MalaysiaLangkawi $$$$$ All Year Indoor/Outdoor
Cultural

Kota Mahsuri (Mahsuri's Tomb)

Josh & Jacinta Bender
By 25 days ago

One of Langkawi's most revered legends depicts the story of Mahsuri, said to be the most beautiful woman in her village before she was wrongly accused of adultery and sentenced to death. With her last breath, Mahsuri cursed the island with bad luck for 7 generations. The end of the curse coincided with the beginning of Langkawi's tourism boom and economic prosperity.

Kota Mahsuri is a historical and cultural complex dedicated to portraying traditional village life in Mahusri's time. It is the site of her final resting place, located in her former village. Set against thriving rice fields, the complex includes cultural displays, a museum, and a theatre, as well as a reconstruction of Mahsuri's house, the well said to be the source of her beauty, and of course, her tomb.

Start your visit with cultural displays including traditional dance, musical instruments called caklempong, a local game called congkak, live plays, and a batik workshop where you can paint your own batik masterpiece.

Next, visit the Mahsuri museum to read the martyr's tragic story, watch a movie depicting her life, and see the series of disasters that befell Langkawi following her death. The museum houses Mahsuri's original tombstone, as well as jewelry, weapons, and household items belonging to her family.

Finally, wander around the stilted wooden village to see Mahsuri's final resting place and examples of local architecture and farming equipment. You can even draw water from Mahsuri's well which is said to contain healing properties - the supposed source of the heroine's famed beauty.

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Price

International: Adult: RM10 (USD$2.41), Children (3-12): RM5 ($1.20), Mykad holder: Adult: RM5 ($1.20), Child: RM2.50 ($0.60)

Time Spent

30-90minutes

Fitness level: Easy

Hours

9am-5pm7 days

Look Around

Front entranceFront entrance
"Silat" martial art performance"Silat" martial art performance
"Caklempong" musical performance"Caklempong" musical performance
Local game "congkak"Local game "congkak"
Henna tattooHenna tattoo
Movie on Mahsuri's life in the museumMovie on Mahsuri's life in the museum
Entrance and cultural exhibits
Painting of MahsuriPainting of Mahsuri
Replica of the blade that killed MahsuriReplica of the blade that killed Mahsuri
Mahsuri museum
Mahsuri's tombMahsuri's tomb
Mahsuri's wellMahsuri's well
Mahsuri's houseMahsuri's house
Entrance to Mahsuri's houseEntrance to Mahsuri's house
Replica baby carrierReplica baby carrier
Mahsuri's tomb, well, and house
Neighboring rice fieldsNeighboring rice fields
Guide explaining Mahsuri's story in front of her house.Guide explaining Mahsuri's story in front of her house.
Traditional-style homesTraditional-style homes
Outdoor area
Batik clothing for sale Batik clothing for sale
Batik wall paintings for sale Batik wall paintings for sale
Custom-designed batik stencilCustom-designed batik stencil
Batik painting activityBatik painting activity
Batik painting
Actor in costume before the playActor in costume before the play
Traveler soothing Mahsuri's babyTraveler soothing Mahsuri's baby
Villagers accusing MahsuriVillagers accusing Mahsuri
Live play

Who Will Like Kota Mahsuri

Culture Buff

Learn the fascinating legend of Mahsuri at the museum and decide whether you think her curse influenced Langkawi's past. Walk through reconstructed and restored homes from Mahsuri's time and delve into Malay culture by sampling local sweets and having a go at batik painting.

Fun Expert

Learn the fascinating legend of Mahsuri at the museum and decide whether you think her curse influenced Langkawi's past. Walk through reconstructed and restored homes from Mahsuri's time and delve into Malay culture by sampling local sweets and having a go at batik painting.

Wellness Pursuer

Buy bottles of water from Mahsuri's well to see if it really was the source of her beauty. Alternatively, visit the onsite shop to purchase sea-cucumber-based beauty products, said to have anti-aging properties.

Bucketlist Bandit

Watch an exhibition of Silat Melayu - an authentic local martial art requiring strength, balance, and control. This is one of the only places it can be found in Langkawi.

Insider Tips For Kota Mahsuri

  • Read the legend of Mahsuri before your visit to better understand the sights.
  • Batik painting costs RM20 (USD$4.82) per person to paint a small picture to take home. A professional batik artist will show you what to do.
  • The museum includes a movie on Mahsuri's life that plays on a loop in a series of languages. Alternate languages show English subtitles.
  • A live play runs at 11am & 2pm each day and costs RM1 (USD$0.24) per person. Actors wear traditional outfits and depict Mahsuri's story. The play is only in Bahasa Malaysia, not English, but if you read the story and visit the museum beforehand, you should understand what's going on.
  • Watch your head when entering Mahsuri's house as the doorframe is very low.
  • There is a small play area for children in the outdoor area with traditional games and hopscotch.

Video

Where Is It

Jalan Makam Mahsuri, Kampung Mawar, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah

Open map...

How To Get There

Car

Free • A large parking lot is available near the main entrance.

Driving directions... Map for car...

Motorbike

Free parking for scooters and motorbikes in the main parking lot.

Rideshare

Drivers pick up and drop off near the main entrance.

What To Bring

Do:
  • Comfortable shoes for walking as the complex is quite large.
  • Cash to buy snacks, batik, or beauty products.
  • Clothes that can get dirty if you try batik painting.
  • Camera.
Don't:
  • Food or drink from outside the premises (water is ok).

Tech & Photography

Wifi

Public wifi access: None

Photography

Photography allowed: Yesflash is ok

Tripod allowed: Not encouraged

Selfie sticks allowed: Yes

Best time to shoot: Late Morning

Tips: Photography is not allowed in some areas of the museum - keep an eye out for signage. For fast-paced action shots during the Silat Melayu exhibition, use shutter priority mode at a speed of at least 1/400 sec. Capturing close-up facial expressions of the play is best done with a telephoto zoom lens - 200mm is ideal. All guests are welcome to take photos with the cast at the end of the play.

Drones

Drones allowed: No

Bags

Backpacks allowed: Yes

Secured bag lockers available: No

Photo opportunities with cast after the play

Food & Drink

There is a small onsite café selling drinks and snacks. Some small food venders selling traditional cakes are located near Mahsuri's house.

"Kekaras" - sweet, crunchy, biscuit-like snack"Kekaras" - sweet, crunchy, biscuit-like snack
"Peneram" - dense, sweet local donut"Peneram" - dense, sweet local donut
Local cakes from food vendors

Backstory

According to the legend, Mahsuri, was the daughter of Thai immigrants and lived in Langkawi between 1762 and 1800. Due to her great beauty, Mahsuri had many suitors but married Wan Darus, the brother of the village chief. Mahsuri gave birth to a son not long before her husband left to fight against invading Siamese. While he was away, local women jealous of Mahsuri's beauty accused her of being unfaithful to her husband with a traveler named Deraman.

Mahsuri pleaded her innocence while tied to a tree while to await her punishment, but she was sentenced to death. However, knives, daggers, and swords could not penetrate her skin, so she told the villagers to kill her with her family's ceremonial keris. She was stabbed and white blood flowed, signifying her innocence. With her dying breath, Mahsuri cursed Langkawi with bad luck for 7 generations.

Following Mahsuri's death, Langkawi did indeed experience bad luck, including invading armies and natural disasters from droughts to floods. The seventh-generation from Mahsuri's curse passed at the same time the island experienced a tourism boom and an end to economic hardships, causing many to believe in Mahsuri's curse.

Kota Mahsuri was founded in 1983 and was one of Langkawi's first tourist attractions.

Etiquette

Do:
  • Remove your shoes before entering the traditional-style houses.
  • Be quiet and respectful around Mahsuri's gravesite.
Don't:
  • Talk during the play, dances, or movie.
  • Touch exhibits in the museum.

Scorecard

Best Parts:
  • Informative museum with posters and items that portray the story of Mahsuri.
  • Variety of cultural activities to understand village life in Mahsuri's time.
  • Exquisite batik paintings and clothing available for sale.
Could Be Better:
  • Live play depicting Mahsuri's life is not in English.
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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