Heather Winning (December 2013)
We will travelling to Langkawi in March 2014. My companion is a quadriplegic and thus totally reliant on his wheelchair. Can you please tell me any activities (snorkeling, sailing etc) that may be available to him. Is the cable car and skywalk accessible to wheelchairs? Any assistance you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Raj (langkawi-insight.com) December 2013
Unfortunately Langkawi is not well geared for the physically challenged who require wheelchair access. Many tourist attractions and activities in the island are not wheelchair accessible. Cable car and Sky Bridge are not accessible to wheelchair either. Having said that, it's not a hopeless situation, there are some great beaches and few activities which can be availed by persons on wheelchair.
You should first arrange for an appropriate car to reach out to the places. The regular taxis in Langkawi won't accommodate wheelchairs. So you will need to pre-arrange a bigger vehicle through a car rental agency and preferably with a ramp.
Beaches like Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah, Pantai Kok, Tanjung Rhu can be accessed on wheelchair. Although it may be a bit difficult to push the wheelchair through the soft white sand, there are no stairs leading to these beaches and therefore it won't be difficult to reach up to the sand. And these are the best beaches in the island. However swimming on these beaches can be tried with caution and with support from someone.
There are no great beaches for snorkeling in the main island of Langkawi. The most popular snorkeling place is Pulau Payar Marine Park which is located 30kms south of Langkawi main island and one needs to take a boat trip. There are several other offshore island locations which are also great for snorkeling. They all require boat trips but unfortunately not accessible to wheelchair.
Few other attractions & activities that are accessible by wheelchair:
1) Langkawi Underwater World (at southern end of Pantai Cenang) - great live exhibits of fish, marine creatures, birds and animals. They provide wheelchairs for the physically handicapped. There are elevators and also ramps along the walkways.
2) Lagenda Park (Kuah town) - beautiful park with flower and landscaped gardens, pools etc. Several sections in the park tell the legends of the island through statues and structures.
3) Oriental Village (at Pantai Kok) - a nice open-air shopping complex with many little quaint shops selling souvenirs, clothes and many different items. Has a duty free store as well and several restaurants. You can just go around and enjoy the ambience, do little shopping and take your lunch. This is the same place where the cable car ride takes place.
4) Telaga Harbor Park and Perdana Quay (at Pantai Kok): A public place and a commercial complex along the Telaga harbor. Many restaurants are lined up along the boardwalk and overlooking the harbor and the marina.
5) Take a sunset or day sailing cruise. But talk to the Captain in advance to ensure that he/she arranges a ramp. Damai Indah is one such cruise which can accommodate persons on wheelchair. Check out the sailing cruise operators for details.