Sleeping Giants – Langkawi’s Mountain Ranges

Things to Do — By Zanni Davis on July 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Among Langkawi’s most beautiful natural treasures are its twin peaks – Gunung Mat Cincang, and Gunung Raya. The first, whose peak reaches a dizzying 710 meters, can be accessed by cable cars from three different points from the island. The second is the island’s highest mountain peak, (reaching 881 meters) but is not as easily accessible and subject to weather conditions. Both offer some of the most enchanting views of the island and its vast greenery.

Image: Amani Hasan

Local legend has it that the mountains were created thousands of years ago because of a fight between two giants. As the fight escalated, debris being thrown around by the two became the site of villages, greenery and other attractions today. After the batting duo made up, they agreed to transform themselves into two mountains as a way to repent – today these giants are Gunung Raya in the southwest of the island and Gunung Mat Cincang in the northeast.

You can reach the Gunung Mat Cincang’s peak via cable car, which is an experience in itself. The cars begin at various points at the base of the mountain range. Once you ascend about halfway, you can see all the natural marvels, including vast swathes of rain forest, from your vantage point in the cable car. At just before 600 meters, look out for the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls. The first stop is at about 600 meters, where you can hang around the observatory deck and take pictures of below. Then, there is another cable car that takes you to the top, where you will be greeted by a number of stalls selling souvenirs. The top of the peak offers the best place for a panoramic view of the island. There is also a bridge that takes you to a neighbouring mountain, where you can see the island’s northern point.

Image: Metku

Getting to the top of Gunung Raya is relatively harder. Most visitors make their own way up by car (or by foot for more ambitious travelers). Because of its height, the peak of Gunung Raya can get very chilly, with temperatures significantly lower than on the main island.  The views from the top are spectacular, but be sure to go on a clear day as clouds can often obscure visibility at the top. There is a tea house at the top, where you can stop for refreshments, as well as a small museum and art gallery.