A fantasy island in more ways than one, Langkawi straddles the border between Thailand and Malaysia, is a 45 minute flight north of Kuala Lumpur and one of ninety-nine forested islands cast adrift in the Andaman Sea’s sultry stillness. Attracting an international coterie of jet-setting castaways who like nothing more than lolling on its talcum-fine beaches, even they are lured away from poolside lounges to explore the island’s legendary attractions. Hiring a car, we chase down some fairytales.
You probably won’t see too many maidens bathing in the Lake of the Pregnant Maidens invigoratingly cool, clear water on Dayang Bunting Island but legend has it that following the tragic death of a fairy princess’s child, a sprite blessed the waters of this popular tourist spot so that childless maidens bathing here would conceive.
Seven Wells or Telaga Tujah is one of the island’s most popular picnic spots. Legend has it that fairies used to come and frolic in its sun-dappled waterfall and seven natural bathing pools. Obviously they took a short cut rather than climbing 638 steps to bathe in the refreshing highland waters before peering over the vertiginous drop as a cascading ribbon of water disappears into a forested chasm below.
Getting into Hot Water
Built on 20 hectares of reclaimed waterfront, gigantic sculptural tableaux depict loosely woven folkloric tales that span pre-history to modern times at Legend Park. There’s a fraction too much fiction for me and over a restorative drink at the Yacht Club’s scenically located Charlie’s Place, we decide to drive to Telaga Air Hangat or Hot Water Village where, not content with hurling insults, the feuding families of two mythical giants escalated hostilities to chucking cauldrons of boiling water at each other, the contents spilling over the ground. At least that’s what the local believe. Soaking your feet at these hot water springs before a vigorous foot massage is bliss for tired touristy feet.
High Flying Romance
On the south-west coast, Pantai Cenang is a busy public beach with a variety of water sports and one of the island’s best sunset views. It’s also where romance literally takes flight. Couples queue to tandem para-glide and we spend an entertaining hour watching them race over caramel sand before heading skywards, silhouetted against a fiery sunset.
Now that’s the stuff of legendary holiday memories…..
10 Things to do on Langkawi
Over cocktails and tapas, watch birds take flight over wetlands at The Sunset Deck of Bon Ton Resort & Restaurant, Pantai Cenang www.bontonresort.com.my
Stop at roadside stalls for banana fritters, 10 pieces for RM1.00, and a delicious snack of local cashew nuts.
Join the cool dudes at happening retro late night spot SunBa in Pantai Cenang
Spa and stay at The Datai Langkawi, an exquisite rainforest and beachfront resort that’s the last word in island luxe. www.thedatai.com.my
Visit Ibrahim Hussein Museum and Cultural Foundation to overview one of Malaysia’s best known artists.
Stay in houses that Penang’s wealthy traders once called home but now make up Temple Tree’s colourful enclave of pre-loved accommodation. www.templetree.com.my
Soar like an eagle on the award-winning Langkawi Cable Car as it scales Langkawi’s second highest peak. Operates daily from the Oriental Village, Burau Bay. Tel 04 959 4225 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hire a boat and lose yourself cruising the archipelago’s mystical islands.
When flying out, sit on left of aircraft for spectacular views of the 390 million year old archipelago.
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