Langkawi Legends & Folklore

Makam Mahsuri, Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls

Langkawi’s legends are often spoken of to visitors; part of the allure of the island is the mystery and fantastic tales spun around different places. Ironically, it was these beliefs that seemed to have held back Langkawi’s economic growth for some time.

Today, the people have embraced development, becoming more advanced in both their infrastructure and mindset as a result. The ancient stories of Langkawi, however, have not ceased to exist. Instead, these legends have become part of the attraction to draw visitors to help shape Langkawi’s landscape through tourist revenue.

Living standards of local people have improved, and it is remarkable to note how much the island has changed by becoming a successful commercial centre.

Probably the most famous tale from Langkawi is that of a woman who was accused of adultery 200 years ago. She was tied to a tree and stabbed to death despite her pleas of innocence. The story goes on to say that she bled white blood, and proceeded to curse the island for seven generations. Back then, the people of Langkawi held on to this account of Mahsuri as the reason for Langkawi’s lack of growth.

Looking at Langkawi today, the ‘curse’ was clearly broken, since the island is now a fantastic hub of activity. Still, the legend of Mahsuri makes for great stories and a tomb claimed to be hers is located in Kuab, aptly named Makam Mahsuri.

Some landmarks in Langkawi are named directly or have some claim from a fable. For example, Kuah Town has its own story to tell; the explanation of why its name means gravy in Malay.

Then there are even horror stories of a mythical vampire creature that resides in a cave on the Dayang Bunting Island.

Barren women who bathe in the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls can become fertile, because of a fairy that used to frequent it.

Padang Matsirat is not only home to Langkawi’s airport but also known as the ‘field of burning rice’.

These stories provide a touch of flavour and colour to Langkawi’s culture and image as a premier tourist destination. Year after year, visitors from all around the world marvel at these tales while enjoying their sun-soaked holidays.


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