This post is part of a regular series of weekly “Ask Google? Ask Fairlie!” posts. Today I ask Google about Langkawi in Malaysia. I type the start of a question into Google and based on the Google auto-completion suggestions, I find out what most people are wanting to know. Then I answer those questions myself. Who needs Google when you can ask Fairlie?
Is Langkawi expensive?
Well, that all depends on what you’re looking for. As far as accommodation goes, a quick check of Expedia for some hypothetical dates over the Australian summer holidays reveals a range from AUD$17 per night for a room in the DSA Motel in the main town of Kuah, right through to AUD$840+ for a king room at the Four Seasons.
And I guess it also depends on what you’re comparing it to? The Tripadvisor TripIndex Island Sun 2013 report compared the costs of a short overnight trip to 20 popular South-East Asian island destinations (based on combined costs for two people on a one night stay in a four star hotel, a two course meal with coconut juice, beers, massages, rental of bicycles and snorkelling equipment) and Langkawi came up second most expensive (after Sentosa Island in Singapore).
Is Langkawi safe?
Again with the safety questions! Googlers are obviously a cautious bunch. Good for us! Better to be forewarned and forearmed. Apart from the usual personal security considerations a smart traveller should have about any travel destination, the main concerns I would have in Langkawi are about the monkeys and the beaches.
The monkeys have a reputation for the aggressive snatching of food. I’d be very wary about carrying any foodstuffs when monkeys are around.
The water at the beaches can be quite murky and full of debris – the amount of rubbish washed up onto the beaches each morning is quite horrifying. Plus, at certain times of year, there are stinging jellyfish. In the tropics, I like to sit by the beach, walk on the sands, admire the scenery, but swim in the hotel pool.
Is Langkawi Skybridge open?
In a word, no. The Skybridge (which was built in 2004), is a 125m long, curved suspended bridge built on top of the Machinchang mountain. To get to it, visitors take the SkyCab cable car to the top station, where the bridge is suspended from a 82m high single pylon and hangs 100m above ground. Constructing it was a major feat of engineering. The entire bridge was lifted to the top of Machinchang mountain (about 700m above sea level) by helicopter.
The bridge has been closed since July 2012. A report in The Malaysian Star newspaper quotes the Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz as saying, “The Ministry was informed by the engineers that it was too risky. We had a choice of keeping the bridge open and risking the lives of tourists or closing it. I rather we closed it.” The current word is that it will reopen in February 2015, but timelines have proven to be elastic in the past, so let’s just wait and see.
What is Langkawi…?
What is Langkawi island?
Langkawi, off the north-western coast of Malaysia is a archipelago of 99 islands, although at low tide that increases to 104. The largest of those islands is Langkawi Island (Pulau Langkawi) which is 478 sq km (about two-thirds the size of Singapore, but with relatively sparse development). The island is still largely rural, with scattered villages and rice paddy fields around the coastal fringes, while the interior of the island is mostly jungle. The main town is Kuah which has shops, restaurants, hotels, and is where the ferry terminal is. Kuah is not, in my opinion, the best place to stay as a tourist . You’re much better to look at all the beach resorts elsewhere on the island (most are around Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah). Langkawi has an international airport, with direct flights to and from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang and Kuching.
What is Langkawi famous for?
Langkawi Island was designated Southeast Asia’s first UNESCO Global Geopark. Tourists visit Langkawi for the beaches, resorts and to experience some of the eco-tourist activities around the Geopark and marine park. Langkawi has been a duty-free island since 1987, and is also the location for an number of festivals and events throughout the year.
What is Langkawi Geopark?
Global Geoparks are an initiative of UNESCO:
A Global Geopark is a unified area with geological heritage of international significance. Geoparks use that heritage to promote awareness of key issues facing society in the context of the dynamic planet we all live on.
The Langkawi Archipelago was declared a Geopark in 2007. What it means in practical terms is that tourism developments within Langkawi are encouraged to have a geo-tourism or educational focus. The Kilim Karst Geoforest Park tours are a good example of this. Geological heritage protection and sustainable regional development are also important aspects of a Global Geopark.
Click here to find all my previous post about Langkawi in one easy-to-access location.