It’s a long way to the top

While on a quick visit to the island of Langkawi, about 3 hours ferry ride north of Penang, we decided to head for the hills and catch the cable car ride to the top of Mount Mat Cincang.

It turns out we weren’t the only ones with that idea, it’s a bit of a drive to the other side of the island but we still arrive nice and early but we’re faced with the rather bleak prospect of a 40 minute wait to buy tickets followed by another 40 minute wait to hop aboard the cable car.

Langkawi cable car queue

The tickets, at 30 Ringgits each are pretty good value, and you can jump the line by forking out an extra 50 Ringgits per head, that’s starting to get a bit expensive we decide, so we stick with the queue. We figure it’s one of the highlights of the island and well worth toughing it out and so we join the slowly shuffling mass. It’s hot and sticky in the queue and for some bizarre reason they don’t allow any water in the line before boarding the cars, something that was causing some distress with a few of our fellow queue buddies. At least it’s organized into something resembling a cattle-yard and we’re spared the indignity of having to put up with pushy queue jumpers.

Nearly there.

We jump aboard and immediately dismiss the long wait as worth it, the ride up all 700 meters of the mountain promises to be breathtaking, panoramic views fan out across the island and far out to sea.

Langkawi cable car ride

One of the world’s steepest cable-car rides, it seems to climb vertically, reaching higher and higher up the side of the mountain, the ride is weirdly silent as well, as the car is gripping the cable and being pulled along, the only noise is the wind whistling through the open window, and the gasps of surprise each time we rattle over one of the support towers.

The higher we go, the cooler it gets, and suddenly the fog starts to roll in as well.

Langkawi cable car fog

About 2/3rds of the way up we reach the first station and jump out, by now the misty fog has rolled in quite thickly and we’re treated to just a few hints of the possible views to be had.

So near and yet

We don’t linger too long here, there’s another stage yet, taking us to the top and the promise of some real views, if the fog breaks.

On to the top

We have a short time to check our guide brochure, it all seems to revolve around the top station, as explained in the brochure, ” The Top Station will take visitors to the two viewing platforms, the climax of the trip. Visitors will be amazed at the unfolding dramatic views from the platforms, the many unique and exciting features, the dominating rock tower peaks providing spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of the Langkawi islands, Kedah and Southern Thailand as well as dramatic views of the deep chasms, overhangs cliff walls, isolated pinnacles and some caves.”

Ok, bring it on.

The 360 degree view

Well, we’re sure it’s there somewhere.

The top station

Sadly the view didn’t show it’s face and we decide to head back into town and go for lunch instead.

If you find yourself in Langkawi, it’s a ride that needs to be done, truly spectacular in good weather, but still amazing in the fog. As an extra, there’s a suspended bridge as well at the top station, strung between two rocky peaks, we’re told it’s the best part of the attraction. It was closed for maintenance while we were there.


All photos copyright Ross Duncan:



2 thoughts on “It’s a long way to the top

  1. It’s a shame the fog rolled in so quickly. We went to Langkawi in March and managed to do both station, with the first station having the suspended foot bridge. Well worth the long queue!

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