Islands of Langkawi
The Langkawi archipelago, constituting 99 islands, sits on the Andaman Sea and radiates the empyrean splendour of a serene and undisturbed world. The charm of its natural wonders is captured in the prehistoric mountains, transparent waters, dense forests, and limestone caves. Only four islands in the archipelago are currently inhabited, and Island-hopping tours are the easiest way to hop between them. Renting a Jet Ski gives the additional freedom of getting close to the other islands with an added bonus of bouncing off the waves on a high speed floating scooter. Private tours are the best way to visit the remote and uninhabited islands.
Pulau Langkawi is the largest and the most happening destination on the archipelago. One can easily say that all boats lead to Palau Langkawi, as it is the first port of call for all travellers. The island spans a little more than 25 km in all directions. Two mountains, Gunung Mat Cincang and Gunung Raya dominate the island and create some breathtaking photo opportunities. Pulau Langkawi is the hub of all tourist activities on the archipelago. With several hotels, resorts and other accommodation options, it attracts millions of visitors each year.
Home to the lake of pregnant maiden, Pulau Dayang Bunting is located 17 km south of Pulau Langkawi. This island itself is a Geopark featuring large limestone and marble structures, underwater caves and green forests. It is easily accessible on a boat from the Kuah Jetty, and a visit to the island is a part of island hopping tours. The island is frequented by young couples who take a dip in the lake of the pregnant maiden and hope the maiden will help them to have their own bundle of joy.
The Pulau Payar marine park is a well-developed snorkelling and diving site. It is the only diving location on the entire western coast of Malaysia. A variety of coral and colourful marine life of the Andaman Sea invite throngs of tourists to the park. The marine park is made up of four islets including Pulau Lembu, Pulau Segantang, and Pulau Kaca. It is situated a little over 30 km from the Kuah Jetty and can be reached by a short catamaran or speedboat ride.
The Rebak Island is privately owned and is a part of the Taj group of hotels. An exclusive beach accessed only by the patrons of Taj Vivanta offers an incredibly romantic experience. Filled with native flora and fauna and overlooking the crystal clear sea, it is a great place for those who are after a romantic beach holiday. The island also has a fully functional marina with latest amenities for sailboats. Regular boat rides are available from Rebak to the other parts of Pulau Langkawi for sightseeing activities.
Pulau Beras Basah, meaning island of the wet rice, is located on the west side of the archipelago. Ornate with long sandy beaches and shallow blue waters, it is one of the four inhabitable islands in Langkawi. You can enjoy a variety of water sports or just take a stroll or sunbathe on the beach. It is also a part of island hopping tours from the main island.
Located between Pulau Dayang Bunting and Pulau Beras Basah, the Palau Singa Besar, which translates to, island of Giant Lion, is a remote escape covered with dense forest and interesting rock formations. A huge variety of exotic wildlife such as Iguanas, Mouse deer, Peacocks and Macaques can be found on this island. Convocations of eagles fly high above the island and approach the boats for food. Although the island is part of island-hopping tours, it is undeveloped and lacks facilities. Remote beaches can only be accessed through private day tours.
A part of the Dayang bunting Geoforest Park, the Tuba Island is one of the populated islands of the archipelago. Named after the Tuba plant, it is made up of six villages (Kampong) which constitute a small farming and fishing community. Surrounded with paddy fields and a distinctive traditional Malaysian charm, Pulau Tuba is a perfect place to experience kampong homestay. The island also has other accommodation options and can be accessed by a 20 minutes boat ride from the Kuah Jetty. Tuba was the first island in the archipelago to bear the brunt of the Japanese invasion during World War II. The Gua Wang Buluh, a cave used by the villagers to hide during the invasion, still tells the tale of that time.
The Pulau Bumbon Besar and Pulau Bumbon Kecil are islets shaped like the letter C and M. They are located in the southeast region of Pulau Langkawi. The beaches and coves of these islets are only ten minutes boat ride from Kuah Jetty, but they offer solitude and peace to those who wish to avoid the crowd on the main islands. Here you can snorkel, swim or sunbathe and laze around without bother. However, do carry your own food and drinks and don’t forget to take the trash when heading back. Private Day trips and group tours can be organised from Pulau Langkawi.
The names Pulau Kentut Besar and Kentut Kecil translate to big fart and small fart. Legends has it that when the children of the great mountains Gunung Mat Cincang and Gunung Raya got married, the groom let out two accidental toots after devouring the wedding feast. The mighty toots caused ruckus in water and created these islets. But don’t let the names or the story behind them make your nose wiggle, because these islets set the bar very high when it comes to pristine beach islands. Both these islets can be visited on a day trip and you can not only enjoy a peaceful time at the beaches, but also camp and fish.