The mystical, beautiful island of Langkawi is located in the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, where the Strait of Malacca meets the vast Indian Ocean. Situated 30 kilometres off the coast of Kedah, Langkawi – which means “reddish brown eagle” in colloquial Malay – is not just one big island but a collection of 99 islands that form an archipelago. Accorded World Geopark status in 2007 by UNESCO, Langkawi is a duty-free island with an approximate population of 99,000, 90% of whom are Malay. The island is blessed with lofty limestone outcrops, dense vegetation, virgin beaches and azure waters. This diverse setting offers the perfect getaway for nature lovers, marine and sea sports enthusiasts, as well as those purely seeking splendid solitude.
Lonely Planet describes Langkawi as a ‘tropical paradise’ and with good reasons. The island’s oldest geological formation, Gunung Mat Chinchang, was the first part of Southeast Asia to rise from the seabed during the Cambrian period half a billion years ago. The oldest part of the formation is observable at Teluk Datai to the north-west of the island.
Pulau Payar Marine Park is a popular site for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts keen on spotting Langkawi’s marine life. The waters around the marine park feature a dazzling display of corals and aquatic species that include moray eels, rock groupers, black-tip sharks and clown fish.
Take a trip with the Sky Cab and enjoy a cable car ride that offers a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the natural splendour that Langkawi has to offer. It is particularly popular in the early mornings for a cool ride or the evenings for a breathtaking sunset. Ask the locals about traditional folktales and legends commonly told, like The Legend of Mahsuri (The white blooded lady) and The Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls (Seven Wells Waterfalls).
The island has been duty free since 1986 but attracted visitors well before that. Yet despite this immense drawing power, these 99 islands, dominated by the main island spanning 478.5 sq km, have been carefully developed. Just a little way off the main beaches, this is still idyllic, untouched Malaysia. It’s the kind of tropical island where visitors can enjoy top spas, seafood restaurants and beach bars, as the locals continue to go about their ways just as they have for generations.
Langkawi enjoys lovely tropical weather with temperatures ranging from a low of 26°C to a high of 33°C throughout the year. Langkawi enjoys its best weather between late November and early March. Even during the heaviest of rains, the sun rarely stays out of sight for long.
Travel Tips For The Datai
Pack light, comfortable resort wear. A good pair of walking shoes is recommended if you plan to join the complimentary nature walks. Insect repellent is provided in guestrooms. Electricity voltage in Malaysia is 230V/50Hz. Langkawi observes Malaysian Standard Time GMT +8.
Bahasa Malaysia is Malaysia’s national language but English is taught in all schools and widely spoken across the country.
The Ringgit (RM / MYR) is Malaysia’s national currency and used throughout the country.