A SE Asian gemstone buffed to a new sheen?

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December 1st 2012
Published: April 16th 2018
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Mention Asian holiday islands, and before the debate is through, there will always be some advocate of Langkawi in the mix to sing the praises of this SE Asian island of considerable renown. The question is whether Langkawi has enough in terms of vital resort island substance to compete with the best of them, and the answer lies within the extent to which your preferences might run parallel to the island's set of credentials. The west coast, namely Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tenggah, are where you will find the island's most famed and developed beach resorts, but arguably further north are stretches of beach considered even more secluded and praiseworthy. Scope for affordable beach sports abounds here, and indulging in something such as parasailing will allow a bird's-eye view of the splendour of the coastline and the tiny off-shore islands which attribute a few paradisiacal elements to the whole package. Perhaps the island's chief tourist attraction is the attractively-constructed Oriental Village, and impressive cable car ride, which affords stunning views from up on high, and allows a visitor to get a real feel for the way in which this kind of attention to detail has been used to counterbalance the natural aspects of the island, such as the nearby Seven Wells waterfall. Just south of the airport, a purpose-built go-kart circuit will doubtless bring out the budding F1 racer within you, and ensure that you are fully convinced of the island's ability to set you up in situations which reliably set your pulses racing. For those who are keen on marine life, and are willing to brave the waters to witness what aquatic delights lurk within, should look no further than the sublime day trip package offered to Coral Island (Pulau Payar), which will ensure you come face to face with marine life so varied that the experience is going to etch itself upon your mind for a long while to follow. Every resort island of note appears to have its one 'island capital' or 'commercial hub of note', and in this case, it happens to be Kuah town, not a great strategy in terms of a place in which to be based, but most certainly worth a day trip, if only to take advantage of the attractively-priced commercial goods on sale at any one of the town's duty free stores. Being something of a completist, I also saw fit to throw a day trip to the compact-yet-stunning Thai island of Koh Lipe into the equation, and its walkable, easy-going nature was another happy episode in a region which is peppered with islands of the Andaman sea, each with their own singular identity. So, as the old saying goes 'you pays your money, you takes your choice', and I cannot say that the island of Langkawi left me feeling to any palpable degree shortchanged, although, somewhat bizarrely, I could also see it from the angle that, somehow, this resort island may not actually be for everyone. My advice would be to plan a trip to Langkawi carefully, so as to not miss out on anything of personal interest the place offers, and try to experience the island from the point of view of a chill-out destination, because, with the right kind of approach, you'll quickly realize that relaxation and pampering are precisely what those key tourist-industry workers in Langkawi are really pushing to promote.

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