Imagine being at a shopping mall. And then hopping on a cable car for a 15-minute ride. And then getting off of the cable car and finding yourself on a long walkway that’s all of 1.8 meters (6 feet) wide, suspended high above a green jungle, with virtually no signs of human existence except for the walkway beneath your feet and the cable car you arrived on.
That’s what it’s like the visit Malaysia’s Langkawi Sky Bridge.
The Sky Bridge is located on the beach-strewn, vacation island of Langkawi in the far north of Malaysia near the Thai border. Indeed, from the lofty Sky Bridge you can see Thailand’s Tarutao Island on a clear day. Also on offer are amazing views of the Andaman Sea and of Langkawi’s green jungles, which look like they could have served as the model for the Ewok’s world in Star Wars.
The Sky Bridge itself, completed in 2005, gleams in the sun and resembles a curved work of modern art—modern art that’s 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level and with glass sides that will scare the hell out of anyone harboring a fear of heights. We visited on a clear day but it is a whole different kind of cool in the fog when visitors to the Langkawi Sky Bridge feel like they are walking above the clouds.
The bridge with the longest span that people can legally walk across is San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge (1,280m / 4,200 feet). Though, the Golden Gate is open to vehicle traffic also.
The longest pedestrian-only bridge span belongs to theWalnut Street Bridge (720m / 2,376 ft) in Chattanooga, USA. But that’s a truss bridge—a bridge stressed from tension and/or compression—not a suspension bridge.
The longest pedestrian-only bridge in total length is the Walkway Over the Hudson. That’s not a suspension bridge either. It’s a
Cantilever bridge, and while it’s total length is a whopping 2082 meters (or 6,767 feet) the longest single span is only 168 meters (546 ft).
So is the Langkawi Sky Bridge is the world’s the world longest pedestrian-only suspension bridge? Actually, no. Spot Cool Stuff is of the strong opinion that there’s at least one bridge in Nepal that deserves this title. Deep in the Himalayas locals construct some rather incredible—and incredibly long—suspension bridges. They are often washed away with the monsoon rains, only to be rebuilt again. We suspect one of those is the true world’s longest walking-only suspension bridge. Officially, though, that title goes to the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Canada—its 134 m (446 feet) length is 12 meters longer than the Langkawi Sky Bridge.
For the Langkawi Sky Bridge to be the world’s longest something you’d have to limit the competition to suspension bridges that are cable-stayed (as opposed to the simple-suspension style of the Capilano Bridge).
Absolutely none of those technicalities will matter to you when you are standing high above God’s green creation gazing out upon the natural beauty of Southeast Asia.
The Langkawi Sky Bridge might not be the world’s longest walking bridge. But it might be one of the coolest.
Where to stay: The Datai. The question is whether you should visit Langkawi for the beaches and stay at the Datai while there or whether you should go to Langkawi specifically to stay at the Datai, which just happens to be near great beaches. Either way, this is one superb resort. The Datai is a ritzy rain forest retreat surrounded by think jungle (see photo, below). There’s a world-class spa, an excellent golf course, and a prime location close to the Langkawi Sky Bridge. Get a complimentary half bottle of champagne with a Mr. & Mrs. Smith Membership. Highly suggested.
Other Cool Bridges in Malaysia
Not incidentally, there are a few other cool bridges in Malaysia. Here are three of them:
Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge:
The Skybridge, spanning between the 41st and 42nd floors of the Petronas Twin Towers, is the highest 2-story bridge in the world.