Langkawi is a beautiful Malaysian island with beaches that could compete with famous Thailand sandy getaways. The water is also equally beautiful and clear. However, what trumps Langkawi over Thailand islands is that Langkawi is way less crowded and so you feel like you have been awarded a slice of paradise. In this Langkawi Travel Guide let’s have a look at the best things to do in Langkawi, the best places to stay in Langkawi and the best way to spend an amazing time here!
In this post
How to Get to Langkawi, Malaysia?
Bus + Boat
We usually travel via land within one country or if the distances are not too long. Simply because most of the time it is cheaper and we love seeing the beautiful sceneries on the way. Also, because the baggage is not an issue when traveling by bus. You can reach Penang or Kuala Perlis by bus from Kuala Lumpur , or Krabi in Thailand. On top of that, there are many public transport connections all around Southern Thailand and all around Malaysia going to either of the places to catch a boat to Langkawi. Prices usually vary between $10 to $15 depending on where you are coming from.
The ferry from Penang to Langkawi departs 2 times a day. 10:30 AM and 2 PM are the departure times and the price one way is RM 60 ($15). The ferry takes 3 hours and if the weather is rough it can be quite a bumpy ride. The main ferry port is located at the biggest city in Langkawi – Kuah.
Ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi operates from 7 am to 7 pm on an hourly basis and costs only RM 16 ($5). Also, the ride takes only 1 hour 15 minutes.
There are direct ferries from Satun and Koh Lipe in Thailand as well. The full schedule and pricing can be found here.
Flying into Langkawi is by far the fastest way to reach the island and often it also might be the cheapest way. There are several flights leaving for Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Krabi, Phuket, Bangkok etc. Often the flights are as cheap as $20 so there is no point in spending extra time traveling by bus if you are on a tight schedule. Definitely look for cheap flights if you are planning to go to Langkawi. The airport in Langkawi is conveniently located only 15 minutes away from the central Cenang Beach.
What to Do in Langkawi?
Langkawi is the vacation paradise. It offers many activities for adrenaline junkies and for those seeking tranquility. People often overlook Malaysia as the first vacation or backpacking destination. However, quite recently Malaysia has started gaining some well-deserved popularity amongst travelers. To be honest, Malaysia is one of our favorite countries and we could write books about why we love it so much!
Langkawi Cable Car and Skybridge
Langkawi Cable Car must be the most photographed and the most famous attraction in Langkawi. It is definitely worth it and it is so much fun for young and old. The entrance costs RM 55 ($14) and includes the T-Rex attraction and the 3D Museum. There are no-queue tickets available as well for RM 95 ($24) but we would not recommend spending extra on those, as the queues are never as long as the ones to see the Vatican in Rome our Louvre in Paris . Skybridge on the last level of the Cable Car is absolutely amazing and a must do in Langkawi. Those scared of heights will have extra fun. You can spend a good half day enjoying all the attractions.
Seven Wells Waterfall
Seven Wells is so much fun. There are several levels of waterfalls you can visit and you can go swimming at both – lower and higher levels. You can slide down the waterfalls, as many local kids did, but we did not dare to try it. The rocks are very slippery and you might slide uncontrollably and hurt yourself. However, local kids were throwing backflips from the cliffs as well, so we are the unadventurous ones here… The climb up the highest level is quite tough so be sure to take several breaks and bring plenty of water. You can pack lunch and enjoy a great day at the Seven Wells Waterfalls watching the sunset from the top level while dipping in the cooling water.
Langkawi is famous for its night markets and they really are amazing. The best food we tasted was from these night markets and often we bought so much that it lasted for the next day too. Night markets offer RM 5 ($1.20) noodle portions and amazingly good satay skewers, cakes, smoothies, pancakes, bbq and much more. The interesting thing is that every evening the night market is held at a different location around the island so make sure to check the schedule before you go. They usually open around 5 pm and close around 10 pm. The night market locations are as follows:
- Monday: Ulu Melaka
- Tuesday: Kedawang
- Wednesday: Kuah
- Thursday: Pantai Cenang
- Friday: Air Hangat
- Saturday: Kuah
- Sunday: Padang Matsirat
Tip: Type in Google Maps for example “Night Market Wednesday” and it will give you the precise location of the night market on that day and the opening times as well! Google might be your best Langkawi Travel Guide when it comes to Night Markets.
Skytrex is an amazing way to spend the day! Climbing, hiking, avoiding obstacles, sliding, rolling, jumping – so much fun! There are 3 different tracks you can choose from starting from beginner and up to the extreme. Each track costs around RM 55 ($14). The price of the track is quite good, compared to other ziplining and similar adventures around South East Asia. The scenery is beautiful as you are right in the middle of a forest and the company is eco-friendly so no flora or fauna is damaged during your visit.
Note: Make sure to book your visit online in advance. Thus, you are guaranteed a spot, as sometimes big groups book out all the activities for the day.
Motorbike Around the Island
The best way to get around the island is definitely by motorbike. Rent for a day will cost you RM 20 – 25 ($6-8) and you can reach all the corners of the island. Crossing the whole island would take around 1.5 hours. All the beaches are easily accessible and the roads are not as crowded as in the big Asian cities. A great bonus is that you will be able to see the less touristy places and stop at beautiful viewpoints and random street stalls for snacks.
A taxi is also an option but the expenses will add up and probably, to explore the island you would have to hire a driver for the day. Grab App is a great way to save money on taxi’s and if you register with our link you will get $5 off your first ride.
Langkawi is famous for the fact that it is duty-free. Yes, you heard us right. Chocolates from all over the world and liquors you have not seen before. All almost 40% cheaper than in mainland Malaysia. Many locals come here to enjoy a fun holiday and bring some duty-free goods back home. However, make sure you are not exceeding the limits you can buy to bring out of the island.
Kuah is the main duty-free shopping spot but there are many shops along Cenang beach as well. Take note that not all the duty-free shops are cheap. For example, the shops you see when you arrive at Kuah Jetty Point will be more expensive than the ones in the city.
Due to cheap liquor and the fact that drinking in Malaysia is not as popular as in, for example, Thailand Langkawi is a popular backpacker destination. We are a great example of that, as we fell in love with the island (and the prices) and spent 14 days in Langkawi.
Interesting: another duty-free island is Tioman Island on the opposite side of Peninsular Malaysia.
Close to the Kuah Jetty Point is the famous Langkawi Eagle Square. The main sight is the 12-meter tall eagle statue. The Eagle Square is a nice place to watch ferries pass by and walk along to enjoy the sunset. Even if you have a short break before you are boarding the ferry to leave the island, make sure to drop by at the Eagle Square.
Relax at the Beautiful Beaches
- Pantai Cenang
Pantai Cenang is the main and most popular beach in Langkawi. It is the BEST beach to watch the sunset at as well. Pantai Cenang offers many fun activities such as jet ski, paragliding, speedboat rides etc. In the evening some bars pop up and you can even watch a fire show on good days.
- Tanjung Rhu Beach and the Chicken Island
This beach is our favorite beach mentioned in the Langakwi Travel Guide. When the tide is low people go into the sea along a narrow sand path to possibly reach the chicken island. Okay, perhaps only we call it the chicken island, but we are almost sure that is a thing. We will leave out the picture so you are surprised when you see it. Let us know if we are crazy or not! Also, you can see many sea creatures like starfishes or octopuses on the beach. Pretty amazing. The beach is very beautiful, clean and less crowded. It is on the other side of the Langkawi island but we highly recommend you visit it.
- Skull Beach
Skull Beach might be our second favorite and a really close competitor to Tanjung Rhu Beach. The sand is white and soft and water is the clearest we have seen in Langkawi. The beach is quite far from the rest of attractions in Langkawi but if you are looking for an authentic beach very few know about head to Skull Beach. The name – Skull Beach comes from a legend that a sea monster attacked and killed many sailors and they bodies were washed ashore.
- Black Sand Beach
A very interesting beach definitely worth a visit. There is literally no one else around except for some local kids playing ball. The beach has black sand due to some chemical formation of minerals. However, the most popular story is the one mentioning mythological creatures and the war they waged. Once you reach the beach you will see many signs explaining why the beach is black. Have a stroll and enjoy.
Kilim Geopark Tour
Take a boat and explore the famous, vast geo-forest park. This tour is suitable not only for nature lovers but anyone who loves our amazing planet. The price for a 2-hour tour is RM 120 ($30) per person in a shared boat. Take your time in finding the best tour deal, as often you will see offers for around RM 400, which are very overpriced. Usually, your hotel can arrange a tour for you with a pick-up and a lunch included. The tour takes around 6 hours and one of the highlights is eagle feeding. Langkawi Travel Guide would be incomplete without this amazing activity.
More: If you are interested in other tours and activities check out these amazing offers from GetYourGuide!
Hike the Gunung Raya for Stunning Sunset Views
The highest mountain in Langkawi is waiting for you! You can either drive up the mountain peak or choose to hike it. You will be awarded many beautiful views and will be able to spot some interesting birds and animals during the daytime. On the top of the mountain, there is a watchtower. Entrance costs RM 10 ($3) and includes a complimentary tea. The watchtower is owned by a hotel, thus the entrance fee. You can also enjoy beautiful views without getting up the watchtower, however, we would highly recommend it. Come for the sunrise, if you chose to drive up and enjoy the views of the Andaman Sea and the mainland of Thailand.
A full description of the Gunung Raya visit can be found here.
Related: Best Travel Gear 2018
Where to Stay in Langkawi?
A completely new hotel built close to the Cenang Beach and all the action. It is very, very clean and super affordable coming for $15 p.p. per night.
Beautiful private chalets in a picturesque location close to the beach. Very clean rooms and the staff is just gorgeous. Also, the price is jaw-dropping $15 per person per night. You use the kitchen and the free water refill at the premises as well.
Lovely, spacious, bright rooms for only $18 per person per night. You get a balcony and an amazing view. The motel is located in a quieter part of town, but perhaps that is what you are looking for!
This place is like a private mansion if you opt for the biggest rooms. Jacuzzi and a day bed, several seating areas and a mini kitchen. The Daun Resort is newly opened so you can get a chalet for $65, which is basically only $33 per person per night. The place has a natural feel and the wooden, brick style creates a very warm atmosphere. This place is our personal Langkawi Travel Guide favorite.
Right next to the beach you can have a modern private cabin for $45 per night. Again, only $23 per person per night if you split the price with your travel partner. You will have all you need and still stay in a place with a local feel.
If you know us, you know we are all about boutiques. Spacious, clean, well-lit rooms. You will get your own terrace and an outside shower. Breakfast is included in the price of $85 per apartment. The staff is second to none.
This place is like no other. 5-star resort with a 5-star service and apartments. You will be able to use great fitness facilities, Spa and enjoy an excellent complimentary breakfast in the morning. The location is very tranquil, perfect for a tropical island escape. Prices start at reasonable $220 per night and go up to thousands of dollars for possibly the best villas you could get on the island.
Bonus Tips to Langkawi Travel Guide
Main places to eat should be the amazing night markets. Do not hesitate to chase night markets every night depending on their location. However, if you want to sit down for a meal along the Cenang Beach you will find many eateries offering wide varieties of seafood. Shop around for the best prices of fresh seafood before you make your decision.
Accommodation Alternative – Airbnb
Airbnb is becoming more and more popular worldwide. Langkawi is no exception and there are many gorgeous villas, chalets, and apartments all across Langkawi. The prices are very fair. If you do not have an Airbnb account you will get $30 off your first stay if you sign up using our link! That means – first night for free! There is no better way to start a vacation other than having a free stay at a gorgeous place.
How Many Days in Langkawi?
Langkawi is a beautiful destination and there are many things to keep you busy! We would recommend at least 5 days in Langkawi to visit all the beautiful spots and enjoy some beach time. This Langkawi Travel Guide would be perfect to fit in 5 days or more of active exploring. If you have more time, you could spend 7 days here and explore everything at a slow pace while also getting a nice tan at the beach.
Related: 25 Best Travel Accessories You Need!