Langkawi, officially known by its sobriquet Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah (Malay: Langkawi Permata Kedah), is a duty-free island and an archipelago of 99 islands (plus five small islands visible only at low tide in the Strait of Malacca) located some 30 km off the coast of northwestern Malaysia and a few kilometres south of Ko Tarutao, adjacent to the Thai border. Politically, it is an administrative district of Kedah, with Kuah as its largest town. Pantai Cenang is the island's most popular beach and tourist area.
The name Langkawi is thought to have existed by the early 15th century, although in the 16th century the island of Langkawi was also marked on maps variously as Langa, Langka, Lansura, and Langapura.
There are many suggestions for the origin of the name of Langkawi. According to one interpretation, Langkawi means island of the reddish-brown eagle, a Brahminy kite in colloquial Malay.The Malay word for eagle is helang (colloquially shortened to lang), and kawi is a red stone used as a chalk to mark goods. This interpretation was used to create the landmark sculpture of an eagle as the symbol of Langkawi at Dataran Helang (Eagle Square) in Kuah.