History and Lifestyle

History and Lifestyle


Langkawi, the beautiful archipelago of Malaysia, is shrouded in mythological legends. Its actual history & origin has lost its course in the passage of times. According to the legends, the term ‘Langkawi’ is said to have connections with the kingdom of Langkasuka, which is centered in the present Kedah. The historical documentation is little; however, the Chinese Liang Dynasty record (500 AD) refers the kingdom of ‘Langgasu’ as being established in the 1st century AD.

Another reference of the island’s name has been made in the book The Legends of Langkawi by Tun Mohamed Zahir. It says that the term ‘Langkawi’ is a combination of two Sanskrit words, Langka (beauty) and Wi (innumerable). As per the book, Langkawi means the place of immense beauty. One more reference states that Langkawi means Eagles’ Island. According to it, the term Langkawi is a combination of two words Lang and Kawi. Where ‘Lang’ is a corrupt form of Malay word ‘helang’ which means eagle, ‘Kawi’ means marble. Since both eagles and marble are found in abundance in Langkawi, probably the place was named after the fact. Indeed, the Eagle Square at the island was built to commemorate its name. About 200 years ago, according to the folklore, a young woman, name Mahsuri, was accused of adultery and was executed by the people in spite of her earnest innocence. Just before her death, Mahsuri laid a curse on the island that it will remain barren for seven generations. That’s about the mythological history of Langkawi.

As far as political history is concerned, the Sultanate of Kedah used to rule over the island. In 1921, when Kedah was conquered by Siam, Langkawi also passed in the ruling hands. The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred the holding power to the British, who held the state until freedom, excluding a brief period of Thai rule under the Japanese occupation of Malaya during World War II. The Thai influence can be still seen in the culture and food of Langkawi. In fact, Thai language is also understood by many people on the island.

The name Langkawi is the last surviving place of the ancient kingdom of Lankasuka. Lankasuka whose capital is said to have stood at the base of Kedah Peak south of Alor Setar on the mainland, is mentioned in Chinese accounts of the area as far back as 500 AD. According to the Liang Dynasty records, the kingdom was founded in the first century when its Hindu king, Bagatta, paid tribute to the Chinese Emperor of the time. The names of its kings resurface time and again in Malay legends and fairytales.

Local folklore has it that Langkawi derived its name from the eagle or “helang” as it is known in the Malay language. “Lang” for short and in old Malay, “kawi” denotes reddish brown; hence, Langkawi simply means reddish brown eagle Langkawi steeped in legends was cursed by Princess Mahsuri who was condemned to death in 1355 for adultery. Her dying curse was that the island would remain barren for seven generations. Shortly afterwards Thais attacked Langkawi, razing all the settlements to the ground.
Tourism took off in 1986 when Chinese dominated Penang lost its duty-free status to the then Malaysian backwater, Langkawi. Billions of ringgit has since poured into the area and the once sleepy fishing villages and endless paddy fields now harbors and resorts of world class standards.

Most of the development is in the main town, Kuah and along isolated beaches on the west and northern coasts. Away from the built up areas, Langkawi is still fairly rural, though many of the paddy fields have now been left to wandering buffalo and are no longer cultivated due to there being more money to be made in tourism, for the local ex-farmers.

The Langkawi you see today has been transformed almost beyond recognition. This is the legendary island is now major international businessmen meet to form new ventures and conclude deals whilst relaxing. Langkawi has now completed its seven generation cycle and seemingly, if all the development and prosperity now in so much evidence on the island, is anything to go by, the curse has finally been lifted.

Meet Langkawi’s Wildlife

Meet Langkawi’s Wildlife

Dry season is here, teeming with the arrival of a new family members,
babies and  migrants alike fills Langkawi’s wildlife scenes. Get to
know its birds and wildlife upclose and personal.

Langkawi Birdwatching Jungletrekking Mangrove Cruise

With the arrival of rainy season, flowers blooming and bountiful
fruits, babies and  migrants alike fills Langkawi’s wildlife scenes.
Join our naturalists and get to know our birds and wildlife upclose and

Climate and Seasons


Since Langkawi is sited near the equator, the island enjoys an equatorial type of climate and observes an average temperature of 24oC to 33oC. The island observes two different seasons during a year. Dry season and wet season are the two prevailing seasons.


The dry season; November to March, when the winds blow predominately from the NE. The weather is generally fine with nice cool sailing breeze but tends to be much dryer than other parts of Malaysia. For the most part, temperature lingers around 30 oC. On a hot sunny day, the climate tends to get warm and average temperature strikes the mark of 32oC.

The wet season prevails from the month of April till October. During these months, winds from the west and the southwest dominate the island. This is the time when rain can be frequently expected. Langkawi enjoys heavy rainfall, and its average rainfall is 2500mm (100 inches). On rainy days, the heavy downpour is often accompanied by thunder and lightning. However, humidity level remains high about 80% throughout the year. The months of August and September observe the maximum amount of rainfall. Seeing that rains low down the temperature, the island enjoys an average temperature of 24oC during rainy season.

Langkawi is beautiful in all seasons, but the best time to visit Langkawi is during the months of November to June. It’s the time when skies are reliably blue and the seas good enough for snorkeling. People usually don’t prefer rainy season to visit the island, as water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving cannot be enjoyed at this point of time. See weather today

Geographical Information

Geographical Information

Langkawi situated just off the Northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia comprises a group of 104 tropical islands during low tides and 99 Island during high tide. The main island Langkawi is 47,848 hectare in size while Pulau Dayang Bunting and Pulau Tuba are somewhat smaller while the others appear to be mere dots in the emerald green ocean when viewed from the air.

For those who love a tropical island holiday and a place far from the maddening crowd will find their haven in Langkawi. The outstanding natural landscapes of Langkawi Islands proclaim them as a true tropical paradise. Langkawi rainforest is rich with  varieties of flora that lends itself to medicinal cures, fragrances, lotions and pigments while flowers, fruits, sap, bark, leaves and roots are utilized by locals for their traditional medicinal properties.