Pulau Dayang Bunting, Langkawi. Image courtesy of Tourism Malaysia.
The jawdropping diversity of Langkawi is hard to take in in a single day, so you'll have to dedicate the better part of a week to explore everything about this archipelago off Kedah state.
With 99 islands in Langkawi, an island-hopping tour should be part of your itinerary. A typical four-hour island-hopping package includes such Langkawi highlights as Pulau Beras Basah, a bucolic forest island fringed with paradisiacal beaches; and Pulau Dayang Bunting, an island with a legendary lake that supposedly bestows fertility on barren women.
Pulau Payar Marine Park just southeast of Langkawi is reputed to be the best dive site on this side of peninsular Malaysia. From a floating platform off Pulau Payar island, you can proceed to a snorkeling or scuba-diving adventure amidst the local coral reefs.
Gunung Mat Chincang rises over 700 metres above sea level, its peak easily accessible by cable car. The bird's-eye view of the island from the top encompasses Langkawi's waterfalls and unspoiled forests, stretching out as far as Thailand and Indonesia. At the very top, the Langkawi Sky Bridge, a 125-metre (410 ft) curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge, allows you to take in the surroundings at leisure, with nothing between you and the view.
The mangrove-lined riversides of Kilim Nature Park take you directly into Langkawi's richest marine environments. After a boat ride down Kilim's winding river route, you'll stop to feed the eagles that populate the park in great numbers before proceeding to the Andaman Sea through a narrow opening in a limestone cliff.
Langkawi is one of Malaysia's few duty-free areas, and the shopping scene around Kuah Jetty is crowded with giant malls and standalone shops with unbeatable deals. If you're less about the shopping and more about the adrenaline, go to Pantai Cenang for watersports like jetskiing and parasailing.
Image courtesy of Tourism Malaysia.
The Langkawi Sky Bridge on Gunung Mat Chincang, Langkawi. Image courtesy of Tourism Malaysia.
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For other Southeast Asia beaches you can visit, explore the Philippines' El Nido, Myanmar's Ngapali Beach, Indonesia's cruise from Bali to Flores islands, and the luxury experiences in Phuket, Thailand.
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