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Malaysia Travel Guide


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Langkawi ~ Legends I

An Introduction Getting There Legends Sights & Visits Beaches Islands

Stay-in Langkawi Travel-in Langkawi Langkawi Map


Legend of Mountains Cave of Legends Seven Wells

• Legend of the Beach of Skulls • Of Farts


Centuries ago skilled storytellers on the mainland made a living from spinning wondrous, spectacular tales of folklore, history, myths and legends of celestial beings, demons, warriors and wars, giants, beautiful maidens and gallant heroes. Langkawi was inaccessible to local folks in those days.




There are two well known mountains in the heart of Langkawi Island,

Gunung Raya and Gunung Mat Cincang. Added to the two and appearing

to separate them is a hill called Bukit Sawar.
If you look hard at Gunung Mat Cincang located at 700m above sea level,

you can actually see it is smiling to its 850m high neighbour, Gunung Raya

(the island's highest mountain).

According to folklore, these two mountains together with Bukit Sawar (Sawar Hill),

a smaller mountain, were all human beings at one time with respective names

of Mat Raya, Mat Cincang and Mat Sawar.

Such good friends they were that they all shared the same martial arts 'guru.'

As the story goes, Mat Cincang's daughter was engaged to Mat Raya's son.
With this Mat Raya planned a grand feast to celebrate the engagement of

his daughter to Mat Cincang's son

Unfortunately, the young man was caught flirting with another maiden at

the party, an indiscretion that resulted in a raging battle between the two

childhood friends. During the fight everyone became violent and pots and pans

were flung at one another. A big pot of gravy was broken and the contents

spilled on the ground.

The spot where the gravy spilled is known as Kuah (gravy), Kisap (or 'to seep in') became the name of the village where the gravy seeped through the land

and where the pot was broken as became known as Belanga Pecah (broken pot).

A couldron of hot water was also spilled on the ground and the spot is known

as Air Hangat Village (Hot Water Village) . Where the engagement ring

was flung became known as 'Tanjung Cincin' or Cape of the Ring.

The straits now separates Langkawi from Terutau Island in Thailand.

The fight between the two families went on until it was intervened by Mat Sawar.
who enentually was able to stop the fight. Both Mat Raya and Mat Cincang apologised for the damage incurred. In remorse, they chose to be

transformed into mountains, immobile and benign.

Soon, Mat Sawar followed suit. If you look at the two mountains today, you will notice that little Mat Sawar Hill is wedged in between, probably to prevent

another fight between the two.

The marriage turned out to be a prosperous one, for Mat Raya's son turned

over leaf and became a devoted husband.





The Gua Cerita is one of the many fascinating limestone caves

situated in the north-east of Langkawi.

It comprises two limestone caves, one above the other and faces the sea.


There are a number of legends associated with the Gua Cerita. Here we provide

one of which was related to Merong Maha Wangsa in the episode involving the Roman and the Chinese Emperors. The other is one concerns a strange

creature called Gedembai


You will see faintly legible on the walls

Jawi inscriptions that date back to 1754 AD.

You will also see rocks that somewhat resemble furniture


Gua Cerita & Merong Maha Wangsa

The story goes that the emperors of Rome and China had a plan to marry off

their children. The scheme was opposed by the legendary Geruda (phoenix)

who saw the union of the two great powers as a threat to the other smaller kingdoms. The Geruda was determined to quash the scheme; what it did was

to abduct the Chinese princess and hid her in a cave believed to be on Langkawi Island. It then set to attack and destroy the Roman fleet commanded by

Merong Maha Wangsa with the Roman Prince on it. Merong Maha Wangsa is

said to be of mythical origin, the descendents of an indera (a minor divinity)

and a gergasi (orge).

During the battle Merong Maha Wangsa summoned the help of Jentayu, the mythical bird of water. However the Garuda was victorious. During the battle the Roman prince fell into the sea and was washed ashore on the island where the Chinese princess was hidden. He was later found by the princess's maids and the couple were finally united in betrothal.

Meanwhile the Garuda had thought he was victorious but came to know later

that the couple was united in marriage. In disgrace the Geruda vanished

itself from the world.

Gua Cerita & The Gadembai
A long time ago there lived a strange creature on Langkawi, called Gedembai,

who could turn any human or animal into anything she wished just by saying the words. If she said to someone, "You look like an ox!" that person would instantly

be transformed into an ox. She could also turn people into inanimate objects

such as rocks, and this meant certain death. Gedembai was feared and hated

by everyone and her unusual power virtually made her the queen of the island.

Her wishes were fulfilled unquestioningly and no one dared to disobey her.

She was described to appear in various forms. The Malay dictionary Kamus

Dewan describes her as a ghost and the Encyclopedia Malaysiana describes her as a creature like a human being but of giant size. Both however mention her

ability to turn people into stone. Contrary to what may be expected, the

Langkawi Gedembai was a beautiful, luscious woman in her early thirties.

Her character was devoid of love or compassion and her deadly ability taught

people to stay away from her. Many people left the island and those who could

not afford to leave lived in great fear. They learned that appearing docile and

weak kept them safe from Gedembai, as long as they did what she wanted.

Gedembai lived in a beautiful timber house that was build for her by villagers.

One day as she was walking along the beach of Tanjung Rhu, she noticed a

cave and took a liking to it. This cave, called Gua Cerita, was already inhabited

by a family but Gedembai turned them all to stone.

For some time, stones could be found in the cave in the shape of beds,

tables, pots and pans, and other household items, and of a man, woman,

and three children, but they have been removed over time.



The Seven Wells or Telaga Tujuh are actuarially a series of seven pools,

one after the other on the face of a hill

It tells of fairies who delight in bathing in the cool waters which are supposed to possess soothing healing properties. A mountain prince who once lived near the wells tried to capture one of these fairy maidens, but

until today, they have remained elusive.

It is believed that the unique lime trees and the sintuk, a climbing plant which has large pods, that grow around the pools were left behind by the fairies and locals who visit the Telaga Tujuh waterfalls often use them to wash their hair in order to cleanse

themselves of bad luck.





A rather eerie legend shadows this lovely secluded little beach.
locals believe that a a sea demon or in some cases a giant whirlpool awaits

unwary ships just off the Langkawi islands--at the spot where the Straits

of Malacca join the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea.
The demon/ whirlpool is said to have swallowed countless number of vessels and deposited the skulls of the crew and passengers at Pantai Tengkorak.

The bone fragments of ancient mariners were found scattered at Tanjung Tulang, while parts of the ships washed up on Pantai Pasir Hitam.
As a result, mineral deposits of tourmaline, ilmenite and zircon have caused the sands to be black in the Beach Of Black Sand while the Beach of Skulls

is littered with “bones”.


In another story, a prince once ate half cooked rice during a wedding feast.

He suffered indigestion and farted at two spots now known as

Pulau Kentut Besar (big Fart Island) and Pulau Kentut Kecil (Small Fart Island)!



Legend of Mahsuri   Langkawi Legends I Langkawi Legends II




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