|Langkawi which means Reddish Brown Eagle in
the Malay language is nestled on the Thai-Malaysian sea border and is the
main island from a cluster of 99 islands during high tide and more than
104 islands in low tide.
Legend has it that Langkawi used to be the habitat of spirits and classical Malay literature Hikayat Merong Maha Wangsa states that Garuda, the mythological giant eagle rested in these islands.
Lying off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, about 30
kilometres from Kuala Perlis and 51 kilometres from Kuala Kedah, Pulau
Langkawi, as it is popularly known, covers an area of 32,848 hectares. The
island is divided into six districts namely Mukim Kuah, Padang Matsirat,
Ayer Hangat, Bohor, Ulu Melaka and Kedawang and has a population of
approximately 45,000 inhabitants with most of them being the Malays.
With a geological history dating back to 500 million odd years, the
islands contain bizarre rock formations that stir one's imagination and
perplex the mind. Numerous caves like the mystical Gua Cerita, the haunted
Gua Langsiar and Gua Kelawar with their stunning stalactites and
stalagmites, taunt the adventurous.
But Langkawi is more than captivating beauty ' it is also a land
steeped in legends and shrouded in mysteries. Its past is filled with
legendary tales of wronged maidens and lovelorn princes, all of whom have
left their mark for posterity.
As it turned out, in 1821, Langkawi was savagely attacked by the
Siamese. Upon knowing the inevitable fate of the island following the
battle, Datuk Kerma Jaya, the headman of Kampung Raja, the ancient capital
of Langkawi, ordered that Padang Matsirat, the village granary, be burned
and all the wells poisoned in order to starve the enemy.
Call it superstition or coincidence, the island's slumberous existence
ended seven generations later. Modernisation crept-in swiftly and the
lethargic landscape of the land was given a careful face-lift.
On 13 January 1996, Malaysia saw the launching of MEASAT I into the earth's orbit. Langkawi was chosen to house the MEASAT Satellite Control Centre to monitor and control all MEASAT satellites in-orbit operation. The erection of the centre at Gunung Raya, the highest peak of the island, brought Langkawi's name up further in the world map.
More and more tourists from all over the world are beginning to stream
into the island for various reasons ' the idyllic pristine beaches such as
the Pantai Cenang, Pantai Kok and Pantai Datai as well as the many small
islands namely the Pulau Dayang Bunting, Pulau Payar and Pulau Singa Besar
To cater for the growing number of travelers flying into the island,
Langkawi International Airport, located at PadangMat Sirat, has expanded
three times within the last decade and undergone major renovations costing