Described as ‘The Jewel of Malaysia’s west coast’ our bows had been aimed at Langkawi ever since we entered the Malacca straits.
Rushing ashore to catch the Kuah Harbour Master and complete our paperwork just minutes before he shut for the day, we anchored as close as we could, shortening the distance to row. It was only as we got back to the boat that we realised we had just ticked off #1 of the ’25 Top Things to do in Langkawi’; Florence was anchored directly in front of the giant Eagle of ‘Eagle Square’, selfie central! It didn’t take long for us to both agree that the rest of the list should be avoided and we would have to work find our own ‘top things to do’.
There was one place that had been recommended above all others by sailors all up the coast. It was a must visit, an absolutely unmissable destination, a true cruisers paradise… the Billion supermarket…. where duty free alcohol can be purchased at prices even we can justify.
Returning to Florence clinking and feeling much more in the spirit of the place, we set out in search of nature and the dramatic landscapes this area is famous for.
The ‘hole in the wall’ anchorage on the North East coast certainly provided this, as we passed through the steep sided entrance to the bay Eagles soared above the dramatic cliffs, monkey’s scavenged on the waters edge and lush, jagged cliffs rose above the mangrove lined river.
A dinghy trip up the river allowed us to appreciate the scale of this dramatically beautiful area, yet by 9am the following morning, it was clear this would only be a one night stop.
Tourist speed boats whipped past as close as they dared, using the anchored boats as a makeshift slalom course. The noise was akin to being next to a main road and the wash like being at sea. Our ‘top spot in Langkawi’ clearly needed more research, we sailed on.
In a quiet little bay, unlisted in the cruising guide or any online bucket lists, we found what we were looking for. The perfect antidote to months in busy anchorages or marinas; a sheltered bay to hang out, catch up on some jobs and mess around in the dinghy.
However all is not perfect in paradise; the water was too dirty and full of jelly fish for enjoyable swimming, so we soon came in need of some proper exercise.
Some further research found us the 701 trail which allows you to beat the queues at the expensive cable car, access one of the highest peaks in Langkawi, get some serious exercise and gain views of the entire island all for free. Although strenuous rock scrambling in a hot humid climate is not at the top of most peoples ‘things to do lists’, for us, the 701 peak was without a doubt the best thing we did on the island.
An added bonus was we could walk from the anchorage in Telaga to the Seven Wells waterfall where the trail starts and scramble down the rocks of the falls for a refreshing dip in a private infinity pool on our way down.
Whilst we enjoyed our time on the West coast of Malaysia, it would be untruthful to list it as one of our top cruising destinations. The reality is we are grateful to be turning our bows North to Thailand in search of cleaner water.