Written by travel  |  28. January 2005

Searching for a tropical paradise just about now? Then set your compass for Langkawi, Malaysia, "The Island of Legends." In Langkawi, you'll not only get away from the snow (reason enough, don't you think?), but you'll also find the Southeast Asian paradise of your dreams. Located just off the western coast of Malaysia by the Thai border, Langkawi was only minimally affected by the tsunami disaster. All of its luxury hotels are operating and its beautiful beaches escaped with no damage. If crystal clear water and white sandy strands surrounded by palm trees are your idea of weathering winter, this is the place. Another attraction is the warm welcome you'll receive from the Malaysian people, a diverse blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian heritages. Just their smiles will make you forget the cold spell on Long Island. Langkawi, an island of some 70,000 people (most of whom speak English), has all the recreational attractions you could wish for, including swimming, diving, fishing, boating, and cycling. There are water parks, aquariums, even a cable car ride, and a plethora of international gourmet restaurants to choose from. But you'll also want to taste the wonderful Malaysian cuisine, a delectable blend of flavors from its many cultural influences. Langkawi is also an island with a fascinating history and natural beauty, with stunning mountains and unspoiled rainforests. If you're health conscious, you can benefit from the spa at the Kampung Tok Senik Resort, which offers ancient Indian Ayurvedic massage, and if you come in the spring, you can be pampered at the new Four Seasons Resort that's opening in April, the epitome of luxury and sure to become a legend of its own. Malaysia Airlines flies from Newark to the bustling Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur (one of the world's most vibrant cities) several times a week. For more information on beautiful Langkawi and "Malaysia, Truly Asia," you can log on to the Tourism Malaysia website at www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my. A local travel agency that has experience working with Malaysia Airlines and can generally get you the best fare is Orient Clipper Travel, (212)925-6601, or e-mail their agent at erickkhor@yahoo.com. Enjoy!

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