offers some of the world's best-kept secrets -- secluded coves and long
stretches of white sandy beaches. Washed by the calm turquoise waters
of the Andaman Sea, the islands are covered with age-old rainforests
and home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna."
- Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia -
I couldn't have said it any better. Langkawi is a cluster of
tropical islands in far northwestern Malaysia near Thailand which has
been designated a World Geopark by UNESCO.
Although it wasn't the most accessible Pacific island destination I've
ever visited, Langkawi, Malaysia was indeed one of the most beautiful.
From Tokyo, it takes over seven hours to fly to Kuala Lumpur and then
another hour to Langkawi.
In recent years, Langkawi has become more popular among Japanese
tourists. As a result, there are many tour packages these days catering
to this growing market. The tour package I was lucky enough to be part
of included round-trip airfare from Tokyo, three nights lodging at the Aseania Resort Langkawi in Pantai
Tengah, breakfast every morning, and
transportation to and from the airport, all for around 700 US dollars.
My trip in mid-July turned out to be in the middle of rainy season, so
some of the time was cloudy and rainy. But even in three short days, I
was able to see some very beautiful places, including the Langkawi Cable Car
to the top of Mount Mat Cincang (Langkawi's 2nd tallest
peak), Seven Wells (Telaga Tujuh) Waterfall, the
Kuah Town night market, and Underwater World, Malaysia's
But by far the highlight of my trip to Langkawi was the mangrove forest
river cruise, which included Langkawi's Cave of Bats. Conducted by a
very knowledgeable and kind Japanese man named Kato-san, his boat tour,
which departs from the Tanjung Rhu boat dock, included not only the
Cave of Bats, but the feeding of eagles, monkeys,
As if this weren't enough, he finished off the tour at his houseboat by
serving us a homemade lunch prepared by his wife. Nice touch !!
Kato-san has lived in Langkawi for 25 years.
Don't miss the videos of this incredible mangrove tour in the video
river cruise operator Kato-san
One of the big surprises was the hordes of tourists from other Muslim
countries. As it turned out, I was there just a few weeks before the
beginning of Ramadan, so there were many, many Muslim tourists enjoying
Langkawi prior to the beginning of the Ramadan holy period.
This was the first time in my life to see SO many women in full-length,
black burkas, even covering their faces. I must say that at first this
made me feel a bit uneasy, and did require some adjusting. But to be
honest, I felt sorry for them having to wear so many clothes on a hot
Aseania Resort Langkawi
This hotel in Pantai Tengah was pretty good. The rooms were nothing to
brag about (no English cable TV stations), and there was no bathtub
(and the shower hot water heater had to be turned on by an electrical
switch outside the bathroom), but the staff were very cordial &
helpful, food was above average, and it's conveniently located to the
airport and only a 5-minute walk from the beach.
Oh yeah, the swimming pool is an amazing 150 meters long.
While I'm on the subject of staying in a Langkawi hotel, I would be
remiss not to mention that if you are from Japan or America or any of
the other countries that use standard Type A, two-pronged
plugs for your electrical
appliances, if you want to recharge your camera, cell phone, PC, etc.
Malaysia, depending on your hotel, you may
need to bring an electrical plug adapter to work with the British-style
Type G, 240V, three-prong wall outlets they have in the Aseania
Resort and in most of Malaysia.
G, 240V wall outlet
The adapter plug below I picked up for around five bucks in Akihabara's
Town in Tokyo.
viewside view Type A to
Type G adapter plug
You can't go wrong with Langkawi food, especially if you like seafood.
It's freshly caught everyday in the Andaman Sea. Right next to the
Aseania Resort Langkawi is a good place called the Casablanca Seafood
Restaurant, which is famous for their golden spicy tiger
don't think I've ever seen shrimp that large.
Another good spot right on the main drag in Pantai Cenang is the Little
Mexican restaurant, which has open-air seating right next to the
sidewalk and is run by a very delightful foreign couple who've lived in
Langkawi for just 5 years.
The 2-story Sunday Bistro & Restaurant is another interesting
place, which was advertised in the Malaysia Airlines
in-flight magazine. It's on the main drag in Pantai Tengah and also
doubles as a souvenir shop, Buddhist museum, and nighttime bar.
Their courtyard has a group of cute little boy monks made from stone
and their menu includes sesame seed fried duck, homemade mango ice
cream, and Hawaiian prawns. Yum-yum. Please check out my pics of this
spot in my Langkawi photo album below.
I hope you enjoy my
Langkawi, Malaysia travel photos:
to view pics of my July 15-19, 2010 vacation to Langkawi.
(Not a slideshow person? View the entire photo set here.)
Langkawi, Malaysia Travel Videos
Video 1 - Underwater World (1/2)
Video 2 - Underwater World (2/2)
Video 3 - Langkawi Cable Car (departs from
the beautiful Oriental
Video 4 - Seven Wells (Telaga Tujuh) Waterfall
Video 5 - Malaysian Butterfly at Seven Wells Waterfall
Video 6 - Mangrove Forest River Cruise
Video 7 - Tengah Beach
Video 8 - Aseania Resort Langkawi
Video 9 - Imperial Seafood Restaurant, Cenang
Video 10 - Cave of Bats
Video 11 - Laser light show in front of the Cabin Resort Langkawi
Video 12 - Kuah Town night market food stalls
Video 13 - Arrival of the Sea Jet 2 at the Kuah Town ferry terminal
Video 14 - Eagle feeding, monkey feeding, & blowfish feeding
(all 14 videos are in a playlist and will play continuously, non-stop)
If you've ever wondered exactly where Langkawi is, it's in the Andaman
30 km (19 mi.) off the mainland coast of northwestern
its northern border with Thailand. It's also about 250 km (155 mi.)
southeast of Phuket and about 400 km (250 mi.) northwest of
To get a better feel for Langkawi's location in the Andaman Sea,
zoom out in the Google map below. Google Maps recently added the Google
Earth feature to their maps, which offers a very impressive 3D view if
you have Google Earth installed on your PC. Using GE's tilt &
rotate features, you can actually fly around Langkawi as if you were in
One big decision I struggled with before leaving Japan was whether it
would be a good idea to rent a car in Langkawi. I never really could
locate a good deal online, so I just decided to wait. As it turned out,
even though you can rent cars at the airport for less than 100 ringgit
(~$30) per day, taxis in Langkawi are abundant and very cheap.
A cross-island taxi ride from near the Aseania Resort Langkawi to the
Langkawi Cable Car cost only 26 ringgit ($8) and another cross-island
taxi ride from Kuah Town to the Aseania Resort cost only 22 ringgit
($7). Shorter taxi rides within local districts cost only between 6-10
So unless you're going to be doing a lot of long distance traveling
around the Langkawi main island, if you plan your trips wisely, I doubt
you'll need a car. Plus, you won't have to worry about parking.
One of the most delightful parts of this entire trip, even though the
flight time was long, was flying on Malaysia Airlines. Over the past 2
decades I've found all the Asian carriers to be highly professional
with first-class & very cordial service, even to economy class
passengers. And the Kuala Lumpur International Airport was one of the
most modern & efficient I've ever had the pleasure of traveling
In particular, I'd like to commend all the wonderful (and attractive!)
stewardesses & cabin crew who helped make the trip a joy. I believe
the pic below says
it all. Thank you, Malaysia Airlines !
Malaysia Airlines cabin crew
Please check in again soon to this Langkawi,
page as I
it in the future with more details on some of the other local
What a hidden treasure Langkawi is. I still can't believe I'd
never even heard of this place until a month or so before my
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