Langkawi (Jawi: لانكاوي), officially known as "Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah" (Malay: Langkawi Permata Kedah) is an archipelago of 99 islands (an extra 5 temporary islands are revealed at low tide) in the Andaman Sea, 30 km off the mainland coast of Kedah. It is a popular destination due to its natural white sand beaches, lush jungle foliage, craggy mountain peaks and duty-free status, where alcohol is affordable.

Sun, sand and sea on the beach
Sunrise over Langkawi

Understand edit

Politics and demographics edit

The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, adjacent to the border with Thailand. The total population of the islands is 99,000; however only two islands are inhabited: Pulau Langkawi, the largest island, with a population of 65,000 and Pulau Tuba. Langkawi is also an administrative district, with the town of Kuah as the capital and largest town.

Etymology edit

Legends of broken pots and seeping gravy

Langkawi's most prominent mountains, Gunung Macinchang and Gunung Raya, and a whole series of towns and villages are said to be named after a local legend. During the wedding feast of the marriage of giant Mat Raya's son and giant Mat Cincang's daughter, a fight broke out between the two wedding parties, reputedly because the son was caught flirting with another woman. Pots and pans were thrown, and a large pot of gravy (kuah) was broken and the contents flowed onto the ground. The place where the gravy was spilled became known as Kuah (the largest town on Langkawi island) and where the crockery (belanga) was broken (pecah) was the location of the village Kampung Belanga Pecah. The gravy seeped into (kisap) the earth at the village named Kisap.

The name "Langkawi" has two possible origins. First, it is believed to be related to the kingdom of Langkasuka, itself a version of the Malay negari alang-kah suka ("the land of all one's wishes"), centered in modern-day Kedah. The historical record is sparse, but a Chinese Liang Dynasty record (c. 500 AD) refers to the kingdom of "Langgasu" as being founded in the 1st century AD. Second, it could be a combination of the Malay words 'helang', meaning "eagle" and 'kawi', meaning "reddish-brown" or "strong", in old Malay.

History edit

Langkawi was long under the influence of the Kedah Sultanate, founded in 1136 AD upon the introduction of Islam. Kedah, including Langkawi, was conquered in 1821 by the State of Siam (now Thailand). During the invasion by the Siamese, the leaders were killed, many islanders were taken as slaves, and most of the population fled. In the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909, the Siamese ceded control of the island to the British, who held the state until Malaysian independence in 1957, except for a brief period of Thai rule under the Japanese occupation of Malaya during World War II. Thai influences remain visible in the culture and food of Langkawi.

Langkawi remained a sleepy backwater island until 1987, when the island was granted tax-free status with the intention of promoting tourism to improve the lives of the islanders.

Climate edit

Sheltered by the mountainous backbone of Peninsular Malaysia, Langkawi is not affected by the northeastern winter monsoon and enjoys sunny skies in winter when the eastern provinces are flooded.

Preservation edit

The 10,000 hectares of Langkawi and its 99 islands were declared a geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2007.

Get in edit

By plane edit

By boat edit

  • Langkawi Ferry Services operates fast air-con boats from Kuala Perlis (RM18, 75 min), Kuala Kedah (RM23, 105 min), Penang (RM60, 165 min) (the ferry is freezing cold, so bring warm clothes), and Satun (RM45 or 450 Thai baht, 75 min), (Satun ferry to Langkawi: one boat departs Satun daily at 11:30AM.) Langkawi to Satun: one boat departs Langkawi daily at 8:30AM. The ferry was suspended during COVID-19 and reinstated with only one daily ferry as of November 2023.
  • Tropical Charters [1] operates ferries between Kuah Jetty in Langkawi and Ko Lipe. The price is RM118 one way (RM100 if you book online), including the longtail boat transfer and Thai customs fees. Check-in is at the inner entrance of the Jetty Point Food Court, opposite 7/11, 1 hour before departure. The trip takes 90 minutes. Arrival in Ko Lipe is at the Bundhaya Resort.
  • Telaga Terminal operates speedboats between Langkawi and Ko Lipe (RM128 1-way, RM248 return, 75 min). These boats dock at a pontoon in Pattaya Bay from where there are longtail transfers to immigration on Pattaya Beach.

Get around edit

There is effectively no public transport on the island, so your choices are to use taxis or to rent a car, motorbike/scooter, or bicycle.

By taxi edit

Taxis and the Grab mobile app operate on a fixed price system. A taxi from the airport to Pantai Cenang costs RM20 or less with Grab. You can buy a coupon at the taxi desk at the airport. From the ferry terminal to Pantai Cenang, the price is RM24. For those arriving at the Kuah Jetty and going into Kuah Town, the price is RM8.

By car or motorbike/scooter edit

Renting a car or motorbike/scooter is highly recommended due to the lack of public transport. This can be done at the airport, the port complex, or from shops on Pantai Cenang. Refrain from renting from touts, as many are operating illegally without permits and usually without insurance. Accidents happen to tourists on motorbikes/scooters regularly, so be careful although the traffic is not as chaotic as in Penang and other areas. The roads are in good condition. Most rental agencies will not provide full insurance coverage and you have to cover the damage up to RM3000 if there is any accident.

Renting an air-conditioned mid-sized sedan costs RM70-RM150 per day depending on model, condition and length of stay and a 150cc motorbike/scooter costs RM40-45 per day. Cheaper but usually very used and older are the semi-automatic 115cc bikes for RM25 a day. A tired Proton within Pantai Cenang costs RM60-90/day.

Check your fuel level regularly because petrol pump stations (gas stations) are far from one another. Most rental agencies do not care how much fuel is in the tank when the vehicle is returned, although some may do so and mark it on the receipt. Fuel costs are cheap and are fixed by the government and you should return the bikes with the same filling level as you picked it up.

The first time at a gas/petrol station will confuse you. You will need to guess how much fuel you need and pay first. Most saloon cars, if empty, are RM50 to fill up and motorbikes are approximately RM5. Sometimes you fill up your car/bike and you haven't used what you have paid for; not to worry, as you can claim this back at the counter.

Remember to drive safely and slowly on the island and on the left side of the road. There are tourists, children and animals like chickens, cows and even buffaloes crossing. Take care not to run over the beautiful snakes or monitors. Cattle and snakes like to lie on the road at night; the blacktop radiates heat.

Driving laws:

  1. Your driver's licence needs to be with you at all times. An international driver's licence is not necessary but licences must have text in English.
  2. Seat belts are mandatory in all vehicles. Fines are given ranging from RM50 if not wearing one.
  3. Helmets are mandatory. Fines are the same as above but more importantly, the hospital does not have facilities to treat head injuries, so you will have to get a medivac out to Penang, which takes 45 minutes or more — if the helicopter is available.

Roadblocks are commonplace in Langkawi; they are mainly interested in locals with no licence. Make sure you have the above items and your seat belt fastened, and you will have no problems.

By bicycle edit

Some hotels offer bicycle rentals. Expect to pay between RM10-30 per day.

See edit

  • 1 Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls aka Seven Wells (Gunung Mat Cincang, Northwest corner of the island, 45 km from Kuah, walking distance from Oriental village and cable car (10 min)), +60 4 9667789. 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. To get to the 7 pools, you must climb 638 steps which can be 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 about 2,500m, up 2 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. These trails are not recommended for family trips.
  • 2 Gunung Raya (take the snaking paved road through the jungle). The tallest mountain on the island, at 881m, in a rainforest habitat. The peak can be reached via a 25-minute drive on a canopy-covered road lined with leafy pandan and banana trees or by climbing 4,287 steep stairs, estimated to take 2 hours 15 minutes each way. The stairs may be covered in fallen trees or landslides after rainfall. The summit offers a panoramic view over Langkawi and surrounding islands in the Andaman Sea, although the view is often obstructed by fog – make sure to visit on a clear day. Wildlife includes monkeys, squirrels, hornbills, lizards, and geckos. There is also an abandoned resort at the summit that has fallen into disrepair.
  • 3 Crocodile Adventureland, Jalan Datai, Mk. Ayer Hangat (on the way to Teluk Datai), +60 4 9592559. Daily 9AM-6PM, show time: daily at 11:15AM & 2:45PM, hourly feedings. Over 1,000 crocodiles and alligators. Witness a boxing match of man vs crocodile, or take a ride in a rickshaw drawn by a crocodile. this attraction will not be enjoyed by some visitors, the crocodiles are inbred and deformed. Adult RM25, child RM18 (below 12 yrs), Malaysian: RM18/12.
  • 4 Laman Padi Rice Garden (northern end of Pantai Cenang, opposite Casa Del Mar Hotel), +60 4 955 4312. Daily 10AM-6PM. Rice fields and nice landscaping. Museum in English details the process of cultivating rice. Guided tours are available. Free.
  • 5 Taman Lagenda (Legenda Park) (400 m from Kuah Jetty beside the CHOGM Park and Al-Hana Mosque.), +60 4 9664223. Daily 8AM-11PM. Beautiful garden on 50 acres (20 hectares), designed based on Langkawi heritage. Adults RM5, children RM2.50.
Underwater World
  • 6 Underwater World (Pantai Cenang), +60 4 9556100. M-F 9:30AM-6:30PM, Sa Su 9:30AM-8:30PM. An indoor aquarium. Try to attend the feeding times. RM53 for adults and RM43 for children.
  • 7 Eagle Square (Dataran Lang), +60 4960 0600. 24 hours. The square, featuring a giant eagle statue, is beautifully landscaped with scenic ponds, bridges and covered terraces and is especially beautiful when illuminated at night. Free.  
  • 8 Oriental Village. Daily 8:30AM-6PM. Asian-themed village featuring restaurants, an exotic snake charmer, jugglers, silat displays, traditional music, kite flying demonstrations, palmistry, portrait painting and ZON free duty shop. A miserable elephant is forced to offer rides to tourists. A cable car up the mountain costs $20. Some describe this place as a tacky tourist trap. Rent a Segway to scoot around.
  • 9 Langkawi Wildlife Park (Taman Hidupan Liar), Jalan Ayer Hangat, +60 4966 5855. Daily 8:30AM-6PM. A zoo with many wild animals. RM16–39.
  • Galeria Perdana, Jalan Ayer Hangat, +60 4 959 1498. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Museum featuring gifts Malaysia has received from foreign countries. RM10.

Do edit

Organized activities in Langkawi include cruises via yacht or sailboat, mangrove tours, island hopping tours, jet ski tours, birdwatching tours, nature walks, kayak tours, scuba diving & snorkelling, helicopter tours, and jungle trekking tours.

Sky Bridge
  • 1 Panorama Langkawi: SkyCab Cable Car Ride & Sky Bridge (in Oriental village, close to Pantai Kok), +60 4 959 4225, . Daily 9:30AM-7PM. Ride the cable car to the top of the jungle-clad Mt. Machincang and walk across the 700m high Sky Bridge for a spectacular view of the islands and Thailand. During peak times you may have to queue for up to 2 hours. At 125 m long, it is the world’s longest curved suspension bridge. Opened in 2003. The SkyBridge is at the top station of the cable car which can be reached using an elevator/cabin on a track (SkyGlide, RM15 for foreigners) or through a small forest trail (RM5 for foreigners), the trail is only around a 10-minute walk but involves a lot of stairs. The first cable car drop point (the mountain furthest east) can be walked to as well. You follow a path that takes you under the cable cars. Includes a very steep section which is spectacular both going up and coming down. Doesn't operate in bad weather. Also, it doesn't run during the regular maintenance days, check before you go. Officially you are not allowed to take food and drink on the cable car, but they seem not to be checking backpacks (when unlucky and all your water is taken by the security, you can buy one at the top). If they are not operating, or you are really into hiking, you can trek partway up the mountain through the jungle. To do this, from the parking lot at Telagah Tujuh Waterfalls go left just before the road goes really uphill and then turn left again at the water reservoir. The trek is very steep most of the way and in a pretty bad condition because the contractors laying down the piping for cables littered garbage all the way to the top. Only attempt this if you are fit and have good hiking boots. Temperatures at the top of the mountain are 4-5 ⁰C lower than at sea level. Cable car+Skybridge RM43 Adult, RM33 child (Malaysians) RM85 adult, RM65 child for foreigners.    

Beaches edit

  • 4 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.  
  • 5 Pantai Tengah. Located just south of and contiguously with Pantai Cenang. 1 km long. Means ‘Middle Beach’. Peaceful and tranquil alternative to the hustle and bustle of Pantai Cenang. All-inclusive resorts are popular with families.
  • 6 Pantai Kok. Isolated, relatively undisturbed stretch of beach in the western part of Langkawi Island, 12 km north of Pantai Cenang. Telaga Harbour, and the cable car ride to the peak of Mat Cincang Mountain and the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls are located here.
  • 7 Tanjung Rhu. Northernmost tip of the island. Centuries-old limestone caves, mangroves, waterways, limestone crags and sandy beaches make it a nature lover's paradise. This beach is made up of 2 long stretches that includes Tanjong Rhu Resort and Four Seasons, half of the Tanjung Rhu beach belongs to these resorts, and guards don't allow you to trespass the limits of their beach.  
  • 8 Datai Bay Beach. The most expensive resorts are located here.
  • 9 Burau Bay. Beach lined with rocky outcrops located on the West Coast of Langkawi. Nearby Burau island is also a roosting place for migratory birds.
  • 10 Pantai Pasir Hitam (Black Sand Beach). The sand is mixed in white and black shades, due to rich tin and iron ore deposits.
  • 11 Pantai Pasir Tengkorak (Skull Beach). Very beautiful small beach in the north of the island. The beach got its name from skulls which were washed ashore in the 1940s. Prisoners and wardens from the nearby Thai island Ko Tarutao became pirates, throwing the bodies of those they had killed into the sea.

Buy edit

ATMs and money exchange booths are available at the Langkawi Airport, at Langkawi Parade Shopping Complex, next to Underwater World at Pantai Cenang and at Cenang Mall.

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).

Shop around before buying: the airport is probably the most expensive place to buy anything. Shop in Kuah town for batik, tobacco products and chocolate confectioneries.

  • 1 Langkawi Parade Megamall (Langkawi Parade Shopping Complex), A-14-15 Pokok Asam, Kuah (In Kuah, 10 min ride from the Kuah Jetty), +60 4 9667528. Daily 10AM-10PM. One of the largest duty-free shopping complexes in Langkawi. A one-stop shopping location for wines & liquors, chocolates, local souvenirs, clothing & beachwear, luggage, home decor, electronics and other products. Grocery store on bottom level offering fresh and frozen foods.  
  • 2 The Zon Duty-Free Shopping Complex (Pantai Cenang, next to Underwater World), +60 4 9555300. Daily 9AM-7PM. Cheap place to buy cigars, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, clothing, electronics, chocolates, and biscuits.  
  • 3 Kompleks Budaya Kraf (Northeastern Coast). Enormous handicrafts centre built in neo-Islamic style.  
  • KV Tobacco, 136, Kompleks Kelana Mas (5 min walk away from Kuah, in an area called the Trimula), +60 19 5422558. Daily 1:30-8:30PM. Well-stocked tobacco and cigar shop. Easily recognisable by a big orange signboard, and door painting by the left. Has a variety of Cuban cigars, rare European smoking pipes and packed tobaccos. Knowledgeable and friendly shop owner.

Eat edit

There are food stalls and restaurants all over Langkawi. Try one of the many seafood restaurants. Langkawi people like their food hot and spicy, and even if they tone things down at your request, you may still find your food challenging to eat.

Seafood or fish may be priced by weight or by a set price for the dish - clarify before ordering.

Budget edit

For a taste of simple Malay-style breakfast, just walk up to a small stall opposite the Underwater World in the mornings and feast on the famous freshly-prepared banana leaf-wrapped nasi lemak (steamed rice in coconut milk). The price is most affordable at less than RM 2 for a pack. Go local and enjoy this with a glass of hot teh tarik or really good local coffee. This very unassuming stall is just simple and great (clean too!). The nasi lemak comes with curried beef, squid in chili, fried salted fish or chicken.

  • AddaMaya Café (Pantai Cenang (near Haji Ramli's; or opposite Nadia's Comfort Inn)). Small, cosy place for meals and coffee. The chef can whip up great meals - from local dishes to western fast food easily (and in that little cabin of his). It can get a bit dusty as it is located fronting the main road. Locals like to come here for good food at reasonable prices.
  • Rafi's Place (sandwiched between Restoran Aliah's and Tomato Nasi Kandar on Pantai Cenang). Rustic shack. No visible signboard either but ask around and you will find Rafi's. Rafi is a Penangite but has been on the island since 1988 so he considers himself very much local. Ask him for recommendations and he'll happily tell you. Ample parking space in front of his 'shack'. Good ambiance especially early mornings. nasi lemak (RM3), local tea and coffee (RM1).
  • Tomato Nasi Kandar (Opposite Langkawi Boutique Hotel). Typical budget Indian food establishment with patrons all day (and night!) long. Very crowded even in the wee hours of the morning. They serve an enormous variety of dishes, from the flavoured roti varieties to naan, briyani and kebabs. The standard is quite high - to an extent where the meal is extremely value-for-money. The only problem is that their waiters are exceedingly bad at taking orders. RM1-3 for roti, RM 4-10 for main dishes.
  • 1 Restoran Fatimah (near the Kampung Tok Senik Resort on the road to Ulu Melaka). Try this for really authentic Malay food. Their lunch spread is amazing - so amazing that they attract bus loads of Malaysian visitors. Just enjoy the food and leave your cultural baggage and complaints behind as you will be in a totally different ambience but friendly, nevertheless.  
  • Restoran Almaz, northern end of Pantai Cenang (Next door to the 'Laman Padi Rice Garden' and across the road from 'Casa Del Mar'). A really nice little restaurant with Roti and Indian food that is very tasty and cheap. RM0.80-12.

Mid-range edit

  • 2 Artisans Pizza Cafe (Pantai Cenang). Offers freshly cooked pizzas with both traditional and Malaysian toppings. The satay pizza and sambal pizza are particularly good. You can dine in or takeaway and they also deliver to guesthouses and the beach. Their house specialties: Hungarian Goulash and Madam's Fishbake are particularly recommended. Tomato soup is also great. RM15 for main courses. RM30-38 for 11-inch pizzas.  
  • Babylon Mat Lounge & BBQ (Right on Pantai Cenang). Mats are laid out on the sand for guests to sit on and there is a low table with a candle. They also have a live band or playlist that is passed off as a DJ. In contrast to the atmosphere, the staff are quite rude compared to other places.
  • Cenang Boat Quay, Pantai Cenang. Offers a variety of pizza, German sausages, pasta, local dishes, fusion food and a grilled fish hawker. The concept here is by individual hawker selling the different styles of food. Sunset view at the Quay.
  • Champor Champur, Pantai Cenang. Moderately wacky fusion food in a fusion setting courtesy of a Dutch-Malaysian couple with an affinity for Africa. Great ambiance - feels like eating in an outdoor garden.
  • Fat Mum Restaurant, Pantai Tengah, +60 2 4707863. Just up the road from Awana Resort. Great authentic local Chinese seafood restaurant, good food for a reasonable price.
  • Hole in the Wall Fishfarm & Restaurant, Kilim River, northeast part of the island (call for free shuttle), +60 4 9675301. Floating on the river, part of the amazing scenery of the Kilim Mangrove Forest. They serve the freshest Malay style seafood you will be able to eat on Langkawi island. The traditional dishes of freshly caught fish, prawns, crab, lobster. are famous. Shuttle service from Kilim jetty to the fishfarm restaurant and return is free of charge for lunch and dinner guests (However, if your bill is less than RM50, you have to pay an absurd amount for the shuttle. The logical workaround here is to order the cheapest available item to make the bill RM50) If you book a Mangrove Tour, you will most definitely end up having your lunch here. However, you may want to give their package buffet a pass and try their dishes.
  • Mimi (a few minutes walk from Underwater World, on the opposite side of the road). Greatest 'ikan bakar' or grilled fish with tantalizing self-made sauce. Also offers a variety of traditional Malay dishes like tomyam and 'ayam masak merah' (chicken cooked in non-spicy sauce). Snapper or grouper RM4/100 gram.
  • Orkid Ria Seafood Restaurant, Lot 1225 Jl Pantai Cenang, +60 4 9554128. Daily 11AM-3PM and 6-11PM. Some tables having water views. They have fresh seafood displayed out front. Choose from a wide range of cuisines, including dishes prepared in Malay, Thai, Chinese and Western styles.
  • Rasa Restaurant (Pantai Cenang). Good Malaysian food with reasonable prices. Seating available outdoor in courtyard overlooking main road or inside.
  • 3 Red Tomato Restaurant and Lounge, 5 Casa Fina Ave (Pantai Cenang, in front of Underwaterworld tel), +60 12 5136046, . Daily 9AM-10:30PM. Charm and great dishes. Look out for the owner's red VW Beetle parked in front of the place. Has great western breakfast and lunch menus, and pasta and tasteless pizza for dinner. Homemade bread, good choice of cheeses. Gluten-free pasta is available. Air-con and terrace seating, Free WiFi and a red piano. Owned by a German lady.  
  • Rose Tea 2 (Pantai Cenang). Closed on Friday. Thai food. Great service.
  • Sun Cafe (Pantai Tengah). A friendly and relaxing restaurant that offers a variety of Western food, Italian food, and Malaysian food. Hot and cold beverages, cappuccino to milkshake, fruit juice, mocktail. If you love fish, try their fillet of barracuda. They are also open for dinner too. Also famous for the very nice restrooms.
  • Taj Mahal, Landcon Square (opposite Zon Shopping Mall). Huge open-sided restaurant, also has an air-con room opposite for hot days. Specialises in Arabic and North Indian dishes all of which are very healthy, very tasty and very cheap. Very popular with locals and with Indian and Arabic holidaymakers. Great place to just sit around for a few hours occasionally ordering another batch of fresh flat breads and dips.
  • T. Jay's Italian Bistro & Pizzeria (Pantai Cenang, opposite Underwater World), +60 4 9553995. Daily 8AM-11PM. Though this place looks a little sleepy, they make some great wood-fired pizzas.
  • Telaga Arabic Cafe and Restaurant (Pantai Cenang). The same kitchen serves an indoor dining area and a large outdoor area across the street. Good food with reasonable prices. Stay and enjoy some of the best hookah/shisha (tobacco water pipe) smoking anywhere. While good, the food is not as great as some Middle Eastern restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.
  • 4 Wonderland Food Store, Lot 179, 180, 181 Pusat Perniagaan Kelana Mas (Kuah), +60 12 6230441. Daily 6–11:30PM. Locals claim that Wonderland serves up the best seafood on Langkawi Island; offering local favourites of traditionally cooked seafood entrees, the chilli crab is especially flavorsome. Service is friendly and prompt and the atmosphere is lovely.  

Splurge edit

  • 5 La Sal at Casa del Mar (Pantai Cenang, on the beach). Serves modern Asian and Western cuisine with a focus high quality fresh produce. The bar offers a wide variety of wine from the old and new worlds and themed cocktails during their sunset, poolside post-dinner period.  
  • The Lighthouse Restaurant (the edge of Pantai Tengah). Fantastic food on the beach wonderful views.
  • The Loaf, Lot No. C9 Perdana Quay (Telaga Harbour Park), +60 4950 2101. F-W 8AM-11PM. Japanese-style bakery & bistro owned by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia. Quality breads and full meals. Amazing view of the harbour and the yachts especially if you have your breakfast al-fresco outside. Attentive staff. Try Tun's Favourite Breakfast set (2 softboiled eggs, a bowl of mutton curry and thick toasted bread) with coffee and orange juice. Good place to have a leisurely breakfast. Bread from RM4.
  • Papadam Indian Cuisine (Pantai Cenang (near Underwater World)). Indian restaurant that also serves Arabic food.
  • Sunsutra Restaurant, Jl Teluk Baru (Pantai Tengah). Fine dining restaurant that serves great Western food too. If you're a big fan of lamb, you must try their lamb shank. Tender and full of flavours. Its portion is huge too! Good for someone who wants a hearty meal.
  • 6 Unkaizan Japanese Restaurant, Lot395 Jl Telok Baru Pantai (Near to Awana Porto Malai), +60 4 9554118. Th-Tu 6-11PM. Japanese restaurant, with excellent food and wonderful service.  

Drink edit

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 RM35 for 1 L Absolut Vodka, RM37 for 1 L of Johnny Walker Red Label, RM45 for 1 L Kahlua, RM60 for 1 L Bailey's, and RM70 for 1 L Chivas Regal 12 years. Small cans of beer: RM2.30 for Tiger Beer 330 ml and RM1.80 for some cheap Dutch beer. Small quantities? 500 ml of some random gin per RM15.

Some of those prices can be as cheap as a half of the price of the same product on the Duty Free Shop of the International Airport at Kuala Lumpur (KLIA).

Despite low alcohol prices, Langkawi is predominantly popular with couples and families. Single travelers 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.

  • 1 Bam-Boo-Ba, SunBlock, Jalan Teluk Baru, Pantai Tengah (End of Sunba Block beach). 5PM-Late. A covered open-air bar and lounge. Cool music, comfortable & relaxed place with beer on tap, shooters and great cocktails, a big projector screen for sports events and fiber-optic broadband. Happy Hours 5-9PM: draft Tiger/Heineken 5RM, House pouring spirits buy 1 free 1 10RM, cocktails buy 2 free 1 16RM-22RM.
  • OMG Restaurant at Paradise 101 (Take a ferry). One of best and liveliest sports bars in Langkawi. On its own island; you will need to take the ferry here. Offers beach volleyball, kayaking, sunset cruises, parasailing, jet skis, and other activities.
  • 2 Sunba Retro Bar, Jalan Teluk Baru (Pantai Tengah; 15 minutes walk from Pantai Cenang), +60 4 9531801. Daily 9AM - 4AM. Attracts a good crowd after midnight. House band and DJ.  
  • Yellow Cafe (Pantai Cenang beach). Beach bar. Beer RM7.

Sleep edit

Budget edit

Both luxury and eccentric hostels are common on Langkawi. If you are looking for budget accommodation, your best bet would be to walk along the beach and adjacent road at Pantai Cenang. It is hard to find budget accommodation in other beaches in Langkawi, except Pantai Cenang and Kuah town. Prices there normally range from RM50 to RM150 per room per night, on or next to the beach.

  • Rainbow Lodge (Kampung Haji Maidin, Pentai Cenang). 20 beds. Each bed has its own cubicle room with curtain and directional fan. An outstanding bargain but no aircon or hot water. RM18, for a single bed in a mixed dorm..
  • AB Motel (Pantai Cenang), +60 4 9551300, . 30 rooms RM120, sleeps 4.
  • Cenang Beach Motel (Northern end of Pantai Cenang), +60 4 955 1395. Good value. Clean rooms with fan or air-con directly on the beach. RM55-75.
  • 1 Chandek Kura Hotel. Nice rooms, but must drive to beach. RM89-120.  
  • 2 Gecko Guesthouse (northern end of Pantai Cenang. Take the small road across from Orkid Ria restaurant). Bar on site. Nice lobby — comfy couch, wi-fi access, Astro TV playing, aquarium and friendly cats. They also have a few monkeys around one tree. Computers with internet access in the nearby Swiss Inn. Dorm: RM15; Fan rooms: RM45-50 (shared bath RM35).  
  • GeoPark Hotel & Dormitory (Part of the Oriental Village), +60 4959 2300. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. 30 rooms. WiFi access in lobby. Outdoor pool. Dorm beds RM23, rooms RM245-480.
  • 3 Melati Tanjung Motel (Pantai Cenang). Managed by a local family. All rooms have air-conditioning. RM120-180.  
  • The Palms Guest House (Pantai Cenang). 8 rooms with queen beds (no twin rooms). Attached bathrooms with hot and cold shower. Mini-fridge. Free WiFi. Fan room RM55, Aircon room RM85. Peak season fan RM75, air-con RM95.
  • 4 Senari Bay Resort (near Pantai Cenang), +60 17 469 39 77, . 12 clean rooms with queen beds and twin rooms), run by a lovely local couple. Attached bathrooms with hot and cold shower. Mini-fridge, TV, Private Beach, Free WiFi, Motor Scooter Rental, Fishing/boating trips with the owner. If you are looking for somewhere quiet and comfortable to get away from it all, without breaking the bank, then Senari Bay Resort is a good option. 15 min walk from Pantai Cenang. air-con room RM150.  
  • 5 Bumi Langkawi Homestay, No.70,Taman Cenderawasih, +60 12 4752880, +60 19 7208708, fax: +60 4 9559677, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. 15-min drive from jetty at Kuah. The homestay has 4 rooms, 2 bathrooms and kitchen complete with electric appliances such as TV with Astro, refrigerator, washing machine, and water heater. Air-con and fan and provides blankets and towels. This homestay is spacious and suitable for a large group vacation trip (max 15 person including children; additional charges will apply for extra blankets, towels and pillows). RM350-450/day (vary during peak season).  
  • Bougainvillea Holiday Homes, Pantai Cenang (Pantai Cenang), . 3 self-catering holiday homes for weekly or long term rental. Situated in a quiet location, near Underwater World. 2 fully furnished, 1-bedroom houses (houses 1 and 2 double bed + single bed or roll out sofa ) and one chalet/studio, (house 3 - double bed). Air-con, self-catering kitchen, fully furnished, clean and comfortable amenities & quality linen, cleaning products provided, good security, mosquito nets, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Houses 1 and 2 have secluded and covered gardens. House 3 has covered seating area at front with table and chairs. Outside parking. Weekly rates (7 nights) from approx. RM1,200 and longer term prices are negotiable.
  • Rumours Guesthouse and Cafe, Jalan Pantai Cenang, 07000 Langkawi Kedah Darul Aman (Opposite side of the road to Duty Free Mall Zon, and about 100m north. It is down a little road about 50-100m), +60 4 9552632 , +60 175600803 (Awie), . Really nice little guesthouse. Chilled atmosphere and very reasonable prices. The rooms are basic and clean, only cold water but in this place that is fine. Free WiFi and the loung area is comfortable enough. They have dorms from RM15, rooms with shared bathrooms for RM40, rooms with attached bathrooms for RM60 and rooms with air-con and hot showers from RM80.
  • 6 Eylizar Homestay Langkawi, No.490 Taman Nilam (Jalan Ayer Hangat), +60 195640251 (Whatsapp), . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. More than 15 units, 10 units Serviced apartments with swimming pool in Kuah town, guest house and chalet with swimming pool as well. Car rentals and local tours can be arranged. Most of the home stay have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathroom, full kitchen with electric appliances such as TV with Astro, refrigerator, washing machine, Air con, ceiling fan, blankets, towel. The home stay and serviced Apartment is suitable for large family group vacation trip (max 15 persons including children) no charge for extra pillow and blankets. RM150-250.

Mid-range edit

  • Awana Porto Malai (Southern tip of Langkawi). 208 spacious rooms and suites offer panoramic views of the lagoon and nearby islands and equipped with modern amenities and facilities. Fun swimming pool with fountains and slide for kids. RM245-4,800 w/breakfast; up to 15% off for booking online.
  • 7 Bayview Langkawi (Downtown Kuah), +60 4 9661818, . High-rise hotel with 282 rooms. RM240-530 w/breakfast.  
  • 8 Best Star Resort, Lot PT 892, Jalan Pantai Cenang (Pantai Cenang, next to AB Motel), +60 4 9551808, . Beach front resort. Clean, comfortable and friendly. Coffee Garden. Air-conditioned rooms. Somehow, the hotel room TV sets are not equipped with remote control. And, make sure you get a room with a beach view, otherwise it might not be worth staying. RM180-270.  
  • Charlie Motel (Pantai Tengah), +60 4 9551200. Dialysis treatment also available RM85-145.
  • 9 Citin Hotel Langkawi by Compass Hospitality, No. 3, Jl Pekan (in Kuah town), +60 3 966 9000, fax: +60 3 966 9001, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Renovated, 46 cozy rooms, clean, air-con, 22" LCD flat screen TV, ensuite bathroom. There is a cafe which provides a decent breakfast and the lobby is with WiFi. The friendly staff are well informed about the island. From RM90.
  • CoCoTop Hotel (Kelibang Kuah Langkawi, 5-10 min to town and jetty.), +60 4 9672559. Quiet, Clean, air-con, friendly Environment with a hint of bakery fragrant every morning from a local owned bakery, 30 room hotel with, attached bathroom (hot and cold shower) and two single beds and TV. Ranging from RM70-100 or approximately US$25-$40.
  • 10 Eaglebay Hotel Langkawi, No. 33 Persiaran Putera, Kuah, +60 4 9668585, +60 19 4499880, . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 132 rooms with air-con. The hotel's Central Park Restaurant has Malay, Chinese and Western cuisine. from RM150-240.  
  • Helang Hotel, Jalan Lima (located on airport grounds), +60 4 9553030, . 232 spacious rooms. Airport accommodation. From RM155.
  • Holiday Villa Resort. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. 2 swimming pools, 3 tennis courts. 258 sea-facing guest-rooms and luxurious suites TV, in-house movies, air-con, fridge, mini bar, in-room coffee/tea-making facilities and in-room safe deposit box. RM300-1,400.
  • Hotel Langkasuka Langkawi (Langkasuka Hotel), Batu 3/4, A-14-15 Pokok Asam (in Kuah, 20 min from Langkawi International Airport and 10 min from Kuah Jetty), +60 4 9666828, fax: +60 4 9661371, . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 168 spacious rooms and suites. All rooms with air-con, heated showers and mini refrigerator. From RM125 w/breakfast; year round discounts if booked online.
  • Kampung Tok Senik Resort, Lot 1577, Kawasan Mata Air, Mukim Ulu Melaka (Along the road to Ulu Melaka). Full facility resort. No beaches here but a truly green surrounding. RM150-350 + tax.
  • Kondo Istana Langkawi, Lot 575, Jalan Penarak, Kampung Padang Lalang, Mukin Kuah, +60 4 9661118. 15 budget rooms, all of which have air-con, cableTV, and refrigerator. Fitness room/gym, internet, and room service. From RM125.
  • Langkawi Seaview Hotel, Langkawi Seaview Hotel (Kuah), +60 4 9660600, . 143 rooms. WiFi.
  • Mutiara Burau Bay. Sprawling resort the tropical rainforest. 4 restaurants and 150 cabanas. There's a long stretch of beach and plenty of space for you to stake your own private spot if you don't mind swimming in the sewage outfall. The Seashell Beach and Cafe is a nice little place you can while away the evening with a couple of drinks and a pretty good live band. Go early to get a table as it can fill up pretty quickly after dinner. RM270-1,700.
  • 11 Sandy Beach Resort, Jalan Pantai Cenang, +60 4 9551308. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Rather sprawling... straddling both sides of Pantai Cenang road. The beach-facing rooms are most popular. The beachside BBQ is great.  
  • Shirin Villa (Pantai Cenang). 3 bedrooms (2 air-cond + 1 fan). For 6 people, suitable for couple, friends &amp family gathering. Fully furnished, AstroTV, Kitchen, fridge. From RM150 w/breakfast.
  • 12 Tropical Resort (Pantai Tengah, opposite Sun Café), +60 4 9554075. Quiet and clean chalets. Owned by Musa and his German wife, Laila. Rooms come with fan or air-con, attached bathroom (hot and cold shower) and two single beds and TV. Short walk from the beach, convenience shops, Malay style eateries, car rentals, stylish cafés, spa. Long term stays at discounted rates are available. No alcohol is permitted. RM80.  
  • Azio Hotel, 1-19 Jalan Pandak Maya 7 (Located in Kuah, 20 min from Langkawi International Airport and 10 min from Kuah Jetty), . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Rooms with LCD TV, air-con, WiFi, heated showers, hair drier but no refrigerator. Clean. From RM95-125 w/o breakfast.

Splurge edit

  • The Andaman, +60 4 9591088, . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Built in the middle of virgin tropical rainforest, between the Mat Cincang mountain range and the Andaman Sea. Centuries-old trees, many with huge buttress roots and jungle creepers envelope the resort. 186 rooms and suites. From RM690.
  • 13 Berjaya Langkawi Resort, Karong Berkunci 200, Burau Bay (5 min walk to the Cable Car station at the Oriental Village), +60 4 959 1888, toll-free: +1 800 88 3236 (Malaysia only), . Biggest hotel on the island, with 424 rooms and suites. There are 9 F&B outlets including the Sunken Pool Bar and Boat House Bar. Nature walks with a qualified guide are provided free of charge to guests. Beach football, kiddie pool, watersports. This resort has abundant wildlife, some unique to the island.
  • Bon Ton. One of the island's most stylish and intimate resorts. 8 individually styled antique Malay villas. Nam Restaurant at Bon Ton is regarded as one of the best on the island. RM490-1,190.
  • Casa del Mar (Pantai Cenang). Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Boutique resort with 34 sea-facing rooms. Day spa, gymnasium, non-motorised watersports facilities. Restaurant & cocktail bar on the beach. Suitable for couples and adults. RM980.
  • 14 Century Langkawi Beach Resort (formerly Sheraton), Teluk Nibong (2 miles south of telaga harbour), +60 4 9528000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. In 38 acres of spacious, lush tropical surroundings with private beach coves. From RM500.
  • 15 Century Suria Suites, Jalan Taman Pelangi, +60124087327. 3-star serviced apartment hotel just outside of Kuah.
  • The Danna Langkawi, Telaga Harbour Park, Pantai Kok, +60 4 959 3288, fax: +60 4 959 3188, . Check-out: noon. 5-star resort of 125 rooms and suites, opened in December 2010. Constructed in British Colonial style. 5 levels with big, richly decorated rooms. Gymnasium, business centre, child care centre, billiards room and spa. Outside, a three tiered infinity pool overlooks a private beach, bordered by lounges. From RM1,250.
  • Four Seasons Resort, Jl Tanjung Rhu, +60 4 950 8888. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Middle Eastern influenced resort set on the beautiful Tanjung Rhu beach. Probably the best place to spot a billionaire on the island. From RM1,850, 4th night is free.
  • Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa (Pantai Tengah). 4-star 258-room picturesque resort covering 13 acres of land. Large swimming pool with open air jacuzzi, an indoor pool for ladies and the Amoras spa. From RM420, promotional rate: RM525 and up for 2 nights.
  • Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa. 350 rooms are spread over 51 clusters of elegant wooden chalets offering pool, sea or lake views. The Meritus offers seven F&B outlets including two pool bars and the excellent Niyom Thai Restaurant. From RM2070 plus 10% service charge.
  • 16 Rebak Island Resort - Vivanta by Taj Langkawi, Pulau Rebak Besar (On privately-owned 390 acres (160 hectares) Rebak Besar Island, a 15-min ferry ride from Port Langkasuka jetty), +60 4966 5566, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. 94 rooms. Managed by India's Taj Group of Hotels. It consists of clusters of timber chalets. The hotel has the only fully equipped marina in Malaysia. From RM525.
  • Sang Ria, Jl Tasik Anak (Pantai Tengah). A tastefully designed beach villa in a contemporary Asian style. Their breakfast is delicious but must be booked in advance. Near great restaurants, bars and cafes.
  • Tanjung Rhu Resort. A resort on what most people consider to be the best beach on the island. It has been built to minimize any environmental damage and to blend in well with its surroundings. 60 m pool, abundant gardens, restaurants, very well maintained. Standard rooms from RM1,400/night.
  • 17 The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa, Jalan Pantai Dato Syed Omar, Kedah, +60 4-960 8888. 202 rooms and 400 villas From RM700.

Connect edit

Telephone edit

Mobile phone coverage is very good in all built up areas of Langkawi. Many affordable pre-paid phone and data plans are available. Recharge cards are readily available except for the very cheap TuneTalk which is harder to find and SIM cards almost non existent. It is best to buy this back in LLCT where no commission is charged on the SIM. Full reception and reasonable data speeds can be achieved on the beach and inside the resorts on Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah.

Post edit

The main post office in located in Kuah Town. Mini post offices can be found in Padang Mat Sirat. There is no post office in Pantai Cenang, but you can buy stamps and send postcards in T Shoppe on the main road. Courier service, Poslaju shop can be found at Taman Berlian, Kuah.

Internet edit

Broadband is available and some Internet cafés can be found along Pantai Tengah, Pantai Cenang and Kuah. In addition, many of the upscale hotels, resorts, and restaurants provide free WiFi.

Stay healthy edit

The biggest health risk on Langkawi is from jellyfish stings, especially during January - June season. Uninformed visitors are stung every day and the lifeguards on Pantai Cenang and the hospital treat more or less severe cases of jellyfish stings most days. There are several species of jellyfish in Langkawi's waters, while most will give you a nasty sting or a burn, there are some that will cause partial paralysis or even kill, in case of the lethal box jellyfish. If you have been stung badly, don't exert yourself physically as this will pump the toxins around the bloodstream and aggravate the symptoms. Vinegar is the only scientifically proven treatment for tropical jellyfish stings, apply it for 30 seconds to block toxin which has not yet been absorbed into the blood. To stay safe, swim only in stinger suit.

Langkawi can have a lot of mosquitoes depending on the time of year and location (i.e. Mangrove areas), so don't forget to use mosquito repellent. "Off" spray and various citronella or DEET based products are available in most supermarkets.

Average temperatures are hot or hotter; it's the tropics. Be sure to stay hydrated. You will need to drink about 3 litres a day and don't wait till you are thirsty to drink. Room temperature water preferably. De-hydration accounts for a large percentage of dodgy tummy holiday illnesses.

See also Tropical diseases.

Stay safe edit

Speedboats can often bounce off the waves at very high speeds and passengers can get quite strong jolts into the non-sprung seats, so persons with back or neck problems should not travel on the speedboats, but on the ferry. There have been reports of serious back injuries happening on the speedboats. They are also known as 'vomit comets' due to the number of people succumbing to sea sickness. Bring lots of water and be prepared for a bumpy ride! Also be very careful while swimming. At times, tides and currents can be very aggressive and not easy to spot.

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. Drive slow and watch out for erratically piloted motorbikes, pedestrians and livestock. Inside Kuah Town, watch out for errors in the road arrows - they may lead you into wrong lanes or into barricades. at night, watch out for water buffalo sleeping in the road.

Crime is generally not a problem on Langkawi, especially compared to the larger cities in Malaysia. In theory, you don't even have to lock your car, because it cannot get off the island without customs knowing about it!

Beware of smart wild monkeys. Those at Tengkorak beach attack humans who have food. If attacked, pick up stones (or just pretend to do so) and throw them at the monkeys, this will scare them away. Also, do not carry plastic bags as the monkeys associate these with food. Don't let them get too close to you or they will steal your glasses.

Please read up on rip tides before you go; learn to recognise and to avoid them.

Respect edit

Langkawi is a Geopark but still needs to improve its environmental friendliness. Don't participate in certain activities such as eagle feeding and monkey feeding as this harms the animals by encouraging them to become reliant on tourists and you may give them the wrong food.

Go next edit

  • Ko Lipe — Great diving and snorkeling at the only inhabited island in Tarutao National Marine Park, a short speedboat ride (1½ hr) away on the Thai side of the border.
  • Ko Tarutao — Another island in Tarutao National Marine Park, however does not suffer from the rapid development issues faced by Ko Lipe.
  • Penang

This city travel guide to Langkawi is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.