LANGKAWI 99 MAGICAL ISLANDS.
By Adrien Gallo
Malaysia’a Langkawi Islands are well established within Malay
mythology and legends and are becoming increasingly well known
as one of South East Asia’s best island resort destinations.Langkawi
offers travellers the perfect combination of sea and sun, rainforest and
islands, peace and tranquillity, culture and tradition as well as
simplicity and style.
The group of 99 islands is situated in the state of Kedah, 30 km off
The northwest coast of Malaysia between the Thai island of Phuket to
the north and Malaysia’s Penang island,to the south.As such,they have
been influenced by many cultures throughout history.The main island
covers an area of almost 500km2 and much of this remains untouched
and covered in tropical rainforest .
Most of the 65000 islanders are rice farmers or fisherfolk whose
ancestors have inhabited the island for generations.They are a
friendly,laid back and multicultural community who take great pride
in their island, religions,lifestyle and food.They also enjoy the
freedom of a peaceful and safe island.
The people strive to sustain the ecology ofthe island through good
stewardship and sustainable practices.
Langkawi International airport is a modern facility providing speedy
connections to many parts of the world.The main town of Kuah is also
the terminal for incoming ferries and many duty-free
stores,services,facilities and restaurants are located here..
Langkawi offers a unique tropicalencounter for all the senses in a
Setting of unparalleled beauty.
WHERE RAINFORESTS MEET THE SEA
Only three islands in Langkawi group have any form of development
and the rest are mostly covered in lowland rainforest.These islands are
home to many unique plants and animals and Langkawi islanders have
sustainably used products from the sea and forests for centuries.
The island’s geology is very important in explaining the various
Vegetation communities.Most of the outer island are limestone and
Marble while the main island comprises ancient sandstone formations
and granite intrusions.
The sedimentary formations of Mount Machincang have been dated to
550 million years old,making them some of South East Asia’s oldest
With UNESCO assistance, the local authorities have gazetted
Langkawi as a Geopark in order to showcase and protect these
Geological formations and the associated plant and animals for
Current and future generations.
Exploring various rainforest trails is possible but being guided
by an experienced naturalist is recommended.One of the most
popular walks is up Seven Wells (Telaga Tujuh) where a
picturesque series of cascades and pools, deep within the rainforest
at the foothill to Mount Machincang,can be experienced.
The walk is steep and monkeys can be seen on the way.
It’s also possible to explore the forest higher up the mountain by
Alighting from the Langkawi Cable Car and walking between the
Middle and top stations.Another accessible forested area is located
On Langkawi highest peak, Mount Raya(Gunung Raya).
A winding 13km road to the 880m high summit passes through mature
forests.These are home to various animals including many birds
especially hornbills and birds of prey which soar high above the
Langkawi’s most visited natural habitat is the mangrove forests
Fringing the coastline of the main island.Each day small boats
transport tourist into this labyrint of mangroves for a closer look
at these unique plants and the associated fauna.The most popular
area of wetlands is within the planned Sungai Kilim Nature Park.
Birds of prey, like Brahminy Kites and White-Bellied Sea Eagles
feed on the fish living within the mangroves and coastal waters.
Indo Pacific Humpback Dolphins and Finless Porpoises are
occasionally found around Langkawi.There have also been
reported sightings of Whale Shaks,the world’s largest fish,as
well as Bryde’s Whales.
Beneath the waters a different world exists and while diving is
Possible off some of the islands,the best visibility is found in the
Water of Payar Island Marine Park,south of Langkawi.
The legendary Lake of the Pregnant Maiden (Tasik Dayang Bunting)
Is a beautiful freshwater lake located on limestone and surrounded by
Associated limestone caves are another important feature and cave
Exploration is possible in several locations.Many are home to cave
dwellers like bats.It is possible to visit caves like Gua Pasir Dagang,
Gua Kelawar and Gua Cerita.
Langkawi is home to a variety of fascinating fauna including some
200 species of birds.Four primate species including the Long-tailed
Macaque.Dusky-leaf Monkey,Slow Loris and the Flying Lemur
(Colugo) live in the forests .Animals like the world’s smallest deer,
the Mousedeer, Giant Squirrels,Flying Foxes,Civet Cats and Pangolins
also live here.
A variety of lizards and snakes can be found all over the islands.
Many animals are camouflaged and seeing large animals is a bonus
But the myriad of smaller creatures such as insects, spiders and
Butterflies makes jungle trekking a rewarding and exciting
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