With the Thailand border directly to the north, you can understand why northern Malaysia doesn’t get the exposure or the profile it deserves. Showcasing some of the best environments the Asian continent has to offer, northern Malaysia is a treat on its own, offering staggering attractions but with half the crowds.
With Langkawi really the only island that attracts anywhere near the crowds of Thailand (and even then, it’s deserted in comparison), you can be forgiven for not knowing much about the area. So let us enlighten you.
One of the jewels in Malaysia’s crown and when you head to the island, it catches you by surprise by how big it is. Certainly a destination where it’s ideal to hire a car if you want to see it, it also caters for those wanting to sit back on the beautiful golden beaches and watch time go by.
Langkawi is an ideal place to partake in a spot of snorkelling as the rocky outcrops off some of the spots on the island accommodate hundreds of species of exotic sea life. Other than water activities, make sure you take a visit to Langkawi’s only golf course as it is absolutely stunning, complete with monkeys, mountain peaks and a 19th hole that has players hitting over the ocean water.
Off the opposite coast line from Langkawi, the Perhentian Islands consist of two main islands Kecil and Besar. With the islands having a spot of trouble dealing with the by-products of tourism (rubbish etc), you won’t find that many tourist outlets and you’ll be a world away from the party atmosphere of its Thai island counterparts.
That being said, there’s not much else you’ll need whilst on the island other than some sunscreen as its teal waters and golden sand beaches are irresistible. Normally shut during the monsoon season, make sure you also bring cash as there are no ATMs on the islands.
Possessing the energy of a city double its size, Kota Bharu is often used by tourists as the gateway to the Perhentians, however, it’s definitely worth taking a day or two to spend in this bustling little city. Showcasing some remnants from WWII, this city is very popular with tourists purely because of its energy and its attractions which number aplenty.
Whilst you’re in Kota Bharu, enjoy the amazing view of Fireflies Garden along the river with Malay Traditional Boat (Long Tail Boat) in Kubang Kerian. Be sure to head to the day and night markets where you can have a delicious meal made entirely by local products and take a walk around the downtown area. Of course, there’s also the beautiful beach so you won’t be short of things to do.