Langkawi – an archipelago of 99 islets on Malaysia’s west coast – is a treasure trove of hidden gems with untouched beaches and great diving opportunities. Langkawi’s duty-free status makes it undoubtedly the best place for booze-filled fun but the area also has plenty of wholesome Kodak moments. Many people assume that Langkawi’s charm lies within the main island. Yet in truth the 478.5sqkm Pulau Langkawi, with its sightseeing, gastronomic adventures and duty-free shopping venues, is only the tip of the iceberg – the surrounding islets play host to a hoard of sightseeing opportunities.
The tour kicks off early in the morning when our guide, Vincent, picks us up from the hotel lobby. We head towards the tourist jetty, where our boat awaits to take us to the first stop on our itinerary – Pulau Beras Basah.
Pulau Beras Basah
The trip by speedboat is a speedy one and we gradually get used to the swaying and splashing boat. In less than no time we’re docking by the side of the island; our boat driver tells us to meet up again in one hour.
The group heads inland from the pier; the two-minute walk towards the beach takes us past shady trees and gorgeous flowers blooming on the fringes of the forest. The beach is a mixture of turquoise waters, powder-fine sand and casuarinas trees. Cheeky monkeys litter the fringes of the jungle just beyond. Vincent warns us against feeding them or even bringing food to the island as it only attracts and even emboldens them to come and steal more. Yet these little rascals are so cute – you can even see mother monkeys totting their offspring to forage for scraps at nearby tables.
Our group heads towards the waters to begin our day of fun in the sun; as the hour steadily creeps by, a crowd starts to build up as other boats with visitors arrive. We spend a blissful hour splashing about in the water and watching Japanese tourists chasing each other on the shore and building sandcastles.
Pulau Singa Besar
Too soon it seems our time on Pulau Beras Basah is up and we head back towards the boat. Our boat driver takes us on another 15-minute journey, with the invigorating sea air spraying in our faces and the sound of the motor roaring in our ears.
Ultimately we arrive just shy of the shores of a nearby island – Pulau Singa Besar; our boat driver cuts the engine seemingly in the middle of the sea. Then he grabs a bag and heads towards the front of the boat and we see him tossing something into the water – chicken skin and entrails.
Moments later an eagle swoops down and grabs the chicken bits that are staining the sea waters pink. Before long a whole convocation of eagles is swooping down every minute or so to grab some food; the sight of them is magnificent. We can even make out different types of eagles as well recognize a few of the braver ones.
Pulau Dayang Bunting
In next to no time it seems our driver starts up the engine once again; the eagles have thinned out by now, in all probability returned to their aeries. Our next stop is the one we’ve been waiting for all day – Pulau Dayang Bunting. Our boat ride there takes approximately 15 minutes. Once we’re docked, our guide informs us that we’ve got another one-hour slot to explore the island.
The sight of the almost-impenetrable jungle is quite daunting, yet when we look closely there is a clearly marked path heading inland towards Pulau Dayang Bunting’s star attraction – Pregnant Maiden Lake.
Dense greenery surrounds us in the dim interior of the forest; birds chirp and the smell of leaves and damp earth fills the morning air. Monkeys hang onto the railings eager to grab food from unsuspecting visitors. We reach the top of the steps and finally get a glimpse of the expansive famed lake – the sight is truly breathtaking.
Pregnant Maiden Lake
A giant buoy is anchored on the shore of the lake allowing people to rest and divides the waters of the lake into easily accessible sections; there’s even a free fish spa and plenty of visitors immerse their feet in the warm water. We decide to join in later when the crowd has thinned out some. In the meantime we join the group of people swimming in the roped off section of the lake – the tepid waters are warm and clear as rain. Still, most people wear lifejackets to ensure their safety.
Located in the centre of the island, with no mountain runoff, the lake is a marvel because it’s difficult to envisage how it came to be. Vincent informs us that there is no flowing source into the lake yet its water levels remain unchanged. One of the legends associated with the lake is its unique ‘baby-making’ abilities: Supposedly, women who’ve had trouble conceiving should immerse themselves in the waters – or drink some. Various stories pervade Langkawi Island of women who’ve come to visit the lake and then have become pregnant. Certainly most locals believe the lake to be magical.
We end our trip an hour later when we return to the boat; the ride back is a pleasant one and all in all, it was a fascinating morning. The entire excursion only took five hours but it seems like so much was packed into that time. Once we’re back on dry land, Vincent drops us off at our hotel. Everyone returns tired but smiling – we’re sure to return for more in the future.
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- Tour Available: Langkawi Island Hopping