Remove shoes when enter a home or place of worship
Dress neatly in suitable attire that covers arms and legs when entering places of worship
Handle food with your right hand
Do not point your foot at anyone
Do not touch a locals head
Do not put your feet on the table
Give or receive money or gifts with your right hand
Topless swimming is inapprorpiate here
When greeting a muslim offer your right hand then bring it towards you ...lightly touching your heart.This is the traditional Salam ...or greeting of acceptance
Hindus greet with a Namaste (in Hindi) or Vanakam (Tamil).Both palms are brought together as in prayer at midchest level.
With a Chinese you may shake hands.
If you are unsure of what greeting to use just smile and nod your head
The official language is Bahasa Melayu however English is commonly used and spoken by all
It always help to know when you go to a different country when the public holidays are as it can effect your plans .I have listed the ones I knwo of for Langkawi here. Hope it helps
Jan 01 - New Year's Day
Jan 08 & 09 - Hari Raya Puasa
Feb 05 & 06 - Chinese New Year
Feb 01 - Federal Territory Day (Kuala Lumpur and Labuan only)
Mar 16 - Hari Raya Haji
Apr 06 - Awal Muharram
May 01 - Workers' Day
May 18 - Wesak Day
Jun 03 - Birthday of Sri Paduka Baginda Yang di Pertuan Agong
Jul 15 - Birthday of Prophet Muhammad SAW
Aug 31 - National Day
Oct 28 - Deepavali (except in Sarawak and Labuan)
Dec 25 - Christmas
Dec 27 & 28 - Hari Raya Puasa
NB: NOT ALL THESE HOLIDAYS FALL ON THE SAME DATE EVERY YEAR.
Went entering a house, the custom here in Langkawi and all over Malaysia is to remove your shoes before entering the house. Entering a house with shoes on will be considered as a rude act and disrespect to the host. :-)
Many visitors to Langkawi would know that this sleepy little place has a storybook full of legends. The most noteworthy one of all is of course the sad story of a beautiful woman named Mahsuri.
According to the locals, a beautiful noble woman named Mahsuri was given a heinous death sentence for a crime she was falsely accused of. This poor lady was apprently speared to death on account of adultery despite her pleas of innocence. Since her pleas went unheard, Mahsuri cursed Langkawi before she died , predicting that it would not prosper until seven generations had passed. Eerily enough, Langkawi suffered a series of woes after that – crops that failed, invasion by the Siamese and Achenese, bypassed in mainstream development of Malaysia. etc.
Well the good news is, locals believe that seven generations have passed and concerted efforts to turn Langkawi into a tourist destination resulted in some economic growth...
Well, the tomb of Mahsuri stands somewhere on this island and if you're keen, you can drive there to take a look.
Pisang Handicraft and Art Village is another place to find some cultural stuff of Malaysia. Hand-drawn batik, accessories, pewter, marble, wood carving. Its all there. Yu can also experience people working there.
This tidbit was shared by our driver while we visited the Underwater World in Langkawi. Apparent during the end year (around late December to perhaps early January), there would be a squid season where the fishermen would catch a huge amount of squids in the seas off Langkawi. Instead of selling all the squids, the fishermen would make what they called 'ketupat sotong' meaning squid rice cakes. They would scoop rice into the body of the squid and then boil the squid in a huge pot. The flavour of the squid would seep into the rice and they would eat it as they normally do during their meals.
This is only done once a year during the season and only by the local fishermen. It is not a tourist thing nor can you buy it anywhere in Langkawi and you can only see it if you know someone local who can invite you to the occassion. Apparently the feasting on this treat can go on for days or weeks.
All over the island you can find a great number of smaller and larger spas, which do not cost a fortune. You can have:
- all types of massages (swedish, thai, aromaterapy and so on)
- chinese reflexology(painful but good)
- body scrubs and wraps (try the chocolate-coffee scrub)
- coconut milk and flower baths
- manicure and pedicure...
Definitely worth it, and pleasant... you'll come home renewed.
Ladies, remember this is mainly a Muslim country so no top less on the beach. If you look closely you will see that even Indian Malaysians and Chinese Malaysians bathe clothed.
When walking in the street back to your chalet etc dress decently and not in your swimming suit as a mark of respect to the locals :o)
Mahsuri was a beautiful Malay Princess unjustly put to death for committing adultery. Her innocence was proven when after being stabbed to death with her own dagger, white blood oozed from her body. It is believed that the shores of Langkawi are pure white because of her innocence.
During this fasting, most of the stalls and restaurants operated by Muslim will be closed.
So the town will be kinda quiet.
They will break fast in the evening around 7pm, so these stalls & restaurants will only start operating after 3pm.
This does not applies to the fast food restaurant like KFC, McDonald & shopping centres.
Do remember to bring along bottled drinking water.
Many legends of langkawi and Mahsuri story is the most famous one. Click this link if you have the interests to know more http://langkawi-info.com/info/legends.htm
If you are feeling hassled by hotel staff or locals asking where you are from etc just try walking around with a friend (preferably male if you are female - males, and women with children do not get hassled so much)
There are signs along the roads stating that you should be on the lookout for wildlife in the area. Slow down for wildlife crossing the road.