The Langkawi archipelago with its 100-plus islands is a natural tropical paradise which many consider to be unmatched elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Surrounded by a stunning turquoise sea recognised for its excellent diving conditions, Langkawi Island itself covers 478 sq.km. of picturesque paddy fields and jungle-clad hills, with a shoreline fringed by powder-fine sand and swaying coconut trees. It's a tropical gem that hides a treasure trove of exciting holiday experiences. And that's just the start of your Langkawi sailing holiday charter.
This area of northern Malaysia and into Thai waters are best enjoyed and appreciated by boat. It's an area we know well as a sailing destination. For your private sailboat charter out of Langkawi, we'll help you design an itinerary that's exactly right for you.
Langkawi: an archipelago made up of 99 islands on the Malay Peninsula's west coast: Malaysia's best-known holiday destination and a place that nature-loving charterers will find hugely agreeable. Leave port and you're immediately confronted by this inviting natural wonderland.
Offshore and a short sail from the marina at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club is Dayang Bunting, one of the larger secondary islands in the group and a popular place to commune with nature. Look out for the sea eagles.
Around on the north side of Langkawi, the Kilim River and Kilim Karst Geoforest Park offer the chance for a unique tropical jungle excursion. See the 400 million-year-old karst limestone formations and the special mangrove ecosystem that has formed around it.
In the settlements on Langkawi Island the cuisine selection is just about infinite and the tastes exquisite. Sightseeing attractions will not disappoint either. The huge Underwater World Langkawi is the place to go to learn more about the marine environment you are there to enjoy, and much more besides. Another 'must do' is to ride the soaring Langkawi SkyCab to the top of Mt. Machinchang. All in all, Langkawi is an electrifying destination that keeps visitors coming back for more.
But if it's sailing you want, there are several wonderful islands you can set a course for just to the north and across the maritime boundary with Thailand. The Butang Group forms part of Tarutao National Park, its main islands Ko Lipe and Ko Adang offering safe anchorages and some truly spectacular snorkelling in the coral gardens, right off the boat or just out from the white-powder sandy beaches. This is a place you won't want to leave in a hurry, so spend a couple of days here and take a look at some of the smaller uninhabited islands in the Group. Onshore facilities are limited.
It's only another 15 - 20 nautical miles up to Ko Bulon Le, another exquisite Andaman Sea island. The population here practice a mix of Islam and ancient spirit worship, and it is important to be respectful. A wonderful place to experience a little of island culture as it used to be.
Depending on the terms of your charter, continue north to Phuket or set sail back to Langkawi via some of the inshore islands. Or by retracing your steps for a second look at your very new special place. There are plenty competing for the title.
The waters around Langkawi and its many islets are well protected by the mainland, ensuring excellent and safe sailing all year round. There is a wet and a dry season, but the region does not experience cyclones. The seasons are based on the monsoons that influence the weather and the wind directions. The northeast monsoon begins in November, ushering in light to moderate northeasterly winds between 10 and 20 knots, cooler temperatures, and drier conditions.
In May the southwest monsoon begins. Southwesterly winds gradually strengthen to more than 20 knots at the peak of the rainy season, which is around September and October. In most other rainy season months expect the occasional afternoon heavy tropical downpour with stillness returning for the evening. Daytime temperatures average 89°F (32°C) from July through February, 61°F (16°C) at night. March through June are the hottest months, but the seasonal variance is not great.
The tidal range can exceed 2.4 metres and needs to be considered when navigating and anchoring. Navigation is line-of-sight keeping a careful eye on the chart and GPS to avoid the numerous coral reefs. A Langkawi sailing vacation is well within the reach of sailors confident in basic coastal navigation.
With growing interest in boat charters out of Thailand and Malaysia, Sail Connection's Robert Cross chartered a catamaran in the low season, to find out for himself the nature of the weather at that time of year and how suitable it is for a sailing holiday. Here's Robert's account of the trip.
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