Malaysia

Langkawi Travel Guide

Not one island, but an archipelago of 99, Langkawi is the ultimate island-hopping getaway. Largely undiscovered by tourists until the 1980s, Langkawi has achieved what many destinations haven't, balancing a rapid tourism boom with preserving over 65% of its natural habitat. That natural landscape is part of the main island's draw, earning it UNESCO World Geopark status in 2007.

Truly "the Jewel of Kedah", Langkawi is blessed with powder-fine beach sands and clear, calm waters ideal for snorkeling. Rare mangrove forests meet waterfalls gushing down jungle-covered mountains. It's a nature lover's dream.

A scenic drive along a winding jungle-encrusted road will likely encounter endless ocean views, and cheeky monkeys playing on the curb, while colorful hornbills soar above the leafy canopy. Away from the main island, dozens of smaller, mostly uninhabited islands await to be explored via long boat or jet-ski. Perhaps you'll even spot Langkawi's namesake white-bellied sea eagle.

Known for luxury hotels and resorts, paradisiac north-eastern beach Tanjung Rhu's raw beauty attracted "Crazy Rich Asians" to film at its shores and the Four Seasons Resort. Those not so crazy-rich can indulge in duty free shopping around beach strip Pantai Cenang and commercial heart, Kuah.

Inspiration

Who Will Like Langkawi

Relaxation Guru

Sip your favorite cocktail at a beach bar along the sandy shores of Pantai Cenang, or perfect your tan at sun-kissed beach Tanjung Rhu as you recline between swaying trees.

Nature Lover

Spot unique wildlife like kingfishers, mudskippers, otters, and white-bellied sea eagles while kayaking through Langkawi's pristine mangrove forest. Spend a day in nature by starting the morning with a hike to witness Seven Wells Waterfall, then take Langkawi Sky Cab to the peak of Gunung Mat Cinang for uninterrupted views over the island and Andaman sea. On a clear day, you can even spot Thailand.

Recreational Athlete

Spend a day snorkeling or scuba diving at the Pulau Payar Marine Park, a nature reserve 30km south of the main island. Alternatively, hire a jet-ski to fly over the waves at Pantai Cenang.

Retail Therapist

Make the most of duty-free shopping at Kuah and Pantai Cenang and stock up on your favorite snacks and liquor. Pick up a souvenir or new item of clothing from market stalls lining the entrances to beaches like Tanjung Rhu, and Black Sand Beach.

Bucketlist Bandit

Pose in front of the towering statue of an eagle about to take flight at Dataran Lang, or ride the world's steepest cable car to admire sweeping views over the island from the Langkawi Sky Bridge.

Photography Whiz

Capture a vibrant sunset from Pantai Cenang, or ride the cable car to click a panorama of the island from the curved Langkawi Sky Bridge, stopping along the way to catch new angles.

Fun Expert

Book a jet-ski tour to explore nearby islands including the Lake of Pregnant Maiden, or spend a day at the Oriental Village where the world's 2nd largest 3D art museum, 3D Art in Paradise, is a must see.

Food Connoisseur

Sample local delights like nasi lemak at night markets held in different locations each night of the week. International cuisines like Italian, Mexican, and Thai abound at popular beach strip, Pantai Cenang.

Luxury Maven

Relax on the private beaches of luxury 5-star resorts like the Four Seasons Resort and Tanjung Rhu Resort.

Outdoor Trailblazer

Hike your way up Langkawi's tallest mountain, Gunung Raya, taking the trail through the dense jungle, home to exquisite wildlife like dusky leaf monkeys, macaque monkeys, squirrels, eagles, and hornbills. Hardcore hikers can also tackle the 638 steep steps to reach the top section of Seven Wells Waterfall.

Culture Buff

Learn local myths and legends at folklore themed Legenda Park, or explore local rice farming culture at Laman Padi Langkawi.

Top Sights & Attractions In Langkawi

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park

Geopark $$$$$

Mukim Kilim River Tourism Jetty, Kampung Kilim, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Two - hour tour: RM350 per boat ($83.90), three - hour tour: RM450 per boat ($107.87), four - hour tour: RM500 per boat ($119.86) Time spent: 2-4 hours

Hours: 9am-5pm, 7 days

One of 3 main sections of Langkawi's UNESCO-listed geopark, Kilim Geoforest Park is home to some of the island's most exquisite and geologically significant landscapes, with Setul rock formations dating back 490 million years. At 100 sq kms, Kilim Geoforest Park is best explored by boat. Local tour operators ferry tourists to a selection of 14 attractions, covering caves, islands, beaches, eagle spotting, and a floating fish farm.

website email +60 49592323

Full attraction details...

Langkawi SkyCab

Cable Car $$$$$

Jalan Telaga Tujuh, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Adult: from RM85 (USD$20.38), Child (2-12yrs): from RM65 ($15.58) Time spent: 1.5-3 hours

Hours: 9:30am-7pm, 7 days

Soar up to the tip of Langkawi’s second tallest mountain, Gunung Mat Cincang on Langkawi SkyCab, the world’s steepest cable car. The 15-minute ride in a standard or glass bottom gondola will have you soaring above the Langkawi’s lush rainforest to see nearby waterfalls, beaches, rock formations, and wildlife from a new perspective.

website email +60 49594225

Full attraction details...

Pantai Cenang (Chenang Beach)

Beach Free

Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1-3 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Langkawi’s most tourist-friendly beach. This 2km stretch of soft white sand is lined with coconut trees, beach umbrellas, jet ski vendors, and beach bars. By day, sunbathers, swimmers, and watersport enthusiasts dominate the sparkling shoreline. As the sun softly sets, a series of beach bars become the center of attention as beanbags and cocktail menus are brought onto the sand.

Full attraction details...

Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh)

Waterfall Free

Mukim, Jalan Telaga Tujuh, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1.5-4 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Named after seven natural pools connected by a gushing river, Seven Wells Waterfall is one of Langkawi’s most captivating natural performances. The falls are split into 2 sections, the upper pools and the lower pools, separated by a striking vertical waterfall cascading down a 91-meter-high cliff face. The pools are only accessible by climbing a series of concrete steps through the lush rainforest. Around 200 steps must be conquered to reach the lower pools, and a monstrous 638 steps to reach the upper pools.

Full attraction details...

Tanjung Rhu Beach

Beach Free

Ayer Hangat, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1-3 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Tucked away at Langkawi’s northeastern tip, Tanjung Rhu Beach is a secluded bay surrounded by a leafy jungle and towering mountains. It’s no wonder why some of the island’s most prestigious luxury resorts chose Tanjung Rhu. The beach itself welcomes visitors with a wide stretch of fine white sand and crystal-clear yet warm water ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Full attraction details...

Langkawi Sky Bridge

Bridge $$$$$

07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM6 (USD$1.44), Child: RM4 ($0.96) Time spent: 30-90 minutes

Hours: 9:30am-7pm, 7 days

An engineering marvel, this suspended pedestrian bridge swings out over Langkawi’s second highest mountain, Gunung Mat Cincang providing otherwise impossible views of the mountain’s texture and surrounding jungle. The bridge’s wonder lies in the single 82-meter-high pylon from which the 125-meter-long bridge curves out around the mountain, 100 meters above the ground. The Sky Bridge can only be reached by taking Langkawi Sky Cab to the top station and purchasing a separate ticket.

website email +60 49594225

Full attraction details...

Food & Drink in Langkawi

Langkawi's beachfront roads are lined with humble food stalls selling drinks, snacks, and simple local meals, like laksa, for bargain prices. If you stop at one of these stalls, check for hygiene standards by taking a quick glance at the cleanliness of the chef's apron and fingernails as well as their frying pans and cooking utensils.

Flavor-packed street food is available at different night market locations each night of the week:

Most vendors start to open around 5pm. Some vendors move night-to-night to each location while others only operate at the location closest to them. Must-try dishes include popiah (deep-fried spring rolls), curry puffs, samosas, fish cakes, and local cakes called kueh.

Those craving international cuisines head to Pantai Cenang, where the main road, Jalan Pantai Cenang, is lined with Thai, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, and seafood restaurants.

Red Tomato

Breakfast Healthy Mediterranean $$$$$

No. 5 Casa Fina Avenue, Pantai Cenang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Hours: 9am-11:30pm, 7 days

Centrally located in beachfront town Pantai Cenang, Red Tomato offers a cozy indoor lounge and leafy outdoor area to enjoy a casual drink or meal with family and friends. Red Tomato is one of the few restaurants in Langkawi serving western-style breakfasts as well as gluten-free and vegan alternatives for most dishes - yes, they even have vegan cheese!

website email +60 49554055

Full restaurant details...

The Beach Grill

International Malay Seafood $$$$$

The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, 199, Jalan Pantai Kok, Teluk Nibong, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Hours: Lunch: 12pm-2:30pm, Dinner: 6:30pm-10:30pm, Bar Service: 10:30am-10:30pm

A restaurant worthy of The Ritz-Carlton name. Diners at The Beach Grill are welcomed near the hotel lobby and shuttled down the garden-draped path to the hotel’s private beach area. Choose between a cozy lounge seating at the bar with a deck extending over the ocean, or book a more formal table at the indoor restaurant. You’ll be treated to a mouthwatering meal while the sun softly sets over the Strait of Malacca.

website +60 49524888

Full restaurant details...

Kolma Langkawi

Vegan
$$$$$

230 Kampung Padang Puteh, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Hours: 9am-5pm, 7 days

Langkawi's first fully plant-based restaurant open for breakfast and lunch with menu options including tofu scramble, bean burgers, and raw vegan cheesecake. All ingredients are fresh with items like bread and vegan cheese made in-house from scratch.

Tip: Special orders and takeaway are available.

website email +60 01135847051

Kalut Café & Bar Tanjung Rhu

International
$$$$$

Tanjung Rhu Beach, Mukim, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah

Hours: 11am-4pm, 7 days

Beachfront bar and café with cozy beanbags and small wooden tables on the sand selling classic cocktails or an ice-cold beer. Food options include burgers, satay, and tacos. Some vegetarian and vegan options are available upon request. Daily happy hour. Another branch is located at Mali-Mali Beach Resort in Pantai Cenang.

website email

Food Delivery & Discovery Apps:

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Mobile app
Grab Food
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Mobile app
Foodpanda
Planning

Areas of Langkawi

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  1. Pantai Cenang Main tourist beach A beach district beloved by tourists for its warm sunshine, sparkling waters, watersport opportunities like parasailing and jet-ski hire, lounge chairs and beach umbrellas for hire, and beach bars serving cheap beer and popular cocktails. The main street behind the beach is lined with international restaurants, clothing and souvenir stalls, and duty-free shopping malls. Accommodation options range from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts.
  2. Pantai Tengah Relaxation beach Close enough to the restaurants and shopping opportunities of its neighbor, Pantai Cenang, while offering cheaper accommodation and a quieter beach with a beach club or two. Affordable 3 and 4 star hotels are plentiful here.
  3. Kuah Waterfront town A residential town with several apartment buildings, shopping malls, and duty-free shopping outlets. Kuah is suited to longer-term and Airbnb stays with large supermarkets and fresh produce easier to find than in other areas of the island. Kuah is home to Langkawi's main marina and cruise ship terminal as well as the iconic statue of an eagle taking flight, Dataran Lang.
  4. Tanjung Rhu Tropical paradise The northeastern point of Langkawi, home to secluded luxury resorts The Four Seasons Langkawi Resort and The Tanjung Rhu Resort, each with a private beach. The beach itself is one of the Langkawi's most beautiful, with powder-fine sand, swaying trees, calm waters, a sandbar at low tide, and endless views of untouched islands.
  5. Pantai Kok Beach & jungle Calm bays bordered by steep limestone mountains and lush jungle. Several high-end international hotel chains line the coast. A few restaurants and boutique stores are centered around a yachting marina.
Airbnb in Langkawi:
Avg nightly rate
RM276
(USD$66.22)
Avg occupancy rate
45%
Rental demand
45/100

Best Places To Stay in Langkawi

Best Tours in Langkawi

Getting Around Langkawi

Rideshare

Rideshare apps like Grab offer a cheap, safe way to get around Langkawi with a predictable price and visible route. Grab drivers pick up and drop off from most locations on the island, although the wait for a driver may be longer at remote locations like Tanjung Rhu Beach.

Taxi

Taxis in Langkawi do not run meters but offer only Government-set prices determined by the distance travelled. Hailing taxis from the street is not recommended. Instead, go to a dedicated taxi rank, like Kuah Jetty, or look for taxis parked on street corners or outside major attractions. Taxi drivers are usually friendly and trustworthy.

Scooter/motorbike hire

Several affordable scooter hire companies can be found in Pantai Cenang. Scooters can also be hired through most hotels but for an inflated price. It is reasonably safe to ride scooters and motorbikes around Langkawi (compared to busier cities in Southeast Asia), although they can get quite uncomfortable if ridden for longer than 20-minutes at a time. Street-front parking is typically free for motorbikes and most attractions offer free or reduced rates for motorbike parking. Helmets must always be worn by riders and passengers. Insurance is not usually included with motorbike hire.

Car rental

Car rental is a convenient transport method for long distances or for more than 2 people, since public transport is not available on the island. Several rental companies are located in Pantai Cenang, but always ask to see proof of permits and insurance as some locals try to illegally lease cars to tourists. Drivers must have an international driver's license in possession at all times.

Transport Apps:

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Mobile app
Grab

Shopping

Langkawi is a haven for duty-free shopping. Malay and international tourists alike flock to the malls of Pantai Cenang and Kuah to stock up on their favorite products from liquor and tobacco to perfume, homewares, chocolates, and snacks, for less than they'd pay at home.

Clothing and souvenirs are best found in market-style stalls near main beaches where bartering is usually welcome. Several such stalls line the pathway from carparks to beach at Black Sand Beach and Tanjung Rhu Beach, while the main road behind Pantai Cenang Beach, Jalan Pantai Cenang is lined with clothing, souvenir, and artisan craft stalls.

Jetty Point Complex

Shopping Mall Free

15, Kompleks Perniagaan Kelibang, Kuah

Time spent: 15-60 minutes

Hours: 10am-10pm, 7 days

A 2-story shopping mall located at Kuah Jetty, often the last stop for cruise passengers about to board. The ground floor has several retail stores specializing in products like electronics, chocolate, clothing, jewelry, and watches. There are also several cafes and fast-food chains. The top store is dedicated to a large department store selling clothing, accessories, perfume, cosmetics, and more. Several stores within the mall are duty-free.

Parking: Free

website email +60 49667086

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Cenang Mall

Shopping Mall Free

Lot 2605, Cenang, Mukim, Jalan Pantai Chenang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Time spent: 30-90 minutes

Hours: 11am-11pm, 7 days

2-story mall opposite Pantai Cenang. Several stores sell local items like souvenirs and batik products while other international stores include The Body Shop. There is also a pharmacy, supermarket, duty-free store, and restaurant chains like Starbucks, McDonald's, and KFC.

+60 49531188

The Zon Shopping Paradise

Shopping Mall Free

Pantai Cenang, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Time spent: 30-90 minutes

Hours: 10am-9pm, 7 days

A duty-free shopping complex with a range of chocolates, liquor, tobacco, perfumes, cosmetics, gifts, souvenir items, clothing, jewelry, stationery items, watches and branded sunglasses, luggage, and bags.

website +60 46413200

Teow Soon Huat Duty-Free Mall

Shopping Mall Free

A-14-15, Pokok Asam, Kuah, Langkawi

Hours: 10am-10pm, 7 days

Duty-free department store and supermarket located within Kuah's Langkawi Parade mall known for its daily specials offering up to 70% off. The ground floor contains a huge array of international liquor, wine, beer, and chocolate brands while the upper levels are dedicated to homewares and clothing brands like Lee.

website +60 49666372

Best Time of Year to Visit Langkawi

Langakwi is hot and humid all year, with little variation in temperatures. Since some of the island's main draws are its natural attractions, it's best not to visit towards the end of the dry season, when waterfalls are likely to be dry. During wet season, rain is likely to fall during the late afternoon and evenings, leaving the mornings fine for sightseeing and enjoying the beaches.

Dry season

December-April, between 23°C and 34°C, sunny and humid.

Wet season

May-November, between 23°C and 33°C, hot and rainy with frequent thunderstorms.

Best Photo Spots in Langkawi

Paradise 101

Island $$$$$

Paradise 101 Langkawi, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah

Price: Adults: from RM35 (USD$8.39), Children (<7): Free Time spent: 3-6 hours

Hours: 9am-11pm, 7 days

Welcome to Paradise. Whether your idea of bliss is relaxing on a day bed with a cocktail, snapping Instagram-worthy photos, or the adrenaline rush of watersports, you’ll find it at private island, Paradise 101. Only 1km from the shoreline of Pantai Kok, Paradise 101 enjoys exquisite views of the turquoise Andaman Sea from its white sandy shore. The island provides the ultimate hub for watersports, sunbaking, and indulging your taste buds.

website email +60 49650300

Full attraction details...

Langkawi Sky Bridge

Bridge $$$$$

07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Adult: RM6 (USD$1.44), Child: RM4 ($0.96) Time spent: 30-90 minutes

Hours: 9:30am-7pm, 7 days

The suspended pedestrian bridge is an ideal setting for panoramas over the island and Andaman sea. Stop to notice the changing perspectives as you walk along the curved platform. The unique single-pylon bridge also makes for interesting architecture shots. Take advantage of the leading lines for creative framing.

website email +60 49594225

Full attraction details...

Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh)

Waterfall Free

Mukim, Jalan Telaga Tujuh, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1.5-4 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

2 sections of waterfall to explore - the upper pools and the lower pools, separated by a striking vertical waterfall cascading down a 91-meter-high cliff face. The upper level is ideal for panoramas of the surrounding jungle landscape while the lower level is best for portraits by the waterfall and natural rock pools.

Full attraction details...

Pantai Cenang (Chenang Beach)

Beach Free

Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1-3 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Colorful sunsets abound at Pantai Cenang providing the perfect setting for silhouettes. The iconic sign at the main beach entrance cries out for a holiday selfie.

Full attraction details...

Tanjung Rhu Beach

Beach Free

Ayer Hangat, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Price: Free Time spent: 1-3 hours

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

The ultimate tropical beach landscape can be captured from the sandy shores of Tanjung Rhu. Position a leaning tree in the foreground to frame the calm turquoise waters dotted with islands. Visiting at low tide may expose a sand bar, allowing access further off the shore for more angles.

Full attraction details...
Essentials

Money

Credit cards accepted: Some places

Local street food vendors and night market stalls accept cash only while international restaurants, beach bars, and shopping malls in Pantai Cenang and Kuah typically accept credit card. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted while American Express is often not accepted or incurs an additional fee.

Contactless payments accepted: Some places

ATM Access: A little hard to find

ATMs are most commonly available in malls and minimarts within Pantai Cenang and Kuah. They become harder to find the further you venture from these main towns. It is always advisable to carry local currency.

Currency exchangers: Easy to find

Visitors can exchange currencies at the airport, bank branches in Pantai Cenang and Kuah Town, and at currency exchange branches in Pantai Cenang. Some hotels also offer a currency exchange service at a higher rate and private money changers are located in several duty-free stores, usually offering the best rate.

Budget

Daily Budget

BudgetRM80-RM400 (USD$19.18 - $95.89)

ComfortableRM400-RM1,000 (USD$95.89 - $239.72)

LuxuryRM1,000-RM2,200 (USD$239.72 - $527.39)

Accommodation

BudgetRM50-RM250 (USD$11.99 - $59.93)hostel or 1 star hotel

ComfortableRM300-RM750 (USD$71.92 - $179.79)3 star

LuxuryRM800-RM1,500 (USD$191.78 - $359.58)4-5 star

Food

Street FoodRM5-RM15 (USD$1.20 - $3.60)

Mid-Range RestaurantRM30-RM60 (USD$7.19 - $14.38)

Fine Dining RestaurantRM100-RM400 (USD$23.97 - $95.89)

Transport

TaxiRM18 (USD$4.31)15-minute ride

GrabRM6-RM8 (USD$1.44 - $1.92)10-minute ride

Car hireRM70-RM90 (USD$16.78 - $21.57)Daily rental

Scooter hireRM25-RM50 (USD$5.99 - $11.99)Daily rental

Activities

Cable carRM85 (USD$20.38)Adult ticket

AquariumRM46 (USD$11.03)Adult ticket

Island hopping boat tourFrom RM35 (USD$8.39)4-hour tour

Snorkeling at marine parkFrom RM200 (USD$47.94)1-day tour

Typical Costs In Langkawi

  • Meal in inexpensive restaurant: RM12 (USD$2.88)
  • Small bottle of water in restaurant: RM1.83 (USD$0.44)
  • Large bottle of water in market: RM2.77 (USD$0.66)
  • Domestic beer in restaurant: RM7 (USD$1.68)
  • Domestic beer in market: RM3 (USD$0.72)
  • Bottle of wine in market: RM50 (USD$11.99)
  • Cup of coffee: RM9.67 (USD$2.32)
  • Short taxi trip: RM16 (USD$3.84)
  • 1L of gasoline/petrol: RM2.34 (USD$0.56)
Close

Internet, Mobile & Tech

Internet

Average Internet speed in Langkawi: 8.90 Mbps

Public wifi access: Have to know where to look

Mobile

The 4 major mobile providers, Maxis, Celcom, Digi, and U Mobile have websites in English. SIM cards can be easily bought at any mini-mart, mall or gas station, but you must show a Passport or ID card as proof of identity. SIM cards are compatible with GSM 900/1800 international cell phones and require SIM-unlocked GSM phone. U Mobile is the easiest to find in all 7 Eleven stores.

  • Digi - "Traveler Sim" package valid for RM20 (7 days, RM5 preloaded credit, 2GB high-speed internet, 7GB social internet, 10mins calls to all domestic networks, 10mins free IDD calls, unlimited SMS).
  • Celcom - "Ultra-Pass 5GB" package for RM19 (7 days, 5GB internet, 1-hour unlimited internet/day, unlimited late-night YouTube).
  • Maxis - "Hotlink Red" for RM10 (7 days, RM5 preloaded credit, 300MB high-speed internet for 2 days, 500MB basic internet). Additional Data plans: RM10 for 1.5GB, 7 days or RM35 for 6GB, 30 days.
  • U Mobile - "GX12" for RM12 (7 days, unlimited data, 3Mbps speed, unlimited calls).

Phone country code: +60

Getting Into Langkawi

Langkawi can be reached via plane or ferry. While direct flights are available from Singapore and China, most fights to Langkawi stop at Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur (KL). Flights from KL to Langkawi take just under 1 hour. Several cruise ships also dock in Langkawi, enabling short, 1-day visits to the island.

Airport

Langkawi International Airport (LGK) is located near the mid-west coast of the island, a 10-15-minute drive from Pantai Cenang. The best way to reach your accommodation is via taxi or rideshare. Taxis from the airport to Pantai Cenang cost RM18 (USD$4.31), to Kuah Town cost RM24 (USD$5.75), and to Tanjung Rhu cost RM30 (USD$7.19).

Ferry

Langkawi's main ferry terminal is located at Kuah Jetty. Regular ferries are available from Malaysian ports at Penang, Kuala Perlis, and Kuala Kedah, as well as from Thailand's Satun and Koh Lipe. Taxis from Kuah Jetty to Pantai Cenang cost RM24 (USD$5.75).

Visas

Most nationalities can enter Malaysia on a visa waiver (passport stamp), valid for 14, 30 or 90 days. Overstaying a Malaysian visa can result in hefty fines. The closest consular locations for Australia, Canada, and the UK are located in Penang, while the closest US embassy is in Kuala Lumpur.

Health & Safety

Langkawi is a safe island with low levels of crime. The most common concerns are mosquitos and dehydration, so always carry insect repellent and drink plenty of water. Jellyfish are most common between January and June and can be poisonous so be careful when swimming in the ocean.

Street food vendors typically have decent levels of hygiene, but it's always safe to look at their aprons, fingernails, and cooking utensils for signs of dirt. If unsure, simply move on to another vendor.

Is it safe to drink tap water? Boil water first

Most hotels supply bottled water daily while many Airbnb apartments provide water filters, making the tap water safe to drink. Tap water can be used for tea and coffee when allowed to fully boil.

Important Phone Numbers:

Local police are available to help tourists should a need arise. Most police officers speak at least basic English. The police headquarters is located in Kuah with additional police stations located in Ayer Hangat and Kuala Teriang.

Emergency: 999

Police: 999

Ambulance: 999

Fire: 999

Doctors:

Most doctors in Langkawi speak and understand English well and operate out of medical clinics. These clinics should be visited for common ailments such as unusual mosquito bites, jellyfish stings, on stomach problems.

Hospitals:

Several medical clinics are located on the island, with general practitioners and a dispensary. These should be the first point of call for any medical concerns.

  • Langkawi Hospital Public hospital with 110 beds, an emergency ward, and air transportation services.
  • Chenang Clinic Clinic providing general practitioner services and basic surgeries.
  • iCARE Clinic 24-hour GP clinic located in Kuah.

Scams:

  • Luggage porters at ferry terminal. Supposed porters wait near the ferry terminal and offer to help passengers load their luggage on to the ferry, usually giving the impression their service is free. Once their help is complete, they will charge a combined fee for embarkment and dis-embarkment. When you get off the ferry, they will not be there to help with your luggage although you have already paid.
  • Rental motorbike damage. Rental shop employees may either steal or damage your parked bike then flee the scene, leaving you responsible to pay an inflated price for repairs.
Avoid:
  • Swim in waters infested with jellyfish.
  • Wear overly revealing clothes unless at the beach. This is insulting to locals.
  • Visit during Chinese New Year unless you enjoy crowds, traffic jams and inflated prices.
  • Shake hands with or touch a person of the opposite sex. This is prohibited in Islam.
  • Point with your index finger.
  • Public displays of affection. No kissing, cuddling, or hand-holding.
  • Leave your passport with unofficial motorbike or car rental companies in case of scams.
  • Use illegal drugs Possessing, selling, and using narcotics is illegal in Malaysia and carries hefty penalties.
  • Feed wild monkeys as they will get aggressive and be encouraged to steal.
Do:
  • Smile and greet people politely, especially seniors.
  • Take gifts if invited to a local home.
  • Always accept invitations to eat food. Saying no is considered rude.
  • Drive safely and on the left side of the road.
  • Stay hydrated as Langkawi is very hot and humid.
  • Tip local vendors if you are happy with their service, although tipping is not mandatory or expected in Langkawi.
Travel Deeper

Langkawi Culture & History

Langkawi is named after the white bellied sea eagle, home to the archipelago, and the reddish-brown stone native to the region. "Lang" is the shortened Malay word for eagle while "kawi" is the Malay word for the natural rock.

Like all of Malaysia, Langkawi's 3 main nationalities are Malay, Chinese, and Indian. The largest population in Langkawi are Muslim Malays followed by Chinese, then Indians, and a small community of expats.

For every natural wonder in Langkawi, there's a local myth or legend. The marbled sands at Black Sand Beach are said to be the result of a war between mermaids and men, while the legend of Mahsuri tells of a wrongly accused woman who cursed the island, causing its slow economic growth until a tourism boom in the 1980s. The island is now heavily dependent on tourism, but signs of its rice farming and fishing village origins still remain.

Language:

Malay is the local language of Langkawi although most locals speak English well. Street signage is often only provided in Malay, and since many tourists choose to drive around the island, it can't hurt to learn a few Malay words for directions.

Basic Phrases:

  • Thank you: Terima kasih (te-ree-mah ka-seh)
  • Yes / No: Ya (yah) / tidak (tee-dak)
  • Goodbye: Selamat jalan (s'la-mat ja-lan)
  • You're welcome: Sama-sama (saa-ma saa-ma)
  • I don't understand: Saya tak faham (saa-yah tak faa-haam)
  • Where is the bathroom?: Di mana tandas (dee-mah-na tan-das)
  • Turn right / Turn left: Belok kanan / Belok kiri (beh-lock kaa-naan / beh-lock kee-ree)
  • Go straight: Jalan terus (ja-lan te-roos)
  • Stop: Berhenti (berr-hen-tee)
  • Be careful: Awas (ah-was)
  • Water: Air (ah-yer)
  • How much?: Berapa (be-raa-paa)
  • Please: Tolong (toh-long)
  • Where is the beach?: Dimana Pantai (dee-mah-na pan-tai)
  • Beer: Bir (birr)
  • Island: Pulau (pu-lauh)
  • Eagle: Helang (he-lang)
  • Jungle: Hutan (hu-tan)

Events & Festivals In Langkawi

January

  • New Year. Langkawi's resorts, restaurants and bars celebrate the western New Year's Eve with parties and festivities followed by formal lunch and dinners on New Year's Day. The most notable events are usually located in Pantai Cenang and Kuah.

January/February

  • Chinese New Year. Langkawi is a hive of activity during Chinese New Year, when thousands of Malay locals flock to the island to celebrate the lunar new year. Langkawi's restaurants and business celebrate the 15-day holiday with Chinese lanterns and other decorations. It's common for hotels, car hire, and scooter hire to be fully booked during this time.

February

  • Le Tour de Langkawi. A 10-day long international cycling race attracting cycling teams and fans from around the world.

April

  • Langkawi International Water Festival. Designed to promote tourism on the island, the festival features a series of water-related competitions including a kayak race between islands, beach netball, sandcastle building, and fishing. Most contests are held at Telaga Harbor Park.

May/June

  • Ramadan. The 9th month of the Islamic calendar, when the book of al-Quaran is said to have been revealed, observed as a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. Colorful outdoor food markets known as Ramadan bazaars open every evening of the month selling Malay meals and snacks at bargain prices. The largest bazaars are located in Kuah and Pantai Cenang.

August

  • Hari Merdeka Parade. Malaysia's Independence Day parade held on the 31st of August each year. Langkawi's main parade and supporting events are held in Kuah.

October

  • Deepavali (Diwali). The Hindu Festival of Lights, that celebrates the victory of good over evil as well as the Hindu New Year. Celebrated mainly in local homes with festivities including fire crackers and money gifts for children.

November

  • Ironman Langkawi Malaysia. An annual endurance triathlon where world-class athletes complete a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle, and 26.2-mile run. The race starts and ends at Dataran Lang.

Get Involved / Lend a Hand

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WOOFF Langkawi (World Of Our Furry Friends)

Animal Shelter

Qualified animal behaviorist and therapist, Jeffery Tan, has turned his home into a refuge for the injured and abused dogs and cats of Langkawi. Located behind the Goldsands Hotel, Jeffery houses up to 100 dogs, ranging from abandoned new-born puppies to car accident victims. Injured canines receive hydrotherapy and emotional therapy, to rehabilitate and hopefully, re-home.

Due to the negative connotations around dogs in Malay culture, Jeffery receives little financial or practical support, so he opens his home to volunteers to spend a week or more helping care for the animals and learning how to rescue and rehabilitate these furry friends. Volunteers are invited to help feed and wash the dogs as well as assist with hydrotherapy, cleaning, and maintenance work required for the animals' safety. Tourists staying elsewhere on the island are also welcome to volunteer for a few hours at a time.

Those unable to physically volunteer are welcome to donate or sponsor a dog. Adoptions are available to safe and secure homes upon discussion with Jeffery to ensure the right match.

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Last Bit

Myth Busting

  • You can't swim at the beaches because of jellyfish. There are often jelly fish at Langkawi's beaches, especially along the west coast. Some of the jellyfish are very poisonous, but use common sense and caution to determine whether the beaches are safe for swimming. Jellyfish are most common between January and June. If you see washed up jellyfish on the beach, it's safe to assume they are in the water too.
  • Langkawi is one island. Langkawi an archipelago of 99 islands protected by UNESCO. Most attractions and hotels are located on the main island, but visiting the smaller islands on a jet-ski or boat tour is one of the most popular things to do in Langkawi.

After Langkawi, Go Further

Several major cities in Malaysia can easily be reached from Langkawi via plane or ferry. Neighboring country, Singapore, is also a short flight away and Thailand's Satun and Koh Lipe can be reached directly by ferry.

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