The Mystical Paradise
Langkawi island is separated from the far northwest coast of peninsular Malaysia by the Straits of Malacca.
This gorgeous cluster of 99 islands lies on the Andaman Sea, just south of Thailand. Langkawi, noted for its legends and beautiful views, is the most developed in the group. It has good beaches, abundant marine life and offers an idyllic retreat from the urban jungle. A duty-free port, this island of scenic, tranquil landscapes, has become a favorite destination for local and international visitors alike.
Langkawi is accessible by ferry from either Kuala Kedah (75 minutes) or Kuala Perlis (45 minutes). Ferries usually leave on the hour from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm. Both ferry terminals offer ample parking facilities at just RM5 per day.
Price: From USD $52.50
Set sail in the evening from Langkawi Island and witness the spectacular sight of a tropical sunset over the Andaman Sea.
On board a luxury yacht relax and take time to enjoy either Cocktails or Dinner served on board while soaking up the scenerary.
*Services provided by Aviator.
Your first glimpse of the island from the air reveals a tranquil hideaway with shimmering blue waters, sun kissed beaches and swaying casuarinas trees.
This tropical paradise's landscape is painted with miles and miles of white sandy beaches, marbled mountains, vast paddy fields and rural villages, secret caves, and pockets of virgin rainforests dating back millions of years. Langkawi is a feast for your eyes and your soul. There are lots of enjoyable activities that you can do during your stay in Langkawi.
Langkawi's limestone cliffs and caves are geological masterpieces, believed to be 500 million years old. The island is home to some of the oldest mangrove river swamps and ancient rainforests where rich flora and fauna abound.
This beautiful mystical island has its own legends and there are some fascinating stories connected to several tourist attractions.
Langkawi is warm and sunny all-year-round. Humidity is high and the annual average temperature is 25C - 32C. The island was named after two Malay words - "lang" (eagle) and "kawi" (reddish brown).
The islanders are Malay, Chinese, Indian and Thai descent and many still live a languid lifestyle, reminiscent of their ancestors. Islam is the dominant religion, although there is freedom of worship. The official language is Bahasa Melayu, but English is widely spoken.
History of Langkawi
The most famous story in Langkawi narrated from one generation to the next until it now became suspended between history and legend is the story of Mahsuri, the beautiful maiden who lives 200 years ago. She was wrongly accused of committing adultery and was sentenced to death. Her death is the core of the Langkawi most famous tale.
The story arises during the reign of Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah the Second (1762-1800), a man named Pandak Maya came to Langkawi seeking for his fortune. After eating some enchanted rice grains, his wife was soon blessed with a beautiful daughter, Mahsuri, who eventually married Mat Deris, the son of Langkawi chief. Her beauty let to jealous and wrongful accusations of adultery and Mahsuri was subsequently condemned to death.
During the execution at Padang Hangus, she was stabbed with a special Kris (Malay dagger), and witnesses claimed to see white blood gushing from her wound, as if to prove her innocence. Instantly, a mysterious mist shrouded the area. For the injustice done to her and her unborn child, Mahsuri laid a curse as she died - Langkawi was not to prosper for the next seven generations.
Only a few years after the Mahsuri's execution, the Siamese invaded Langkawi in 1821. In order to starve the enemy, Kato Kerma Jaya ordered the village's granary to be burnt. Even today, remnants of the burnt rice can be seen re-surfacing from the earth on rainy days at Kampong Raja in Padang Matsirat, the ancient capital. After this episode, the island fell into a period of obscurity and was beset by a series of smaller misfortunes.
Langkawi's development was slow up to the 1970s, when the population was still fewer than 2,000. In the mid 1980s (which is the end of the seventh generations!), the islands began to flourish with government plans to promote the archipelago as a tourist destination. Langkawi International Airport was built and more ferry services from Peninsular Malaysia were offered to cater the escalating number of tourists.
On 1 January 1987, the Federal Government declared Langkawi a duty-free port to further boosted the popularity of the islands. And in 1990, the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), which is housed in the LADA Complex, was created with a mission to further develop Langkawi as a tourist hotspot and to improve the socio-economics conditions of the local people.
On 13 January 1996, Malaysia saw the launching of MEASAT I into the earth's orbit. Langkawi was then chosen to house the MEASAT Satellite Control Center to monitor and control all MEASAT satellites in-orbit operation. The erection of the center at Gunung Raya, the highest peak of the island, brought Langkawi's name up further in the world map.
Today, Mahsuri's curse is believed to have been completely ended and the Mahsuri's Mausoleum was erected to honor her innocence. Also, the descendants of Mahsuri's family line were officially welcomed back to the island from Thailand in March 2001, by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Now, with its population of more than 60,000 Langkawi has become a venue for various international events and world meeting. Even so, Mahsuri's story is still told, retold and continue to live in almost every place you visit on this fabled island.
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