Pulau Langkawi: Heaven Island
Every year over 2 million tourists choose to spend their holidays in the Heaven Island of Langkawi… so how could I miss out?
Langkawi is a big island in the Archipelago of Malaysia (Pulau in the local language means Island) on the Andaman Sea: the archipelago counts 104 islands, of which only 2 are inhabited, one of them being Langkawi! The island received the Global Geopark status by UNESCO in 2007 for its diverse and astounding geological heritage.
In all honesty I didn’t know Langkawi was a Heaven Island, so popular! It looks like in the recent few years an increasing number of Indians and Southeast Asians are choosing its heavenly beaches for celebrating marriages, Bollywood style, and in general to spend their holidays.
I can confirm that without any doubt! I realized it just as soon as I arrived to the pier of Penang, where I had to wait the ferry to reach the Heaven Island of Langkawi: I was surrounded by ordes of youngsters heading to Langkawi to celebrate New Year’s Eve in this beautiful spot.
I was with my friend Keith, and we were coming from the fascinating town of Georgetown. Over there, we had been chatting with locals who were magnifying the beauty of Langkawi: what a better place to spend a few days over New Year’s Day, we thought? As you know I am a backpacker, and as a good backpacker I tend not to book anywhere in advance!
Oh well, in this case I think I should have done that We arrived by boat in Kuah, the largest town of the island, in the early hours of the New Year’s Eve morning. From there it is an easy ride by bus the touristic areas of Pantai Tengah and Pantai Cenang, in the southwestern corner of the island.
Once arrived, we started to ask all the (many!) resorts along the beach if they had availability for the night…. and, to our disbelief, all of them were full! We started to ask around to as many guesthouses as we could, even much further from the center of the action, for available rooms… It took a good couple of hours of walk under the hot sun (it was sunny, no clouds around, and the temperature was soaring up to over 30 degrees) to find a guesthouse that still had free rooms! It was such a hard find, but hey ho we finally did
We quickly learnt that the Heaven Island of Langkawi had been chosen as the favourite spot of Malay people to spend their New Year holiday! No wonder why: the place is absolutely stunning! The main beach, which connects both Pantai Tengah and Pantai Cenang, is a beautiful long bay of white, crispy sand, very popular with travellers and party animals!
And that is exactly where the action is: the beautiful log bay was the perfect set for the celebration of New Year’s eve, that started as soon as the sunset went down, until soon after midnight… I was actually surprised it didn’t go further. But, being Malaysia predominantly a Muslim country, it easy to understand. And, despite the country being more and more under the western influence, with many youngsters starting to be alcohol-friendly, consumption of beer and spirits in public was very low. So, it was very hard to find alcohol on sale: I had the first New Year’s Eve of my life Booze free
We spent on Langkawi the very first day of the years, relaxing on its sandy beaches, and enjoying the marvels this heaven island had to offer. The highlight of my day? Sipping a coconut drink at sunset, while overlooking the stunning sunsets over the ocean!
From Cenang Bay there are plenty of offers of tours around the islands and to the close islands. We were delighted to choose a couple of them.
We enjoyed a full afternoon trip to Dayang Bunting, an island featuring an amazing lake! Its name, Dayang Bunting, means the Pregnant Maiden, because, according to the legend, it was the favorite bathing pool of a celestial princess named Mambang Sari, who left the body of her small child (dead for illness at only 7 year’s old) to go back to heaven… see? I told you all the area around Lagkawi is heavenly? To have a dip into the fresh water of the lake is a refreshing sport. Plenty of monkeys, living in the caves surrounding the lake, love it too!
In general the tours leaving from Patang Cenang bring you to explore not only the surrounding islands (sometimes the most exciting highlight being to feed sea eagles, not a very environment-friendly activity), but also the beautiful beaches in the northern part of the island: don’t miss out! In particular, the best one in my opinion is Pantai Datai, arguably the cleanest beach of the island. You can get there by car, but possibly the best way is to arrive by boat, as we did. It is usually the last stop of a island hopping tour, just before getting back to Patai Cenang Bay.
Do you need any other reasons to visit the Heaven Island of Langkawi? If you are still in doubt, feel free to drop me a line! I will be more than happy to tell you more about the island, and, of you wish, to guide you around!
Date of Last Visit: January 2016