Langkawi is one of our favourite islands in Malaysia. We have visited the island a few times to explore the countless hidden treasures. We almost always find something new every-time.
It really is mystical and mythical with stories and folk-lores from a young-maiden (Mahsuri) that bled white-blood from a stab-wound, or a dragon that was a twin with a human baby. Who knows if it’s true or not?
This Island is a district and an archipelago of 99 islands (+5 small islands visible only at low tide) in the Andaman Sea. It’s about at 30km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the Malaysian state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border.
From the mainland of Malaysia, to get there you’ll need to either take a flight to Langkawi Airport (LGK) operated by AirAsia & Fireflyz or catch a passenger ferry from Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah or Penang Island.
You could also drive your car/van/motorcycle/lorry/bus over to the island on a Ro-Ro ferry via Kuala Perlis, but it takes ages like 3 hours per way. Please be informed that there are Malaysian-Customs checkpoints both ways to check on your paperwork.
If you have a yacht or sailboat, Telaga Harbour Park would be your go to as it’s in the marina where the boats are parked. Lots of sailboats local and foreign are parked here.
Beaches, beaches, beaches!
Obviously, it is an island so that’s what you’ll find. Beaches everywhere.
The main beach of the island was Chenang Beach where the hotels, motels, backpackers, shops and Sea-World Langkawi is located. This town also has a pasar-malam or a night-market if you’d like to try out the local street-food.
We love hanging out on the beach after sunset. There are bars and live performances after dark on the sands. Bring yourself a beach-mat, snacks and drinks, or sit at one of these colourful beach bars. They even have hookah or shisha in many flavours!
After dark, visit the Chenang Walk area for souvenir shops and touristy goodies. Be sure to ask for a discount and always a good idea to compare prices before paying.
Other beaches on the island are open to the public, but some are not very nice to swim such as Pantai Pasir Hitam (in direct translation Black Sands Beach). As the name suggests, the sands are not as white as Chenang Beach.
There are plenty of water-sports activites, swimming, snorkeling, sailing and lots of seaview dining. The waters are mostly turquoise blue, clear and clean as it’s located in the Andaman seas far away from big cities or industries.
A word of advice, when out swimming, make sure it’s within the shallow water region and let someone know’s where you are. Avoid swimming into open waters as the underwater currents in the region could be stronger than you think. Plus, watch out for wildlife, from sea urchins to sea snakes. That’s for your own safety.
Some beaches offers swimming with baby-sharks (real ones -not the song Baby Shark) in Pulau Payar Eco Park and snorkeling to see colourful fishes living on coral reefs.
If you fancy staying close to the water, there’s a hotel called Berjaya Hotel Langkawi. They offer chalets on the water and you could go fishing off your balcony (I think so?!).
Getting Around the Island
On the island, there are plenty of cars, motorcycles and van hires if you prefer to drive. Fuel is relatively cheap if you’re converting from USD, GBP or Euros.
I’d recommend getting a car with air-conditioning as it can be a little humid on some days and it’ll help to have nice cool car to drive around. Vehicle hire rates vary from one to another depending on type of car, condition and so forth.
Please be aware that there are a lot of unlicensed vehicle hires on the island. Just make sure if you’re hiring a vehicle, get it signed up at an office or an official counter at the airport or booths. Better safe than sorry.
Renting a scooter or motorcycle is possible, but I won’t recommend it to travellers for safety reasons. If you’re up for the challenges of enduring heavy rain, crazy drivers on the road, possible monkey attacks, etc, then by all means, do it! 🙂
Need a suggestion?
We found this company online if you’re interested to have a look and match your budget : https://www.langkawikeretasewa.com.my/ … Please note that we are NOT related to this car-hire company and engaging their services are at your own risk. We are not responsible for any losses in monies or physical damage whatsoever.
Almost got cheated!
Back in 2019, we went to Langkawi as I had to visit a client and also to have a little vacation. I hired a sedan car with an unlicensed vehicle hire, obviously to cut costs as it was for a full week.
After I’ve returned the car keys on the last-day, just couple hours before our ferry departs for the mainland, the man held onto my MYR200 deposit (paid when I started the hire) and said, “Hang on, I don’t have enough change in hand, I’m waiting for another customer to pay me, then I’ll pass you the deposit. Don’t worry man..”
I hate to admit that I felt played at this point, so I didn’t give up, I followed him wherever he went. Until he noticed me being persistent and finally returned my deposit. Lucky? Maybe.
It wasn’t a lot of money MYR200, was equivalent to about USD$50, but money is money. I think the best way to deal with this, make sure he/she has your deposit in hand before handing in the keys. Probably save the hassle of tracking the man down like I did.
Why is Langkawi so attractive to Malaysians and Foreign Tourists?
Every year when it comes to mid-term holidays in June and December, Langkawi was always flooded with tourists local and from abroad.
There are a few factors for the tourists from abroad such as the weather, beaches, food and the experience of a tropical island holiday.
But for the locals or Malaysians, Langkawi is a paradise for shoppers as it’s gazetted as Duty-Free that is similar to shopping at the airport for regular travellers buying cheap alcohol, tobacco and perfumes.
The locals visit the island to go shopping for their own consumption and some friends I knew from before even make dedicated trips to shop to resell the products. I’ve heard that cookware and kitchenware was one of the hot items a long time ago before IKEA became the next best thing for kitchenwares.
Tobacco based products were very expensive the last time we were back in Malaysia as the Government imposes high duties on the products to curb the consumption due to health concerns bu the Ministry of Health Malaysia. But, obviously no matter how expensive it may be, smokers still fork out good money for the products. So, Langkawi is somewhat heaven to smokers, you get the idea.
Pasar Malam or Night Markets
Night Markets are the closest you’ll get to the authentic Malaysian culture. There are a few to mention, but I’ll focus on the 2 closest to the Chenang Beach :
Chenang Beach Food Truck
The daily night-market (food-truck) is located opposite Underwater World Langkawi. It starts at 7pm till late daily, but some said that they were closed on Mondays.
Please note that this particular one has limited space, so you might not find too many food trucks on certain days as the hawkers also sells in other locations on Langkawi Island.
This is a link to Google Maps : https://goo.gl/maps/D7Kp2zfB85P45Aye8
Kampung Temoyong (Chenang Beach)
This pasar-malam is located about 10 minutes walk from the beachfront to the venue. It has more to offer than the daily Food-Truck mentioned earlier.
Please note that this particular pasar-malam opens ONLY on Thursdays from 5.30pm to 10.00pm.
This is a link to Google Maps : https://goo.gl/maps/RK4VaK7NYmJBwygQ6
Other Pasar Malam Locations on Langkawi Island
If you’re feeling adventurous or you drive to try these other locations, here’s a list :
Day : Area / Location
Monday : Ulu Melaka / Jalan Makam Mahsuri Lama
Tuesday : Kedawang / Look at this location
Wednesday : Kuah / Baron Hotel — this is the biggest in Langkawi, we’ve been to this before
Thursday : Temoyong / Temoyong Village — mentioned above
Friday : Ayer Hangat / Padang Lalang
Saturday : Kuah / Baron Hotel — this is the biggest in Langkawi, we’ve been to this before
Sunday : Padang Mat Sirat / near Beras Terbakar (Burnt Rice)
All of the above are reported to be open at 5.30pm to 10.00pm.
Click on the location name to go to Google Maps.
Disclaimer : The information mentioned above are accurate at the time of posting. Please check with with locals if they’ve changed operation days or times.
Attractions in Langkawi
Depending on how long you’re staying in Langkawi, there are lots to see and experience on this tropical island.
Here are some of the highlights :
Langkawi SkyCab Cable Car (also Sky Bridge) – We’ve been there, many times
Langkawi Wildlife Park – We’ve been there
Go-Kart Racing at MORAC – Bring out your racing spirit!
Mangrove Tour (Kayaking) – If you have mosquito repellent on, go feed some hungry Eagles
Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls – We’ve been there, great place for a cool dip! For your safety, avoid rainy seasons, please.
Crocodile Adventure Land – If you fancy watching hungry crocodiles getting their lunches
Underwater World Langkawi – Watch fishes and penguins
Go fishing on a chartered trip – There are operators on the island and they vary by season.
The Weather on Langkawi Island
You might have done your research on Malaysian weather, it is very tropical all year round. Same goes to Langkawi Island, it’s located in the tropical zone with temperatures ranging from 25°C-33°C.
When it rains, it RAINS. We are talking about drenching rain. Get a foldable plastic poncho or umbrella ready at all times. It is an island, so the weather could change really quickly.
Avoid visiting the waterfalls in rainy seasons, or when you see dark clouds filling up the skies –just leave quick. A lot of people get injured or worse when rain falls upstream and water gushes down like a tsunami.
If you like the sunshine and hot weather, you’re in luck. Because generally, Malaysians don’t really like too much sunshine. As you can see in the picture below, Consu and myself were the only beach-goers at mid-day on Chenang Beach. If this was in England or Spain, it would have been impossible to get a spot or pitch a ‘sombrilla’ anywhere.
The Bottom Line
Langkawi Island is a great place to visit if you love tropical islands. Bear in mind that this island is touristy, so don’t expect a virgin beach anywhere nearby. Visiting one of the smaller islands on an island hopping tour might be a good idea.
Prices of food and lodging on the island depends on the season. In high-season, things can get a little pricey. But bear in mind, that’s coming from a Malaysian (Harris). If you’re converting your money from USD, GBP, EUR, JPY or any other currencies to Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), it should not be too bad.
We have an article about destination affordability, click HERE to read the post.
I would suggest about 2 weeks stay on the island with a car hire for a complete experience of Langkawi Island.
Last but not least, we recorded a short video of our Langkawi Trip for your viewing. Click HERE or on the image below to watch the video :