Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Langkawi Island (2008)

The breathtakingly beautiful Telaga Harbour. My photos didn't do it justice. Telaga means well in Malay.

Telaga Harbour Park. The Loaf (, the bakery bistro outlet which belongs to the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, is here facing the picturesque marina. See those white canopies? They belong to The Loaf. What a view! Now I can say I've been to both outlets.

Telaga Harbour

You didn't think I left the island without any purchase at The Loaf (, did you? I love Tun's Favourite breakfast set, loaves, financier and madeleines.

A brief shopping trip with my family on the beautiful duty–free island of Langkawi on Tuesday, 23 September 2008.

Langkawi Island is located less than an hour away by ferry from where we live. We skipped the usual tourist attractions during this short trip as we've been to this island several times.

Don't miss the cable car ride, and do visit Telaga Harbour Park, Langkawi Crystaal (that's how it's spelled) – the local handmade crystal factory, Sungai Kilim Nature Park (of Kilim Karst Geoforest) and Pulau Singa Besar. Pulau Singa Besar is a wildlife sanctuary for monkeys, deer, snakes, lizards and birds. The island is also rich in unique rock formations and mangrove plants.

If you're looking for a reclusive beach retreat, go to beaches like Pantai Pasir Hitam, Pantai Pasir Tengkorak, Teluk Datai, Teluk Ewa and Teluk Yu. Avoid Pantai Cenang and Tanjung Rhu at all costs.

A bit about Langkawi for the uninitiated:

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands (some say 101) in the Andaman Sea lying off the north–western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, some 30km from the mainland of Malaysia's Kedah state. Langkawi is itself a district of Kedah under the same name. The main island, popularly known by the locals as Pulau Langkawi, is by far the largest of the islands with Kuah as the island group's main town and district capital.

The name 'Langkawi' is believed to be related to the kingdom of Langkasuka, itself a version of the Malay "negeri alang–kah suka" ("the land of all one's wishes"), centred in modern–day Kedah. The historical record is sparse, but a Chinese Liang Dynasty record (c.500 AD) refers to the kingdom of 'Langgasu' as being founded in the 1st. century AD.

Langkawi eventually came under the influence of the Sultanate of Kedah, but Kedah was conquered in 1821 by Siam and Langkawi along with it. The Anglo–Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred power to the British, which held the state until independence, except for a brief period of Thai rule under the Japanese occupation of Malaya during World War II.

'Langkawi' means Eagle Island, it may be noted, and indeed there is a great abundance of eagles in the area. ‘Kawi’ is marble in Sanskrit (the island is also known for its marble). In Kuah, there is a huge eagle monument in Eagle Square which commemorates the origin of Langkawi's name.


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