Don’t worry, Lankawai has the same stunning beaches as the rest of these islands. We just thought you might be tired of looking at white sand.
Located hard by the border with Thailand, Langkawi is part of the Malaysian state of Kedah, not Perlis which is in fact directly adjacent.
Famously, the Malaysia island was believed to have been cursed in 1819, when a woman named Mahsuri, was put to death for alleged adultery. Before she died, she uttered the words, “There shall be no peace and prosperity on this island for a period of seven generations.”
Two years later Langkawi fell to the invading Thais, with much of its population subsequently dying from starvation. The island was then indeed barren for a long time, before Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed –- the colossus of Malaysian politics who also built Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers and the Sepang F1 circuit -– decided to turn it into a resort island in 1986.
He declared it a duty-free island, and ever since then Langkawi’s growth has been nothing short of spectacular, with high-profile resorts dotting its sandy shores to make it a Malaysia holiday star.
The best way to take it all in is on the 2,200-meter-long cable car, which rises some 710 meters above sea level. Interestingly, Mahsuri’s husband and son moved to Phuket after the Thai invasion, and it was on that island that her seventh generation descendant was born –- in the year 1986. Coincidence?
Where to stay: They don’t come much more stylish –- or eclectic –- than Bon Ton, eight traditional Malay homes set in a former coconut plantation. Or there’s always the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi.
Getting there: Langkawi has by far the best flight connections of any Malaysian island, with dozens of daily flights to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang.