A Different Idea for Langkawi
Langkawi is actually an archipelago of over 100 islands. The biggest of these also bears the title Langkawi and it sits off the North West coast of Malaysia. When you Google it, you see images of pristine, deserted beaches with blue water and white sand. It is a honeymoon destination and has all the luxury activities that go with it: Helicopter rides, private yachts, private islands nearby, you name it! Most of you know that’s not our style, (unless it’s a special occasion) so we were interested to see what we could get up to on a normal budget. Read on for some of the attractions you may not have associated with the island: A Different Idea for Langkawi!
It is actually pretty big, bigger than Penang, and Singapore believe it or not. It takes just over an hour to drive around the entire island, which seems small, but you definitely need motorized transport to get the most out of the island. We were surprised that most of the things we rated on Langkawi were actually inland, not the beaches or diving.
We only really had two days to explore, as one day I was taken down by a migraine (does anyone know any good home remedies?), and it actually rained for most of that day so we both stayed in. In those two days we were able to see some lovely sights thanks to our trusty scooter. We hired it for 50 ringgit-per-day so we could explore as much of the island as we could.
Telaga Harbour Park
Home to a beautiful stone lighthouse, in a bay that was overlooked by amazing jungle-clad mountains. The best part about this little park is that there were no other tourists in the area. It was only once dusk set in that any people came to the light house- and these were the local fishermen taking up their positions along the water.
To be honest, I was a bit shocked when Shab said he wanted to go see a statue of an Eagle. That’s not normally his kinda thing! The Eagle is pretty impressive though I guess. There is a lot of detail in the painting of the bird, and the whole platform and jetty is shaped like a star. We set up our tripods on the grassy bank that overlooked the water and the Giant Eagle, and each made a little time-lapse of the sun setting, and the spot lights turning on around the Eagle.
Sunday Markets on Jalan Kuala Teriang
We were driving home on a Sunday when we saw this bustling market. We were using our offline map app- Maps.Me and it said that it was a Sunday only Market. We pulled over and wandered around for about an hour. If you have a fridge or kitchen then this is definitely a good place to come and pickup your groceries or at least snacks for your trip. If you’re like us and just have a standard room- then come down to eat instead! There are all kinds of food stalls, chicken, rice, noodles, deserts, all kinds of iced drinks and all for super cheap!
Langkawi always stirred images of pristine beaches with luxuriously white sand and palm trees. We didn’t really find this to be the case. The popular beach Pantai Cenang was so overrun with tourists, and therefore tourist activities, that they weren’t great places to relax at all. They certainly weren’t as beautiful as we were expecting.
Pantai Kok is better, not only much prettier but also quieter. From Pantai Kok you have a view out to a couple of little islands and you’re sure to be able to find our own patch of sand. There are no tourist facilities at Pantai Kok- so remember to bring some water and some snacks. You can walk about 5 minutes to the marina where there are quite a few restaurants- but these did look pretty fancy so be prepared!
Our Pick: Tengkorak Beach in the North of the Island is in a nature reserve and is every bit as pretty as you’d imagine. The white sand squeaks beneath your feet and you have beautiful old trees and rock formations to look at as you float in the calm water. It was overcast for most of our Langkawi trip so our photos of the beach don’t really do it justice.
We managed to see 2 of the 3 main waterfalls on the island. Seven Wells, or Stairs as it is sometimes referred to, is inside the Sky Cab complex and there is a separate entrance fee for the waterfall. We didn’t pay for this- you can see it if you look to the right as you are in the Sky Cab up the mountain.
Our Pick: Temurun waterfall is stunningly untouched, very quiet and free to enter. If you are visiting Temurun you are very close to the Northern beaches too- and these are some of the prettiest!
Unfortunately we didn’t get out diving on our trip. One decent dive company admitted that the visibility is never more than 2 to 4 meters, and with a water temperature of 30 degrees (warm water causes coral to die!) we weren’t sure there would be all that much around to see. Another company we spoke with took you to a large pontoon with an underwater viewing area, a glass bottom boat, and the option to snorkel and dive. Unfortunately in our experience those kinds of tours are usually more geared towards people who cant swim all that well, let alone dive. We decided to give it a miss altogether in the end.
Sky Cab & Sky Bridge
Not usually one for taking the cable car adventure, we decided this one was worthwhile because it gives you access to something called the Sky Bridge. The views from the top of this ancient rock formation really are stunning, so we think it is worthwhile. You will literally be taken up into the clouds, so a bit of patience is required to get a photo of the bridge that isn’t completely white! The Sky Cab is actually the steepest cable car in the world and the views the entire way up are beautiful. You have the ocean to the left, and the mountains and seven wells waterfall to the right.
Unfortunately the whole experience left a bit of a sour taste in our mouth as there were 4 scheduled photo pit stops, where the poor staff stop the line in its tracks to take there photos. These are later photo shopped with the Sky Bridge and various other highlights and peddled to you as you continue up the mountain. Between photo stop one and two there is a trip to the sky dome- where every guest is actually forced to watch a movie. We thought it must be safety related if there was no opt out. Nope, it was just cinematic crap that served no purpose and wasted another 20 minutes of our time. After a full day of rain, we wanted to get as much sightseeing done as possible, and the whole Sky Cab and Sky bridge adventure ended up taking 5 hours. I’m not even joking.
Tips to make this a faster expedition:
- Skip the photo lines if you can/want to.
- Try and skip the sky dome movie- you may need to be sneaky about this, try hanging out at the entrance and slipping into the group that is leaving.
- Don’t get off the sky cab at the first stop if your goal is the sky bridge.
- When you get off the Sky Cab at the second (last) stop, buy your tickets for the Sky Bridge from the far left of the platform-then head to the far right of the platform to have the tickets scanned and begin the climb down to the sky bridge. This area is poorly signed and we wandered around for a while before finally finding the entrance.
- If there is no line for the Sky Glide- consider buying a ticket to catch this down to the bridge. We definitely recommend getting it back up at least!
- Head up early, and don’t hang out too long- the lines to get down were terribly long by the time we were leaving at 3pm.
Have you been? Was it what you expected, or did you end up with a different idea for Langkawi? Tell us about it in the comments below!