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Gunung Raya is the highest mountain on Langkawi island.
If you’re looking for some exercise while in Langkawi, go hiking Gunung Raya. By the way, Gunung means mountain in Malay.
It’s 2624 ft / 881 meters tall, and reachable both by road and stairs. Having spent more than half a year on this island I have been to its summit multiple times. I have both walked and driven up this mountain. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about this mountain, then it’s this – it’s unpredictable.
You never know if you’ll get a clear view from the top. As it’s very often hiding behind the clouds.
Let’s go into details now! How to get to the summit of Gunung Raya?
Hiking in Langkawi
1. Hiking Gunung Raya: Basics
Getting to the top is easy. You can either take stairs or road.
The important thing is that both start from 2 different sides of the mountain.
DISTANCE (stairs): 4287 steps;
DISTANCE (road): 16.7 miles / 27 km total.
It doesn’t include getting to the starting point, which is some 10 miles / 16 km from Pantai Cenang;
TIME (stairs): 4-5 hours to go up and down. I’ve done it in around 2 hours.
TIME (road): 5-8 hours to go up and down;
DIFFICULTY: easy, but take into account that 4287 steps that’s a lot;
TIPS: bring at least 2 liters of water and some snacks. There are no any shops on the way. If you’ll be returning at night, be prepared that it’s gonna be completely dark, both on the road and on the stairs.
2. How to Get to Gunung Raya
If you’ll be walking, take the stairs. Unless you really don’t like stairs, then take the road. I prefer stairs, because then you really have a feeling you’re walking through a rainforest.
The good thing, though, is that this road is never busy.
2.1 If You’ll Be Taking the Stairs
STARTING POINT: Somewhere here.
The parking lot is only a 1-2 minute drive away.
You have to walk a bit to get to the stairs.
Once you find the stairs, that’s it.
Now all you need to do is continue walking for the next 1-2 hours, depending on how fit you are. Recommended time you should be planning is 2h 15 min. I’ve done it also in 45 minutes one way, under 2 hours both ways.
During the midday heat and with quite a lot of short stops and taking a lot of photos, it took me around 90 minutes one way.
These stairs are very rarely used. You may be all alone for all this time.
Be ready, that it’s quite a walk.
None of us usually climb that much steps during our normal everyday life.
Some of the parts are very steep.
2.2 If You’ll Be Taking the Road
STARTING POINT: Road to Gunung Raya.
Get to this place and take the only road.
There is only one road going up to the top of Gunung Raya.
You can’t get lost or take a wrong turn.
If you’ll be going up or down after sunset or before sunrise, be prepared for the darkness. There aren’t any street lights on this road. Except for the summit and the very beginning.
If you’ll drive, drive slow and you’ll get up/down just fine.
Take a warm jacket, if you’re going up very early or late. It is significantly colder up on the mountain. While living in Langkawi we sometimes used to go up this mountain to enjoy colder weather.
3. If You Don’t Want to Walk
Then, as already mentioned, you can also drive up there.
Driving from Kuah takes around 20 minutes + 30 minutes going up the mountain.
Or you can also take a taxi or Grab to the summit, and then walk down.
That’s also an option.
4. Observation Tower and Hotel
At the top of the mountain there is an observation tower.
Located at the highest point of the island it offers some very cool views of Langkawi and all the islands surrounding it.
Entrance fee is 10 MYR.
And there is also a hotel on the mountain – D’Coconut Hill Resort.
If you would like to stay as high on the island as possible.
5. Where to Stay in Langkawi
If you want to stay by the sea or close to it, there is only one option.
The area of Pantai Cenang. Pantai means beach.
It’s the most popular destination for tourists, and also the best.
You can get everywhere from Pantai Cenang much more easily that from Kuah, the main town of the island. And apart from these two place, the rest are much smaller and with overall worse location.
VALUE FOR MONEY – langkapuri inn
A very popular 3-star hotel in the most popular area of Langkawi – Pantai Cenang. The hotel is situated right next to the beach.
CHEAP – Bed Attitude Hostel Cenang
A stylish hostel in the Pantai Cenang area. The hostel is situated a short walk away from the beach.
Have you been to Langkawi? Did you do the Gunung Raya Hike? If you like less touristy things, check out the Gunung Mat Cincang Hike.
Book Your Trip Like a PRO
1. Book Your Flight
2. Book Your Accommodation
Booking.com, Agoda.com and Airbnb. I use Booking and Agoda at least a dozen times a year, and Airbnb – when looking for a long-term stay. My best tip is to ALWAYS compare the price. Sometimes the same hotel is cheaper on Booking.com, other times – on Agoda. Always compare the price!
3. Buy Your Travel Insurance
World Nomads and SafetyWings are two companies I can recommend. World Nomads offers some extra benefits, that will be important for those doing some higher risk activities, while SafetyWings is significantly cheaper. SafetyWings is only $9.25 / week.