. Nearby is the Oriental Village which is where you take the cable car up Mount Cinang.

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From the sea look back over the resort to see Mount Cinang rising high above the surrounding nature, the white sand and the palm trees dotted along the beach. It was here though after three of four days of wondering what was missing that it finally dawned on me that up close there is no colour in the water, the emerald green or the aqua blue waters that you see from a distance disappears from near, the waters of Langkawi have no visibility, there is no snorkeling, no coral and no fish that’s possible to see from the waters surrounding Langkawi.

The beaches here are not by anymeans poor quality it’s just that rival countries nearby battling for the tourists dollars in Southeast Asia offers just a little more sparkle and colour.

What was your favourite beach in Langkawi? How did you find the beaches compared to other countries in Southeast Asia?

Langkawi, the island full of myths

Langkawi an archipelago of 99 islands juts out from the emerald green waters of the Andaman Sea. The rocky limestone peaks of Mount Cincang and Mount Raya form the highest mountains on the island while the rest of the island is covered in lush rainforests or deep green rice fields.

Back in 1987 though Palau Langkawi was virtually an unknown island on the tourist map until Tun Dr Mahatir became Prime Minister who was formerly from the island. He stripped Penang of its duty free zone handing it over to Langkawi, resort development began with the likes of the Berjaya resort being built and tourists started to come. Was this luck or coincidence that this all coincided with the end of Mahsuri’s curse.

Mahsuri was a pretty lady who was falsely accused off adultery. She was sentenced to death without a proper investigation. Mahsuri was tied to a tree and stabbed by a kris (knife) during her execution white blood flowed from her wounds indicating her innocence just before dieing she uttered the words “For this act of injustice Langkawi shall not prosper for seven generations to come.”

Since then Langkawi has been attacked by Siam(Thailand) numerous times. There had been decades of failed crops that followed her death. That was the past and now Langkawi prospers in the future. Mahsuri’s tomb can be seen fenced  in a slab of white marble on the site of her death.

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Mahsuri’s tomb

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Earlier we had ascended the peak of Mount Cincang being towed up by Langkawi’s number one tourist attraction, the cable car. The cable car climbs 919 metres and has one of the steepest gradients in the world at 42 degrees.

From the top on a clear day, the panoramic view covers some of Langkawi ‘s 99 islands as well as spreading as far as Ko Lipe, an island belonging to Thailand. Unfortunately the day that we ascended, the blue sky floundered behind a thick haze preventing a dynamic view.

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From the cable car

Mount Cincang is only separated from Mount Raya, the highest mountain in Langkawi  by Bukit Sawar. It is believed that these mountains were not only people but they were best friends until the da of their children’s wedding when a fight broke out between them. Pots, pans and kitchen utensils were thrown at each others family. A big pot of curry for the wedding  feast fell and seeped into the ground at Kuah(gravy) the capital of Langkawi.

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Mount Raya

The pot of hot water was also thrown and showered down on Air Hangat, water still boils there in the form of hot springs. Eventually Mat Sawyer was able to stop the fight between Mat Cincang and Mount Raya. They were however transformed into mountains with Bukit Sawar being lodged between Mount Cincang and Mount Raya.

Myths and legends make for enchanting stories as you will be enchanted with the surrounding scenery that is known as Langkawi.