Latest schedule and price update on April 25, 2017
Travelers to Langkawi will discover good reasons for why this island archipelago is called the "Jewel of Kedah". It's an enchanting land of turquoise seas and coconut trees, just off the Malaysian mainland in the province of Kedah near the Thai border - and home to the old island legend of Mahsuri, a beautiful young woman who, driven by jealousy and intrigue, placed a seven-generation curse on Langkawi life.
The islanders may tell you, but you'd never know the story from looking at the island's prosperity today unless you visit the tomb of Princess Mahsuri in the village of Mawat, near the main island town of Kuah. Rather, modern Langkawi boasts world-class hotels, like the five-star Danni Langkawi and the Tanjung Rhu, that offer guests beaches, private balconies with breathtaking views, golf, fine dining and spa treatments. Nearby, the modern Langkawi Cable Car attraction crosses more than 2,000 meters as passengers take in breathtaking views of jungle and sea. At its base, the tourist must-see spot of Oriental Village offers galleries and shopping, dining, and more than 50 adventure and activity tours.
Not far from the village is Telaga Tujuh Waterfall, known as the Seven Wells. It's a steep trip up more than 300 steps to view the falls and ponds, but worth the effort for its natural beauty and a little bit of whimsical history too - legend has it that fairies used to come down to bathe and play in the pools. At night, a visit to Eagle Square and its illuminated terraces and gardens offer more color and history.
But the new legends of Langkawi’s shining success aren't just for tourists. Locals enjoy a thriving community of traditional fishermen and farmers, and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Visitors who tour the main island by rental car connect with small villages of wooden houses, children on bicycles and the peaceful countryside of rice paddies and forests. They also may encounter goats and buffalo sleeping in the road, and are encouraged to drive slowly because of livestock, pedestrians and wayward bikers.
Organized tours on Langkawi include major attractions, but also center on hiking, diving and other adventures. The island is a part of Malaysia with a UNESCO Global Geopark designation, which means it has biodiversity and geological heritage of international merit - rocky coasts, waterfalls, caves and more. A day trip to Pulau Payar Marine Park near Langkawi offers exceptional diving experiences, with snorkeling trips around the island too. Other day trips and destinations include the dazzling aquarium, seashell display and education center at Underwater World Langkawi, and the Kilim River Cruise.
Other islands dotting the Langkawi coast - Pulau Dayang Bunting, Pulau Singa Besar and Pulau Beras Basah among them - offer well-kept beaches for sunbathing and relaxing, as well as fun-filled activities including jet skiing, parasailing and banana boat rides. While the weather is always tropical, there is one premier activity on Langkawi during the hottest days or the monsoon rains of September and October: shopping. Langkawi is designated as a duty-free shopping region, with lots of options beyond chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol. It's also a great time to visit indoor sites, or take advantage of local cuisine.