Langkawi, Malaysia Guide
Langkawi, a holiday paradise that combines a tranquil setting from the natural world and luxury from the modern accommodation facilities offering opulence and scenery all at once.
The island of Langkawi, Malaysia is an exotic holiday destination that offers accommodation of all kinds (from budget beach chalets to the most sybaritic five star resorts) and amenities sitting side by side with idyllic beaches, ancient rainforests and quaint villages. Langkawi Malaysia is an archipelago of 99 tropical islands (or 104, depending on tide) off the north-western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, about 30km from Kuala Perlis on the mainland. The island was named after two Malay words – ‘lang’ (eagle) and ‘kawi’ (reddish brown), hence the imposing eagle statue at Dataran Lang (Eagle Square), welcoming visitors who arrive on the island through the Kuah Jetty.
The archipelago has some of the world’s most pristine rainforests, limestone and karst formations, caves with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and among the world’s most beautiful beaches washed by clear emerald waters teeming with marine life.
ATMs and Money Exchange booths are available at the Langkawi Airport, at Langkawi Parade Shopping Complex and next to Underwater World at Pantai Cenang.
Langkawi is a duty-free island, and alcohol is significantly cheaper here than in the rest of Malaysia. Hotel tariffs and retail goods are exempt from government duty. Visitors with more than 48 hr stay in Langkawi are exempt on items like wines and liquor (1 liter), tobacco (200 cigarettes), apparel, cosmetics, souvenirs and gifts, food and food preparations and portable electronic items (one item).
Best Time to Visit
Langkawi, Malaysia is warm and sunny all-year-round. Humidity is high and the annual average temperature is 25C – 32C. Even during rainy season, the mornings are usually filled with sunshine, with the rain coming during overcast afternoons. The mid-season (neither dry nor rainy) is from mid April until August. The mornings are again sunny, but the afternoons can be overcast. The dry season is from mid November until mid April, during which time there is very little rain.
Where to Stay
Casa Del Mar Hotel
Jalan Pantai Cenang, Mukim Kedawang, Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Malaysia 07000
A 4 star 34 room boutique resort located on the beach at Pantai Cenang. Offering all sea view accommodation in the tourist area of Langkawi, you are just 10 minutes or 7km’s (4miles) from the airport. read more …
The Danna Langkawi Hotel
Telaga Harbour Park, Pantai Kok, Langkawi, Malaysia 07000
Resting peacefully on the west coast of Langkawi Island, this property is surrounded by 2.8 acres of greenery. Capturing a breath taking viw of the green mountains and the marina, The Danna Langkawi Hotel is a few steps away from the white sandy beach. read more …
Tanjung Sanctuary Langkawi Resort
Pantai Kok, Langkawi, Malaysia 07100
Featuring 67 acres of land and private beach, this romantic hotel presents 30 spacious and airy bungalows that provides magnificent views. read more …
Tanjung Rhu Resort
Tanjung Rhu, Mukim Ayer Hangat, Tanjung Rhu, Langkawi, Malaysia
Nestled amidst 1100 acres of rainforest, this eco-friendly resort captures a spectacular view of of the Andaman Sea. Tanjung Rhu Resort boasts 136 tastefully designed rooms and suites that incorporate all five star amenities to ensure utmost comfort. read more …
Jalan Teluk Datai, Datai Bay Area, Langkawi, Malaysia
Bordered by an archaic tropical forest, this property is ideal for an eco-vacation. Nestled between the Cincang Mountain and the untouched Andaman Sea, this property combines a tranquil setting from the natural world and luxury from the resort, offering opulence and scenery all at once. read more …
Where & What to Eat
There’s a huge variety of food available on Pulau Langkawi, ranging from cheap and good hawker food to a splurge for gourmet food in the restaurants. The famous laksa is not to be missed.
Because of Langkawi’s tax-free status, alcohol is much cheaper than in the rest of Malaysia. Religious Muslims do not consume alcoholic drinks, and while they do tolerate non Muslims who do, try not to behave in a rowdy imbibed manner near them, their houses, mosques, and please respect local culture and communal sensitivities. For those living on a budget, you can obtain alcohol at cheap prices from the local duty free shops – the larger the outlets, the lower the prices. Expect to pay RM25 for 1L Absolut, RM45 for 1L Kahlua, RM60 for 1L Bailey’s, and RM5-12for 330 ml can beer.
Despite low alcohol prices, Langkawi is predominantly popular with couples and families. Single travellers and backpackers may therefore be disappointed with the lack of nightlife. Most bars remain empty, particularly in the low season, and the 1-2 nightclubs may only seem worthwhile in the peak season, and even then only on Friday or Saturday nights. Overall, Langkawi provides a family-friendly alternative to Thai locations such as Phuket and Koh Samui.
My to do List
There’s so much to see and to do in Langkawi; diving and snorkeling in the pristine water filled with rich marine life tops the list for most people. You can also take a cable car ride up the mountain that offers a breathtaking 360 degrees panoramic view of the islands, the rural lowlands and the seas as far as Thailand. For nature lovers, you can explore the lush forests and appreciate the unique wildlife of the islands from a different perspective.
Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls aka Seven Wells, (Gunung Mat Cincang, Northwest corner of the island, 45 kms from Kuah, walking distance from Oriental village and cable car (10 min)), This waterfall is named after the seven natural pools along its path. Legend has it that fairies used to come down to the pools to bathe and frolic. There are 2 viewing areas at Telaga Tujuh. The lower area is at the base of the waterfall and the higher area is where the 7 pools are. You can bathe in the pools and even slide down the slick rock between them. Be warned, to get to the 7 pools, you have to climb 300+ steps which can get quite slippery when wet. As with most Malaysian tourist sites, the toilet facilities are not maintained and rubbish is strewn everywhere. There is also a jungle trekking course available at the site which will lead you through a trail of up to 2,500 m, up 2 different mountains. This trail is achievable with slippers, but it is best to wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots as some segments of the trail are nearly vertical. Be warned that these trails are not recommended for family trips.
Gunung Raya, (take the snaking paved road through the jungle). The tallest mountain on the island, at 881m. Spectacular views from the lookout point on the top. There is a resort hotel serving meals and indifferent coffee at the summit. There is a lookout tower which one may climb for RM 10.
Pantai Cenang – The most popular beach in Langkawi, features fine powdery sand and many beachfront restaurants and bars. Located at the south-western tip of the island, 2 km long.
Stay Away From
Langkawi can have a lot of mosquitoes depending on the time of year and location (ie Mangrove areas), so don’t forget to use mosquito repellent.
Be careful driving around Langkawi at night. Although main roads are well-lit, some of the more minor roads are not very well lit and may pass through Kampungs (traditional Malay villages) or rural areas where the locals seem to take a very casual approach to road safety.
Beware of smart wild monkeys. Those at Tengkorak beach attack humans who have food.
Jelly fishes are also becoming increasingly prevalent and have caused at least one death – a Swedish tourist in early 2010. Do not swim at night or when you have been drinking.
Don’t participate in certain activities such as eagle feeding and monkey feeding as this harms the animals by encouranging them to become reliant on tourists and you may give them the wrong food.
Beware of restaurants telling you that they only have the bigger size lobsters or crabs available, as that is what they tell everyone. When your lobster or crab is served, you will discover that you will definitely be paying for 900g of shell instead of meat!
The island of Langkawi can be reached through sea and air.
The Langkawi International Airport is one of the 7 international airports in Malaysia is 25 minutes’ drive from Kuah city center and is the point of entry for most tourists, and connects the island to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Phuket and also Subang. The following airlines offer service to/from Langkawi: AirAsia , Malaysia Airlines, Firefly, Happy Airways, and SilkAir.
Local: 1300 88 3000
International: +60 (0)3 7846 3000
Local: 1300 88 99 33
International: +60 03 7884 9000
Silk Air Singapore
+65 (0)6 223 8888
Langkawi Ferry operates fast A/C boats from Kuala Perlis (RM18, 75 min), Kuala Kedah (RM23, 105 min), Penang (RM60, 165 min), and Satun(RM30 or THB300, 75 min), (Satun ferry to Langkawi: last boat departs Satun at 4PM. Telaga Harbour operates ferries from Ko Lipe, Thailand twice per day during the high season, at 9:30AM and 2:30PM (RM128 1-way, RM248 return, 75 min). These boats dock at the south end of Pattaya Beach. Bookings can be made online.
The Express Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur promises a comfortable and economical journey up to Alor Setar (Kedah) and/or Arau(Perlis). From Alor Setar or Arau, buses and taxis are available to Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis respectively, from where the Ferry Services take you to the island.