The Coolest Spot in Langkawi
By Eric Chong
For visitors to Langkawi unaccustomed by the heat and humidity especially during the bright sunny days, an afternoon spent with a picnic basket at the coolest spot in Langkawi is indeed a welcome relief. Look to the highest spot in Langkawi and you would see the place Gunung Raya.
It remains the coolest spot in Langkawi as it is relatively untouched. Its towering trees provide the much needed cover and cools the air around the hill before the monsoon winds reaches the peak to cool it even further.
For the new visitors and for those whove never been up Gunung Raya, this is one of the areas where few tourists go for a day of R&R. The view is outstanding. You actually see clouds rushing up to see you during the rainy season. During the rainy season, Gunung Raya gets the most rain. Being the highest peak in Langkawi and situated exactly in the middle of the island, any stray cloud that passes by the island eventually gathers and starts moving up this hill. As it moves up, it cools. Like a chilled glass taken out from the fridge, water condenses around the glass. When there are enough water droplets, they start dripping from the glass. The same thing happens with the clouds. At the peak, you often feel moist and pleasantly cooled just like the chilled glass due to the condensation effect. This is a natural phenomena that most locals truly appreciate living in such warm climates.
Gunung Raya is the only place you can go in a few hours and say Yeah, Ive seen all of Langkawi. You truly get a feel of Langkawi from going up the hill. The road is actually built somewhat spiraling around the hill. By taking a trip up, you will actually see the whole island of Langkawi plus all the other little islands. Not only that, you get a taste of what Langkawis natural state is like. The tall majestic trees, and the wildlife monkeys, birds and snakes being the most common can all be enjoyed without much sweat as this trek can be made from the comfort of your vehicle. However, if you do choose to walk, there is indeed no better way than this to get rid of some of those extra calories. Do keep in mind that you are walking uphill all the time. Therefore, it takes twice the amount of time to reach your destination.
On your way up, wind down your window and drive slowly. This will enable you to see and hear the dozens of hornbills which live around the area. You will know when you see a hornbill. It has a horn-shaped bill, hence its name, which makes up one third of its size. Stop your vehicle if you see any. Get off your vehicle and listen to them fly by. They are the only birds which make the unique whooshing sounds when they fly. The sounds are caused by the wind flowing through their huge feathers. Also note the 3 different species.
Half way up, you will pass a tiny waterfall. Taste the water. It is guaranteed to be free of chemicals as there are no inhabitants on the hill. There is also a small pool under the waterfall. Take a shower by all means. Itll be the coolest water you can find on the island.
From this mid-point to the top of the hill, the road will start to spiral around the hill. This is the best place to start walking as the temperature here starts to cool off and you will get a glimpse of the different parts of the island at your own pace. (Please keep in mind that your are still a good six kilometers away from the peak.) To get your sense of bearing, look to see where the sun is unless you are one of those who carry everything on you and you happen to have a compass.