Our final activity in Langkawi, Kedah, before we flew back to Kuala Lumpur was taking the cable car ride up to the top of Mt. Machincang, some 700+ meters above sea level. It was something that I’d some mixed feeling about. Those who follow me, whether on this blog or on my other social media accounts, would know that I have a fear of heights from time to time. This is something which I’ve briefly written about when I shared my experience paragliding in Jugra, Selangor, Malaysia a few years back. So naturally this activity was not something that I was looking forward to, more so when others were talking about taking a ride in a gondola with a crystal glass floor, ha-ha! (That’s a nervous laugh, by the way 😅) Besides, my previous cable car ride – a ride on Jounieh Teleferique in Beirut, Lebanon - wasn’t really smooth sailing either. At the same time however, I really wanted to go up the mountain and see for myself Langkawi Sky Bridge, often said to be one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.
The drive from Tanjung Rhu, where we did our luxury mangrove cruise with Naam Adventure, to ‘Oriental Village’ in Burau Bay, where the base station for Langkawi SkyCab is located, took almost half an hour. There are a few other attractions in Oriental Village itself but we didn’t get to explore it much as we proceeded straight to the base station for our ticket to the top of the mountain. In the brief period that I was in Oriental Village whilst manoeuvring my way to get to Langkawi SkyCab base station, I thought the place has been built quite haphazardly, like it’s trying to be a small theme park or something. That’s just my opinion though. (If you’ve been, let me know what you think of Oriental Village in the comment section below.)
After a bit of waiting we finally got hold of our tickets. Luckily the tickets are for “Express Lane” (add RM50 on top of the normal ticket price) which allowed us to skip the long queue for the cable car. And what’s better, the tickets are for a ride on a normal gondola, not on the crystal glass gondola.
Phew! Thank God for that! 😅
Phew! Thank God for that! 😅
Did you know that there’s actually no road up the mountain to the cable car stations and Sky Bridge? Yup! They built them all up there by carrying the construction materials and equipment using helicopters. Can you believe that?
The ride up was pretty smooth although it was probably one of the longest 15 minutes of my life, ha-ha! I purposely sat in the gondola facing the mountain instead of the ground below and the sea beyond, and kept telling myself that it’s just like flying on a plane during a take-off. My mind on the other hand, well, had a mind of its own, and kept saying “Well, yeah, except that you’re in a small gondola full of people, hanging on a thin cable, which might snap at any time”.
Now, who was it that said it’s all mind over matter?? 😕
The view though was just ammaaaaazing, there's no denying that. Mount Machincang is part of Machincang Cambrian Geoforest Park, one of the three geoforest parks in Langkawi that have been recognised as a Global Geopark by UNESCO since way back in 2007. There’s even a cascading waterfall to my right. However, I must admit that I couldn’t bring myself to take any photos. I told my fellow gondola-mates that I was feeling nervous because of my previous experience in Lebanon. When asked if they’d like to know what actually happened in Beirut, the replies were a unanimous “NO!”
I thought as much, ha-ha! 😁
We didn’t get off at the 1st (middle) station. Instead, we stayed onboard right until the 2nd (top) station. It was a huge relief for myself the moment we got off our gondola here. Forget about the trip down to the base station, I could already see and understand why people climb mountains. And because I don’t climb, I know I should be thankful for cable cars like Langkawi SkyCab, which gives opportunities for people like me to enjoy sweeping view of the green tropical jungle that covers five hundred million years old of mountains; and also of the archipelago of islands, beaches and marina down below that make one realises what a beautiful island Langkawi really is.
Zoomed in from the top of Mount Machincang
As if all these are not enough of an attraction, there’s the Sky Bridge, a beautiful curved pedestrian bridge that is suspended mid-air and supported only by cables from a single steel tower to connect two hilltops on Mount Machincang. That, to me as a layman, is quite an engineering feat. Such beauty has earned Langkawi Sky Bridge a place on many lists of ‘Most Beautiful Bridges in the World’, and in my opinion, rightly so too.
And because of this, I’d highly recommend to everyone going to Langkawi NOT to miss Langkawi SkyCab and Langkawi Sky Bridge, even if you might have a fear of heights like I do.
Tips for Langkawi SkyCab & Langkawi Sky Bridge:
1. If you’re driving to Oriental Village in Teluk Burau yourself, use the GPS.
2. Before you head there, check Langkawi SkyCab website for any updates, e.g. maintenance work, etc. and promotions, e.g. discounted combo tickets.
3. Avoid weekends and public holidays but if you can’t help it, go there early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowd. Or pay for the express lane. Going in the late afternoon could offer a great sunset view, by the way.
4. Travelling up and down with the cable car alone takes up almost 30 minutes in total. Taking into account of the queueing time and the time to spend at the top of the mountain, you’d probably need to allocate at least 2-3 hours. However, it’s probably best to allocate half a day here in the itinerary, just in case. You can spend as much time as you want once you’re up there. If it eventually takes a shorter time than half a day, you can always spend some time at other attractions in Oriental Village or leave for someplace else.
5. If you’re not afraid of heights (and have the budget), go for the Crystal Glass Gondola. It’s more fun! At least that’s what I’ve been told! Ha-ha!
6. If you choose to get off at the 1st (middle) station first, it might take some time to queue for the next ride as passing gondolas might be full with passengers going up/down.
7. Pay and use SkyGlide, which connects the 2nd (top) station with Langkawi Sky Bridge, if you’re going for the Sky Bridge, unless if you don’t mind a short but steep 10-15 minute walk through the jungle.
8. Again, if you’re not afraid of heights, there are sections on the bridge where it has glass walkway. For obvious reason, I wouldn’t dare go near them, hahaha!
The trip down to the base station was not as scary as I already knew what to expect. (Note: It was still scary, just not as scary, heh!) My tip to handle this, just sit facing the mountain rather than the islands and the open sea below. (Having understanding family/ friends/ gondola-mates travelling in the same gondola could help too, by the way!)
From Oriental Village, we were transferred directly to Langkawi International Airport to catch our Firefly flight to Subang Skypark Airport, which is conveniently located just in the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur, some 25 km from the city centre. However, what I like about flying with Firefly is not just the location of its base airport, which is closer to home when compared to KLIA. There’s also the added convenience of spacious legroom (I’m a 6-footer, by the way), free light snack & soft drink, and… a free checked-in baggage allowance (20kg) so you don’t have to worry much if you have gone crazy shopping in duty-free Langkawi.
Langkawi SkyCab/ Sky Bridge:
A Thank You and Disclosure NoteI was in Langkawi at the invitation of Tourism Malaysia Kedah and Firefly, a Malaysian airline that flies twice daily between Subang Airport (in the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur) and Langkawi. The sponsorship however has in no way affected my review of the places that we went to.
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Have you been on Langkawi SkyCab and to Langkawi Sky Bridge? If you have, what do you think of them? Any tips you'd like to add? If you haven't been (why not? 😉), what's your best experience with a cable car? Where was it?
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