Kedah Darul Aman means Kedah, an abode of peace. Kedah is also a land rich in history and nature beauty. Besides that, true to his name, Kedah is a land of peace and tranquility. Being the “Rice Bowl of Malaysia”, the flat expanse of paddy fields against a backdrop of rolling hills provides a picture of utter serenity and made Kedah Darul Aman becomes one of the best destinations for those who are seeking retreat from urban living. Its pristine environment is still intact despite rapid development in all sectors taking place in the state, especially the industrial sector.
Situated in the northern part of peninsular Malaysia, together with Perlis, Perak and Kelantan, Kedah shares a common border with neighboring Thailand. It has the distinction of being the “Rice Bowl of Malaysia”. As you travel around, you will be able to see stretches of paddy fields (padi in Malay) and lush green of tropical rainforests on the highland. Kedah is the largest rice producer in Malaysia which supports other agricultural products and agro-based industries. The state capital, Alor Setar is the seat of Government and the business centre of the state.
For sports enthusiasts or those who are seeking for recreational holidays, Kedah is your paradise. Hotels and resorts in Kedah are well laid out with sports amenities and infrastructures. Outdoor sports and recreational with a focus on water based activities, wind surfing, canoeing, swimming, board sailing, pleasure cruises, rock climbing, jungle trekking and golfing, Kedah has it all. With a natural setting of varied landscape and sunshine throughout the year, Kedah hosts variety of challenging sports events.
Langkawi, Kedah’s most famous destination, is a reclusive retreat for the tired and beaten down corporate executive, an ideal island resort for a family, a romantic escapade for honeymooners, a heaven for water sports enthusiasts and a sanctuary for sun worshippers. It comprises a group of 99 islands making it an idle setting for a romance novel. Among the popular islands are Pulau Dayang Bunting (Isle of the Pregnant Maiden), Pulau Singa Besar, a wildlife sanctuary, Pulau Payar, a marine park and Pulau Beras Basah (Isle of Wet Rice), a popular spot for swimming.
Langkawi is also the regional shopping hub for duty-free goods which offers both international and local products. Its central commercial area, the town of Kuah is a shopping haven. At there, you can find many stores and malls providing the tax-free goods. The island is also the place for the exciting Langkawi International Maritime and Air Show (LIMA). Other attractive places at Langkawi are the Mahsuri Mausoleum, Air Hangat hot springs, Galeria Perdana, Eagle’s Square, Seven Wells, Underwater World, a crocodile farm and the Tanjung Rhu Beach.
Why Not go Kedah
You shouldn’t go Kedah if and only if you really can’t take spicy food. Majority of the dishes in Kedah are spicy and one of its popular local dish is “Laksa”. Kedah Laksa is made of rice noodles taken with a preparation of thick fish gravy, small slices of cucumber, onion, chilies and also some local herbs.
Why go Kedah
The greatest lure of Kedah is its rustic charm and the exotic natural attractions. Despite the outdoors’ natural beauty, its wonders are also found in the fascinating caves nestled in gigantic limestone outcrops of Kedah. Existed over million of years, these intriguing caves are indeed geological masterpieces of nature.
The attraction of Kedah also lies in the blissfully golden beaches and paradise islands, especially Langkawi islands. One of the amazing beaches at Langkawi is Tanjung Rhu which is about 22km from Kuah. However, the most ideal retreat for sunbathing is Pantai Kok which is located 24.8km from Kuah. The crystal clear water accompanied by the white powdering sand is the best place for you to gain relief from the pressures in the city.
Another tourist attraction of Kedah is the opportunity for you to stroll along the longest “Tree Top Walk” in the world, which is about 925m long and designed to further into the park’s forest. The canopy walk can provide you a breathtaking aerial view of the rapids which about 50m below. If you are lucky, you might be able to see various species of colourful small birds while enjoying the sounds of gushing rapids and jungle creatures during the walk.
Located in the northern part of Kedah, Bukit Kayu Hitam, the main entrance to Thailand on the West Coast is also an interesting place to go. There is a duty-free complex in the town. For those relaxation seekers, Bukit Kayu Hitam offers you a newly constructed golf course of international standard with 36 holes.
Overall, Kedah is an ultimate destination for nature lovers, the eco-tourists and history enthusiasts.
Best Time to Go Kedah
Kedah’s temperatures are consistent throughout the year. Generally, the hottest month of the year is February and the coolest month is October, but the differences in temperatures are not significant. If you are only concerned about weather, you may visit Kedah anytime as you like.
However, if you are going for diving at Langkawi, the best time to go is from November to April during the northeast monsoon which is the dry season for west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Langkawi’s Payar Marine Park pride itself having the widest variety of habitats and the largest number of coral species in Malaysia. The marine life there is abundant because Payar Marine Park was gazetted as the fisheries protected area in 1985.
Where to Stay
As to ensure your comfort while visiting Kedah, accommodations are available in every class, for every budget and every taste for you to decide. From seaside chalets to the royal suites in 5 star hotels, Kedah has it all to make you feel like just at home. For the budget backpackers, it is recommended to stay at Pendang Lake Resort due to its rates and amenities provided. For luxury, the best is to stay at the StarCity Hotel Alor Star which is located in the heart of the city. 98 luxurious rooms equipped with internet facilities and state of the art studio audio visual system, StarCity Hotel is an ideal choice. At Langkawi, it is best to stay at Beach Garden Resort where it is a resort with perfect combination of aesthetics, culinary delights and friendly service. The food there is superb and the staffs are friendly. It is also a perfect place for those looking for a small and cosy place which soothes the soul.
For romantic wedding or honeymooners, Sheraton Perdana Resort, Langkawi is the perfect venue. It offers several outstanding locations for unforgettable wedding ceremony which includes the wooden jetty and Anjung Damai. Stretching out into the ocean, the jetty promises a spectacular backdrop and views out to the Andaman Sea and the nearby islands. It is a perfect romantic venue where you can tie the knot with the sound of the waves lapping around you. Besides that, Sheraton Perdana Resort offers various Wedding Packages, registration and documentation service for couples who wish to have their marriage legally registered in Langkawi.
Where to Eat / Dine
Wonderland food is a must try, especially for the first timer. Actually, Wonderland food is a Langkawi street dining and it is just part of the colours of real Langkawi. Wonderland food restaurant overlooks a tidal pool a few metres behind the Bella Vista Hotel in Kuah. This restaurant offers delicious seafood and best services at a very affordable price. Moreover foreigners also swear that the Wonderland food is sensational.
If you go to Langkawi, you must not miss out the “T Jays Italian Restaurant” which is specialize in Italian cuisine and run by an English couple. Many of the visitors claimed that it is the best Italian restaurant in Langkawi. The restaurant is opposite to the Langkawi Underwater World Park in Pantai Cenang. The most famous Italian cuisines there is their pizza and its speciality is 12 inch thin crust and freshly made to order. Besides that, there are various flavour of spaghetti which comprised of mixture of olive oil, fresh tomato sauce, cheesy Parmesan sauce and others. Other than that, a bottle of homemade chilli sauce is put on every table which is suitable to be taken with pizza.
At Kedah, it can be said that there is no nightlife except Langkawi. Stretching with bistros, pubs, cafes, al-fresco restaurants and souvenir shops along the beach-side road, Pantai Cenang is the most vibrant spot in Langkawi at night. Some of the bars are located on the beach to make a perfect sense for visitors to spend the evening with friends over beer while absorbing the sound of waves crashing on the shore and the glitter of a starry-lit sky.
My To Do List
– Have Laksa
– Shopping at duty-free zone (Langkawi or Bukit Kayu Hitam)
– Have an air trekking
– White water activities at Sungai Sedim
– Visit Titi Hayun, Lata Mengkuang and etc.
– Diving at Langkawi’s Payar Marine Park
Stay Away From
Stay away from having water sports at Langkawi beaches on June to August as jellyfish will be there during that season. There have been tourists ended up in the hospital with a jellyfish wrapped around her shin in the low tide season which is June, July and August.
There are many ways to get to Kedah but the best is by air, especially for the first timer.
Kedah has two airports: Langkawi International Airport on Langkawi island and Sultan Abdul Halim (Alor Star) Airport, a domestic airport, near Alor Star. Fly to these two places if you want to go to the northern part of Kedah. The nearest airport to central and south Kedah is the Penang International Airport (State of Pulau Pinang or Penang).
The north-south expressway (toll motorway/ plus expressway)cuts through the State to the Thai-Malaysian border at Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah. Note that the Malaysia-Thai border opens at 6am Malaysia and closes at 12 midnight Malaysia (11pm Thai). The system of trunk roads links you to all parts of the state – to the villages and forest parks at the fringe of the virgin jungle. From Kuala Lumpur, catch an express coach from Hentian Duta. From Singapore or Thailand or other states in Malaysia, most express coaches stops at Alor Star (Alor Setar) or Sungai Petani.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) or the Malayan Railways takes you through the state of Kedah. You can stop at Sungai Petani or Alor Star. However you have only 2 train services (twice a day only) going up north.
Daily ferry from Satun, South Thailand takes you to Langkawi Island. There are also daily ferries from Kuala Perlis (Perlis), Kuala Kedah (Kedah) and Penang island (Pulau Pinang). Langkawi is also a great destination for private yachts.
HOW TO GET TO LANGKAWI
You can get to Langkawi by road or rail followed by ferry, or fly to Pulau Langkawi. By road, get to the nearest jetty in Kedah, Perlis or Penang; or Satun, south Thailand.
Malaysia airlines and AirAsia flies to Langkawi daily from Kuala Lumpur and Penang island. You can also fly direct from Singapore or even London. Air Asia will soon start flying you from Bangkok to Langkawi. Firefly, a low-cost airline under Malaysia airlines, based in Penang, flies from Penang to Langkawi and to Thailand. SilkAir also flies from Singapore to Langkawi Nearest airports: Langkawi International Airport (Langkawi island), Alor Star (via KLIA), Penang International Airport.
If you travel by rail from Haadyai (or Hat Yai, Thailand), KL or Singapore, stop at Alor Setar or Arau and travel by road to the ferry terminal at Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis. If the train stops at Arau, travel to Kuala Perlis to take the ferry. Take a taxi to the ferry terminals.
By Road and Ferry
Travellers to Langkawi island can travel by passenger ferry from Penang island, Kuala Kedah (Kedah) or Kuala Perlis (Perlis). At Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis, ferries are available half hourly to hourly (or two hourly) interval depending on the terminal and time of day. There are more ferries departing from in the morning. If you intend to travel from Penang, you have to book early.
If you travel by the North-South expressway (toll highway), exit the expressway at Alor Setar to go to Kuala Kedah. If you are on the trunk road from Padang Besar or Kangar (Perlis), go to Kuala Perlis. Trunk roads in Kedah also leads you to these ferry terminals. There is also a highway that links you directly from Changlun to Kuala Perlis.
You can also travel by ferry from Satun, Thailand. Penang Island is linked by ferry and road to the North-South expressway (from Johor to the Malaysia-Thai border). Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis is also linked to the expressway by trunk roads. There are special overnight parking facilities in Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis near the terminal (not in Penang). Ferry terminals and journey by normal ferry to Langkawi island:
Location Journey Nearest major town and services
Kuala Kedah (Kedah) 1 hr 45 mins Alor Star (Kedah) ferry – many services1/2hourly, hourly
Kuala Perlis (Perlis) 1 hr 30 mins Kangar (Perlis); Alor Star (Kedah) ferry – 1/2hourly, hourly, 2 hourly
Penang 2 hrs 30 mins George Town (Pulau Pinang) ferry – one to two services only
Satun (Thailand) 1 hr 30 mins Satun (South Thailand) ferry – four times a day
From Jetty Kuala Kedah From Jetty Kuala Perlis
1.30 p.m 1.30 p.m
2.30 p.m 2.30 p.m
3.30 p.m 3.30 p.m
4.30 p.m 4.00 p.m
6.00 p.m 5.30 p.m
7.00 p.m 6.30 p.m
Car ferry or cargo ferry only depart from Kuala Kedah. You have to contact the ferry services 48 hours ahead and have the appropriate documents for the customs. Visitor seldom take their vehicle across unless they need the vehicle for a week or so.
By Private Yacht
The port of Langkawi is an administrative stop for immigration, customs and harbour clearance, for yachts crossing the Malaysian-Thai maritime border. The main Marinas or anchorages in Langkawi for private yachts are at:
Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, Langkawi island, Tel:04-966 4078
Rebak Marina Resort located on Pulau Rebak, Tel:04-966 5566
Telaga Harbour Park at Pantai Kok, Langkawi island, Tel:04-959 2202
Bass Harbour is West of Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, Kuah. This large anchorage, near the Tiara Hotel, is used by many cruisers.