6 Things to do at Langkawi; Malaysia’s Cheap Island Paradise
UPDATE MAY 2020: I just spent the last week or so in Penang and Langkawi, Malaysia’s 2 most famous islands, and I wanted to let you guys know about this gem of an island. Langkawi is an island paradise, and a tax-free haven to boot ($0.45 beers anyone?), it’s not overcrowded, it’s not overpriced and it’s not full of 18-year-old English and American gets getting overly drunk like on the Thai islands, although there is still a great nightlife to be had. These are the top 6 really fun things to do at Langkawi, so during your time here, maker sure you do them all.
Where should I stay in Langkawi?
If you want the best travel vibes, you’ll want to stay in Cenang Beach, in the South West of the island, about 15 minutes from the airport or 30 minutes from the ferry port. Full of hotels, hostels, bars and home to the longest, most popular beach too. Don’t worry about booking ahead, there are so many places to choose from. Dorms start around $5, singles/doubles around $10.
Is Langkawi expensive?
In comparison to the rest of Malaysia, and the overpriced Thai islands? Nope. It’s very cheap. Cheap booze, cheap petrol (it costs $1.50 to fill up your scooter!), delicious food. You can easily get by on $20-$30 a day here. Food for $2 or $3 is delicious and easy to find.
How To Get To Langkawi
You can fly directly from Kuala Lumpur, or you can take a bus and ferry combination. You can organise your bus and ferry tickets online here.
Ferries to Langkawi:
A) Penang to Langkawi Ferry: Penang is another Malaysian island, the ferry from Penang to Langkawi takes about 2 ½ hours. The Penang Langkawi ferry price is $20
B) Satun to Langkawi Ferry: You can also take a ferry from Thailand to Langkawi. In Thailand, there is a small town, near Phuket, called Satun. The Thailand Langkawi ferry costs $10 and takes less than an hour. Easy!
* A lot of people do their Thai visa runs to Penang and then fly back to Bangkok or wherever. But I’d suggest to fly to Penang, get your visa sorted then take the ferry to Langkawi, chill there, then the ferry onto Thailand, from there you can go where you want. That’s what I did and it was a hugely successful trip.
6 Things to do at Langkawi
Langkawi is small but it packs a real punch. Where some destinations have you running around from one attraction to the next, Langkawi is a much more chill place, a place to relax, sit on the beach, be happy that you’ve escaped the big cities of Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. It also is tax-free, so if you’ve been spending time in Malaysia, suddenly alcohol is tax-free and people seem to make the most of that little fact! Here are the top 6 things to do at Langkawi to make sure you make the most of your time here.
1) The Cable Car & Hanging Bridge:
The main thing to do in Langkawi. Take the cable car ($10) to the top of one of the mountains in the North West of the island. Once you get to the top there’s a sky bridge offering 360 views of the island, pretty amazing. If you’re in Langkawi for a few days, only go here when the skies are clear, if it’s cloudy or windy the bridge will be closed. With that in mind, factor this in as the first thing to do, so if the weather is bad, you can tweak your plan accordingly.
2) Rent a scooter and drive around the island:
The first thing I do on every island is rent a scooter. It costs around $10 a day to rent and about $1 a day for fuel. Once you’ve got this, you’re free to explore. To drive around the whole island takes 2 or 3 hours and it’s a beautiful drive. I actually rented my bike straight off the ferry which was handy because then I could drive myself back to the ferry to leave again. I’d recommend the same thing to everyone.
3) Check out the best beaches in Langkawi,
Island life is all about the beaches, and Langkawi is full of them. If you explore the island you can have a lot of the beaches all to yourself, if you want some company Cenang Beach is always the busiest. On your circular tour by scooter you can check out lots of the beaches, you can add Pantai Kok into your beach schedule when you visit the cable car, it’s right next door. And if you want seclusion, check out Pasir Tengkorak.
4) Island hopping around Langkawi
The most popular half-day and full-day tour is an island hopping tour. Langkawi is actually an archipelago of 99 islands so you can jump on a tour boat for 4 hours or so. It usually costs around $20 and takes you to 2 or 3 deserted islands. Bring your sunscreen!
5) Check out Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls aka Seven Wells (near the cable car station):
There are waterfalls-galore in Langkawi, but the Seven Wells waterfall is the biggest, the best and the most popular. Try to go early in the morning, as your first stop of the day, to avoid the crowds.
6) Climb (or drive) Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s highest peak
Climb Langkawi’s highest peak for 360 degree views of the island. Don’t worry, it’s more of a hill than a mountain! The best views are actually from the observation platform just below the top, so you can see views from only one side of the mountain. And for those who don’t fancy hiking the 4,287 steps, you can take a super fun, windy drive all the way to the summit, on your scooter (even though it’s cheating!)
If you do want to hike it, allocate 2-3 hours, and start fro, Lubok Semilung Recreational Park at the base. Good luck!
NOTE: Don’t go and see Mahsuri’s mausoleum, probably the biggest waste of time and money imaginable!
BONUS THINGS TO DO IN LANGKAWI
Langkawi is a destination to chill in. To soak up that island life. The 6 things to do in Langkawi listed above should allow you plenty of time to relax, but also make sure you see and do all the main highlights. However, if you have lots of time, here are the other things you can also do in Langkawi to full your time:
- Mangrove tour (a boat tour through the flora of the island – HALF-DAY tours are about $30)
- Eagle Square (Langkawi’s famous eagle statue, if you spend any time on the island, you can’t miss it!)
- Temuran Waterfalls (A nice place to relax, even if the waterfall isn’t huge).
I hope this has sparked your interest. I’ve been to nearly every country in Asia east of Pakistan and never made it to Langkawi until last week, and I have been missing out. This place rocks. Happy travels!
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