A miracle of nature, Langkawi is an archipelago of exquisite islands scattered in the Andaman Sea at Malaysia's north-western border.
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While the eponymous Pulau Langkawi is the largest and most densely populated, Langkawi consists of no less than 99 islands (or 104 at low tide), each with exquisite beaches which must be seen to be believed.
Beaches like Tanjung Rhu have gained reputations as some of the most picturesque in the world. Kept free from waves and wind by a bay, Tanjung Rhu is an oasis of calm. Boating trips to some of Langkawi's smaller islands can be made from Tanjung Rhu, or you can even walk across the snow white sand to some of them at low tide!
For a more lively escape, Pantai Cenang is the beach for you. With a wide range of resort hotels and shopping destinations, Pantai Cenang is the liveliest spot in all of Langkawi. Play on the beaches by day (all manner of water and beach sports are always on the go), and experience the best in Malaysian nightlife by evening.
If it's peace and quiet you're after, then Langkawi has the ideal secluded paradise in Pantai Kok. Nestled beneath a forested mountain range and miles away from the cares and hubbub of the city, the soothing sands of Pantai Kok are ideal for a romantic getaway or just a break from the hassles of life.
Or, for the best of both worlds, visit Pantai Tengah. With a pleasant mix of the activity of Pantai Cenang and the serenity of Pantai Kok, Pantai Tengah has become quite popular with families looking for a vacation spot with something for everyone. Take in live music at one of the beach front bars, or sample local cuisine at the many restaurants, such as the Lighthouse, which offers weekly Malay cooking classes designed for tourists.
No trip to Langkawi would be complete without a brief trip away from the beaches, and up the mountain of Gunung Mat Chincang to take in the majestic Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells) waterfalls. Take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain, catching a majestic birds-eye view of the beaches of Pulau Langkawi along the way. Then, watch as seven freshwater pools flow into a single, breathtaking torrent of water down a rock face. Other waterfalls, like Temerun, Durian Perangin and Lubuk Sembiland can also be found in the lush jungles of Palau Langkawi's mountains.
Langkawi is one of Malaysia's most popular destinations. Make sure to book your accommodation well in advance to avoid finding everything booked.
Langkawi, surrounded by sandy white beaches and bright green waters, has been attracting tourists for years. But with budget airlines flying to this destination, more and more foreign tourists have been traveling to this duty free haven in recent years, with its attractive imported and local goods.
Local goods are mainly souvenirs: batik, pewter, silk, handicraft, sea food, snacks and lots of other local delicacies. Lots of souvenirs shops can be found all over the island. Many souvenirs are made of local wood, coconuts and marble, well crafted and refined in detail, and good value for money.
Langkawi’s Duty Free Port status makes shopping here very attractive, and picking up good bargains has almost become a popular sport.
If you come by ferry to Langkawi, then your Duty Free shopping spree can start the moment you step onto the island. Just outside of Kuah, the main town on Pulau Langkawi, Jetty Point Duty Free Complex offers a wide range of products including alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates, ladies and men’s apparel.
The modern and air-conditioned Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall offers over 100 shops across two floors. Samudra Duty Free Department Store offers a wide spread of duty free products: cosmetics, fragrances, leather, liquor, cigarettes and sports apparel and gear.
There are more duty free outlets in and around Kuah, like Saga Shopping Center and Langkawi Duty Free, where international branded clothes and confectionery, luggage and household appliances can be found. Just outside of Kuah the Teow Soon Huat Departmental Store in Pokok Assam is another great place to spend an afternoon shopping.
The Langkawi Craft Complex to the North of the island is a magic place to shop for souvenirs to bring home. Items found here will thrill you and make your visit to Langkawi unforgettable. Items from the Langkawi Crafts Complex hang on walls or stand in living rooms all around the world.
At Pantai Cenang (one of the most popular beaches) the Shopping Paradise Duty Free Centre is located in the same building as Langkawi Underwater World. Among many other items you will find watches, fashion, jewellery and batik made cloth and fashion.
Duty free rules
After staying at least 48 hours on the island, visitors are allowed to bring one bottle of liquor and one carton of cigarettes back to the mainland. When you fly out of Langkawi, local regulations of your destination airport apply.
A few things to think about when you buy delicate goods in Langkawi: some goods might be illegal in the country of arrival, among those could be decorative ornaments made of seashells, and any item made of crocodile leather. Buying such goods also helps the trade in these items, and the world benefits when animals and seashells are left where they belong, in their own habitat.
Most international credit cards are accepted in all shopping complexes. World wide delivery can be arranged by most art and souvenir shops, if items are to bulky to fit in your suitcase.
Langkawi is a true duty free paradise and you will enjoy the many shopping options offered.
Shop around first, before you buy, as bargains are always around the corner in this shopper's haven.
Pulau Langkawi is home to many ancient old cooking styles, spices and recipes. Many of these dishes have influenced the modern culinary delicacies found on the island today. Eating in Langkawi is a true experience, whether you are looking for classy gourmet or road stall fare, Langkawi offers the best of both worlds and everything in between.
Various Langkawi styles originate from Indonesia, India, China, Africa and Portugal and can be traced back to these countries, still influencing contemporary Langkawi cuisine. Many of the local dishes are a bit more spicy than in other places around Malaysia - it’s the influence of neighboring Thailand that brings this twist. Local cuisine is based around chicken and fish, tropical fruits, vegetables and rice.
One drink has its origins wholly in Langkawi: Gamat. Air Gamat (gamat water) is made of sea cucumber or sea slug found in the local waters. For more than 300 years it's been believed to have strong healing powers for the whole body, and build a strong resistance and immune system against any disease. Many forms of gamat are found: pills, powders, concentrated bottled drinks, but the drink Air Gamat is delicious and a real local treat.
Of course being surrounded waters full of rich marine life, fish can be found on any menu on the island. Fruits of the sea are a real delicacy here, as all produce is fresh, and brought in by the local fishermen every single day. Many dishes include a good selection of vegetables, which are grown all over the island. Langkawi is also know for its abundant herb culture - many herbs and spices are grown on the island itself.
Enjoying food on an island like Langkawi is a pleasure, everyone is in a relaxed mood, the romantic atmosphere is in the air, and the setting of some of the restaurants is stunning. Around the beaches most restaurants have a special sunset arrangement, where one can sit with his or her feet in the sand, enjoying the freshness of the catch on the island while seeing the sun sink behind the horizon.
At the other end of the scale we find road stall food, served by local hawkers. Hawkers are normally work in the evening hours, and can be found on street corners and various food courts along the beach areas and various locations in Kuah. As a new visitor to Langkawi you should try the hawker foods, as they are delicious and inexpensive.
Restaurants here are a little more expensive than on the main land, but the quality is definitely there. Most resorts have one or two restaurants which might be open to the general public.
Fast food can be found in Kuah, the local shopping centers and at Jetty Point.
Pulau Langkawi is an island that will put your taste buds to the test from early morning to late at night, but we ensure you that you will love the local cuisine for its rich and plentiful culture.
Langkawi is an idyllic dot of green forested landscape on the edge of the Andaman Sea, surrounded by a mosaic of tiny islands. Langkawi is a true vacationer's paradise. The warm tranquil waters of the Straits bring a wide array of water sports, events and beaching opportunities for any visitor young or old. This pristine island also belongs to the first Asian UNESCO Geopark, which offers spectacular views, challenging hikes and wander routes. In short, Langkawi has it all.
Getting to any island leaves the visitor with more options than one, and can sometimes present challenges. However Langkawi has its public transport and road system well organized.
Arriving by air
Most foreign holiday makers fly into Langkawi. The modern Langkawi International Airport offers a pleasant atmosphere and welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests every year. Daily direct flights arrive from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang and many capitals in the South East Asia region. Malaysia Airlines Systems (MAS) and budget carriers Air Asia, Tiger Airways and Silk Air are the main operators to Langkawi. Twice a week direct flights from London are received by Langkawi International Airport, connecting Europe directly to this sunbathed island paradise.
Arriving by boat
Ferries from Kuala Kedah, Penang, Kuala Perlis and Satun, Thailand arrive at Jetty Point Complex all day long. The ferry Terminal Jetty Point is located just outside of the Kuah town center. The express ferry from Kuala Kedah on the Malaysian Peninsula runs every day at 7:00 am until 7:00 pm and takes around one and half hours to reach Langkawi. Both the ferries to Kuala Perlis and Satun take around 45 minutes to one hour depending on sea conditions. Penang is almost three hours away. The cost of your ferry crossing is very inexpensive.
Star Cruises, one of the luxury cruise lines in this part of the world use Langkawi as one of their favourite stops on their long sea journeys. The cruise terminal is at the Awana resort on the southernmost tip of the island.
Arriving by road
The main West Coast highway towards Thailand, the E1, offers a very pleasant drive towards the north of Malaysia. From Kuala Lumpur the journey to Kuala Kedah takes about six hours and to Kuala Perlis about 7 hours. These two ports will serve you with a regular Ferry crossing, seven days per week. Getting close to Kedah, the terminals are sign posted as "Alor Setar Selatan" and "Langkawi". Once arrived at Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis you can park your car at a private car park. You might be greeted by vendors on motorbikes offering you the parking service. Parking fees are around RM10 per day.
It is possible to bring your own vehicle to Langkawi, but it takes an overnight cargo crossing. For a short stay it’s less expensive and more convenient to rent a car in Langkawi.
Buses from Singapore, Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur come and go at the busy ferry terminals or the main bus stations in Alor Setar and Kota Perlis. You need an extra transfer by city liner to the mainland ferry terminal, but these are inexpensive and easy to maintain. Taxis are everywhere.
Arriving by rail
KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) offers a rail service from as South as Singapore, with an interchange at the main train station in Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar (Alor Star). You need a taxi from Alor Setar station to the ferry terminal in Kuala Kedah. The KTM offers a very relaxed and economical way to see and travel through Malaysia.
Getting around the island
Unfortunately there are no public buses in Langkawi. The easiest way to move the island would be to hire your own transport, either car, mini van, bicycle or motor bike. You will find the roads in Langkawi are well kept and well maintained. Many travel agents and resorts in Langkawi offer various transport options. Rates can vary from place to place and might vary even from season to season, shopping around makes sense.
Taxi rides are governed by government regulations. Every taxi driver with a taxi license in Langkawi operates from a book with all destinations and prices are exact and correct, and always the same. Taxis are in good condition and the drivers are friendly and can offer lots of additional tourist information.
Langkawi offers a perfect infrastructure for any traveler; you will enjoy traversing and cruising this fantastic enchanting Jewel of the North.
Langkawi isn't terribly famous for its nightlife, and that’s not totally strange because as a tourist you'll need to search a bit for the real nightlife. Langkawi is not a party destination as such, however good night spots can be found.
An evening in Langkawi starts with the sun setting behind the glistening of its azure blue waters, when the night air starts to tremble and the orange of the sun disappears and changes the blue skies in a star sparkled sheet covering the island. A true sunset is best experienced at the beach, where the sand cools down your feet, and a glass of chilled wine or other drink enhances the spectacle.
Dining at sunset is an absolute once in a lifetime experience in Langkawi. And many hotels, resorts and restaurants will cater to the opportunity. Just before sunset is also the moment when all the locals will flood the beaches, as they tend to avoid the blistering sun during the day.
Once the darkness falls the evening can start, and in and around the beach areas, like Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, people will find a place to sit and relax, have a drink and search for dinner, walking from restaurant to restaurant. Exploring their menus can be great fun, and surrounded by vibrant sounds and delicious smells you know your evening has started.
For the party animals the evening can start in some of the beach bars, which all have their own style, from reggae and blues to lounge music, and some even have live music by local musicians, mainly playing international requests. If you are lucky and the mood is right, the speakers move from inside to the outside of the bars, and you can find groups of people dancing at the beach. It's an awesome experience to dance the night away with the sea roaring in the background.
Large scale discotheques are not found in Langkawi, but some addresses we could recommend are Black Henry Pub and Disco and Chime at the Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort, and Coco Jam Fun Pub & Disco at the Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa. Both locations offer live entertainment on a regular basis. Other great nightlife spots include Dallas Karaoke, Burau Beat Pub, The Beergarden, Breeze Lounge, Little Lylia’s Chill Out Café, Yellow Cafe and The Bistro. Nightlife is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike, making for great ways to meet new friends, hear great stories about Langkawi and venture for new ideas and sites to discover.
Music in many of the night spots is not geared towards one genre in particular, but caters to a large and international crowd. The deejays and live bands will play the latest hits as well as popular music from the seventies and eighties. Whether you enjoy R&B, pop, rock or disco the bars and discos will cater to your needs.
Pulau Langkawi is an island surrounded by 98 smaller isles, drifting in the emerald green Andaman Sea. No matter what you like to do during your holiday, whether it's reading a book at the swimming pool or trekking a jungle trail, yachting on a speedy sail boat or just wandering along one of the many white sandy beaches, Langkawi will entrance you throughout your stay at this unspoiled charming island of peace.
All around the 99 islands, secluded beaches can be found and day trips can be made to many of the smaller islands. The two world famous beaches of Langkawi are Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, which are located in the South of the island close to the airport. Popular with the tourists, many sorts of accommodations can be found here, from the bare essentials to the top luxuries. An abundance of water sports are offered here, and the warm waters of the sea will pull you closer. Pantai Kok is a great location to get away from the crowds, and to the North are more secluded and nicely tucked away beaches like Pantai Pasir Tengorak, Pebble Beach and Datai Bay Beach. At the Datai, the Northern coast offers even more smaller beaches which attract lesser crowds, but are a must see for nature and beach lovers: Pantai Pasir Hitam (Black Sand Beach) and the beach of Air Hangat and Tanjung Rhu Resort.
In Langkawi the color green is everywhere: this ancient rainforest-covered patch of land in the middle of the Andaman Sea offers a wide variety of options for those who want to discover the natural wonders. The Mangrove Forest in the North Eastern part of the island presents various options to explore this extraordinary estuary. Bird watching is popular in the low marsh lands close to the shores, the large wet acres of reclaimed land offer fantastic photo and spotting opportunities for bird enthusiasts. The large jungle offers great trekking options all over the island. The Langkawi Cable Car in the West part of the island can bring you one of the highest peaks on Langkawi, Gunung Machinung, where on a clear day Indonesia and Thailand can be seen from this mountain top. Breath-taking views, soaring eagles, and the feeling of freedom can be experienced across 360 degrees.
Telaga Tuju, in the North West corner of Pulau Langkawi, is a waterfall cascading over 7 pools, an absolute marvel of Mother Nature and a great place for a relaxing picnic. There are many more forests, waterfall, caves and lakes to be discovered.
Langkawi offers a wide variety of water sports. There are ample marinas to be found in various parts of the island. The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club close to Kuah, Rebak Island Marina and Telaga Harbour Marina in the West all offer sailing, boat charters, berthing and rental facilities. Jet skiing and parasailing is offered at Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah. Langkawi is also a great place to learn to scuba dive as the waters are calm year around. The new scuba diver will have the experience of a lifetime.
Golf enthusiasts can eat their heart out in Pulau Langkawi, which offers beautiful beachfront courses where you can tee off with a cooling summer breeze in your hair. The three main golf courses are Langkawi Golf Club, Golf Club Datai Bay at The Datai and Gunung Raya Golf Resort - all offer fantastic high class facilities.
Langkawi Underwater World, Galeria Perdana, Ibrahim Hussein Art Museum Langkawi, Rice Museum, Islamic Museum, Royal Museum and Heritage Museum, Lagenda Park, Kedah Traditional House, Craft Cultural Complex, Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi Wildlife Park, Snake Sanctuary, Crocodile Farm and Oriental Village are among the many activities offered in Langkawi.
Our best tip would be to take at least one day to tour the island, explore and discover its inner secrets.