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The Island

Langkawi, a cluster of 99 islands separated from mainland Malaysia by the Straits of Malacca, is a district of the state of Kedah in Northern Malaysia and lies approximately 51 km west of Kedah. The total land mass of the islands is 47,848 hectares. The main island spans about 25 km from north to south and slightly more for east and west. The coastal areas consist of flat, alluvial plains punctuated with limestone ridges. Two-thirds of the island is dominated by forest-covered mountains, hills and natural vegetation. Langkawi, officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah, is an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, some 30km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border.

The People

Malaysia has a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multilingual society. The original culture of the area stemmed from indigenous tribes that inhabited it, along with the Malays who later moved there. Substantial influence exists from Chinese and Indian culture, dating back to when foreign trade began. Other cultural influences include the Persian, Arabic, and British cultures. Due to the structure of the government, coupled with the social contract theory, there has been minimal cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities.

The Culture

The culture of Malaysia draws on the varied cultures of the different people of Malaysia. The first people to live in the area were indigenous tribes that still remain; they were followed by the Malays, who moved there from mainland Asia in ancient times. Chinese and Indian cultural influences made their mark when trade began with those countries, and increased with immigration to Malaysia. Other cultures that heavily influenced that of Malaysia include Persian, Arabic, and British. The many different ethnicities that currently exist in Malaysia have their own unique and distinctive cultural identities, with some crossover.

The Art

Traditional Malaysian art is mainly centered on the crafts of carving, weaving, and silversmith. Traditional art ranges from handwoven baskets from rural areas to the silverwork of the Malay courts. Common artworks included ornamental kris and beetle nut sets. Luxurious textiles like traditional pattern batik fabrics using wax and dye to cover parts of a decorated design. Indigenous East Malaysians are known for their wooden masks. Traditional jewelry was made from gold and silver adorned with gems, and, in East Malaysia, leather and beads were used to the same effect. Each ethnic group has distinct performing arts, with little overlap between them. Malay art shows some North Indian influence. The Chinese communities brought traditional lion dances and dragon dances with them, while Indians brought art forms such as Bharata Natyam and Bhangra. Colonialism also brought other art forms, such as the Portuguese Farapeira and Branyo. There are a variety of traditional dances, which often have very strong spiritual significance. Different tribes from west and east Malaysia have different dances.

Things to Do in Langkawi

Visitors who would like to explore the great outdoors will find many options in Langkawi. From water sports, go-karting, horseback riding, waterfall hikes to cable-car rides, night markets, marinas and bird parks. White water rafting, kayaking, bicycle tours, hiking through the mountains, trekking through rice fields or water skiing on the waters of a volcanic lake. Nature enthusiasts can wander through game reserves, bird sanctuaries or horticultural gardens. Those who consider shopping their sport of choice can amass treasures on this duty-free island on any budget with varieties of locally designed fashions decorated with intricate beadworks, batik patterns using wax and dye cover parts of decorated design outfits displays in chic boutiques. You can find the original ceramics are sold in trendy shops with handcrafted exquisite glass items.

Accessibility

Langkawi International Airport is just 10 minutes away from The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi. The airport has expanded to cater more domestic and international flights served by a number of airlines.