Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands located in the Malaysian state of Kedah near the Thailand border. In 2008, the sultan of Kedah, Sultan Abdul Halim changed the name to Langkawi Permata Kedah (Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah) in conjunction with his golden jubilee celebration. The largest island of the archipelago is the Langkawi Island, and it is an administrative district with the town Kuah as its capital.
There are several theories about the origins of the name ‘Langkawi’. One suggests that the name means the ‘island of the reddish-brown eagle'—coming from the malay words 'burung helang' meaning eagle and 'kawi' meaning 'reddish-brown'. This has now become an iconic symbol of the island.
In 1987, Langkawi Island gained its status as a duty-free island. Since then, it has grown into one of the major tourist attractions in Malaysia.
An ancient legend of the island tells the story of a woman named Mahsuri who put a curse on the island when she was wrongly accused of adultery and sentenced to death. Locals believe that Mahsuri’s curse was lifted with the birth of her seventh generation, which interestingly coincided with a boom in Langkawi’s tourism.