Gunung Machinchang

      Gunung Machinchang? What’s that you say?

Well, to cut straight through the suspense, Gunung Machinchang is a mountain peak and the dominant feature of the western end of Langkawi island. It is also the subject of this second post in a photo series featuring images from a recent holiday to Malaysia.

Destination for the first week away was Langkawi which is located on Malaysia’s west coast just inside the border with Thailand. Langkawi’s tourism has been developed around its largely unspoilt natural beauty and the island has declared itself as a UNESCO Geopark, ensuring it’s development is guided by consideration for the environment and its unique geological features.

Within Langkawi, there are three major geopark areas and a number of smaller sites. One of the major parks is the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park. The park protects a geologically significant area, with the sandstone rocks that form Gunung Machinchang and the adjacent peaks representing some of the earliest land to form in the region we now know as South East Asia. The sandstones date back to the Cambrian period some 500 million years ago and were originally part of the margins of the Gondwanaland super-continent.

Langkawi folklore however ascribes the presence of Gunung Machinchang to a fight between two giants. Mid-fight, both were struck by lightning and turned into stone. One of the giants became Gunung Machinchang and the other Gunung Raya, the other significant peak on the island. Gunung, by the way, means mountain in Malay.

Park visitors can access Gunung Machinchang’s peak via a cable car that rises from near sea level all the way up to Gunung Machinchang’s 708 metre (2323 feet) peak. Built around the cable car’s base station is a tourist village area called Oriental Village which incorporates a cluster of buildings incorporating Malaysian and Oriental architecture styles. I’ll save images of that for a later post.

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang So, onto the cable car ride up to Gunung Machinchang.

For my first photo, I conveniently found a car coming around the base station’s turning wheel decorated with quite a pretty advertisement for Langkawi rather than one of the not so interesting ones for a local bank.

Readers of my previous post should recognise the bird featured on the front of the cable car. Quick memory test: what was it called again?

The cable cars look to be exactly the same models as used on Mt Titlus in Switzerland. I found this somewhat reassuring having previously undertaken a cable car ride up and down Mt Titlus!

If you happen to visit Langkawi and plan to use the cable car, please note that it is closed on certain days for scheduled maintenance. These days are advertised on the cable car’s website.

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang

Leaving the base station at Oriental Village. Remarkably, there’s only two towers on the first section up to the middle station. – the small one you can see here and another about 1/3rd of the way up. Slightly funny colours here as I was shooting through the cable car’s quite heavily tinted windows.

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang

From the second tower, it’s a steep rise up a sheer cliff face to the middle station. The cable here has a clear span of almost a kilometre.

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang

Ooh, look! We’re suddenly a long way up.

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang

The view from the middle station across to the northern coast. As is typical for the tropics, the air was quite hazy with moisture. In the distance on the right is Gunung Raya.

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang

“Photo opportunities” were available at every possible location along the cable car system, so if you decline a photo at one location, there was always another photo setup further along to play on your guilt that you hadn’t yet acquired a souvenir snap. From memory, a photo was 30 ringgits (about ten Australian dollars) and quite reasonable quality (I shelled out for one down at the base station).

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang

Looking across to the peak of Gunung Machinchang

Skybridge, Gunung Machinchang

The rather spectacular Skybridge as seen from the cable car as it crosses the gap between the middle and top stations. The centre of the span is  around 100 metres above the forest. Unfortunately the skybridge has been closed for a couple of years with no indication when it may come back into service. I suspect some sort of mechanical problem might be the cause – it doesn’t look like an easy thing to fix were a significant structure element needing reconstruction.

Langkawi Cable Car, Gunung Machinchang

From the top station looking back to the middle station.

Gunung Machinchang

One of the two lookouts atop Gunung Machinchang.

Gunung Machinchang

Spectacular mountain views looking north. Some of the islands visible from this lookout are across the border in Thailand.

Gunung Machinchang And to finish, a view south showing off some of the many islands that actually make up Langkawi, over 100 in total. The number varies slightly depending on whether the tide is in or out. These distant islands form another of the major geopark areas and will be the feature of a future post.

Gunung Machinchang, Langkawi


Camera Gear
Pentax K-3 with my regular walkaround lens, my Tamron 17-50 F2.8 zoom. From memory, a polarising filter was used.

To Learn More
Thinking of a holiday in Langkawi? Information about the cable car ride can be found here: Panorama Langkawi

And where on the island is Gunung Machinchang?


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6 thoughts on “Gunung Machinchang

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