Gunung Raya, Langkawi, Malaysia
Towering over all other features and formations of the Pulau Langkawi stands the Gunung Raya, majestic and awe-inspiring. Like most other aspects of Langkawi, this 881 meter high elevation is also shrouded in myths and legends. The natives believe that the Gunung Raya is indeed the petrified form of a giant called Mat Raya. They hold that Mat Raya was involved in a scuffle with another giant, Mat Cincang over the marriage of Mat Raya’s son with Mat Cincang’s daughter. Utensils and vessels were hurled at each other and caused a natural depression on the island called Kuah. Mat Sawar, a peaceable neighbor decided to intervene when the disagreement went on for days without solution. It was in the midst of this combat that all three turned into mountain formations and are aptly named Gunung Raya, Gunung Cincang and Bukit Sawar.
Gunung Raya is thickly forested and the dense tropical overgrowths make for excellent adventures. The forest also plays home to a variety of exotic birds and beasts such as the white-bellied sea eagle and hornbill. A motorable road leads up all the way to the peak which houses a museum, a park and the MEASAT Satellite Control Centre. The peak is essentially one of granite formations and commands a spectacular view of the surroundings. A ride from the base to the peak would take about 40 minutes and at the foothills is located the famed Gunung Raya Golf Club.
Today, Gunung Raya is accessible by road – all the way to the top. Perched on top like the eagle’s nest, is an impressive fortress-like building, which is strictly for government officials only and is out of bounds to public. However, the view from the peak is great for sunset photos. There is also a resort located at the peak for those seeking retreat.
Gunung Raya itself is home to the white-bellied sea eagle – circling high round the mountaintop. The hornbills also make their home in the forested area of Gunung Raya. When the road was built, much of the flora was disturbed thus reducing their feeding area. Perhaps due to this, it is far easier now to spot them as they have to fly a greater distance for food. (no good for the jungle inhabitants, although reported to be good for tourists!). If you’re driving up the mountain, a charge of 50sen per car is collected at a makeshift toll located at the base of the mount.
Visit D’coconut Hill Resort, Gunung Raya