REVIEW: LANGKAWI CABLE CAR AND SKY BRIDGE
I love heights. I just love being way up high, anywhere: on the top floors of skyscrapers looming over cities, climbing fire towers in national parks way up above trees, making forest canopy walks up at the tip top of jungle trees, in airplanes soaring through clouds above the earth, on mountain peaks gazing across a sea of mountains… If a place is up high, I’d like to get there.
So when the Langkawi Development Authority offered to organize a trip for me on Langkawi Cable Car, I jumped at the chance. At the time, I didn’t know much about that particular cable car, but I knew it was bound to be up high, in the mountains, with gorgeous views over the island. As it turned out, Langkawi Cable Car was all that… and a whole lot more! It’s easily the best cable car experience I’ve ever had.
You see, it’s not just A cable car ride. I’d define it more as ‘a unique outdoor experience’- The entire adventure consists of 2 cable car rides; 8 viewing decks with amazing, sweeping views of Langkawi’s archipelago of islands, beaches and marinas, as well as up-close views of rock cliffs, a waterfall, and tropical jungle trees; a short but steep forest walk; and an astounding engineering feat referred to as a ‘sky bridge’.
The ‘bridge’ is a curved steel walkway suspended in mid air between two mountain peaks, thousands of feet above the jungle floor, and held in place, miraculously, by a single blue steel tower and 10 cables. How they ever transported several tons of steel to that location or managed to erect an 82-meter tower THERE, in the middle of densely-pack jungle-clad mountains, is beyond me. Even more amazingly, there’s no sign of the construction process anywhere- no road, no discarded metal bits, no forest damage. Peering around and down to the forest floor waayyyy down below, it’s almost impossible to tell where they even accessed the base of the tower. The rocks, mountains, and dense forest are completely intact, completely undisturbed. How dey do dat?! I was impressed!
My day had started early with a one-hour bicycle ride from Cenang, Langkawi’s most popular beach, to the base of the cable car. Cycling Langkawi is a fairly easy and immensely enjoyable way to get around the island. Roads are in excellent condition, traffic is light, most of the roads are surprisingly flat for such a mountainous island, and everywhere you’re simply pedaling through nature- past rice fields, cow pastures, scattered local houses, resorts, and villages, and forests and along beautiful coastlines.
Upon arrival at the cable car, I encountered my only ‘gripe’ about an otherwise fantastic Langkawi Cable Car experience: Quite unfortunately, from a westerners’ perspective at least, the cable car starts in the ‘Oriental Village’, which is essentially a very poorly-placed shopping mecca at the base of the stunning, nearly-vertical jungle-clad mountains. I felt like I was entering Disney Land, wandering down the lanes amidst a bright yellow shopping ‘arcade’. The ‘Village’ offers pony rides, elephant rides, a horse-drawn western style carriage, animal petting zoo, and masses of duty-free shops.
I was thinking the place couldn’t possibly be any worse, until I realized that, indeed, it could have been even worse. I happily noted that at least no loud-speakers or pop music were blaring. Thankfully, the place was silent, save for the sounds of nature. And, although artificial, they’d managed to create a never-the-less lovely stream and a pond full of lily pads, accented by a graceful red-arched bridge… And, on a positive note, visitors have everything they could possibly need way out there in the mountains: food and snacks, drinks, sunscreen, and anything else they might have forgotten back at their room. I had to admit that it was immensely convenient. Besides that, the toilets were huge and immaculate. Gotta appreciate that.
I simply ignored my surroundings as much as possible and proceeded directly to the cable car. I picked up my ticket, walked up to the platform, and within minutes I was stepping inside my very own cable car (called a ‘sky cab’) and being whisked upwards towards the looming, jungle-clad peaks smack in front of me.
The cable car ascends at a very steep incline, quite close to the mountainside, offering fantastic up-close views of the trees and rocky cliffs. I later learned that it’s the steepest cable car climb in the world! In the distance, an immense waterfall splashed down, splayed out on an exposed rock face in the middle of the forest.
Naturally, the further the cable car rises, the more spectacular the views of Langkawi and surrounding islands became. It’s all very thrilling. Eventually, the cable car clears the top of the mountain, and passengers can step off onto a large platform at 652.5 meters in elevation, to enjoy the stunning views splayed out below.
From the first platform, there’s a second, shorter cable car ride over to a nearby peak, where five more viewing platforms set at over 700 meters await. From there you’ll also find the steep forest walk to the sky bridge. You’re welcome to stay as long as you like, wandering around, gazing at the gorgeous scenery, and marveling at the sky bridge.
The second platform area has snacks, sandwiches, drinks, tables and even a toilet. Some areas are shaded. Be careful of the sun and heat up there! Since the air is cooler, you might not notice you’re getting burned. I somehow managed to get heat rash over my entire body that day! After living/traveling/cycling/hiking around SE Asi for 14 years with no heat rash, I have no idea how that happened?! One of those inexplicable phenomenons.
It’s hard to decide what’s the most spectacular part of this adventure:the super steep ascent up the first cable car? the sweeping views over Langkawi? the up-close views of rocky pinnacles? the phenomenal sky bridge?
Unless you’re afraid of heights, you’d be crazy to miss this amazing experience when you visit Langkawi. For just 30 RM /$10, just about anyone can afford it. Even if it stretches your budget, squeeze it in! You’ll be eternally grateful you didn’t miss out.
* Thanks to Langkawi Cable Car for sponsoring my trip and to Langkawi Development Authority for organizing my trip. The views expressed here are my own candid opinions.
Qs: Where was the best cable car you’ve ever taken? Was it for skiing – hiking – or just sight seeing?