Think you have conquered the entire Peninsular Malaysia? Think again! There might just be some districts that are less explored by tourists, even the locals, such as Kedah. Located in the Northwestern part of Malaysia, Kedah is sharing its border with Thailand and is known as the rice producer for the country. While everyone has been raving about Langkawi (and its beautiful water), there are plenty of hidden gems in the mainland that may suit your laid-back travel plan. So, what is there to do in Kedah?
1. Langkawi Island Hopping
Langkawi island-hopping is one of the famous attractions in Kedah. A regular tour package usually starts at 9 am in the morning and lasts for 4 to 5 hours. One of the islands you will see is Pulau Dayang Bunting, 20 minutes away from Teluk Baru Jetty. Tourists usually spend around 1 hour here to marvel at the beautiful landscape and to enjoy the peaceful and laid-back atmosphere here. Pulau Dayang Bunting got its name from the shape of the mountains. If you look at the fringe of the mountains from the lake, you can see a clear outline of a woman lying on her back and is 6-7 months pregnant.
Another island you will visit is Pulau Beras Basah, which literally means “Island of Wet Rice.” It is a gorgeous island where you can find pristine white sand and vast blue sea. A perfect place for divers, it has a snorkelling spot that boasts a wide variety of fish and colourful marine life. If diving is not your thing, you can always relax and bask in the sunlight to get that sweet caramel skin you always dream of.
Pulau Beras Basah. Photo Credit: @adi_smith90
2. Menara Alor Star, Alor Setar
Photo Credit: @boss_yehh
The 165.5-metre tall tower is a modern symbol of Kedah, which serves as a telecommunication tower as well as a tourist attraction. Divided into 5 different parts, visitors are mostly found on the open deck — the highest point you can go. Another attractive part of the tower is the revolving Restoran Seri Angkasa that is located in the rotating tower. It offers both buffet and a la carte dining and is usually swarmed during dinner especially during Ramadan period. At night, the beautiful play of colours of the tower can be seen from afar.
3. Pantai Merdeka, Kota Kuala Muda
Having a song dedicated to a place is a more-than-enough reason for you to visit the place, and that’s why you have to visit Pantai Merdeka. This place is popular among families and couples who are looking for a big gathering or a short romantic vacation. Another pulling factor of this place is their food, especially the ABC Gunung Jerai. Ais Batu Campur (a.k.a. ABC) can be found elsewhere, but in Pantai Merdeka, the ABC comes towering like the Mountain Jerai. This massive bowl of shaved ice is perfect for 3 or 4 people, especially in the sweltering hot weather.
Another famous local cuisine that people often crave for is Mee Udang Pulau Sayak. A 15-minute drive from Pantai Merdeka will bring you to Pulau Sayak, where you can get possibly the best Mee Udang in Kedah. Squeeze some lime before you savour the lip-smacking rich broth as well as the huge fresh prawns!
4. Gunung Jerai, Yan
Going to Kedah would not be complete without visiting Gunung Jerai! You will find yourself surrounded by a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, making it an ideal place for bird watching and waterfall abseiling. Joggers and cyclists typically swarm the trek on Fridays and Saturdays to get some fresh air and respite from the hectic city life.
Once you reach the top of the mountain, you will be spoilt with a breathtaking view of paddy fields and the Straits of Malacca! If you are not into an active holiday but still wish to enjoy the panoramic view, you can drive up the mountain and have an overnight stay at The Regency Jerai Hill Resort, located right at the peak of the mountain.
5. Tree Top Walk Sg Sedim, Kulim
The northern part of Peninsular Malaysia also offers a one-of-a-kind eco-friendly tourist activity in the area. Be prepared to get active and get back to nature with a wide variety of outdoor activities in Kulim. For those seeking for some adrenaline pumps, the white water rafting on Sungai Sedim is a must-try as the strong river current gives you an exciting bumpy and rapid ride. For hikers who are looking for another mountain to conquer, a 3-day hike to Mount Bintang will be ideal.
The 925-metre canopy walk crossing Sungai Sedim would put you in awe as it is also the world’s longest rainforest canopy walk. At 26 metres above the ground level, the canopy walk gives you a fantastic bird-eye view of the unspoilt forest. However, do take note that the place will not be open during wet weather or extreme weather conditions.
For most people, ‘Langkawi’ is always the first to pop up when Kedah is mentioned, but now you know there are way more places to visit in Kedah. Each district has its own charm and wonders, with different attractions to offer. If you think Malaysia is too boring and typical for you, be ready to get surprised! There may be just so much more that you are yet to explore!