Romancing Langkawi

Pat Fama
Yahoo! Malaysia Editorial

Langkawi is marketed as one of Malaysia’s most romantic destinations, but mass tourism and romance are hardly a match made in heaven. With the right planning though, couples can enjoy a holiday which would make St Valentine proud. Here’s seven top tips for a romantic time in Langkawi.

Size matters

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When it comes to choosing where to stay, it’s best to steer well clear of large hotels, particularly ones run by international chains. The room photos may be inviting, but it is hard to feel romantic, when you are sharing your dream holiday with hundreds of other guests. Opt instead for hotels or guesthouses with a personal touch, and preferably a spark of originality. Fortunately, Langkawi has good choice of such options, including Ambong Ambong, The Temple Tree @ Bon Ton, and Casa Del Mar. If money is no object, then staying in a private villa at The Datai or Four Seasons has a lot to recommend it.

Far from the madding crowds

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When it comes to lounging on the beach with your loved one, the more private the experience, the better. So this rules out any stretches of sand popular with families. Water sports are another big no-no. How are you expected to whisper sweet nothings to each other, when all you can hear is the roar of jet skis and speed boats? Staying at a resort with direct access to a private beach - such as The Andaman or Tanjung Rhu Resort - is one option. Another is to search out quieter public beaches on the far north west or north east of the island.

Spa together

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They say that couples who get pampered together, stay together. Actually, I just made that up. But it is true that being treated like a king and queen for a few hours is a very sensual experience. A number of spas in Langkawi have special packages of treatments for couples, including Ishan Malaysian Spa, Alun-Alun Spa, and Geo Spa. Treatments and costs vary greatly, so check out a few places before making a final decision.

Soft lighting

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What could be more romantic than a candlelit dinner on a beautiful tropical beach? Well, if it’s done right, nothing much. But if you are sitting in a line with several other couples, then much of the romance gets lost in translation. Langkawi’s more luxurious hotels can usually arrange for a romantic dinner for two on a private stretch of sand. For those on a somewhat tighter budget, then Scarborough Fish and Chips on Tanjung Rhu beach (southern end) is a great choice. You may well have to bring your own candles though. Another alternative is to head to restaurants which do not need sand and surf to be romantic, such as Fat Cupid and Nam Restaurant.

Watch the sun go down

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Being a west coast island, Langkawi is blessed with some of Malaysia’s finest sunsets. Pantai Tengah and Pantai Cenang - the two most popular beaches - are good spots to watch the (near) daily show. But they can get quite crowded, so you might want to go somewhere quieter to have a truly romantic sunset experience. One option is the headland just across from the northern end of Pantai Cenang (follow the road to Tubotel, while another is Pantai Kok. Or alternatively, you could head up to Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s highest peak, and take in the sunset vistas from there.

Sail off into horizon

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Virtually every tour company on Langkawi offers “sunset cruises”, with couples the biggest target market. Although not unpleasant, sharing your trip with plenty of other passengers is hardly the stuff of romance. For something more personal - and not as expensive as it sounds - it’s possible to hire your own yacht. Experienced operators include Blue Water Star Sailing, Tropical Charters and Crystal Yacht Holidays.

The wedding planner

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Thousands of couples come to Langkawi every year to tie the knot, with most opting for the classic beach wedding. Indeed, it is such big business that it can feel like a production line. To achieve something a bit more special, you need to have some help, and that’s where wedding planners come in. They should be able to take the stress out of organising your big day remotely, as well as being able to negotiate good deals with suppliers. Always check testimonials from past customers before making your choice. Langkawi Wedding Planner has a great reputation.