It was 32° Celsius, and it was only 9:30 in the morning on a late November Day. My family and I were in the middle of a man-made village in Langkawi, Malaysia named, Oriental. Aesthetically, it was less oriental, and more Austrian Alps. Chalet inspired structures were scattered throughout the property, most of them retail outlets. There were also ponds and creeks for effect. It’s all a bit fabricated, but one thing that was authentic and truly marvelous was Mt. Machincang. At 2,339 feet, it is lush and impressive.
From the foothills the three of us looked with wonder at the height the cable cars were running up the mountain. With eyes shut, I pretended instead, that it was 32° Fahrenheit, trying to take my mind off the heat. In truth, it wasn’t easy, but for a split second, with the chalets, the mountain, and gondolas going up, it was easy to imagine being in cooler climes.
The sky-cab is one of Langkawi’s top tourist sites, and for good reason, it not only boasts the best vantage point to see the beautiful island from up high, it is also the steepest ride in the world at a 42˚ gradient. I also wasn’t too far off, when I had visions of the Alps because this specific cable car system was manufactured by Austrians. It is impressive. So much so that, I got over my fear of heights, filled with amazement over how it was created.
There are many ranges of the type of gondola that can be taken. There are deluxe cars, which have cushy lounge seats, private ones with glass bottoms, and regular ones that fit 6 persons. We went the regular route and enjoyed the company of a nice elderly couple and their grandson. The ride took 30 minutes, which was a good amount of time for both parties to get to know each other. We like getting to know people, but for those who don’t, there are the other options I mentioned.
Upon reaching the peak, there is another site called The SkyBridge. This, like the cable car system, is another architectural wonder. Measuring at 125m in length, the structure ranks among the world’s longest curved suspension bridges. Having a tinge of acrophobia, walking this pedestrian bridge was too much for me to handle. Just standing there, at one of the ends, I felt the bridge sway under my feet. Brenda and Bailey, however, without fear, were able to enjoy the view, which they confirmed were spectacular.
Back on the ground, there are other sites within the village worth spending a few hours doing. On a hot day, one of our favorites was the 3-D Museum. It’s kitschy and usually not the type of place we would go see, but we couldn’t help but find joy in the artistic creations imagined by artists who specialize in the craft of 3D painting. It made for some fun picture taking, realizing how realistic some images looked in photos. You are asked to take your shoes off when entering, making the place feeling and looking quite clean. This was something we were getting used to around these necks, having visited our share of mosques and temples. This just happened to be a secular entity.
By the time our day was done, it was well into the afternoon, and the heat of the day subsided quite a bit. As we exited the village, I glanced back to appreciate the contrived man-made village, the awesome cable car ride, and the spectacular mountain. Our docents, from a company called, GC Butler, who became our friends, saw that we looked a bit hungry after a long day. Privy of our likings by that point, they knew we were going to be in the mood for something a bit more authentic.
They made a few calls, and within an hour we were at Seashells, a local favorite. Under a small private gazebo structure on stilts on top of rice paddies, we were sitting cross-legged, enjoying a feast prepared by the chef (soft shell crabs, chicken, vegetables and rice served on banana leaves). I can go into a culinary dissertation about the experience, but I think I will let the video tell the story:
There are certainly man-made spectacles in Langkawi, but at the end, its authenticity is uncovered by the food, the natural surroundings, and its people. Come visit and find out yourself.
Plan your trip to Langkawi soon. We traveled to Langkawi on Firefly from Penang. The flight was only $15 one-way.
Have you visited Langkawi? If so, tell us your experience. If not, then let us know if it’s a destination you’ve put on your list.
Thank you LADA for hosting us in Langkawi, it was such a pleasure to discover such an amazing island. As always, all opinions are mine.