Langkawi is not a single island. It is a cluster of 99 islands on Andaman Sea in Malaysia and off the western coastline of Malaysia’s mainland. Actually there are five more small islands that remain submerged and can sometimes be seen during low tide. And most of these islands that comprise Langkawi are real tiny and uninhabited. The main island which is known as Pulau Langkawi is the largest of all and the entire Langkawi cluster has been named after this one. Most of the residents live on this main island and visitors arrive here.
Langkawi’s main symbol is a reddish brown eagle. Why? Because the word Langkawi has been derived out of two local words. ‘Lang’ which comes from the word ‘helang’ meaning Eagle, and the word ‘kawi’ stands for ‘reddish brown’. You can see plenty of reddish brown eagles in the island, particularly if you take a river cruise through the mangroves and limestone rocks, where you can even feed the eagles that swoop in as you throw small dead fish into the water. There is a huge majestic structure of reddish brown eagle that stands at the Eagle Square in Kuah town facing the waters, symbolizing langkawi’s deep connection with the birds.
Pulau in Malay (Malaysia language) means Island. So you will notice that all islands in Malaysia are prefixed by this word Pulau. While there are few other islands apart from the main one which are designated for tourists, only one other nearby island called Pulau Tuba which is inhabited by local residents. The population of Langkawi main island is about 75,000 and the total population is close to 110,000. Majority (about 70%) are Malays. There are also small percentages of Chinese, Indian and Thai population in the island.
Although Langkawi’s own resident population is small, around 3 million tourists visit the island annually.The main island Pulau Langkawi is only 25 kms (15.5 miles) from North to South by road, and a little more from East to West. So it does not take more than 40 minutes of drive to reach one end of the island from the other. The total covered area of all Langkawi islands together is about 478.5 square kms out of which the main island covers an area of 320 square kms. About 70% of the main island comprises of mountains, forests and natural vegetation.
In June 2007, Langkawi was accorded the World heritage Geopark status by UNESCO because of its stunning geological landscapes including caves, stacks, sea-arches, limestone rocks and millions of years old fossils. Langkawi was titled as “The Jewel of Kedah” in July 2008 by Sultan Abdul Halim to give an extra thrust to the island’s immense tourism potential. The capital of Langkawi is Kuah Town which is located at south eastern part of the main island. Langkawi is a duty free island, and a district of the state of Kedah in Malaysia.
The island of Langkawi can be reached by sea and air. The Langkawi Jetty Point connects the island to main destinations like Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah, Penang and Tamalang. There’s also ferry service to Satun town and to Ko Lipe island in Thailand.
From Langkawi, Malaysia the ferry operates from Langkawi to Ko Lipe or vice versa is on October until June. The departure/ arrival point in Langkawi is at Kuah Jetty, Langkawi and Telaga Harbour, Langkawi.The departure/ arrival point in Ko Lipe will dock at pattaya beach. As there is no pier in Ko Lipe, you may be transferred by local long tail boats to the beach. The journey takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The Langkawi International Airport is one of 7 international airports in Malaysia and connects the island to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang and also Subang. The main island is well-served by a number of roads.
There are several ways you can explore the island – by taxi, by rental car, by rental motorbike, scooter or a bicycle, and to a limited extent by bus.
Weather And Apparel
Langkawi receives more than 2,400 mm (94 in) of rain annually. Langkawi has a true dry season from December until February while March to November is a long raining season. September is the wettest month, when it normally receives more than 500 mm (20 in). You can easily get sunblock, swimming suit, sunglasses, cap and other acccesory here, the price is reasonable.