There are only a handful of places left in the world that offer sumptuous and undisturbed beaches, captivating forest scenes and magnificent wildlife. Against all odds, Langkawi, a tiny island that kisses the northwest Malaysian coastline, is the travel destination for those who seek unexpected adventure.
The hotels that have popped up recently on the island suggest that Langkawi’s secret is out. The St Regis was all the talk early last year, which I was lucky enough to review prior to opening. Gensler Architecture firm did a fine job in designing well-thought-out accommodation to reflect both the jungle that sits behind it as well as the clear blue ocean reflecting the true nature of island life. The hotel really is beautiful, but to experience the real look and feel of authentic island life, one must dive deeper.
With little time for exploration – halfway through our whirlwind tour of travelling to seven countries in just 10 days – we decided to get a taxi. ‘Take us somewhere incredible’ were our exact instructions. Our taxi driver, Ahmad, was a friendly 25-year-old local man who was happy to meet our tourist demands for adventure with excitement and a cheeky grin. It was the moment our thought-to-be taxi driver introduced himself as our personal guide of the island and turned out being the best $80 we spent in Langkawi…
Our journey began and 45 minutes later, having passed rice fields, mountains, schools and local houses and shops, we arrived at the Four Seasons Langkawi. The hotel is positioned to offer understated luxury and guests checking in can expect Four Seasons quality throughout their stay.
The Four Seasons undoubtably shelters luxury, but adjacent to the five-star hotel sits a stunning untouched beach with breath-taking views looking north. In the distance, one can make out the faint landscape, which after research I believe is in fact Thailand.
Impressive as it was, we decided to not lose ourselves in the moment. Instead, we enjoyed some time walking across the white sand with the occasional dip in the ocean before we asked Ahmad to show us more.
No more than 10 minutes down the road is an eye-catching waterfall. It’s impressive, I think, that land and sea can work in such harmony to offer exceptional travel experiences.
The real beauty of Langkawi is that it’s still a natural haven. Tourists may visit, but local life and culture still remains at its core.