Things to do at Langkawi, Malaysia
by Josien - 15 May, 2020
Langkawi Island is Malaysia’s most northerly island and is closer to Thai Koh Lipe than Penang in Malaysia. It is the largest island of the archipelago of the same name and has enough to offer to keep you entertained for at least a week. You could spend days on beautiful beaches alone. Langkawi also has cozy villages and beautiful nature with a wild jungle, mangrove forests, rice fields, and waterfalls. In addition, you can shop on the island without paying taxes, so ideal for stocking up on alcohol or cigarettes.
Summary of things to do at Langkawi:
- Cable Car
- Hanging Bridge
- Scooter tour
- Boat ride around the islands
- Kajak through the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park
- Climb the highest point of the island and check the view from the watchtower
- Spend a day at the beach
- Shop till you drop
- Visit the most famous waterfall at Langkawi: Telaga Tujuh waterfall
- Book a tour guide to visit the jungle
- Visit rice fields, local villages, and taste the local food
- Party in one of the many beach bars
- Enjoy fire show at the beach
Langkawi attracts many tourists every year. It is mainly the Thai and Malaysians who visit the island to shop tax-free. So don’t be surprised by major shopping centers on the island. Where you spend a lot of money for a beer in other Malaysian destinations, this is not the case in Langkawi. There are beautiful beaches spread across the island, most of which are still nice and quiet. Most of the more than 100,000 inhabitants live in the capital Kuah, but this city is not that interesting for tourists.
Things to do at Langkawi
Tourism on the island also brings fun activities. You can do a jet ski tour, where you will explore multiple islands. There are big differences in the prices of providers, so it is advisable to get well informed. Another way to discover the surrounding islands is to book an island hopping tour. By boat, you pass several islands, where you occasionally stop to explore part of it. There is also plenty to see along the way.
Another special activity you can do is parasailing at Tanjung Rhu Beach or Cenang Beach. The short flight takes 10 minutes, and you pay around € 80 for two people, but it is a unique experience. The most famous activity on the island is the Cable Car, about which more later. You can also visit the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, where it is mainly about the beautiful nature. Here you can also do a kayak tour. It’s on the pricey side (negotiate!), But it’s certainly a unique experience, where you learn a lot about nature from your guide. Besides, most of the activities on Langkawi are related to its beautiful nature.
Activities in nature
As mentioned, you can find beautiful nature on Langkawi. Mountains, valleys, a dense jungle, rice fields, and beautiful waterfalls can all be admired here. Combine this with the quiet nature of the island and you will understand why many backpackers love to explore the island on a rented scooter.
I definitely recommend riding your scooter to the highest mountain in Langkawi: Gunung Raya. You will not only encounter animals such as monkeys and lizards but you will also get fantastic views of the beautiful landscape. Once at the top, you can choose to go up the elevator in the Watch Tower to get a 360-degree view.
Waterfalls at Langkawi
Also visit the Telaga Tujuh waterfall, the most beautiful waterfall in Langkawi. Telaga Tujuh means seven springs, which is a reference to the seven pools carved into the rocks by the water. You can swim here when enough rain has fallen, which is often the case from September to November (the wet season). If not, just enjoy the fantastic view of the forest landscape.
Which waterfall you should visit in the wet season is the Temurun Waterfall. Here you can also take a refreshing dip. You also have the option of doing a jungle trekking on the island. You should hire a guide for this because he will tell you more about the nature of the island. It is not necessarily very adventurous, but if you are interested in unique flora and fauna, it is recommended.
Beaches at Langkawi
Pantai Cenang is Langkawi’s most visited beach, found in the south of the island. Here you will find the most liveliness and bustle, which is especially nice in the evening. Just south of this beach is Pantai Tengah. This beach is a bit quieter, so we prefer to relax for a day. Both beaches are beautiful, but the most beautiful beach is elsewhere on the island: Pantai Tenjung Rhu.
Pantai Tenjung Rhu is located in the north of the island. This beach is located in a beautiful bay, which makes the beach not only photogenic but also better suited for swimming. The beach is more difficult to reach, a scooter comes in handy here. Pantai Pasir Tengorak is also worth a visit. You can relax on this beach during the week. On weekends it is busier because the locals flock to this beach for some relaxation. If you have rented a scooter, we definitely recommend visiting the more secluded beaches. Examples are Pantai Kok, Pantai Tengah, and Pantai Pasir Hitam.
Things to do at Langkawi: Cable car
Langkawi is not only fun below sea level when diving or snorkeling, but also far above sea level. A cable car takes you on top of the mountain, from where you have a magnificent view of the island and the smaller islands in the area. The ride with the cable car itself is also a lot of fun. You will be amazed on your way to the top. If you are afraid of heights, it can be a nerve-wracking experience tho. It is the steepest cable car in the world. Once at the top of the mountain you can – besides admiring the surroundings – also cross the famous suspension bridge. The sturdy bridge is about 100 meters long and 700 meters high. Definitely one of the things you must-do when you’re at Langkawi.
Snorkeling and diving
After about an hour sailing south you reach Pulau Payar. This is the most famous place in Langkawi to explore the underwater world. Unfortunately, it is quite touristy here and the coral is no longer as it once was. There is a wide variety of tropical fish and the water is also very clear. There are a number of travel agencies that organize diving or snorkeling tours from Langkawi in this area. You can easily book these on the spot. But please do realize that this overflow of tourism is damaging the eco-system. So please thinks twice if you really want to do this here.
Transport on Langkawi
There are many taxis on Langkawi, which can transport you between the different beaches for fixed prices. Use Grab to save money on these taxi rides. This is the local version of Uber and is very easy to use. In addition, it is especially nice to rent a scooter yourself. The good roads and beautiful nature make the scooter rides extra fun. This is also the best way to explore the most beautiful beaches in Langkawi, which are scattered around the island. You pay 35 to 45 ringgit per day for a scooter.
Food and drink
There are many restaurants around Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah. There are many good local restaurants and there are also many tasty international restaurants. For example, you can eat Syrian, Korean, and Moroccan food here. In this area at Langkawi, there are also the most things to do in the evening. At Pantai Cenang there are several bars on the beach, where you can relax with a drink and watch the fire show. At Pantai Tengah you can visit the nice Hidden Beach House or the more luxurious Dash Beach Club.
Spend the night at Langkawi
Finding a cheap overnight stay in Langkawi is doable, but it is not easy. Especially between October and February, it is busy on the island and many hotels and hostels are full. Fortunately, if you want to book a hotel during that period, or beyond, you can easily do this online. Most backpackers stay in Pantai Tengah and there are also some good hostels around the slightly more expensive (and more touristy) Pantai Cenang.
Digital Nomads at Langkawi
Last but not least, if you are a digital nomad and considering to spend some time at the island, please read my blog about Life as Digital Nomad at Langkawi first.