On the northwestern shore of Malaysia
is the archipelago of the Langkawi islands. Situated just
where the Indian Ocean narrows down into the Straits of
Melaka, it was once a haven for pirates. Today it serves as
a retreat for visitors near and far.
Nestled against a dramatic backdrop of mountains are ancient
lakes and forests, waterfalls and beaches, all of which
enhance the wonder that is Langkawi. Blessed with a balmy
climate that promises warm temperatures throughout the year,
it beckons visitors seeking escape from day to day life.
The archipelago of Langkawi contains 99 islands awaiting
discovery and that is when the tide is high! At low tide,
the islands can number as many as 104. Sanctuary of some of
the most ancient rainforests in the world, they are teeming
with exotic flora and fauna.
The largest island of Langkawi itself, measuring about 478.5
sq km, is the only one with any real settlement. Almost as
large as the island of Singapore, it is still very much
undeveloped. Clad with jungles in the interior, it is
fringed bylovely beaches scattered along its coast. The
island is still very much a rural landscape with villages
and padi fields. The island is steeped in legend, the
favorite being the one of Mahsuri.
Most of the development is in the main town of Kuah and in
isolated beach resorts around the coast. The airport is
located on this island as well hotel resorts, restaurants
The two main beaches, Pantai Cenang and Pantai Kok, are on
the island's western coast, with Pantai Cenang being the
most popular as the venue for hotels and restaurants. Dotted
along the northern coast are the more luxurious resorts.
There is a hospital as well as various private clinics in
and around Kuah town.
Most of the hotels and numerous camera shops in Kuah sell
and develop film. You can purchase the latest cameras at
Police and the Law
The police station headquarters is located in Kuah. There
are police stations in all the districts.
The official religion of Malaysia is Islam but there is
freedom of worship. Visit the Al-Hana Mosque and view the
intricate designs from Uzbekistan
Bahasa Malaysia is the official language but English is
widely spoken and understood.
There are good telephone communications throughout the
island with phone booths operated bydifferent companies
which either accept coins or phone cards. International
calls can be direct-dialled from private phones, some public
phone booths using a phone card and Telekom offices. The
access code for making international calls from Malaysia 00.
For more information, dial 103.
Tipping is not mandatory but is widely practised. RM2-RM5.
Tourist Information Centers
Please contact Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board for tourist
Website : http://tourism.gov.my
Tap water is safe for drinking in Malaysia. Hotels usually
provide bottled water for guests in their
Langkawi has its weekend on Thursdays and Fridays. However,
businesses and commercial enterprises normally operate
throughout Thursdays and close on Fridays. The official
start of the week is on Saturday.
Money can be changed at most hotels, banks and at the
airport. Banks and moneychangers are located at Kuah town,
with banks being open from 0930 am to 0330 pm. On Thrusdays,
they are open from 0930 am to 1200 noon. Friday is the day
off for the state of Kedah
Malaysia currency is in Ringgit (RM) and sen. Most
establishments accept major travellers' cheques and credit
cards. The exchange rate for US dollars is fixed at RM3.80 =
A resident/non-resident is permitted to carry into and out
of Malaysia, ringgit notes not exceeding RM1,000. A resident
is permitted to carry out of Malaysia foreign currency
including traveler's cheques not exceeding RM10,000. A
non-resident is permitted to carry out of Malaysia foreign
currency including traveler's cheques not exceeding the
amount brought in. Should you need to carry currency in
excess of the permitted limits, please obtain prior written
permission from :
Exchange Control Department
Bank Negara Malaysia
Tel : 603-291 0772/ 290 7353/ 290 7354/ 290 7780
Fax : 603-293 7732
Langkawi is a duty-free port, hence hotel tariffs and retail
goods are exempted from government duty.
Visitors to Malaysia are advised that the trafficking of
drugs in the country is an offence punishable bythe death penalty.
Malaysian electricity voltage is on a 240 volt 50-cycle
The only vaccination requirements are yellow fever for those
from infected areas. Cholera, smallpox
and malaria have largely been eliminated.
Citizens from the following countries are required to have a
visa to visit Malaysia : North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and the
People's Republic of China. Nationals other than those
stated are allowed to enter Malaysia without a visa for a
visit not exceeding one month. However, it is recommended
that visa enquiries are made at the Malaysian embassy or
Malaysian consulate closest to you, as regulations are
subject to change.
Langkawi is a cluster of 99
islands separated from mainland Malaysia bythe Straits of
Malacca, it is a district of the state of Kedah in Northern
Malaysia and lies approximately 51km west of Kedah. The
location of these tropical islands is where the Straits of
Malacca meet the waters of the Andaman Seas.
The main tourist attractions of Langkawi Island are its
virgin white sandy beaches. The beaches have a very gentle
continental slope and the water is crystal clear. Langkawi
Island has many legends and myths associated with it and is
therefore also called Pulau Lagenda ( Legendary Island ).
What to See
The most famous of Langkawi legends is the Curse of Mahsuri.
Mahsuri was a beautiful maiden of Muslim Siamese descent. As
with admiration in some, there will always be jealousy
evoked in others. Mahsuri's mother-in-law was insanely
jealous of her beauty and popularity. She took the
opportunity one day to rid Mahsuri as she accused her of
adultery during the absence of her husband who had gone off
to war. Adultery bylocal law was a sin punishable bydeath.
Mahsuri was executed in public. As she pleaded for her
innocence, the executioner plunged a 'keris' or dagger into
her. To their surprise, Mahsuri's blood trickled white which
signified that she was innocent but little could be done for
The Field of Burnt Rice
Soon after Mahsuri's premature death, the formidable Siamese
army made an attack on the island. In desperation, the chief
ordered the granary to be burnt down to prevent the storage
of rice from falling into Siamese hands. The remnants of
burnt rice can still be seen at this spot known as the Field
of Burnt Rice especially after a heavy downfall that washes
out the odd blackened grain or so. The curse is believed to
have been the cause of the island's lack of development
which lasted until the birth in 1980 of Aishah Nawawi, a
direct descendant of Mahsuri, after seven generations.
The main attractions on the island are the long stretches of
white sandy beaches. The most frequented and condensed
beaches are in the south-western part of the island. Pantai
Cenang, is the liveliest place to be and is about 18Km from
Kuah town. There is accommodation that suit all types of
travel budgets from A-hut chalets to international resorts
such as the Pelangi Beach Resort, an ever popular and
Here sits the Oriental Village where visitors to the island
can do a bit of shopping especially for branded products.
The village also offers a variety of cuisine for their
visitors. Thai, Malay and Chinese restaurants gives a good
introduction to the local delicacies found in Malaysia.
For others who prefer a more adventurous introduction to the
islands, a 3-hour boat trip around the mangrove swamps and
nearby islands is a good start. Not too strenuous and not
too commercial..at least not for now anyway. We begin our
trip at Tanjung Rhu, a beautiful secluded bay of white sand
on the northeastern tip of the island. Casuarina trees line
the beach, caressed bythe gentle breeze blowing in from the
vast Indian Ocean. The exclusive Tanjung Rhu Resort, set on
its edge is the only resort on this bay and is ideal for
some time away to relax and be thoroughly pampered.
Langkawi islands are blessed with an
intriguing heritage of fabulous myths and legends of ogres
and gigantic birds, warriors and fairy princesses, battles
and romance. Langkawi is famously known as a 'legendary
island' and a good place must see.
Langkawi offers a wide range of accommodation to suit every
budget and taste. For example, Tanjung Rhu Resort, Berjaya
Beach and Spa Resort, Awana Porto Malai, Langkasuka Hotel
and Langkawi Chalet.
Besides that, Langkawi is a duty-free shopping haven
offering an attractive range of local and imported goods.
Samudra Duty Free Department Store and Langkawi Duty Free
sell a range of duty free items and imported kitchenware and
household appliances, clothing, luggage, perfumes and
fragrances, cosmetics, liquor, cigarettes and chocolates.
Langkawi is great island place for relaxation. I loved to
see the sunset at the beautiful and fantastic sandy beaches,
with crabs and fishes. Pantai Cenang and Burau Bay are among
Langkawi beaches, which offer carefree sun-filled days and
quiet evening strolls. The crystal clear water brings much
cheer. A wide of exciting water-sports provide fun. Diving
and snorkeling are popular activities.
Galeri Perdana houses an impressive collection of state
gifts and awards presented to our former Prime Minister of
Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr Siti
Hasmah bt Mohd Ali.
Underwater World Langkawi is a marine showcase features more
than 5000 types of marine life. There is a 15-metre tunnel
for visitors to walk through and enjoy a spectacular view of
the exhibits. This is a unique fascination, which allows you
the pleasure and opportunity of appreciating marine life
without getting wet.
In conclusion, I must say that Langkawi is a "must See"
place and you won't regret visiting.
The legends continue
If you visualise the rocks formed prior to the legends took
place, perhaps you should say the rock formed the legends.
The legends told from the rock; how the geology of Langkawi
was formed 500 million years ago, where the oldest rock in
Langkawi found exposed as Machinchang Mountain or locally
known as Gunung Mat Cincang. The humanlike profile of rock
formation that resembles a man. Legend said this was the
remnant of a giant turned mountain. The geology this was
formed bysedimentary rock comprises of mainly sandstone at
a paleo riverive delta and uplifted byearth tectonic
Do you know that "A large pot of gravy (kuah) was broken and
the contents flowed onto the ground. Where the gravy spilt,
became know as Kuah (the largest town on Langkawi island)
and where the crockery (belanga) was broken (pecah) was
location of the village Kampung Belanga Pecah (belaga pecah
means broken crockery). The gravy seep in (kisap) through
the land at the village named Kisap." The Kisap in geology
context is a major fault that the brittle rock fractured or
crushed bytectonic, known bygeologist as Kisap Fault. The
extent of highly fractured rock covers Belanga Pecah where
you can find the 'broken cooking pots' like crushed rocks,
and also Telaga Ayer Hangat (hotspring), it is believe the
hot water spring seeps out from the very deep underground
carrying the heat from the earth.
Langkawi Main Attractions:
Nature sightseeing on the islands
There are approximately 200 species of birds recorded on
Langkawi. Among them are 20 species of birds of prey
(including White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite,
Changeable Hawk-eagle, Jerdon's Baza and Mountain
Hawk-eagle), seven species of kingfishers (including the
Brown-winged, Black-capped and Collared), five species of
wild pigeons (including the endangered Large Green,
Pink-necked green and Thick-billed green), five species of
sunbirds (including the Ruby-cheeked and Crimson) and
several flower peckers (including the Scarlet-backed and
Orange-bellied). The best time of the year for bird watching
is between the months of November to April during the
northern hemisphere's migratory season. Found around Cenang
rice fields and the area in front of Bon Ton Resort and
Restaurant, foothills of Gunung Raya and Gunung Machinchang,
the mangroves between the Mutiara Burau Bay and Berjaya
Resorts, and Sungai Kisap and Sungai Kilim Mangrove Reserves
on the northern coast.
Langkawi is home to many interesting fauna including some
very bizarre ones. There are four species of primates
including the long-tailed Macaque, Dusky-leaf Monkey, Slow
Loris and the world's only gliding monkey. The Colugo
(Flying Lemur). Here too you can come across the orld's
smallest deer, the Mousedeer, Giant Squirrels, Flying foxes,
Civer Cats and the Pangolin.
Langkawi is home to many caves. The four most noted ones
Gua Pasir Dagang The cave on the northwest side of Pulau
Dayang Bunting is home to many cave dwellers such as bats.
Access is byboat, then foot. Gua Cerita Located on
Langkawi's northeast coast, this cave is accessible byboat
and often included in the itinerary of mangrove tours that
operate from Tanjung Rhu to Sungai Kisap Forest Reserve.
Access is via a beach and a short flight of steps. Gua
Landak Located a short distance from the Sheraton Perdana
Resort in Kuah, this cave is easily accessible byfoot. Gua
Kelawar Located in the mangroves of Sungai Kilim and is
usually bundled in the mangrove tour package.
4. CORAL REEFS
While there are some coral reefs around the main islands,
the most developed dive and snorkelling site offering the
best visibility is the Pulau Payar Marine Park, located
about an hour's boat ride to the south of Langkawi.
Organised day trips operate regularly to the park.
5. GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS
The island's geological make up forms the basis of the flora
of the islands. Most of the outer islands are limestone and
marble while the main island comprises ancient sandstone
formations and granite intrusions. Gunung Machinchang The
mountain is one of the oldest rock formations in Southeast
Asia. To experience it, take an exhilirating ride on the
Langkawi Cable Car over the forest canopy and up the
mountain's escarpment to the summit at 713m. Observe the 550
million year old sandstone outcrops, the mountain flora and
birdlife. Look out for the world's smallest orchid as well
as pitcher plants. There are several walks between stations
to allow a closer look at the rocks and vegeration. Gunung
Raya Langkawi's highest peak at 880m is reached via a
winding 13km toll road (50 sen) that passes through
fascinating forests supporting a wide variety of fauna.
Hornbills and birds of prey are common sights. Make a stop
at several points and observe the forest from the canopy
level. Look, listen and be one with the denizens of this
environ. The mountain is a gigantic batholith formed about
230 million years ago, deep beneath the surface of the
earth.Plate tectonic movements have pushed it to the
surface. Limestone Coast The north, northeast coast and
islands as far down as Pulau Tuba are predominantly
limestone, approximately 400 million years old. Many endemic
plants are found here and tall 'palm-like' plants called
cycads grow from within cracks in the limestone. The outer
islands are the best for seeing both the rocks and limestone
vegetation. Rocky outcrops form an amazing sight especially
along the uninhabited northern and eastern coastlines.
Visitors need to hire a boat from Tanjung Rhu, Kilim or Kuah
to explore these areas. The legendary Tasik Dayang Bunting
(Lake of the Pregnant Maiden) is a beautiful freshwater lake
located on limestone within the rainforest. It is Langkawi's
largest lake and is separated from the sea bya thin rock
wall. Walk through the forests and paddle or swim in the
Mangrove observation can be experienced at several forest
reserves - Sungai Air Hangat, Sungai Kilim, Sungai Kisap and
the Tuba Straits between Pulau Tuba and Pulau Dayang
Bunting. Mangroves act as a nurturing area for fish as well
as providing habitat for birdlife, reptiles and primates.
Langkawi limestone are the only ones in Malaysia that are
embedded in limestone. Small boat cruises bring visitors
close to the fascinating vegetation and wildlife that the
mangrove support. Tours include visits to limestone caves
and the chance to see eagles feeding on marine life. Book
your tours through hotel recreation desks, or go to the
jetties at Tanjung Rhu and Sungai Kilim (for Sungai Kilim
Mangrove) and Kuah Jetty for the Tuba Straits managrove.
Malaysia has the world's oldest original rainforests. Within
Langkawi there are several areas of interest, but the use of
naturalists who know the trails and the flora and fauna is
recommended. (A) Foothills of Gunung Macincang - Datai side.
(B) Telaga Tujuh (C) Peak of Gunung Macincang (D) Gunung
Raya (E) Durian Perangin Waterfall (F) Lubuk Semilang (site
of the former Book Village).
Telaga Tujuh Experience this beautiful area with its
refreshing cascades of mountain water that flow into seven
rocky natural pools, hence the name, Seven Wells. Located at
the foot of Gunung Macincang, the trail's concrete steps
that traverses mature rainforest is rather steep. Beware of
monkeys. When you encounter them just dont taunt them or
bare your teeth as they often take this as unfriendly and
aggressive. After the first level, proceed further into the
forest byfollowing the stream and find yourself secluded
pools to lay back and relax after a hard climb. Try to steer
away from the edge of the falls as these are often slippery
and treacherous. Temurun Waterfall The falls are located
just off the road to Datai Bay in a scenic rainforest
setting. Its just a short walk to enjoy Langkawi's tallest
waterfall. Best viewed during the rainy season. Durian
Perangin Waterfall A series of small cascading pools on the
edge of an orchard. Accessible bycar from the main road.
Tasik Dayang Bunting
One version has it that Dayang Bunting was a giant guardian
spirit that kept watch over the islands. The lady's defenses
include her pet lion and poison from the tuba root, potent
weapons for her protection. Hence, the two islands closest
to Pulau Dayang Bunting. As you approaching the island, the
silhoutte resembles that of a reclined pregnant giant, are
named Pulau Singa Besar (Great Lion Island) and Pulau Tuba
(Poisonous Root Island).
The story goes that, a group of rude merchants failed to pay
the obligatory respects to Dayang Bunting as they passed bythe islands. Rudely awakened bythe intrusion, she summoned
her pet lion to despatch the trespassers. She roused the
spirits of wind and water, stirring up a tropical storm that
unleashed its fury on the incoming fleet of sailors.
The howling winds and tossing waves threw and dashed vessels
on Pulau Jong (Junk Island), hence the remains of wrecked
vessels. In the stormy affair, a cargo of black and white
water buffaloes escaped to Pulau Gubang Darat (Land Stable
Island) and Pulau Gubang Laut (Sea Stable Island) while the
white buffaloes sheltered at Pulau Balar (White Water
Buffalo Island). Yet other boats, laden with rice, was
stranded at Pulau Beras Basah (Wet Rice Island).
Legends and more
Legends may and may be not have faded over the years, many
attractions on the island serve to remind us of them. These
include Gua Langsiar (cave of the banshee), Telaga Tujuh
(seven wells) waterfall, Pantai Pasir Tengkorak (skull
beach) and Pulau Beras Basah (island of wet rice grains).
The Seven Wells or Telaga Tujuh are actuarially a series of
seven pools, one after the other on the face of a hill.
It tells of fairies who delight in bathing in the cool
waters which are supposed to possess soothing healing
properties. A mountain prince who once lived near the wells
tried to capture one of these fairy maidens, but until
today, they have remained elusive.
It is believed that the unique lime trees and the sintuk, a
climbing plant which has large pods, that grow around the
pools were left behind bythe fairies and locals who visit
the Telaga Tujuh waterfalls often use them to wash their
hair in order to cleanse themselves of bad luck.
Pasir Tengkorak (Beach of Skull)
A rather eerie legend shadows this lovely secluded little
locals believe that a a sea demon or in some cases a giant
whirlpool awaits unwary ships just off the Langkawi
islands--at the spot where the Straits of Malacca join the
Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea.
The demon/ whirlpool is said to have swallowed countless
number of vessels and deposited the skulls of the crew and
passengers at Pantai Tengkorak.
The bone fragments of ancient mariners were found scattered
at Tanjung Tulang, while parts of the ships washed up on
Pantai Pasir Hitam.
As a result, mineral deposits of tourmaline, ilmenite and
zircon have caused the sands to be black in the Beach Of
Black Sand while the Beach of Skulls is littered with
Pulau Kentut (Islands of Farts)
In another story, a prince once ate half cooked rice during
a wedding feast.
He suffered indigestion and farted at two spots now known as
Pulau Kentut Besar (big Fart Island) and Pulau Kentut Kecil
(small Fart Island)!
Burnt Rice Beach
A few years after Mahsuri's premature death, the formidable
Siamese army made an attack on the island in 1821. In
desperation, the chief Dato' Karma Jaya ordered the granary
to be burnt down to prevent the storage of rice from falling
into Siamese hands. Kampong Raja at Padang Matsirat was the
ancient capital of Langkawi, where the island's rice granary
was located there. The remnants of dark grainy sand (burnt
rice) can still be seen at this beach known as the Burnt
Rice (beach) in Pantai Beras Terbakar especially after a
heavy downfall that washes out the odd blackened grain or
Here, you will see faintly legible on the walls, Jawi
inscriptions that date back to 1754 AD. You will also see
rocks that somewhat resemble furnitures. The rock formations
are not only beautiful to behold but seems to portray shapes
of mythical beings of the island.
These limestone caves in Isle of Gua Cherita or Gua Cerita
(Story Cave), are told in the legends of the founding of the
Kingdom of Kedah. In the legend of Merong Mahawangsa:
The story goes that the emperors of Rome and China had a
plan to marry off their children. The scheme was opposed bythe legendary Geruda (phoenix) who saw the union of the two
great powers as a threat to the other smaller kingdoms. The
Geruda was determined to quash the scheme; what it did was
to abduct the Chinese princess and hid her in a cave
believed to be on Langkawi Island. It then set to attack and
destroy the Roman fleet commanded byMerong Maha Wangsa with
the Roman Prince on it. Merong Maha Wangsa is said to be of
mythical origin, the descendents of an indera (a minor
divinity) and a gergasi (orge).
During the battle Merong Maha Wangsa summoned the help of
Jentayu, the mythical bird of water. However the Garuda was
victorious. During the battle the Roman prince fell into the
sea and was washed ashore on the island where the Chinese
princess was hidden. He was later found bythe princess's
maids and the couple were finally united in betrothal.
Meanwhile the Garuda had thought he was victorious but came
to know later that the couple was united in marriage. In
disgrace the Geruda vanished itself from the world.
Gua Cerita & The Gadembai
A long time ago there lived a strange creature on Langkawi,
called Gedembai,who could turn any human or animal into
anything she wished just bysaying the words. If she said to
someone, "You look like an ox!" that person would instantly
be transformed into an ox. She could also turn people into
inanimate objects such as rocks, and this meant certain
death. Gedembai was feared and hated byeveryone and her
unusual power virtually made her the queen of the island.
Her wishes were fulfilled unquestioningly and no one dared
to disobey her. She was described to appear in various
forms;a ghost acreature like a human being but of giant
size. Both however mention her ability to turn people into
stone. Contrary to what may be expected, the Langkawi
Gedembai was a beautiful, luscious woman in her early
Her character was devoid of love or compassion and her
deadly ability taught people to stay away from her. Many
people left the island and those who could not afford to
leave lived in great fear. They learned that appearing
docile and weak kept them safe from Gedembai, as long as
they did what she wanted.
Gedembai lived in a beautiful timber house that was build
for her byvillagers.One day as she was walking along the
beach of Tanjung Rhu, she noticed a cave and took a liking
to it. This cave, called Gua Cerita, was already inhabited bya family but Gedembai turned them all to stone.
For some time, stones could be found in the cave in the
shape of beds,tables, pots and pans, and other household
items, and of a man, woman,and three children, but they have
been removed over time.
Legend of Pulau Dayang Bunting
Pulau Dayang Bunting (Isle of Pregnant Maiden) is an island
just south of the main Langkawi island. A small island
encapsulates a freshwater lake (tasik). The romantic tragedy
of Pulau Dayang Bunting tells the tale of a beautiful fairy
princess or genie called Mambang Sari and a Prince, Mat Teja.
One day while she was swimming in the pool, the prince
chanced upon her and soon fell in love with her. It was said
that she was tricked into marrying him and they soon had a
child from the union.
Unfortunately, their child died soon after birth and is
believed to be buried in the lake. Before she left, the
celestial princess blessed the water so that any childless
woman who bathed in the lake, Tasik Dayang Bunting would
conceive. Locals certainly believe that the lake has magical
powers and that women who drink the waters of the lake can
improve their fertility.
The most notable tale of Langkawi is that of Mahsuri, a
beautiful maiden executed after being falsely accused of
During the reign of Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah the Second
(1762-1800), a man named Pandak Maya came to Langkawi
seeking his fortune. After eating some enchanted rice
grains, his wife was soon blessed with a beautiful daughter,
Mahsuri, who eventually married Mat Deris, the son of
Mahsuri was beautiful and kind-hearted, capturing the heart
of many village lads. She soon caught the eye of the local
chieftain. Although he wanted to marry Mahsuri, he was
unable to do so and decided then to marry Mahsuri to his son
Mat Deris. They soon married and lived in harmony for months
before Mat Deris was called away on a mission.
During Mat Deris’ absence, a travelling troubadour, came to
the village. Out of kindness, Mahsuri offered him a place to
stay. A few months after this, Mahsuri gave birth to a baby boy. There are several versions of how she came to be
accused of adultery. The most common version is that her
jealous mother-in-law falsely accused her of adultery
because of Mahsuri’s popularity and jealousy of her
husband’s feelings for Mahsuri. The presence of the
traveller in her house and the baby also preyed heavily on
the minds of the villages. Upon hearing his wife’s story and
village gossip, the chieftain arrested Mahsuri and sentenced
her to death without trail.
Her beauty led to jealous and wrongful accusations of
adultery and Mahsuri was subsequently sentenced to death. ,
and witnesses claimed to see white blood gushing from her
wound, as if to prove her innocence. Instantly, a mysterious
mist shrouded the area.
During the execution at Padang Hangus, she was stabbed with
a special kris (Malay dagger). According to legend she could
only be killed when her executioner used the dagger (some
say spear) from her house. Legend tells that because of her
innocence, only white blood flowed from her body. As she lay
dying, Mahsuri cast a curse on the island - that Langkawi
would not be peaceful nor prosperous for seven generations.
After Masuri’s death, her husband and son moved to Phuket
As incredible as it may seem, time passed slowly byfor six
generations and it was only during the end of the 7th
generation that the island became a popular travel
destination, attracting a wealth of development projects.
Makam Mahsuri, a mausoleum, is built on Langkawi island to
honour the memory of Mahsuri. The decendents of Mahsuri who
lives on Langkawi or Puket till today keep track of their
Legend of Mat Cincang and Mat Raya
The two most prominent mountains in Langkawi Gunong
Machinchang (Mat Cincang) and Gunong Raya (Mat Raya) tell
the tale of the fight between families of giants.
The story tells the tale of a wedding - with Mat Raya's son
wanting to marry Mat Cincang's daughter. During the wedding
feast, a fight broke out between the two wedding parties.
Pots and pans were flung at each other.
A large pot of gravy (kuah) was broken and the contents
flowed onto the ground. Where the gravy spilt, became know
as Kuah (the largest town on Langkawi island) and where the
crockery (belanga) was broken (pecah) was location of the
village Kampung Belanga Pecah (belaga pecah means broken
crockery). The gravy seep in (kisap) through the land at the
village named Kisap.
A couldron of hot water (air hangat) was also spilled on the
ground Air Hangat Village (Hot Water Village). Where the
engagement ring (cincin) was hurled became known as Tanjung
Cincin (Cape of the Ring). All these sites are found on
Langkawi island. The straits now separates Langkawi from
Terutau Island in Thailand.
The fight between the two families went on until it was
intervened byMat Sawar and ended. Both Mat Raya and Mat
Cincang apologised for the damage incurred. In remorse, they
chose to be transformed into mountains, immobile and benign.
Today, Gunung Mat Cincang and Gunung Raya stand facing each
other. As if separating the two, Bukit Sawar (Sawar Hill)
lies in the middle. If you look at the two mountains today,
you will notice that little Mat Sawar Hill is wedged in
between, probably to prevent another fight between the two.
The marriage turned out to be a prosperous one, for Mat
Raya's son turned over leaf and became a devoted husband.
Merong Mahawangsa and the Demigod
The Kedah Annals (Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa) tells the tale
of the founding of the Kingdom of Kedah with mentioned of
Langkawi island, as a hiding place of the Prince of Rum and
Princess of China. Raja Merong Mahawangsa became the first
ruler of Kedah.
The annals tell about Merong Mahawangsa, an ambassador of
the Kingdom of Rum (believed to be part of the byzantine
empire). who escorted the Prince of Rum to China to be
married to the Princess of China. The geruda (a demigod),
who felt that the union should not take place, kidnapped the
Chinese princess and her maid and hid them in a cave
believed to Gua Cerita, in Langkawi. He then attacked the
fleet carrying the prince. In the battle, the prince was
swept ashore on Langkawi and united with the Chinese
princess. Meanwhile, the Merong Mahawangsa landed with some
surviving crew on the shores of Kedah. Believing that the
prince had died, he decided to settle there and stared the
settlement which grew to become the Kingdom of Kedah. Raja
Merong Mahawangsa became the first ruler of Kedah.
The history of the Langkawi archipelago is intricately
entwined with her many local tales handed down byword of
mouth from generation to generation. Each tale relates to
some familiar local landform or inhabitants of the Langkawi
islands, giving reality to the stories told. The islands’
rich heritage of myths and legends spins tales of gigantic
birds, demigods, warriors, princesses and maidens in tragedy
Langkawi islands were once joined with other continents and
sub-continents such as Australia, India, Africa and
Antartica, in a super-continent called Gondwana Land during
the late Carboniferous to early Permian time (about 280-300
million years ago).
Langkawi, parts of Sumatra, Thailand, Burma and a small part
of southern China, were part of the Gondwana super-continent
that included Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar,
Australia-New Guinea, New Zealand, Arabia and India.
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