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What travelers to Langkawi are saying

good place to visit once a while. but things are getting more expensive, not cheap anymore.
ONGMH 19 Oct 2015

Langkawi Lowdown

If the soaring rainforests, pristine beaches, steamy paddy fields and azure water don’t make you want to throw in your day job and emigrate to Langkawi, the duty free booze will.

Nestled in the Andaman Sea, 30km off the coast of mainland Malaysia, Langkawi is both a single island and an archipelago of – depending who you talk to – either 99 or 104 such islands (counting becomes a little tricky when duty free drinking is involved).

Langkawi (the island) is a heady mix of the old and the new. Boasting untamed jungle at its centre (you can get a taste of it at Langkawi Wildlife Park and Snake Sanctuary), the island has developed into a tourist Mecca without relinquishing its hold on the traditional. An adventure on Langkawi could either take in traditional handicrafts at the Handicrafts Cultural Centre, lazing around on Tanjung Rhu Beach, or buying oversized bottles of pump-action vodka at bargain basement prices.

It could see yourself dangling precariously in a cable car 708m above sea level (not advised if you have recently partaken of the aforementioned vodka), or it could see your credit card getting a hammering in Kuah’s shopping complexes. In Langkawi, you set the pace, no matter whether you want to immerse yourself in history, sunshine or 80% proof alcohol.

Langkawi’s Top 10

10. Masjid Al Hana (Al Hana Mosque) Breathtaking mosque with traditional architecture.

5. Kompleks Kraf A palatial handicrafts centre where you can watch traditional craft-making and purchase authentic artefacts.

9. Crocodile Farm Tour Allows you to get up close and personal with some toothy friends.

4. Langkawi Cable Car Takes you to the peak of Gunung Machinchang.

8. Field of Burnt Rice The site of a mass rice-field burning by the Malaysians in 1821 to prevent the invading Siamese from getting the food.

3. Air Terjun Temerun Waterfall Located in the Mat Cincang Nature park, this waterfall is either spectacular or… not. (Make sure you see it in the April-October wet season!)

7. Underwater World Offers a glimpse at Malaysia’s teeming ocean life.

2. Gua Cerita Is a mystical cave, thought to have played host to both a captive Chinese princess and a lonely giantess. Not at the same time, obviously.

6. Kota Mashuri Legendary tomb of a woman wrongfully accused of adultery. When she was killed her blood was pure white, proving her innocence. Pretty high price to pay for a good reputation.

1. Black Sands Beach Ancient fishing villages and no shortage of myths as to how the sand became black, this one is definitely worth a visit.

Langkawi History

  • Kota Mahsuri – A historical complex that commemorates the Malay princess Mahsuri.
  • Al-Hana Mosque – Opened in 1959 by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Features Islamic architecture influenced by traditional Malay.
  • Padang Matsirat – Called the Field of Burnt Rice, the Siamese burned everything in this area when they invaded in 1821.
  • Gunung Raya and Gunung Mat Cincang – Two mountains which, according to local legend, are actually human beings who turned into mountains after a fight ensued at a wedding.
  • Caves of Legend – Two limestone caves facing the sea that local legend claims are havens for vampires and fairies.

Langkawi Art & Culture

  • Air Hangat Village – A village known for its hot springs and occasional cultural shows.
  • Galeria Perdana – This museum displays the gifts given to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and other heads of state.
  • Kantan – It has been declared the country’s largest restaurant and serves local cuisine such as redang.
  • Ibrahim Hussein Foundation Museum – An art museum featuring the works of its namesake.
  • Dataran Lang – A large sculpture of an eagle facing the sea serves as a welcome to those who come to Langkawi by boat.

Langkawi Shopping

  • Kompleks Kraf Langkawi – A large centre containing handcrafts. Features several places where you can watch locals create their crafts.
  • Oriental Village – A shopping complex with a wide variety of choices.
  • Telaga Harbour Park – A combination of shopping complex and yacht marina.
  • Samudra Duty Free – A duty-free store where you can purchase souvenirs, monuments and statues.
  • Langkawi Fair – A mall containing a variety of retail stores and restaurants.

Langkawi Gay & Lesbian

  • Chime – A mixed club situated in the Sheraton Hotel that usually has interesting events on Monday nights.
  • Sunba – Features lives bands and retro music for dancing. A good place to socialize.
  • Eagle Rock – A mixed disco.
  • Pantai Cenang – A beach that is a popular meeting place for gay men and lesbians, with shops and restaurants nearby.
  • Dataran Land – Another popular meeting spot for the local GLBT community.

Langkawi Outdoor

  • Laman Padi – An ecotourism site where you can view ducks and water buffalos and learn about rice cultivation.
  • Underwater World – The largest aquarium in Malaysia is home to over 200 species of freshwater and marine creatures.
  • Lagenda Langkawi Dalam Taman – A folklore-themed park that sits on the waterfront.
  • Langkawi Crocodile Farm – This farm is best for adults and features a stunt show twice a day.
  • Langkawi Cable Car – This cable car will transport you to the top of Gunung Machinchang.

Langkawi Sport

  • Take a peek at what lies under the water by going snorkelling at the Marine Park..
  • Go golfing at the Gunung Raya Golf Resort or the Gulf Club Datai Bay.
  • Go diving in the Pulau Payar.
  • Relax by taking a yoga class as dawn at Langkawi Yoga.
  • Go horseback riding at Island Horses.

Langkawi Local

Pantai Cenang

Langkawi’s answer to the Vegas Strip, what Pantai Cenang may lack in bright lights and casinos it certainly makes up for in spirit. By day, the pristine white beach is dotted with barely-moving sun-worshippers and frolicking children; by night, crowds of backpackers and Asian tourists alike merge in a throng of eating, drinking and shopping excitement. Make the most of a tropical breeze with an ice-cold drink at the Beach Garden Resort Beer Garden or stimulate your tastebuds with some spicy local fare at the Champor Champor Restaurant and Bar.

If, during your stay in Pantai Cenang, you grow weary of blissful relaxation… slap yourself. But if the nine-to-fiver in you still rears its ugly head, there are plenty of attractions to keep you entertained. Laman Padi is a nearby rice field where you can take an eco-tour to discover how the lifeblood of Malaysia’s farming industry is grown and produced. Underwater World is also worth a visit, even though non-Malays have to pay more.

Kuah Town

Name your poison… then buy it duty-free in Kuah, a town that’s alive with the buzz of consumerism. It’s not as beautiful as Pantai Cenang (Kuah’s waters are often as murky as the authenticity of the ‘genuine’ DVDs being peddled in its street markets), but it boasts brilliant shopping, bars and restaurants in and around Dataran Lang, the central square topped by a majestic eagle sculpture. (Why? Because Langkawi means ‘reddish-brown eagle’ in ancient Malay.)

For something a little different, check out Al Hana Mosque or trek to the top of Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s highest peak. Beware, though, as a curse is said to have been laid on the hill by the giant Mat Raya.

Datai Bay

For high-end luxury and seclusion, Datai Bay is the bee’s knees, the cat’s whiskers and the dog’s… something. Go celebrity-spotting (aka stalking) on the white sand, take in a round of at the über-elite Datai Golf Club, or gaze on tropical rainforest while having all the stress massaged out of you at the Mandara Spa. If you don’t mind parting with your cash, the Gulai @ Andaman should not be missed. An open-air rainforest restaurant accessible via a traditional ‘Titi’ bridge, the Gulai serves Indian/Malay cuisine and has a garlic naan and chicken tandoori so decadent you’ll want to cry tears of spicy joy.

Langkawi Eats

From traditional Malaysian delights to an Indo-Malay-German ménage à trois of flavour, Langkawi is the place to open your mind and undo the button on your jeans.

Gulai @ Andaman Decadent, exclusive and set in the sensual, steamy rainforest, this is the perfect place to fall in love. Even if the object of your affections is your entrée.

Hawker Stalls Check out the range of local delights available along, where aromas drift up and mingle with the sea air.

Backofen Restaurant Reasonably priced with great service, this is the ultimate in East-meets-West. If you thought the only time Malaysian and German could work well together was in your uncle Gustaf’s marriage to his Internet girlfriend, think again.

Red Tomato Splash Beach Café Run by expats and offering all-day breakfasts, the brightly painted interior may be hard on the hangover but great for the gut!

Breakfast Bar The old saying that you should never judge a book by its cover applies here in spades. Delicious and well-priced

Ikan Ikan So nice they named it twice, this eatery is built in the style of a traditional Malaysian home and offers open-air dining in the grounds of the Four Seasons Resort.

Aquarium Seafood Garden Follow the locals and you’ll find this pearl in the oyster of seafood restaurants. Lauded as the best seafood in Langkawi, this restaurant serves lobsters that were in the ocean just that morning.

Saffron While prices are predictably high (it’s located within the grounds of the Tanjung Rhu Resort), the indoor/outdoor setting and dazzling views dampen the sting of the bill.

Restoran Siti Fatima The place to go for a taste of North Malaysian cuisine. Try the gulai ikan talang masin (salted fish curry).

Seven Roof Restaurant Set on a rooftop, this one pleases both aesthetically and gastronomically.

Langkawi Events

February is a busy month for events, hosting the Royal Langkawi International Regatta for yacht-lovers; Le Tour de Langkawi, the richest cycling race in Asia; and the wonderfully messy Squid Scooping Challenge.

In February/March, Langkawi’s Chinese community celebrates Kedah Chap Goh Mai, where pretty young maidens throw oranges into the sea.

In April, the Langkawi Water Festival features 30 water sports and beach games. Participate to win top prizes or just turn up and watch to win lucky-draw prizes.

In July, the Department of Agriculture organises the Rambutan Trail. Sounds dull, until you realise rambutan is the local fruit that has to be tasted to be believed.

31 August is Merdeka Day (Malaysia’s Independence Day). Celebrations start the night before and continue on and on and on…

In November, Langkawi hosts the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition, followed by the Langkawi Arts and Crafts Festival in December.

When To Go

Located on the northern hemisphere side of the equator (but only just), Langkawi enjoys a tropical climate where ‘seasons’ don’t really apply. Temperatures are consistently around
30-35°C (86-95°F) during the day, only dropping to around 28°C (82°F) at night.

Like the rest of Malaysia, Langkawi’s climate is split between Wet (roughly April to October) and Dry (roughly November to March) seasons;

Rainfall is heaviest around August/September, when Langkawi experiences monsoonal rains. The islands are much quieter at this time.

Humidity is around 80%, so be prepared to sweat and leave the hair-straightener at home. (If you tend towards the frizz it’s likely your hair will form a Jimi Hendrix-style afro the moment you set foot on the island. Embrace it.)

Getting There And Around

Langkawi is accessible by air from Kuala Lumpar and boat from Kuala Kedah, Kuala Perlis and Penang. You can also get there by ferry from Satun in Thailand.

Once on the island, you can choose between renting a car (keep your driver’s licence with you at all times and be aware that the roads vary from ‘good’ to ‘clutch-the-steering-wheel-and-pray’) or 150cc scooter (avoid sleeping buffaloes while on the bike and unlicensed, uninsured touts while renting it, and remember that wearing a helmet is compulsory). In rural areas, the locals’ attitudes to road rules are casual at best, so slow down. Alternatively, take a taxi but agree on a fare in advance to avoid being scammed.

What To Miss

On Langkawi, this really depends on what you’re looking for in a holiday.

For maximum relaxation, bypass Kuah Town and head to a pristine beach like Pantai Cenang. The shopping is exciting in town, but you can experience similar markets throughout mainland Malaysia.

For an authentic taste of local culture and life on Langkawi, avoid the exclusive resorts. They’re beautiful, but you’ll leave without much of a cultural insight.

For a molestation-free holiday, give Tengorak Beach a miss. Gangs of local monkeys (seriously!) have a habit of attacking humans for food. They’ll scatter if you pretend to pick up a stone to throw at them, though. Cowards!

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Hotels in Langkawi

  • Hotels in Langkawi

Recommended hotels

From US$118

1 Berjaya Langkawi Resort

5 stars
4.2 / 5 33 reviews

Burau Bay Map

incl RM80.00 Sports & Recreaction Facility Credit

Berjaya Langkawi Resort invites vacationers to traditional Malaysian-style chalets tucked away in 70 acres of lush tropical rainforest for a secluded retreat away from urban living. Guests at this... More

We stayed in January 2016. All was good. But we sold a room with breakfast and dinner. In the settlement, we have stated about just one dinner. When you try to send razobratsya hotel Otelkom, we...
20 Jan 2016
From US$54

2 Bayview Hotel Langkawi

4 stars
4.0 / 5 41 reviews

Jalan Pandak Mayah 1 Map

Special Deal - 30% Off

Being an oasis of relaxation, Bayview Hotel Langkawi offers a pleasant ambience, high standards of comfort and convenient facilities for business as well as leisure travellers. GeneralBoasting... More

Good to relax
It is a comfortable hotel to stay with your family.... Other than the hotel food being a little bit expensive and the hotel needed a little touch up.... I have nothing more to say.... I will give...
19 Jan 2016
From US$89

3 Holiday Villa Beach Resort and Spa, Langkawi

4 stars
3.8 / 5 15 reviews

Lot 1698 Pantai Tengah Mukim Kedawang Map

Plan your next stay at the Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi, which provides a welcoming and relaxing environment for families, recreation seekers and long-term guests along with memorable... More

Family trip
Hotel is fine, but required more innovation to meet the nsme , furniture need to be change, door lock need to be upgrade to smart card type. Insect and mosquito need to be controlled.
1 Aug 2015
From US$121

4 Ombak Villa by Langkawi Lagoon Resort

5 stars
3.0 / 5 7 reviews

Lot 78 Jalan Kuala Muda, Padang Matsirat Map

Stay 2 Nights & Save 15%

Featuring an inviting contemporary interior design housed in a traditional Malay architecture, Ombak Villa By Langkawi Lagoon Resort creates an ideal base for discerning travellers looking to... More

Ironman Langkawi 2015
Nice scenery but room is a bit old. Need to bring your own toiletries. Breakfast was satisfactory and it's very nice of the hotel management to start the breakfast at 4am for those IRONMAN on race...
8 Dec 2015
From US$81

5 Century Langkawi Beach Resort

5 stars
3.6 / 5 22 reviews

Teluk Nibong Map

Book Now & Save 20%

Whether you crave an exciting escape or a peaceful sanctuary, Century Langkawi Beach Resort is an ideal place to reside for both business as well as leisure travellers. GeneralCentury Langkawi... More

worst 5 star facility
Cons: If anybody wants to see the ruins of a five star hotel with the service and facilities of a 1 star hotel. please do book this hotel. Pros: The staff were reasonably courteous.
28 Dec 2015
From US$124

6 The Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa

4 stars
3.8 / 5 4 reviews


Book 30 Days in Advance & Save 10%

Nestled on the tranquil and beautiful shores of Pantai Tengah, The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa creates a peaceful and budget-friendly sanctuary for vacationers and beach goers in Langkawi.... More

Not Recomended
We had to struggle to get a room similar to the description on our voucher. But finally (for the last 8 nights of our 10 nights stay) we were provided with the best room of the category that we...
20 Jan 2016
From US$38

7 Century Helang Hotel

4 stars
3.4 / 5 31 reviews

Lot 274, Jalan Lima, Map

Book Now & Save 32%

One Hotel Helang Langkawi boasts of a beautiful and privileged location suitable for savvy business and leisure travellers in this part of Malaysia. The sophisticated hotel places conference... More

Convenient hotel near the airport
Overall it was satisfactory. The breakfast was good, varieties of food to choose. Location is very convenient to those who travel by flight.
3 Jan 2016
From US$76

8 Langkawi Lagoon Resort

4 stars
3.6 / 5 9 reviews

Lot 78 Jalan Kuala Muda Map

Book Now & Save 10%

The Langkawi Lagoon Resort proves to be an ideal location for a romantic getaway, adventure tourism and business events by providing excellent accommodation as well as world-class service. ... More

Pleasant and Enjoyable family trip
I enjoyed my stay in the Hotel...staff are very nice and helpful. ..Inhouse dining food is good...n the location is close to all main attractions. ..Overall its a good hotel to stay moreover to...
13 Dec 2015
From US$28

9 Alia Residence Business Resort

3 stars
4.0 / 5 1 reviews

Lot 954, Mukim Padang Matsirat Map

Stay 2 Nights & Save 15%

Alia Residence Business is located about 3 kilometers and approximately 5 minutes by car, from Langkawi International Airport.Alia Residence Business Resort has a unique touch that appeals to the... More

it was great, value for money, good location and facilities. rooms are slightly small but its okay.
19 Oct 2015
From US$120

10 Temple Tree at Bon Ton

4 stars
4.0 / 5 2 reviews

Lot 1047 Pantai Cenang Map

Book Within 30 Days & Save 20%

Assuring comfortable accommodation and quality amenities, Temple Tree At Bon Ton Hotel Langkawi welcomes travellers for an unforgettable holiday in Malaysia. The Pulau Payar Marine Park is one of... More

ANimal friendly but not children friendly
If you make a romantic gateway for 2 this place is just nice but not for a family vacation. I make a booking for my family with 3 kids(4,6 &8yrs old) with extra beds(colonel 3) but not allowed to...
15 Dec 2014
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