by Natalie Joy Lee | January 07, 2019

Malaysia's most ancient state, Kedah, is well endowed with archaeological treasures and home to the Langkawi archipelago, fondly known as the 'Jewel of Kedah'. Shrouded in intriguing myths, crystal waters married with fine beaches, and lush tropics, the island paradise proudly wears Malaysia's only Global Geopark badge accorded by UNESCO. Travellers can seek out a stunning landscape filled with caves, glacial dropstones and formidable rock formations dating back 550 million years. 

Most alluring of all is the island's diversity. Incentive groups can easily pack a geological day trip out with a private yacht party, or schedule a wildlife experience followed by a cultural expedition, easily organised by most hoteliers such as The Ritz-Carlton or tour agents such as Honeyzone Travel & Tours.



Natural strengths

Three conservation areas enchant with their geological beauty: the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park, Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park and Kilim Karst Geoforest Park. 

For the lattermost, the visual experience begins  when visitors sail towards the mangroves and bat cave, stopping by a floating restaurant for a seafood lunch before continuing the journey amongst formidable rock faces. The stars of the trip are the eagles - the brahminy kite and white-bellied sea eagle, flying above your heads and diving into the water for food, at complete ease in their natural habitat. 

Groups at Machinchang can also buckle up for a zip-line adventure with Umgawa. Sky rangers will lead the way, explaining the Geoforest Park's natural wonders while manoeuvring teams through 12 zip-lines, sky bridges and the Seven Wells Waterfall. 

For something less demanding but with equally stunning views, head over to the Langkawi SkyCab. Touted as the 'longest free span mono-cable car', the gondolas hover at a precariously steep incline over emerald jungles, but it's all worth the adrenaline rush once the ride reaches the Sky Bridge. Completed in 2004, the massive curved bridge is built above two Machinchang mountain peaks, suspended on a single pylon 100m above the ground, according dizzying but dazzling views of the area.

Unforgettable experiences

Nothing relaxes better than a leisurely dinner cruise sailing around a few of Langkawi's 99 islands, luxuriating over a barbeque dinner prepared on board and knocking back cocktails as the catamaran heads west into the sunset. Docked at Resorts World Langkawi's berth, Tropical Charters also offers island hopping and fishing tours.

For larger groups, Langkawi even offers an entire island at your disposal - Paradise 101, the perfect ground for high-octane water sports. It also features an aqua park and parasailing, while 18 chefs fire up the stoves so everyone may move from dinner to dancing the night away in a breeze.

For a cultural spin, the Langkawi Craft Complex allows visitors to understand Malaysia's craft industry. Paint batik and weave straw bags before shopping for handicrafts like handmade ceramics inspired by the island's Underwater World. Continue shopping anywhere on this duty-free island, including ZON Duty Free, where prices of liquor, chocolates and tobacco have been slashed to entice. 

Fast FACTS

• Pick from 247 hotels in Langkawi offering 11,896 rooms, ranging from five-star properties to unique island homestays

• Langkawi offers visa-free entry to all 53 member countries of the Commonwealth

• 2017 saw nearly four million tourists, of whom 5,858 were trade visitors