Home to a diversity of amazing landscapes, rainforests, mountains, beaches and rivers; South East Asia is a culturally diverse region where hundreds of languages and dialects can sometimes be found in a single country and all of the major world religions are practiced alongside many indigenous beliefs. Discover bustling cities, remote hilltop villages, rickshaws, rice fields, bicycles, temples, sample the local cuisine at small markets knowing that countless locals will welcome you along your journey throughout the region.
Langkawi is a great starting point for your sailing adventure with natural white sand beaches, lush jungle foliage and craggy mountain peaks, the island has been called Malaysia's best-kept secret. Before you head off to explore the neighboring islands make sure you don’t miss out on some of the top spots on the island.
Temurun Waterfall on the northwestern part of the island is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world and is at its most spectacular from June to December. Underwater World is one of the largest marine and freshwater aquariums in Asia featuring over 5,000 varieties of fish and other exhibits from 500 species displayed in over 100 tanks. Rice cultivation is the oldest industry in Malaysia with paddy fields visible everywhere on Langkawi. If you have ever wondered how paddy is cultivated, take a visit to the Rice Museum. The popular hot springs spot of Air Hangat Village include a three-tier hot spring fountain and an 18-metre long hand carved stone mural. Souvenir shops offer visitors a combination of spa and cultural experiences. Langkawi is also famous for its duty free shopping and its good quality and yet inexpensive handcrafts. Arts and culture lovers will appreciate a visit to the Batik Art Village and the Ibrahim Hussein Museum and Cultural Foundation is a modern and fine arts museum worthy of international attention. (www.ihmcf.org)
If you want to experience culture, take a ferry to Penang for an evening in historic Georgetown. As in most other Asian countries, the local food is somewhat spicy. However, being a melting pot of different cultures, you can easily find a wide variety of Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine that abounds at almost every street corner. Penang is well known as the "food haven" for Malaysia as one can find many food stalls all over Malaysia as Penang this or Penang that.
Sitting south of Langkawi is a group of four islands, Pulau Dayang Bunting, Pulau Tuba, Pulau Singa Besar and Pulau Beras Basah. The islands offer impressive and unique landscapes, mangroves, and of course magnificent beaches with warm emerald waters.
Pulau Dayang Bunting - The Island of the Pregnant Maiden
It is the second largest island in the archipelago and unique because of the freshwater lake nestled within its core. A place for day-trippers to cool themselves in the clean, emerald waters, it is said that the magical powers of the water can help childless couples conceive and many come to the lake for such a reason.
Pulau Singa Besar - The lion Island
To the west of Pulau Dayang Bunting is Pulau Singa Besar. Converted into a wildlife sanctuary, walking round the island takes eight hours or so, but visitors may get a chance to see some of the local wildlife such as monitor lizards, macaques, deer and the timid mouse deer. With the high humidity and ancient fauna you could almost be walking through forests that dinosaurs did over 60 million years ago. If you're a keen birdwatcher, bring a pair of binoculars and some patience and you won't regret it.
Pulau Tuba is the only other inhabited island in the archipelago. A traditional fishing village stands on the island and the locals have retained their old livelihood of fishing and processing catch.
Pulau Beras Basah - Wet Rice Island
This island is a favorite for those who like to do a spot of swimming and sunbathing, however please remember this is a Muslim country so don’t go too skimpy on public beaches. More than 90 islands and islets surround the main island of Langkawi, North West of the Malaysian coast. It’s a unique paradise in the South East of Asia, having a geological history of more than 500 million years.