German couple Hans and Rose Krause have been visiting Langkawi for the past 18 years. Each time they come, they stay for four months, from January to April. Prior to Langkawi, the couple had visited other vacation spots in Europe and Africa. But Langkawi has captured their hearts and now they have no desire to visit any other place.
"The people here are very friendly, something we treasure," Rose, 62, explains. Like most people, the Krauses love the sun, the sand and the sea of Langkawi. Often, they take long walks on the beach.
Indeed, the beaches in Langkawi are one of the best around. The waves are not that strong and you will find it hard to end your swim here.
The island has more to offer than just the beaches. For those who love legends and myths, a visit to Kota Mashuri is a must. There, visitors get to know the legend of Mahsuri in an hour-long play.
The Mahsuri legend is well-known in Langkawi. It centres on the beautiful Mahsuri who was accused of adultery and sentenced to death. When she died, white blood flowed, showing proof that she was innocent. With her last breath, she cursed the islanders with seven generations of bad luck.
Guna also mentions some strange events that had taken place in Kota Mahsuri after the curse ended. Apparently, a white mousedeer was found wandering near the grave of Mahsuri. The deer was later brought to Kedah and presented to the sultan as a gift. Unfortunately, it died a week later.
"I think you are not allowed to bring out benda pelik (strange things) out of this island," Guna says. "They do not live long outside this island."
In another incident, a white monkey was spotted at Kota Mahsuri. There were also three-foot-high white coconut trees growing near her grave. "White symbolises Mahsuri’s white blood [her innocence]," he says.
Visitors can visit her grave at Kota Mahsuri as well as her famous ‘well’. Legend has it that if you wash your face with the water from the well, it will make you look younger!
We next head for Laman Padi Langkawi, the Rice Museum. Here, I get the chance to roll up my pants, walk in a padi field and join in the planting of the seedlings. I also try my hand at catching fish with my bare hands in the muddy water as well as using a rattan fish trap.
Earlier, we were at a jetty in Tanjung Rhu Beach where a fisherman taught me how to catch fish using a net.
Believe me, throwing a net into the ocean is not as easy as it looks. I had to do it several times before getting it right. Alas, my net always come up empty. Looks like I do not have the makings of a fisherman!
The next stop on the itinerary is the local museum – Galeria Perdana.
This two-storey building houses a collection of over 2,500 gifts and awards from world leaders to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. The gifts comprise weaponry, musical instruments, ceramics, portraits and Islamic arts.
The section that really impresses me is the car section where visitors get to view vintage cars and even bullock carts.
At Telaga Harbour, you can dine and wine at several restaurants while watching the yachts sail by into the sunset. Apparently, yachts from all over the world stop at this destination.
The person-in-charge is none other than Datuk Azhar Mansor, the Malaysian who sailed around the world in 104 days in 1999.
He explains that his work day usually begins at 8am and ends only at about one the next morning. He mingles with his guests and makes sure they have a good time here.
Azhar may not have been born in Langkawi but he has come to love the island more than any place in the world. "Langkawi is not just an island," he says. "Langkawi is Langkawi."
Another must-see place is Dataran Lang where you can find a huge sculpture of an eagle poised proudly facing the sea. The eagle is the symbol of Langkawi. ‘Lang’ comes from the Malay word ‘helang’ (eagle) and ‘kawi’ meant red. The land used to be home for many red eagles.
In brochures, the picture of the eagle sculpture looks rather boring. But seeing it upfront is a different thing. The intricate details in the craftsmanship will impress you. And you will come to understand why Bollywood directors love to feature this eagle in their films.
My host on this trip is Mutiara Burau Bay Beach Resort, a three-star hotel with five-star service.
"Right now, we have many foreign tourists staying here," says Dev Singh, the resort director of sales. "We are trying to lure more local tourists to stay here as well. We want to encourage more Malaysians to visit Langkawi."
Well, now is certainly the right time to pay Langkawi a visit to discover its magical charm and enjoy its legendary beauty.
Source: The Sun
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