The north side of Gunung Mat Cincang falls to the sea to form this area on the northwest side of Langkawi. You’ll find two five-star resorts here, the Datai Resort which commands Datai Bay, and the Andaman Resort — and not much else. Both have exclusive use of their adjacent beaches, but this corner of the island is not one to be ignored, even if you’re a budget traveller. The land rising from the valley that embraces Sungai Kupang Baduk and hugs the coast that leads up to the resorts is beautiful and diverse — the drive is worth it for the views alone.
A crocodile farm is on the left as you travel up the road, with jungle and rainforest also to your left and the river valley falling away to your right. Crocodile feeding time is at 11:15 or 14:45, when they also present their crocodile wrestling shows; we’re not in favour of animal shows, though it’s perhaps worth noting that a little wrestling for these crocs is better than the alternative — they’re also killed for their hides and meat here.
Pantai Pasir Tengkorak (Skull Sand Beach) is a local favourite, offering clean sand beaches, toilets, changing rooms and a picnic area. It’s a great place to spend a few hours catching some rays or taking advantage of the shady trees. But a word of caution: there are monkeys here that aren’t shy and don’t need encouragement to approach people, so please don’t feed them.
Travelling further up the headland you come to Temurun Falls. The falls drop more than 30 metres into a series of pools that are great for swimming, depending on seasonal rainfall. This waterfall rivals Seven Wells Waterfall, without the steep hike.
Collect rocks? Across the road from Temurun Falls is aptly-named Pebble Beach, for there’s little sand here but an abundance of rocks of all types worn smooth by the sea. This particular stretch of road is also frequented by wildlife, so keep an eye out for monkeys, monitor lizards and other critters that frequently cross the road, particularly early in the morning or late afternoon.
Travelling from Jalan Datai towards Padang Lalang you’ll pass Jemuruk Island quay, where local fishermen venture out into the river and mangroves. With a little negotiation you may be able to hire a boat to take you up the estuary for a glimpse of the river islands and mangroves.
While you’ll only find flash digs to stay at, Pantai Tanjung Rhu is not that far away and offers affordable places to stay in and around Padang Lalang. Restaurants in this area are very local but offer good Malay cuisine at very affordable prices. The Datai Corner and The Café Simpang Datai for example are at the intersection of Jalan Datai and Jalan Teluk Yu.
Of course there’s always the option of the five-star experience without the price tag that comes with actually staying overnight. Though not cheap, the Datai offers cocktails and appetisers for a reasonable price considering the environment, and the ambiance is well worth the extra ringgit even if it’s just for bragging rights.
By Vanessa Workman
Last updated on 27th August, 2014.