After the manic shopping pace of Kuala Lumpur, the island of Langkawi offers a perfect respite of white sand beaches and cocktails by the pool.
Langkawi is actually an archipelago of 104 islands that dot the Andaman Sea just off northwestern Malaysia. The word Langkawi means reddish brown eagle – and you can spot the magnificent birds in nearby protected nature reserves.
The island was named as a World Geopark by UNESCO in 2007 – a well deserved given the beauty and breadth of such areas as the Kilim Karst GeoForest Park. Other popular parks are the Machincang Cambrian Geoforest and the Langkawi Geopark.
You’ll find some of Malaysia’ best beaches in Langkawi, along with diving, mangrove excursions, fishing, mountain climbing and sailing. Most of the islands are covered in rainforest. There are in fact, few buildings that are taller than a coconut tree.
The Panorama Langkawi Sky Cab is a huge tourist draw, giving riders a heart-stopping, steep descent to the peak of Machincang Mountain. The attraction is the steepest cable car in the word, with a peak gradient of 42 degrees.
An optimal place to stay on Langkawi is the Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa. The 117-room, four-star property is situated on a clean, sprawling beach.
Dawn and sunset walks are popular, when the sky colors to improbably hues. Rooms, depending on size, feature verandahs and outdoor rainforest showers. There are two swimming pools, two Jacuzzis and a spa with Malay, Thai and Balinese therapies. The Mentari Grill has outdoor seating near the pool with great views of the Andaman Sea.
The property was named among the top 25 Relaxation and Spa Hotels in Malaysia by the Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice, in 2012. Room rates are from US $190 for a deluxe room, $287 for beach villas, and $475 for suites.
Malaysia Airlines offers direct flights from LAX to Kuala Lumpur. Also, consider visiting Malaysia as part of a multi-country stop. Flights into Kuala Lumpur are fairly inexpensive from the nearby countries of Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.
Getting into Kuala Lumpur from the international airport is easy with the high-speed rail, KLIA Ekspres. The trip to central Kuala Lumpur takes 28 minutes with trains leaving every 15 to 20 minutes. Tickets are about $12.
Kula Lumpur’s hop on and hop off buses are a great way to see the city. They run from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Cost: $12.50 for one day; $21 for two days.
Peruse Malaysia’s official tourism site for more information on the country.