We decided to reduce our travelling time by booking a flight to Langkawi, which takes just 35 minutes from George Town. Despite the short journey time, Rachael still managed to sleep through the entire flight.
Langkawi Island is the largest in a cluster of 99 islands that are located around 50km from the Malaysian mainland. As we made our approach into the island, we were treated to the sight of beautiful turquoise water and white sand beaches, which we couldn’t wait to get a closer look at.
After a short taxi journey, we arrived into the islands’s main resort town of Pantai Cenang. We had managed to time our visit not only with the Malaysian school holidays, but also with the LIMA ’19 Airshow. This is one of the largest such events in Asia, and meant the island was inundated with visitors.
Undeterred, we decided to go straight to the beach which surprisingly was almost completely empty. We found a nice spot on the waters edge, where we spent a few hours working on our tan. After complaining about the freezing ocean waters in Australia, we had the opposite problem here with a swim in the lukewarm water failing to cool us down.
As we returned to the beach later that evening, it was packed with holidaymakers and locals enjoying the slightly cooler temperature. Maybe the old adage about only mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun is true after all.
We took a short walk to The Cliff Restaurant, which has the perfect location on a rocky outcrop overlooking the beach. We picked some seats out on the wooden deck, and enjoyed some cocktails while waiting for the sun to set. It was beautiful to watch as sun slowly dipped behind the surrounding islands, and the sky changed to beautiful shades of orange and pink.
We were enjoying ourselves so much, we decided to stay for more drinks. Langkawi was designated as a duty-free island in 1987, in an attempt to lure tourists to the island. This means that even the fancier drinks are considerably cheaper than elsewhere in Malaysia, and we were sure to take full advantage.
We followed this will some street food from a nearby market, which was both delicious and extremely good value!
Despite the drinking, we were up early the following morning just in time for sunrise. We took a short walk to the beach which was again completely deserted, with the rest of the island apparently still sleeping.
With both of us keen to explore more of the island, we decided to take a taxi to the Oriental Village. The village is on the western side of the island and is home to the Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge, some of the islands most popular attractions.
We purchased some tickets before joining the queue for the Cable Car. After boarding one of the cars, we were soon rising high above the surrounding forest, and towards the Middle Station. The ride claims to be the steepest cable car in the world, and it certainly felt like it as we quickly climbed up the mountainside.
We disembarked at the Middle Station and wandered around several viewpoints, while admiring the impressive views across the island, with the thick forest only interrupted by beautiful white sand beaches.
We continued to the Top Station, which is located on the summit of Gunang Machinchang at an altitude of 708m. This is home to the Sky Bridge, which can be reached by either a short walk or on a funicular called SkyGlide.
The curved suspended bridge connects two summits, with large viewing platforms at either end. It is an impressive feat of engineering, and the views from the walking platform are stunning. There is also several glass-bottom sections of the walkway, where you can see the forest canopy far below.
After returning to the Top Station, we climbed a steep staircase to yet more viewing platforms, this time with great views from above the bridge. Despite the higher altitude, there was no respite from the heat, and we were soon looking for some shade to take cover in.
The Cable Car provided the perfect way to see more of Langakwi, and we returned to Pantai Cenang with an even greater appreciation of the islands beauty.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Hidden Beach House, which is located just a short walk from the town at Jalan Pantang Beach. The friendly water found us a table shaded by the huge palm trees, and we enjoyed some great food and drinks, while watching the world go by.
We found time for one final swim in the ocean, before checking out of our hostel and returning to the airport. It was time to say our goodbyes to Malaysia after a brilliant time travelling around the country. We hope to return for a second visit very soon, with lots of places we would still like to explore.