Langkawi is one of the most beautiful island in Malaysia and has been described as ‘jewel’ on the sea. I have a soft spot for islands hence we make a quick visit from Penang to Langkawi. Though it was just a short getaway it was enough to feel recharged.
Langkawi is small but a good size and easy island to explore. It is divided into 3 areas all reachable by car:
1. Cenang – which is tourist favourite as it is just by the beach. It has been said that it resembles Kuta, Bali in smaller scale.
2. Kuah – More downtown and very much city-like, Kuah is the most economical place to stay and live in Langkawi. It has been said that it resembles Denpasar, Bali.
3. Tanjung Aru – Tanjung Aru has some of the most luxurious resorts in Langkawi for the ultimate island getaway experience.
What Activities You Can Do in Langkawi
1. Visit Cenang Beach
2. Shop at Cenang Beach Mall and surround
It is much like Legian in smaller scale with strip of street vendor lining the road. You can also do duty free shopping here.
Address: Lot 2605, Cenang, Mukim, Jalan Pantai Chenang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
3. Go for Mangrove Tour
Easiest way to explore Langkawi wilderness and the Geoforest Park is by joining the day tour. We pay around about RM 120 including lunch and hotel picked up and dropped off per person. It includes the following:
2 Different Fish Farms
Open Sea (Andaman Sea)
Ride around Mangrove and view Kilim Geoforest Park from distance
Swimming At one of inhabited Beach in the open sea
For the more adventures and fitter individuals you can complete the tour by kayaking through the cave, river and sea. It was a tempting option but they warned me it will be hot and exhausting unless you are super fit, don’t try – like iron man fit which I’m not even close.
4. Go for Island Hopping
We did not do this as we went for the mangrove tour instead. Island hopping is more expensive and it takes you to further islands, snorkels and you have more option to do water activities.
5. Visit Kilim Geoforest Park
6. Ride the cable car at Oriental Village Langkawi
A must do activity in Langkawi is to go on the cable car. The view is breathtaking from the stop before the peak especially on a clear day. There’s a skybbridge here that is Unfortunately under construction (it has been for years).
Address: Telaga Harbour Park, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
7. Visit Kuah
Kuah is another town in Langkawi, you can visit some of langkawi landmarks, visit the jetty and try the restaurants.
8. Go for Duty Free Shopping
Langkawi is well known for the duty-free shopping. There are two city/islands in Malaysia that is tax free; Langkawi and Labuan. The Tax free item is exclusive to duty free items like liquor, other alcoholic beverage, cosmetics, sweet, chocolates and cigarettes.
9. Visit the Eagle Square
Located at Kuah, the Eagle Square is the icon/landmark of Langkawi with is a large eagle statue. Langkawi name itself is derived from the word Elang which means Eagle in Malay and kawi which translate to strong. So Langkawi actually meant the Strong Eagle.
Location: At Kuah Jetty
10. Explore Jetty Point
Just near Eagle square (you can see it from a distance) is Jetty point where you can shop duty free and other things. This place is worth checking out.
11. Shop at HIG (Haji Ismail Group) Department Store
For more bargain destination visit HIG department store just next to HIG hotel. They have duty free shop that opens till 10.
Address: Jalan Pandak Mayah, Pusat Bandar Kuah, 07000 Kuah, Kedah, Malaysia
12. Spend some family fun time in the Underwater World and shop for Duty Free
Next to the Aquarium in Cenang Road lies a Duty free shop that we didn’t get to visit but look large from the outside.
Address: Kampung Buku Malaysia, Lubuk Semilang, Kedah, 07000 Langkawi, Malaysia
13. Visit the Pasar Malam (Night Market)
Langkawi has night market selling fresh fruit, vege and food at different places on different day. The biggest one is the Sunday Market in Cenang area.
14. Visit Makam Mahsuri
Mahsuri is the symbol of woman purity in Langkawi. Makam (Malay word for tomb) Mahsuri is her resting place. A lot of local visitor came here to pay respect and learn the history of Mahsuri.
Address: Jalan Makam Mahsuri, Langkawi, 07000 Langkawi, Malaysia
15. Enjoy Nature at 7 Steps Waterfall
Address: Gunung Mat Chincang, Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi is well known for its fresh and low priced seafood, which make sense as an island.
Below are some restaurants to try in Langkawi:
1. Laksa Power
Asam Laksa served from a van – now people call it ‘food truck’. It is located alongside cenang beach where you can enjoy your laksa on the beach side. Other than this there are other food trucks alongside the beach selling different things. This is our first stop in Langkawi as it is on the way from airport are we were hungry.
Address: Airport Circular Road, Jalan Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Malaysia
For my coffee fix we went to the Loaf at Cenang Mall. The place wasn’t anything outstanding, the coffee wasn’t bad and they have delicious coconut croissant.
Address: Lot GF4C & GF4D Cenang Mall Lot 2605 Cenang Mukim, Jalan Pantai Chenang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
3. Qiang Xi Fu
Base on recommendation on someone we met here, we visited this seafood restaurant for dinner in Cenang. The food is amazing – the seafood is so fresh, cooked to perfection and really cheap price for the good quality fresh ingredients.
Address: Kampung Lubok Buaya, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Great food but while we were there, only 1 chef is cooking. We were warned that the food will take sometimes but in the end it takes about 1.5-2 hours! All I can remember was it feels like forever because we came starving. All in all worth it for the good food and it was very cheap. Tips: Don’t come here starving.
Address: No. 30, Pusat Dagangan Kelana Mas, Kedah, 07000 Kuah, Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia
5. Mangga Seafood Restaurant
This Malaysian style seafood restaurant is also recommended by a local we met. He advised us to avoid the other restaurant that is so popular with tourist that the price went sky high. Here, you get the same quality of food with fraction of the price.
6. Orchird Ria Restaurant
Local favourite place to eat in Langkawi
Address: Lot 1225, Pantai Cenang, Mukim Kedawang, 07100 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
7. Japanese Restaurant Unkaizan
This restaurant has been voted as best restaurant in Malaysia several times.
Address: Jalan Pantai Tengah, Pantai Tengah, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
As mentioned above, one of the main attractions of Langkawi Island is the duty-free shopping. The below are some of the best places to get your duty free products and chocolate fix (Address above):
- Jetty Point, Kuah
- HIG Department Store
- Cenang Beach Mall
- Duty Free shop next to the Aquarium
For non-budget traveller this is a rather affordable place to stay at fancy resorts with exceptional quality. Backpackers fear not as we spotted a lot of lodges but they are bare-basic. But no matter what kind of traveller you are, there’s surely something for you in Langkawi.
1. World Resort Langkawi
This $90* a night Resort is unlike what you expect from a resort and has mixed reviews that made me a tad nervous. But overall I’m glad we chose this – I couldn’t ask for a more pleasant stay.
Looking at other accommodation around Langkawi, this sure looks heaps better – the room does can do with some upgrades but overall they are acceptable. There is no wifi other than in hotel lobby. But it’s all worth it when you look at the view outside the window and go down to the balcony. It’s not every day you get to see the beautiful sunrise from you room window and have breakfast with this view. The view from the hotel is magnificent and in itself has made our stay well worth it.
2. HIG Hotel
A reasonably new hotel just beside HIG department store.
3. Bon Ton Resorts
Bon Ton Resorts is offers individual boutique villas from $300* a night.
4. Temple Tree Resorts
Rate: $190* a night
Owned by the same owner who owned China House in Penang and Bon Ton, you’d expect the same exceptional service and design flair that will impress from this boutique resort.
*Accommodation prices are subject to change.
When to go
Dry Seasonis between January-March which is also high season (Coincide with school holiday and when tourist are at its peak). Mid Season is April to August with the wettest and coolest months during September to October.
Langkawi doesn’t have the high price on food like you’d expect from most islands. Though there are fine restaurants that have hefty bill you will have no problem finding amazing food with any budget. Below is our cost in Langkawi which is subject to change due to low/peak season.
My flight with from Penang to langkawi one way cost: $12
From Langkawi we flew to KL that cost: $42
Accomodation: $60 for a decent Hotel
Car Rental: start from $15 a day (RM 45)
Activities: Day tour starts from $35 (RM 120) local price.
Some Tips we Picked Up:
1. Rent Car
We look for independent car rental on the net and found a cheap one for only RM45 ($15) a day! For the cheapest car they have.
Little that we know that there are rows of car rental service in the airport, but we were quite happy with our previous arrangement.
We get a manual proton viva car (very small) and it has already has mileage of 500k and due for a serviced for long time, Oh My God. It was quite nerve-wrecking and I just hoped that it wouldn’t die on me. The Unkaizan restaurant has a very steep slope and the car has no power to go up, so we parked at the base. Luckily, in general Langkawi is a flat island and the car survived our journey. The guy renting is also very easy to deal with and it is very convenient that we get the car at the airport and drop it off at the airport.
You can get better and newer car of course, we are just being cheap.
I’d highly recommended renting car. I can’t imagine if we didn’t rent a car – taxi must have cost a fortune, there is no convenient public transport and the interesting places are scattered everywhere – don’t worry about driving, Langkawi road is easy especially Cenang beach area where it is just one road up and down.
2. Double Check Brochures
When we were there we were told that map and brochure you get from the airport is a paid advertisement. Plus it is hardly updated. Always double check where anything has been moved or closed down. We’d love to try the ‘Eat what you catch’ restaurant which is really far from our hotel; luckily we found out that it no longer operates before we went all the way.
3. Early closing Time
Most places would be close at around 8-9 PM in Langkawi. Expected from a laid back island.
Suggested 3D2N Itinerary
Arrive in the evening, we went to have:
- Laksa Power and chill out at Cenang
- Visiting Cenang Mall, duty free shopping and survey some travel agency for activities
- Enjoy our resort
- Went to travel agent at Cenang Road and book our activity for next day
- Had dinner at one of many Cenang restaurant – Chaing Xi Fu.
- Visit the Sunday Night Market
- Mangrove or Island hopping or Gaya Island Tour
- Visit Langkawi Cable Car and Asian Village
- Visit Kuah
- Eagle square
- Jetty Point duty free shopping
- Had dinner at Kuah – Teo
- Breakfast at Hotel
- Head Back
Have you got anything to add on Langkawi? I’d love to hear them! Till the next post.