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.
Majestic mountains, luxuriant rainforests and boundless oceans, are the setting for some of the best golf clubs in Malaysia. The island of Langkawi features three of these premier golf courses that put this tiny tropical island on the golf map of the world. Designed by expert international architects and major championship winners, the scenic courses of the golf clubs in Langkawi are considered some of the most beautiful in all of Asia. Patrons can swing and putt here in all seasons, but December to April is the busiest when elites of the golfing world descend onto Langkawi. Turning up empty handed is enough to tee off at any of the golf clubs as they all offer rental equipment along with carts and plenty of refreshments.
Set within the dramatic hinterlands of Langkawi, the ELS golf club Teluk Datai is an 18 hole course snuggled between the jungles of Mat Chincang and the shorelines of the Andaman Sea. The ELS golf club is equipped with a grass covered driving range and a putting practice area. GPS installed buggies are also available for hire.
The Gunung Raya Golf Resort is a prominent golf club set next to mount Gunung Raya, the tallest mountain in Langkawi. It is an 18 hole, 72 par course, with all the modern facilities including an elegant club café with unspoiled views of the mountain.
Another alternative is the 99 East Golf club handily located near the Kuah town. This nine-hole course has a traditional Malaysian touch in the form of rice terraces which run along the borders. It will also add nine more holes to the course by the end of 2019 to become a full-scale golf course.
Pre-booking is recommended regardless of which golf club you plan to visit, especially in the peak season when the courses tend to be over crowded.
The waters around Langkawi offer impressive and clear sailing conditions to explore the ninety-nine islands of the archipelago and beyond. The Strait of Malacca does not experience any major cyclones during the wet or dry seasons producing sailing conditions all year round. However, the weather from December to April is ideal, when the island receives golden sunshine during the day, and the evening reveals a mosaic of colours in the sky. September to October is also good if you are an experienced sailor and are not concerned with the occasional thunderstorms.
Historically, Langkawi has been home to the fishermen and mariners. During the seven generation of Mahasuri’s curse, the island was favoured by sea pirates. It was also invaded by the Siamese in 1821, and was a British territory until 1957. All these local history and legends add further flavour to a sailing trip to this archipelago. To make your sailing trip a comfortable one, the island has a host of good marinas with modern facilities including accommodation, easy customs clearance, and yacht maintenance services. The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club in Kuah is the most popular marina on the island. It also organises the Royal Langkawi International Regatta, a big annual yachting event, which attracts sailors from all corners of the world.
Lively with popular restaurants and dockside pubs, the Telaga Harbour marina is preferred by those who like to berth near the busyness of a harbour town.
The marina on Pulau Rebak offer dry berths for halting yachts in a tranquil setting away from the bustle of the main island.
If you are an experienced sailor in need of a boat or a landlubber craving an unforgettable sailing experience, then head to the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club to hire a vessel.
Either with your own crew or with one available for hire, anyone can enjoy a holiday at sea in Langkawi.
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.
More than just an art exhibition, Langkawi Art Biennale is an international celebration of a diverse array of artwork. Over 100 local and international artists from a wide range of countries flock to Langkawi to present their incredible visual art, sculpture, installation art, video art and performing art. Each event has an all-encompassing theme which all of the artwork is based on. At the very first biennale, back in 2014, the theme was migration, to reflect a highly globalised world where it’s easier than ever to seamlessly move across borders. The event was organised by ArtMalaysia Association and was designed with the aim of transforming Langkawi into a premier art destination.
In 2016, artists immersed themselves in the theme of exploration. This event included a category of cultural dress and costumes, in which artists were invited to exhibit their cultural and heritage clothing.
At the next event in 2020, artists will present work on the theme of environment and culture, exploring how humans are responding to environmental changes, and how this affects our culture. Participants will fall into several categories including contemporary, coloured pencil art, installation art, and sculptors.
Each event has been held in a different month of the year, with the 2020 biennale scheduled to take place in March. Whilst the first event was spread across ten days, the second lasted for eight, and the 2020 biennale will last for seven days. The venue has also changed at each event, moving from one wonderful Langkawi location to another.