Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Langkawi Island - Langkawi Cable Car

Our ride on the Langkawi Cable Car was the highlight of our visit to the Oriental Village. It officially opened in 2003 and it's one of Langkawi Island's newest and most popular attraction. We boarded the cable car gondola from the Base Station at the Oriental Village. Each gondola can hold up to six adults. A round trip ticket would set you back RM25 (approx US$8) for adults and RM18 (approx US$5.50) for children. There is a discount for Malaysians though. All you need to do is show them your MYKAD and it's only RM15 for round trip tickets.
The total length (from Base Station to Top Station) is about 2.2km (1.4 miles) and the trip takes about 30 minutes. The ride itself from the Base Station to Middle Station is pretty cool. You will get an opportunity to glide over the rainforest while taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding islands and the Andaman Sea. If you look hard enough, you will be able to see the Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells) waterfalls. On good days, you can also sometimes catch a glimpse of wildlife like monkeys, hornbills, eagles as well as other birds.
The Langkawi Cable Car has also been endorsed by the Malaysian Book of Records as the "The Longest Free Span Single Rope Cable Car – 919.5 meter (in total length)". Oh and a little warning for those of you who are afraid of heights. It also holds another record. At 42 degrees, the Langkawi Cable Car has one of the steepest gradient in the world!

There is an intermediate Cable Car station between the Base and Top Station. The journey from the Base Station to Middle Station covers 1,700 meters in length and the Middle Station at an elevation of 650m above sea level. Upon arriving at the Middle Station, we were able to walk onto viewing platforms where we got an awesome panoramic view of sea as well as the opportunity to view the unique rock formations of the Matchingcang Mountain Range up close. Check out the vid that I took from the Middle Station. Boy, it was such a windy day!
From the Middle Station, we could also see the Top Station as well as the Curve Hanging Bridge. The bridge was opened in 2005 and since then, it's unique design has won many reputable awards worldwide. I must say that the bridge is definitely not for the faint hearted. It is a 125m curve pedestrian bridge that goes across a deep chasm, linking the Top Station with the Machincang mountain range. Just looking at it gives me goosebumps! :P

Alrighty, it's time to board the cable car gondola again for a quick ride upwards to the Top Station! The distance between the Middle and Top Station is a mere 450 meters away. Woohoo! Off to the Curve Hanging Bridge we go!

After a short cable car ride, we are at the Top Station. A short walk up a few flights of stairs took us to two viewing platforms, at the top of Mt Matchingcang. At 708m above sea level, it provides an awesome 360 degree panoramic view of the islands surrounding Langkawi Island and Kedah. On really clear days, you can even see Thailand from there! The view was truly breathtaking. There is also a cafe where you can purchase light refreshments as well as a traditional massage parlour up at the viewing platforms. Next stop, the Curve Hanging Bridge!

To get to the Curve Hanging Bridge, one has to trek downhill for a short distance. There is no shade and with the direct mid day sun above you, it can be quite tedious. If you think the trek down is bad, wait til you try to climb back up. It's alright for younger people but the older folks and those that are not exactly fit can find it to be a little taxing. Cardio baby, cardio! With that said, I must admit that the experience on the Curve Hanging Bridge itself was worth all that trekking! It's totally awesome! However, if you are afraid of heights, this can be quite a terrifying experience. With a hanging bridge over such a deep chasm, looking over the railings of the bridge can give any person (not just those who are afraid of heights) white knuckles! :P Overall, we had a great time at the Oriental Village as well as a fun ride up the Cable Car. From the Oriental Village, we went to get a snack at the most famous bakery in Langkawi. Know where that is? Stay tuned to find out!

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