Getting back to nature in Langkawi
by Martin Steady | 20 February 2020
It’s just a platform,” I tell myself. But there are no steps, no escalator and no obvious way of making an exit – except for what they call ‘controlled free fall’.
As I inch myself to the edge of the abyss my bravado leaves me. I can no longer pretend that I was just being polite by allowing others to go first. This is where it ends.
I’ve been zipping through the canopy of towering trees in Langkawi’s glorious rainforest at the Machinchang Geopark.
There are 12 ziplines up to 200 metres long and three bridges and we’ve soared over the Seven Wells waterfall and enjoyed spectacular views of the ocean. But the final zipline ends here and I must now zip straight down.
You’d think this would be enough adrenaline for one trip, but no. Only two minutes away is the famous Langkawi SkyCab – the steepest cable car ride on earth – and the record-breakingly-long SkyBridge.
My adventure had begun at Pantai Kok’s Oriental Village, a themed outdoor complex complete with a 6D cinemotion experience and the option to ride a Segway.
Onboard the Langkawi Skycab we’re lifted 2.2 kilometres high above the dense virgin rainforest canopy of Gunung Machinchang. This majestic mountain rises to 708m above sea level and on clear days you can see not only the Andaman Sea but the southern Thailand coastline beyond. We rise to the Top Station for a 15-minute trip in one of the glass-bottomed gondolas over the ancient treetops.
The contrast between my thrill-seeking day out and our hotel couldn’t be more stark. As soon we pull up outside The Danna Langkawi I know we are in for some extraordinary hospitality. If you want to be treated like royalty, this five-star resort is a safe bet.
Over a cocktail making presentation and tasting evening we persuade the GM, Mr Aamir Khan, to divulge some of the celebrity names that have stayed here – it’s a who’s who of international stars and politicians I am not at liberty to share but it gives me an idea of the level of service you can expect here.
My Princess Villa is a refined living at its best, with a luxuriously upholstered bedroom and sitting areas wrapped in luxury décor, surrounded by vegetation, making for total privacy when I take a dip in my private pool overlooking the Andaman Sea.
I feel as if I’m on a movie set as I stroll along the quay towards our luxury yacht. I seriously doubt this ‘yacht’ has ever unfurled its sails but what does unfold is an evening of great food and drink, hysterical laughter, thumping live DJ music, dancing and beautiful sunset views as we glide along past tropical scenery.
The following day we embark on a short drive (nowhere is far in Langkawi) and are ushered into boats for a tour of the mangroves. Soon, stillness descends and the only soundtrack is animal squeaks, snorts and rustles as various creatures scramble away - snakes, lizards, wild dogs and many other stealthy inhabitants.
At Langkawi’s famed bat caves (Gua Kelawar) we admire and recoil in equal measure at these bizarre flying mammals suspended from the roof.
Our next home is the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort. I am mourning the Danna but it doesn’t take me long to be won over by this award-winning Asian hospitality brand. Its 355 wooden chalets are inspired by traditional Malay village architecture and all have private balconies and views of the sea and surrounding tropical landscape.
The choice of activities is impressive and I struggle to keep tabs on all the pools, bars, restaurants, fitness and wellness facilities, sports options, and shopping opportunities. The white sandy beach of Cenang is one kilometre long and offers plenty of room for sun seekers and the chance to try out various cocktails whilst lounging on the massive bean bags.
If you bore ofpampering and relaxation there’s plenty of action to be had and I am lured away from the beach with the promise of a Megawatersports Jetski Safari. Following our leader in a ‘v’ formation, onward we plough, visiting several of the area’s idyllic islands and gradually getting used to these machines, until, fancying ourselves action-heroes, we charge home at full throttle.
As my time in Langkawi ebbs away, I jump at the chance to visit a remarkable resort. Ambong Ambong Villas comprises individual nature-sensitive accommodations built to exquisite standards amidst the lush rainforest with infinity pools and BBQ areas, all in perfect harmony with nature.
I leave Malaysia convinced that Langkawi offers the ultimate in man-made luxury and human-engineered adrenaline. But what really makes it stand out is how nature is entwined in every experience – from the zip lining to the villa chilling – mother nature is always involved and most importantly always respected.
Where to book it...
Premier Holidays has seven nights at the Meritus Pelangi Beach & Spa resort, from £1199pp including travel. Kenwood Travel has seven nights at The Danna Langkawi from £1171pp with flights. The author flew with Qatar Airways.
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