The deep and tranquil waters around the island of Langkawi are home to umpteen species of fish, precious coral reefs and intriguing undersea rock formations. Diving in the warm Andaman Sea, is a pleasing way to explore the thriving aquatic ecosystem. With a tropical climate, this underwater activity can be carried out anytime during the year. However, the dry season from December to April, offers the best possible visibility. Langkawi is the only place on the west coast of Malaysia, where you can go scuba diving, and the archipelago has no shortage of dive sites to give you an incredible experience.
The Pulau Payar Marine Park is the most visited diving location in Langkawi. Made up of four smaller islands, it can be reached by tour boats from the Kuah jetty. Diving below the pier of the park centre is a good place for novice divers, as the water here is shallow and has coral with ample variety of sea life. Seasoned divers can go to Pulau Segantang, about twenty minutes on boat from Pulau Payar for deep sea wreck diving. Here, you can see diverse coral along with scorpion fish and schools of barracudas which are attracted by lustrous objects. If you go further into the open sea, you can bump into grey manta rays and enormous whale sharks. A trip to the marine park usually lasts a day, however if you have limited time in Langkawi, then White Coral Corner near Pantai Cenang is a good option too. Here, you can see soft coral and anemones with clown fish, pipefish, and bamboo sharks.
There are many operators in Langkawi offering various diving programs, scuba certifications and tours for all skill levels. When diving be mindful of preserving this fragile marine ecosystem and do not damage the reef or feed the fish by yourself.
No adventure is complete without a good splash of water, and the island of Langkawi ensures plenty of big splashes for the adventurous. Water sports is one of the main attractions of Langkawi and tourist flock to the beaches to strap on their life vests and jump in the sea for hair raising and stomach-churning rides. The tropical climate of Langkawi never gets too cold to stay away from getting wet. If rain dampens your outdoor enthusiasm, then avoid the rainy season from September to November.
Jet skis for hire are available on Pentai Cenang, Tanjung Rhu beach and the Burau bay beach. Hourly Jet Ski hires are good for heading into the sea for an adrenalin fueled adventure of your own choosing. Alternatively, use them as a means to go on a water safari tour, including Island hopping. For a more peaceful approach, rent kayaks and go for a four-hour mangrove tour, navigating through the Kilim river.
If you want pure old-fashioned fun, gather your friends and jump on a banana boat and go for a roller coaster ride on the waves of the open sea. Once you have accumulated enough courage, soar above the waters and choose the parasailing adventure to get high and just slightly dry. Another newly introduced water sport in Langkawi is Wake boarding. Moderate skill is required to stay on top of the board as a motor boat pulls you across the sea. Make sure to choose a licensed water sports operator to avoid nasty surprises.
The water of the Andaman Sea is sure to seduce everyone in trying at least one water sport during their stay in Langkawi.
Healing, peace and harmony are the virtues that define a vacation at Langkawi with the purpose of rejuvenating the mind and body. The island is dotted with wellness centres which are either independent or associated with a resort. All wellness centres provide multiple massage options to suit all body and skin types. The traditional Malay massage is good for treating deep tissue muscle injuries and chronic illnesses. Indian Ayurveda holistic treatment is useful for improving the sleep quality and reducing stress. Chinese foot reflexology aims at treating specific ailments by activating pressure points in the feet. Thai massages incorporate yoga stretches to achieve a rejuvenated and relaxed sensation throughout the body. Apart from rejuvenating the body, the wellness centres offer several treatments to achieve flawlessly beautiful skin. Body wraps, scrubs and facials are some the many treatment options. The spas of Langkawi pride in using organic herbs and oils, some of which are sourced from the island itself.
A typical spa treatment and massage will cost anywhere between RM 100 – 200. The complete package will cost significantly more especially at high end spas. For an upscale pampering, the Geo spa at the four Seasons resort is a good option. The award-winning Raja and Ratu (King and Queen) package will enhance the romantic connection with your partner. The V integrated wellness centre at the Andaman resort is another luxury spa with unmatched views. Rumah Holistic and Ishan Malaysian are independent boutique spas set in natural environment surrounded by hills and forests. Besides these gems, there are several other good spas in Langkawi and irrespective of where you are, there will be a spa nearby to unwind and relax.
The Langkawi cable car starts its journey at the base station located on the foothill of Mount Machincang. The aptly named SkyCab will slowly lift you 700 meters above sea level as you enjoy a panoramic view of the mountain with dense green forest and waterfalls on one side, and the blue waters of Andaman Sea on the other. A small flight of stairs from the top station brings you to the viewing platforms where a 360-degree view of the world awaits. From here you can see peaks of the mountain range straining to be higher and higher. On a clear day the Andaman Sea shimmers blue and reveals islands as far as the eye can see. Parts of Indonesia and Thailand can also be seen from the bridge.
The adventure of Mount Machincang doesn’t end here. The SkyBridge of Langkawi is accessible from the top station. Take the SkyGlide to reach the SkyBridge in comfort or stretch your legs and walk 15 minutes through the short but steep mountain pass. This curved engineering marvel gives an unobstructed view of the horizon as the wind rushes passed your hair. Hanging one hundred meters above a dense green valley alongside the Andaman Sea, the SkyBridge lets you see the world through a bird’s eye. Touted as the longest curved suspension bridge in the world, this attraction should not be missed.
Start your day early to avoid a long queue at the SkyCab base station or just shell out 50 RM more to join the express queue. Don’t forget to pack your wide angle lens to capture the view of a lifetime.
Langkawi, the jewel of Kedah, derives its name from the red backed Eagle which rules the skies above the island. Legend has it that the ‘Lang’ comes from the Malay word ‘helang’, which means Eagle, and the ‘Kawi’ comes from the word meaning marble. The convocation of Eagles flying high in the sky and a land full of marble do lend some credibility to this legend.
Dataran Lang conveniently called as the Eagle Square, celebrates these majestic birds of Langkawi. It is an iconic statue located on the southern part of Pulau Langkawi, on the Kuah Jetty. The Eagle Square has an impressive 12 metre tall statue of a red backed Eagle standing on a blue star shaped platform. It is surrounded by forest covered mountains on one side and the open Andaman Sea on the other. With its wings spread, the Eagle of Dataran Lang looks ready to soar into the sky.
This sculpture acts as a guide to mariners and leads them to the Kuah harbour. Situated near the ferry terminal, the Eagle square has artistic water features, a small pond to do paddle boating, verdant green park to enjoy a picnic, and a perfect background for memorable pictures. In the night, the Eagle of Langkawi is lit up with glitzy lights giving it a whole new dimension. Dataran Lang gets a bit overheated in the sun and it is best to visit here during sunrise or sunset. There are plenty of eateries and souvenir shops around. You can also go to the Cenang night market or Langkawi fair mall after spending some time in the glory of the Eagle square.
Wat Koh Wanaram is a Buddhist temple founded by Thai Holy monk Luang Por Khun in the year 2014. Known as the lucky temple of Langkawi, this Wat is revered for its serenity, peace and architecture. A popular folklore also states that rubbing the belly of the laughing Buddha at this Wat brings prosperity, good fortune and wealth.
Here, you will find influences and teachings from the three schools of Buddhism, Theravada, The School of the Elders followed in Thailand and south eastern Asian countries, Mahayana, The Great Vehicle, followed in China and north Asian countries and Vajrayana, The way of the Diamond, followed predominantly in Tibet and Nepal. A golden statue of Buddha sits inside the temple under the painting of a sacred Fig tree. And, the walls feature art works that depicts the life and teachings of Buddha.
In the courtyard, there are colourful pagodas, eight stupas referring to the events in Buddha’s life, prayer wheels, the lucky statue of the laughing Buddha and a soothing Zen garden with Koi fish pond. The highlight of this Wat is a huge carving of Kuan-shi Yin on a marble hill. Hailed as the Goddess of mercy and dressed in a flowing white gown, she stands atop a lotus pedestal. She also holds a jar containing pure water in her left hand, and in the right, a willow branch. Path leading to the hill behind the statue of Kuan-shi Yin has caves which are used by monks to meditate. As per a local legend, one of these caves is also the home of a giant snake.
Located in Bukit Putih, on Jalan Ayer Hangat route 112, the temple is about ten minutes’ drive from Kuah town.
Every January, local and international sailors compete in various races at the Royal Langkawi International Regatta. The six-day event is organised by and held at, the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club in Kuah. Since its beginnings in 2002, the regatta has built up a reputation as a key event on the Asian yachting calendar. Over six days, competitors partake in an array of challenging and fun races for all classes. There are various trophies up for grabs, including the Prime Ministers’ Challenge Trophy and the Commodore’s Challenge Cup, with several classes including Cruising, Racing, and IRC classes. All participating teams vote for the best team in terms of comradeship and fair racing to be awarded the Tunku Abdullah Sportsmanship Award, named after the founding chairman of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club. Throughout the event, entrants also enjoy social events such as dinners, as well as awards presentations and the closing ceremony.
Since the first event back in 1996, Le Tour de Langkawi has grown to become the largest cycling competition in Malaysia and is now proud to be recognised as Asia’s biggest race. It is named after Langkawi, as this is where the original race started and finished, however, it now includes several lovely destinations across the country. Le Tour de Langkawi was the brain child of Malaysia’s Prime Minister, and it is organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Malaysian National Cycling Federation. Every year in March or April, more than 100 riders from over 20 teams from all around the globe flock to Malaysia to take part. The exciting race consists of eight stages across 1,240KM, beginning in Kuala Lumpur. Cyclists then make their way along the scenic west coast of Peninsula Malaysia, with the final two stages occurring on Langkawi’s main island, ending in Kuah.
Every year in October or November, skilled triathletes from various countries around the world gather in Langkawi to compete in Ironman Malaysia. Whilst Langkawi provides a stunning backdrop for the challenging event, it is regarded as one of the most difficult ironman circuits in the world, partially because of the intense heat and humidity at this time of year. Athletes are advised to adjust to training in these harsh conditions.
The course begins with an ocean swim in the glimmering Andaman Sea. Setting off from Pantai Kok Beach with a staggered start, competitors complete two laps of the triangle out and back course. The bay is sheltered, so the current isn’t too much of an issue, and flags on the beach prevent swimmers from going off-course. Next, it's on to the two-loop clockwise bike course. Contestants leave Pantai Kok behind and head for the rolling hills of Datai, just skimming the edge of Kuah Town. A combination of small and steep hills provide challenging terrain, however, cyclists are treated to magnificent views of mountains, beaches, villages, and paddy fields. Finally, the 2.5 lap running course takes participants past the airport, along a mostly flat course. The race ends at beautiful Pantai Cenang Beach.
If you're a triathlete looking for your next challenge, Ironman Malaysia promises to be just that, along with the opportunity to swim, cycle, and run in a gorgeous part of the world. If it’s not for you, cheering on competitors from the sidelines can be just as exciting.