MalaysiaLangkawi Free Outdoor
Mountain

Gunung Raya (Mount Raya)

At the center of Langkawi's mountainous landscape sits Gunung Raya, the tallest peak at 881 meters (2,890 feet) high.

Visitors can access the mountain's summit via road or by climbing 4,287 steep steps, called Tangga Helang Seribu Kenangan, or Thousand Memories Eagle Stairs. The reward is an endless panoramic view over Langkawi and surrounding islands in the Andaman sea.

Climbers are best positioned to experience Gunung Raya's impenetrable rainforest habitat, formed atop the 220-200-million-year-old granite foundation. Wildlife species include monkeys, squirrels, hornbills, lizards, and geckos. Those who choose to drive are still likely to see monkeys, hornbills, and other bird varieties in the dense leafy jungle from lookout points along the road.

The mountain summit is largely unutilized, with one section housing MEASAT satellite control towers and another with an abandoned resort, restaurant, and an observation platform partially reclaimed by jungle.

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Price

Free

Time Spent

40-300minutes

Fitness level: Easy, Exerting

Hours

24 hours7 days

Look Around

Road to Gunung RayaRoad to Gunung Raya
Driving through fogDriving through fog
Fog at the mountain summitFog at the mountain summit
Pull-off area to admire viewsPull-off area to admire views
Stray dogs hoping for foodStray dogs hoping for food
Driving back down the mountainDriving back down the mountain
Reflective signage for safetyReflective signage for safety
Driving to the mountain summit
Cloud-covered rainforestCloud-covered rainforest
Views over rainforestViews over rainforest
View over Kuah BayView over Kuah Bay
Views from mountain summit
View from Gunung Raya
Parking at lookout pointParking at lookout point
Signage on Gunung Raya habitatSignage on Gunung Raya habitat
Signage close-upSignage close-up
Entrance/exit to Thousand Memories Eagle StairsEntrance/exit to Thousand Memories Eagle Stairs
Road to observation tower and mountain peakRoad to observation tower and mountain peak
Lookout point
Banana tree and fogBanana tree and fog
Mountain rainforest habitat... with fogMountain rainforest habitat... with fog
Leafy foliage... also with fogLeafy foliage... also with fog
Macaque monkey... no fogMacaque monkey... no fog
Flora & Fauna
View of Gunung Raya from Kuah Town at sunset

Who Will Like Gunung Raya

Nature Lover

Drive to the mountain's peak along a canopy-covered road lined with leafy pandan and banana trees. You won't need a soundtrack as the soothing echoes of the jungle (birds and cicadas) will keep you entertained along the drive.

Outdoor Trailblazer

Challenge your fitness levels by climbing the 4,287 steps to the mountain's peak amidst humid air. Bring an action camera for the rare birds, reptiles, and monkeys you're likely to see along the journey.

Insider Tips For Gunung Raya

  • It takes approximately 25 minutes to drive from the bottom to the top of the mountain.
  • Officials estimate 2 hours 15 minutes to climb the Thousand Memories Eagle Stairs, but allow 4-5 hours for the round trip. View trail map.
  • Avoid climbing the stairs soon after rainfall in wet season as they are more likely to be damaged by fallen trees or landslides.
  • Drive with extra caution as the road may be partially obstructed with debris from trees and landslides, especially in wet season, however cars and motorbikes will usually still be able to maneuver around.
  • The climb is best tackled early in the morning to avoid the peak of Langkawi's heat. Rain is also more likely to fall in the afternoons if you visit in wet season.
  • Due to the mountain's high altitude, the summit is often covered by cloud. This means you'll likely encounter thick fog and views over the island will be inhibited. Try to visit on a clear day for the best views.
  • No food stands or drink shops are available along the road, climb, or at the peak. Bring your own food and water.
  • As of mid-2020, the observation tower is closed. When open, it costs RM10 (USD$2.44) per person to climb.
  • Don't enter the abandoned hotel or other shuttered facilities. Some wooden platforms surrounding the former resort have decayed and are not safe to climb.
  • Most hotels will prepare a picnic lunch on request for you to take to the top of the mountain.
Abandoned resort (there are no zombies, we checked)Abandoned resort (there are no zombies, we checked)
Observation tower attached to abandoned resortObservation tower attached to abandoned resort
Road to observation towerRoad to observation tower
Run-down wooden lookout platformRun-down wooden lookout platform
Abandoned facilities

Video

Where Is It

278, Jalan Gunung Raya, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah

Open map...

How To Get There

Car

Free • 25-minute drive up Jalan Gunung Raya to reach lookout points. Several small parking lots are found at the peak.

Driving directions...

Motorbike

Scooters should take extra care on the steep slopes, especially if it's been raining.

Private Driver

Private drivers can be hired to take you to the peak of the mountain and back as part of an extended day trip around Langkawi.

Walk

Free parking is available at Lubuk Semilang, near the entrance to the Thousand Memories Eagle Stairs. Follow the footpath along the south side of the creek until you see the large sign for "Eagle Stairs".

Walking directions...

What To Bring

Do:
  • Water. At least 2L per person if climbing.
  • Hiking shoes and lightweight clothing if climbing.
  • Insect repellant.
  • Camera.
Don't:
  • Food for wild animals.

Tech & Photography

Wifi

Public wifi access: None

Photography

Photography allowed: Yesflash is ok

Tripod allowed: Yes

Selfie sticks allowed: Yes

Best time to shoot: Early Morning

Tips: The frequent cloud coverage can obscure views of Kuah to the southeast, however if you are patient, the mist may part - even for a few moments - giving you an opportunity to capture a unique perspective of Langkawi, and the islands of Pulau Tuba, and Dayang Bunting. Keep a lens cleaning cloth handy, as the mist and humidity will likely leave water droplets on your lens.

Drones

Drones allowed: Yes (subject to national/regional rules)

Tips: Only fly a drone on a clear day, as doing so when the peak is covered in clouds is a recipe for a damaged (or lost) drone.

Bags

Backpacks allowed: Yes

Secured bag lockers available: No

Before - cloud coverBefore - cloud cover
After - clouds clearingAfter - clouds clearing
Before & after clouds clearing

Food & Drink

The closest local-style restaurants and food vendors are located at the foot of the mountain, along Jalan Ulu Melaka. Bring snacks or a picnic if you want something to eat.

Backstory

Gunung Raya consists largely of granite, the youngest rock formation in Langkawi at 220-200-million-years-old. It is flanked by 2 smaller mountains, Gunung Machinchang and Bukit Sawar.

According to local legend, the 3 mountains were once giants. Mat Chichang and Mat Raya's children were to be married and, at the wedding ceremony, the 2 began throwing pots and pans at each other, creating many of Langkawi's land formations. A pot of gravy fell in Kuah (gravy) town creating a natural depression, and a pot of hot water spilled into Ayer Hangat (hot water), where natural hot springs are a popular tourist attraction. Mat Sawar was able to intervene and stop the fighting. Full of remorse, the 2 giants chose to be transformed into mountains, with Mat Sawar following suit.

The summit of Gunung Raya was developed to house MEASAT satellite control towers and a luxury resort with a lookout tower. In 1989, the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting was held at the resort, called D'Coconut Hill Resort Langkawi. Often mostly empty, the resort received criticism as a "ghost town" and "zombie village". The resort closed in 2017 but the lookout tower remained open.

The Thousand Memories Eagle Stairs were constructed between March 2000 and February 2001 to aid hikers wanting to climb to the mountain's summit.

Etiquette

Do:
  • Bring a hiking companion for safety.
  • Ensure you have enough water for the return journey.
  • Turn car lights on if driving in fog.
Don't:
  • Pick plants or take any rocks from the mountain.
  • Feed monkeys or other wild animals.

Scorecard

Best Parts:
  • Views over the island and sea.
  • Lush rainforest and opportunity to see wildlife like hornbills up close.
Could Be Better:
  • Run down facilities on the summit.
  • Fallen tree branches often block sections of both the stairs and road.
My itinerary Save View

Oh, you're so close

The awesome itinerary feature is only for VIP Members.

But that's ok! You're welcome to join the cool club for free.

Joining only takes a minute and it's... um... free! Plus you get other perks like badges, points, and unicorns.

Let's do this! I'm already cool, let me in Nah, I am boring.

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