Langkawi - City of Malaysia
Langkawi, officially known as Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. On July 15, 2008, Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah had consented to the change of name to Langkawi Permata Kedah in conjunction with his Golden Jubilee Celebration. Langkawi is also an administrative district with the town of Kuah as the capital and largest town. Langkawi is a duty-free island.
MALAYSIA National Animal : Tiger
The name "Langkawi" is believed to be related to the kingdom of Langkasuka, centred in modern-day Kedah. The historical record is sparse, but a Chinese Liang Dynasty record refers to the kingdom of "Langgasu" as being founded in the 1st century AD. 'Langkawi' mean's Eagle Island, it may be noted, and indeed there is a great abundance of eagles in the area. In Kuah, there is an eagle monument in Eagle Square which commemorates the origin of Langkawi's name.
Langkawi is also the site of the Mahsuri legend. The legend speaks of a young woman who was accused of adultery and was executed by the public despite her pleading innocence. Mahsuri, before her death, made a curse on the island for seven generations of bad luck. 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, who held the state until independence, except for a brief period of Thai rule under the Japanese occupation of Malaya during World War II. Thai influences remain visible in the culture and food of Langkawi.
Langkawi was the site of the Langkawi Declaration, issued by the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations and making environmental sustainability one of the priorities of the Commonwealth.
On June 1, 2007, Langkawi Island has been given a World Geopark status by UNESCO.Three of its main conservation area in Langkawi Geopark;Machincang Cambrian Geoforest Park, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest park.These three parks are the most popular tourism area within Langkawi Geopark.
Sheltered by the mountainous backbone of Peninsular Malaysia, Langkawi escapes the northeastern winter monsoon entirely and enjoys sunny skies when the eastern provinces are flooded.
Langkawi remained a sleepy backwater until 1987, when the island was granted tax-free status with the intention of promoting tourism. Subsequently the island's airport was upgraded and ferry links were increased.
Beginning 1990s, Langkawi competes with nearby Penang for the title of Malaysia's largest tourist draw. Resorts and 5-star hotels line the beaches and in the winter high season, direct flights land from as far as Europe and Japan.
Besides being tax-free, the beach and eagle, another attraction in Langkawi is the Cable Car to the tops of Gunung Mat Cincang at 705 m above sea level. Galeria Perdana a collection of over 2500 gift to the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad.
Langkawi is affected by the milder western monsoon, and while diving is possible at Pulau Payar, water clarity tends to be poor. Pulau Payar is beautiful island by itself near Langkawi. To reach Pulau Payar one needs to take a hour drive on water. Snorkelling, Scuba Diving, Swimming are the activites to do in Pulau Payar.
Another tourist spot in Langkawi is the Mangrove forest. The entire Mangrove forest can be covered on a boat ride for about one hour. There is an eagle feeding spot amdist the backwaters where people used to feed the eagles. Thailand can be seen from these backwaters.
Langkawi used to be the starting point of the annual international cycling race Tour de Langkawi cycling event, however after 2000, Langkawi was omitted from the race itinerary. Langkawi also hosts the biennial Langkawi International Maritime and Air Show.
Langkawi has played host to the Malaysian Ironman triathlon since 2000.
MALAYSIA National Bird : Rhinoceros Hornbill
MALAYSIA National Flower : Hibiscus Hibiscus rosa sinensis, locally known as Bunga Raya
MALAYSIA National Game : Badminton