Officially known as the Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border.
En route back to Australia from London a few years back, I stopped over at Langkawi with my sister for a week. Admittedly, this trip was mainly about cocktails by the pool, sunning and sisters catching up, but there were a few activities I certainly wanted to recommend…
/ NIGHT STREET MARKETS
On any given day of the week, you will find a night market somewhere in Langkawi. There is a different and designated location for the market each day, and while night markets mean different things in different countries, here it is all about food – with the odd wallet or fake watch.
I really loved all of the food we ate while in Langkawi. Many of these dishes are served piping hot and at relatively reasonable prices – from grilled seafood and fried chicken to beef satay, nasi goreng and fresh fruit juices.
Popular for a wide array of Malay dishes, the markets are a great way to taste some authentic foods and feast your eyes on a rainbow of colors from the clothes, to the food itself, the table decorations and the village surroundings.
/ LAKE OF THE PREGNANT MAIDEN
While I’m not usually one for myths and legends, this is a story I found particularly interesting and memorable. Nestled in the valley of Dayang Bunting – the second largest of Langkawi’s cluster of 99 islands – lies Tasik Dayang Bunting, or what is commonly referred to as Lake of the Pregnant Maiden. A freshwater lake which was discovered when the surface of a large underwater limestone cave collapsed, and the name was coined as a result of a nearby bedrock which formed a figure resembling a pregnant woman. According to the locals, the lake has mystical powers and women who are having trouble conceiving a child would become fertile after taking a dip in the lake.
Bunting Island is about 17.6 kms away from Kuah Town towards south. From Pantai Tengah, it takes about 20 minutes to reach by a boat.
Once you reach the island (by boat) you climb your way through the forest, until you come to a long set of stairs which lead you down to the beautiful freshwater lake and its deep blue waters. Lie on the wooden boardwalk and soak up the sun – it’s all very lovely and relaxing…until one of the large tourist groups arrive!
Note: The monkeys you come across on the island are of the fierce variety!!