This tropical gem has a deserved reputation for iconic, palm-fringed beaches, dazzling white sand and sea warm enough to call a bath. Langkawi is an island that charms and intrigues, and its story can be discovered not far from your sun-lounger.
The sea is very much part of life here. It has provided a living for the islanders from fishing, and now it presents a luxurious diversion for tourists. Naam Cruises is perhaps the foremost leisure and watersports company on the island and it prides itself on its excellent reputation for both service and safety. The company specialises in nature adventures and high-end excursions including a popular dinner cruise which rocks the guest into a state of pampered calm while watching the sun set over tiny islands and slowly-reddening sea.
The staff are attentive and professional and the food offered on these evening cruises is excellent. There are wines and beers as well as refreshing non-alcoholic cocktails and soft drinks. The boat is spacious and luxurious and can be hired for private events. The crew will be able to tell you tales and legends of local princesses and warriors, and point out natural features and wildlife. This would be an ideal away-day for a group of family or friends who can have a trip especially tailored to their needs. The boat can be hired for overnight stays as it boasts several sumptuous en-suite cabins.
Dayang Bunting is the second largest island in Langkawi’s archipelago of 100 or so islands. It has one of the region’s best-loved attractions and is visited by both locals and tourists alike. The meaning of the name Dayang Bunting is ‘Island of Pregnant Lady’. But it’s the lake on the island that is the draw. It’s a large freshwater lake known as Lake Guillemard. It’s a hike to get to as it is surrounded by hills of dense rain forests.
Like all good islands this one has a legend. A man named Mat Teja fell in love with the Princess Mambang Sari when he met her by the lake. They eventually married and the princess gave birth to a son but he unfortunately died shortly after. They decided to lay their son in the lake to allow him a peaceful resting place. The grieving princess blessed all women having difficulty conceiving a child, praying that they would become fertile once they had immersed themselves in the magical waters of the lake. If one looks at the profile of the surrounding hills then one can see, exercising a little imagination, the silhouette of a reclining pregnant lady.
Take a dip from the pontoon
Visit here if you are reasonably fit and in no hurry. There are many steps so take your time and take some water. No alcohol is allowed and don’t take food as the ever-watchful monkeys will grab it along with your camera. This perhaps isn’t the excursion for the elderly or the very young as a baby buggy would never make it. But once there the cool waters will be refreshing. One can take a dip from the pontoon or can hire a pedalo and go exploring. This is a popular attraction but uncrowded, as there is plenty of space.
The lake and the surrounding area is part of the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park. This is one of the three geoparks of Langkawi with great limestone formations, marble outcrops and unique geological features. The park has several caves: in fact the lake itself has resulted from a large underwater cave, the roof of which collapsed and eventually filled with fresh water.
There is a tour that I can highly recommend with one particular company, at least. Dev’s Adventure Tours with Naturalist Khirien Kamarudin are exceptional. Take the Mangrove boat trip and you will see another aspect of this tropical paradise. Khirien will conduct you through ancient caves and will talk about the bats, the snakes, lizards, fish and those ubiquitous monkeys. He has respect for the environment, which is sometimes lacking in his counterparts from less professional companies.
There is so much to see here. The running commentary is fascinating and the younger members of the party will enjoy bird-spotting. Those birds will doubtless include the local brown eagle which is thought to have given Langkawi its name – Island of the Brown Eagle in Malay. There are wild dogs running between the trees, snakes hanging from branches (out of reach of the boat) and more monkeys.
Dev’s Adventure Tours with Khirien Kamarudin should not be missed. Take just a morning away from the sun-kissed sand and take a look at another face of Langkawi. You will return home with more than a tan – you will have an understanding of the eco-system of a treasure of an island and the kids will be talking about it till your next trip – for a next trip there will surely be.
I can highly recommend The Meritus Pelangi Beach Hotel and The Danna Hotel, as I have stayed in both. They offer the highest standards with service to match. Their locations are convenient and there is a host of trips to enjoy for those seeking a little gentle adventure, if you can tear yourself away from the pool or the sea.
Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa
Kedah Darul Aman
Phone: 60-4 952 8888
Fax: 60-4 952 8899
General Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Danna Hotel
Telaga Harbour Park
Phone: 604 959 3288
The Langkawi International Airport is one of 7 international airports in Malaysia and connects the island to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang and also Subang.
Travel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018