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Sunday, 26 December 2010

Langkawi and Penang, Ying and Yang, Malaysia

The neighbouring islands of Penang and Langkawi couldn't be more different, like Yin and Yang. Both are Malaysian islands, located in the Strait of Malacca, and are just a 15 minute plane journey from each other. Langkawi is what many people would picture as paradise: long white sandy beaches, seemingly abandoned by humans and inundated with palm trees. The waters are calm and the skies clear. Most of the island is covered in untouched rainforest and the people are genuinely friendly and happy, a rare phenomenon that I have encountered in very few places. It almost seems too good to be true and luckily it isn't, at least for now. Unfortunately this Yin island does contain some Yang: along the main roads (of which there are few) and by the main roundabout (of which there is only one on the island) i was disappointed to find billboards advertising new hotels and apartments being built in the near future. I can only hope that commercialism and property tycoons don't destroy this true island paradise.

Langkawi. For more pictures see bottom of page

The nearby island of Penang is a completely different story. In my eyes it represents a worst case scenario for the future of Langkawi. It is a heavily urbanised, overpopulated and polluted island which comes from a similar background as that of present day Langkawi, as a friend of mine informed me. This once tropical paradise was exploited to the point of no return. Grey tower blocks dominate the skyline and litter is the not so pleasant focal point of the beaches. However, like Yang, Penang may hold some good. It will hopefully act as a good example of what can happen when tourism gets out of control, acting to dissuade the government from allowing over development on Langkawi. I hope that at the time of writing this, several years after my visit to Malaysia, Langkawi remains the tropical paradise that i remember, and i hope to revisit sometime soon.

 Rising through the clouds on Langkawi
 A view of Thailand from Langkawi
 A sunset on Langkawi
 Just offshore from one of Langkawi's neighbouring islands


  1. hey nice view, could you please add some more photographs...

  2. I've added a few more photographs now, enjoy

  3. Nice pictures Chris! Hope you like mine too:

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. I've been to Langkawi and Penang a few times. Langkawi have a nice beaches and small island, my fav beach is Pantai Cenang(Cenang Beach) and my fav island is Dayang Bunting Lake. Langkawi is a great place to shop also!

    Anyway east Malaysia also got a few beautiful island. It is a top diving spot. Try to visit Perhentian Island, Tioman Island or Sipadan Island in your next visit. :)

  5. You are so lucky to have gone in Malaysia! Such a wonderful place