Langkawi is not a single large island. It is a cluster of 99 islands in Malaysian waters. Actually there are five more small islands that remain submerged and can sometimes be seen during low tide. And most of these islands that comprise Langkawi are real tiny and uninhabited.
The main island which is known as Pulau Langkawi is the largest of all and the entire Langkawi cluster has been named after this one. Most of the residents live on this main island and visitors arrive here.
Langkawi’s main symbol is a reddish brown eagle. Why? Because the word Langkawi has been derived out of two local words. ‘Lang’ which comes from the word ‘helang’ meaning Eagle, and the word ‘kawi’ stands for ‘reddish brown’. You can see plenty of reddish brown eagles in the island, particularly if you take a river cruise through the mangroves and limestone rocks, where you can even feed the eagles that swoop in as you throw small dead fish into the water. There is a huge majestic structure of reddish brown eagle that stands at the Eagle Square in Kuah town facing the waters, symbolizing langkawi’s deep connection with the birds.
Pulau in Malay (Malaysian language) means Island. So you will notice that all islands in Malaysia are prefixed by this word Pulau. While there are few other islands apart from the main one which are designated for tourists, only one other nearby island called Pulau Tuba which is inhabited by local residents. The population of Langkawi main island is about 65,000 and the total population is close to 99,000. Majority (about 70%) are Malays. There are also small percentages of Chinese, Indian and Thai population in the island.
The main island Pulau Langkawi is only 25 kms (15.5 miles) from North to South by road, and a little more from East to West. So it does not take more than 40 minutes of drive to reach one end of the island from the other. The total covered area of all Langkawi islands together is about 478.5 square kms out of which the main island covers an area of 320 square kms. About 70% of the main island comprises of mountains, forests and natural vegetation.
In June 2007, Langkawi was accorded the World heritage Geopark status by UNESCO because of its stunning geological landscapes including caves, stacks, sea-arches, limestone rocks and millions of years old fossils. Langkawi was titled as “The Jewel of Kedah” in July 2008 by Sultan Abdul Halim to give an extra thrust to the island’s immense tourism potential. The capital of Langkawi is Kuah Town which is located at south eastern part of the main island. Langkawi is a duty free island, and a district of the state of Kedah in Malaysia.
Getting to Langkawi:
There are several ways of reaching Langkawi – by air, by ferry and even by a cruise ship. You can also drive down or take a train up to a point in the north western coast line of Malaysia’s mainland and then take a short ferry to reach Langkawi. Find out all the details to reach the island by various modes of travel.
Langkawi Area Guide:
If you are not familiar with Langkawi, it can be hard to figure out which may be the right area for you, that is the location where you should look to stay. Some tourists prefer to stay close to a beach (but then which beach?), some like to shop around and dine, and others prefer to explore many island attractions and activities. This area guide will help you to understand the main areas in the island, their locations and what you may expect there. You can then drill down an area and find out the right hotel, restaurant etc in that location and get to know all the nearby attractions & activities.
Getting Around Langkawi :
There are several ways you can explore the island – by taxi, by rental car, by rental motorbike, scooter or a bicycle, and to a limited extent by bus. Find out the details and the mode of transport which is just right for you.
Local Food & Outlets:
Langkawi has adopted a wide range of Malaysian food as well as blends of Indian and Chinese cuisine. The island also has Kuih food & stalls that are popular for many different homemade desserts, sweets, cakes & cookies. Know about the great local food in Langkawi and the best places to get them.
Langkawi Events & Festivals: Know about all the events, festivals and other celebrations in the island including the time of the year when they take place. This is a great way of knowing the culture and heritage of the islanders.