The best beaches of Peninsular Malaysia
The Pulau Payar Marine Park
Pulau Langkawi mangrove cruises

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Contact with nature

Situated 30km off the coast just south of the Thai border, at 500 square kilometres Pulau Langkawi is the largest of an archipelago of mostly uninhabited islands.
A shore excursion on your MSC Grand Voyages cruise can be the opportunity to discover its white-sand beaches which are easily the best along the entire west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Langkawi’s charms consist largely of lazing around on the sand, perhaps taking time off for a mangrove cruise after sea eagles, to snorkel or scuba dive south at Pulau Payar Marine Park, or to ride the Langkawi Cable Car over the interior forests to the top of Gunung Mat Cincang.

Once a haven for pirates, Langkawi has in recent years been converted into a cruise port and an upmarket destination aimed at Saudis and Europeans. It’s also popular with Western yachties, as a cheaper place to hang out than Phuket in Thailand. Lining a large sweep of bay in the south-eastern corner of the island, Kuah, with a population of thirteen thousand, is Langkawi’s de facto capital. Down at the south, Kuah Jetty is a large complex of cafés, banks and duty-free shops where vessels from the mainland and Thailand dock; beside the ferry terminal, Dataran Lang – Eagle Square; Langkawi means “red eagle” – is graced by an enormous sculpture of a sea eagle.

Jalan Persiaran Putra runs north from here for 3km or so – the grey, concrete town on one side, the sea on the other – before heading off around the rest of the island. A shore excursion on your MSC Grand Voyages holiday can also be the opportunity to discover Pulau Langkawi mangrove cruises and island-hopping boat trips to the forested Pregnant Maiden Island (Pulau Dayang Bunting), whose crater lake is good for swimming.

Must see places in Langkawi

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    Suspended between past and future
    Suspended between past and future

    Malaysia has something to offer every MSC World Cruise cruiser – from heady bar- and club-hopping in the capital, historical buildings in towns rich in colonial history and countless regional delicacies, to trekking and wildlife-watching in the world’s oldest tropical rainforest and diving at some of the world’s best sites off the white-sand beaches of its many islands.

    On a cruise to Malaysia you’ll encounter much charm and beauty; its rich cultural heritage is apparent in both traditional village areas and in its commitment to religious plurality.

    The dominant cultural force is undoubtedly Islam, but the country’s diverse population of Malays, Chinese, Indians and Borneo’s indigenous tribes has created a fabulous juxtaposition of mosques, temples and churches, a panoply of festivals, and a wonderful mixture of cuisines. The Malays insist that their food combines the best flavours and dishes of the surrounding countries – and after a few meals from a sizzling street stall, you’re likely to agree.

    A First impressions of Malaysia’s high-tech, fast-growing capital, Kuala Lumpur (KL), are likely to be of a vibrant and colourful modern metropolis with gleaming skyscrapers. Pulau Langkawi is a popular, palm-fringed, duty-free island north of Penang, while routes down the Peninsula’s east coast include stops at the truly stunning islands of Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Tioman.