If you’re fully vaccinated and a resident in Malaysia, your hankering for a vacation may soon become reality! Kedah, where Langkawi is located, now allows fully vaccinated domestic travellers to travel to the archipelago. As it’s just a short one-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Langkawi is the perfect destination for a quick getaway.
Langkawi is known for its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush greenery. It may be small (it’s only double the size of Kuala Lumpur), but rest assured – there are more than enough things to experience there. If you’re planning a trip to sunny Langkawi soon, read on to find out what to do and eat, where to stay and how to get around the island!
Disclaimer: All tour suggestions in this article are based on the writer’s personal opinions.
What to see and do in Langkawi
One of the main draws of Langkawi is their idyllic beaches, of which there are plenty. A few of their many stunning beaches include Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tanjung Rhu and Pantai Kok. You can bask in the sun and get that tan going, take a swim in the turquoise waters, or try out one of the many water sports available. Tamer, kid-friendly activities you can try are the banana boat and kayak, while the more adventurous can parasail or jet ski.
Pantai Cenang is the most popular beach among locals and tourists alike, and for good reason. Its beachfront is lined with an array of cafés, hotels, bars and more, and picturesque views of the blue sea.
Another interesting beach to check out would be the Black Sand Beach, where the sand actually consists of a mix of black and white sand. This beach is quieter than the others, allowing for a great photo op without others in sight. Legend says that this interesting feature was the result of a scorned mermaid’s centuries-old curse on a fisherman who stole her ring.
The Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls are one of Langkawi’s most majestic sights, with its name holding the English meaning ‘seven wells’. It consists of seven natural pools of water with water from seven different waterfalls. Apart from the awe-inspiring view of this waterfall, you can also take in the clean, fresh air and appreciate the diverse flora and fauna around the area.
Another waterfall you can check out is the Temurun Waterfalls, located within Mat Cincang Nature Park. It’s a tiered waterfall with just a short climb to the top, where there are mischievous monkeys, fragrant flowers and cliffs that you can dive off.
Kiddos (and kids at heart), head over to Splash Out Langkawi, a water theme park for some splashing fun. Take a leisurely float in their winding lazy river, or get that adrenaline going on one of their crazy slides. Don’t forget to lather on some sunscreen!
Ancient natural wonders
Board a riverboat cruise to explore the multi-faceted Kilim Geoforest Park. On your ride in the mangroves, cruise through 500-million-year-old caves and see limestone formations with unique nicknames such as Hanging Gardens and Temple of Borobudur.
Upon entry to the Crocodile Cave, one of the park’s four caves, get up close with limestone walls that have hanging stalactites and stalagmites. Fret not – the cave got its name because it resembles a crocodile from certain angles, not because there are crocodiles there, so rest assured while cruising along the cave.
Embedded within the limestone walls of the park are a diverse range of fossils, featuring gastropods (snails and slugs), ancestors of modern insects (trilobites) and more. See if you can identify any of the fossils there!
Other than the geological wonders of the park, Kilim Geoforest Park also has amazing biodiversity. During the journey, exotic birds in eye-catching colours, squirrels, monkeys, monitor lizards may be seen, and if you’re lucky, there may even be a dolphin sighting.
Langkawi is actually an archipelago of 99 islands, so joining an island-hopping tour is the best way to check out these islets! During the tour, a speedboat brings you to different islets where you can disembark and soak in the sights. Though the tours vary slightly, most of them include stops at Pulau Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden), and Pulau Singa Besar (Giant Lion Island) and Pulau Beras Basah (Wet Rice Island). Should you like, you can go for a swim, snorkel or even try out a fish spa.
During the journey, don’t be surprised if you spot an eagle or two soaring high over the vast blue sky.
Bird’s eye view
For a breathtaking bird’s eye view of Langkawi, do check out the Langkawi Sky Bridge and cable car or scale the ethereal Gunung Raya Mountain.
See the beauty of Langkawi from above by riding a SkyCab, which will take you over lush jungle, presenting a beautiful view of the endless sea. You’ll be elevated almost 700m above sea level, where you’ll be able to glimpse the surrounding islands and perhaps even Southern Thailand! At the end of the 1700m-long journey, you’ll arrive at the Sky Bridge, where refreshments are available for purchase. Enjoy some ice-cold Coca-Cola while appreciating the views here!
Fans of the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Don: The Chasing Begins Again’ will be delighted to know that the movie’s final scene was filmed at this very bridge!
Gunung Raya Mountain, with its 881m high peak, is the tallest mountain in Langkawi. At its base, golfers can tee off amid lush greenery at the Gunung Raya Golf Resort. There are two ways to get to the top – either leisurely drive up or get your heart pumping by taking a hike. At the top, there are different facilities, such as a spa, a viewing tower and food establishments offering mouthwatering Vietnamese and Italian cuisine. To enter the viewing tower, there is an entry fee of RM10 that comes with a soothing cup of ginger tea.
Rest and relaxation
The main attraction of Air Hangat Village is its rejuvenating hot spring, but it’s not your average hot spring – instead of a freshwater hot spring, it is a salt water hot spring, one of only four in the world. Dip your feet in one of the pools or relax in one of their salt water jacuzzis.
A piece of heritage
If you arrive at the island via ferry, one of the first sights that greets you at the jetty is the towering statue of an eagle poised to take flight. The eagle is an emblem of Langkawi, for the island’s name was derived from the Malay words ‘helang’, meaning ‘eagle’, and ‘kawi’, meaning ‘reddish-brown’, because of the red-backed eagles that dominate the skies above the island.
Just beside the jetty, Lagenda Langkawi Park is a landscaped folklore-themed park where you can discover the mythical tales of Langkawi. There are colourful statues, sculptures and stone carvings depicting different Langkawi legends.
Where to eat in Langkawi
Restoran Siti Fatimah
A favourite among locals, this northern Malay restaurant whips up an array of over 70 mouth-watering dishes, served buffet style. Expect fresh fish curries and juicy ayam goreng (fried chicken). And if you’re up for it, sample their gulai ikan talang masin, a salted fish curry that features salted queen fish, pineapples (yes, pineapple in curry) and vegetables. Go before noon to avoid the lunchtime crowds!
This classic breakfast spot is conveniently located in Pantai Cenang, serving up classic Malaysian fare, alongside Western breakfast options. Order their roti canai (traditional Indian flatbread) or banana pancakes, and wash it down with a satisfying cup of teh (tea).
Langkawi Fish Farm Restaurant
Have your pick from the assortment of seafood that Langkawi Fish Farm Restaurant serves up here – prawns, lobster, crabs… you name it, they have it! Enjoy the gentle sea breeze while feasting on fresh seafood, best accompanied by one of their affordable beers that start at RM8.
Maya Seafood Restaurant
Located along Pantai Tengah beachfront, this Muslim restaurant sells a variety of Malay, Thai and Western dishes. Come with an empty stomach – the portions are as huge as they are delicious. Try to spot Maya herself when you dine there!
Kayuputi, meaning ‘white wood’ in English, is located within The St. Regis Langkawi is a serene space serving fusion Asian cuisine with locally-sourced ingredients. If you get the opportunity, relax on one of their sundecks and take in the awe-inspiring views while sipping on a cocktail. This restaurant doesn’t accept walk-ins, so do book in advance.
The Gulai House
This highly-lauded Malaysian restaurant is nestled within foliage that’s 10 million years old! The location may seem secluded, but this is intentional. It’s all part of The Gulai House’s charm, with their decor and floor seating on hand-woven mats being a nod to traditional Malay kampung (village) houses. Malaysian food with wine pairings is the star of the show here, so try their flavourful sup ketam berserai (lemongrass crab soup), which has been a mainstay on their menu for 20-odd years, and pair it with a white wine to balance it out.
Where to stay in Langkawi
The Villa Langkawi
The Villa Langkawi is a comfortable and spacious hotel conveniently located along Jalan Pantai Tengah, just a stone’s throw away from the junction of Pantai Tengah and Pantai Cenang. Most rooms come with a sunbed just outside the room, great for getting that gorgeous sun kissed glow! Nightly room rates start from RM298 for a standard room for two and go up to RM848 for an executive suite for six.
Berjaya Langkawi Resort
This popular homegrown hotel brand’s Langkawi outpost located in a tranquil tropical rainforest, perfect for those who are looking for some peace and quiet. Opt for one of their chalets, or splash out on a suite on water – the rooms are perched along the Andaman seafront, boasting a spectacular view of Burau Bay.
A night in Berjaya Langkawi Resort’s rainforest chalet during the off-peak period costs RM300, and can go up to RM700 for stays during public holidays.
The Ocean Residence Langkawi
Take in the fresh ocean air and let the calming sounds of the sea soothe your senses as you unwind at The Ocean Residence, which, as its name suggests, is located near the sea. And if you feel like it, take a dip in their infinity pool that overlooks the sea. Take your pick from their selection of rooms – they have basic rooms, suites, container-style rooms and ocean front villas. The nightly rate for a room is RM300, while suites start at RM600 and ocean front villas cost up to RM1,700.
The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi
Enjoy an extraordinary stay at the Ritz where curated luxury meets raw nature. With their plethora of amenities available, you can get your dose of vitamin D by sunbathing on their private beach or do some rejuvenating yoga at one of their yoga decks. All villas come with a private pool (the largest one is 92 sqm!) and your choice of either a rainforest or ocean view. Room rates start from RM1,127 per night.
The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa
The Westin is nestled on a sandy beach nearby the Langkawi Jetty Point, making it ideal for those who would like weekend excursions to the mainland. For those interested in learning more about Langkawi’s diverse flora and fauna, you can take a stroll with their Naturalist who will be happy to educate you. You can also pamper yourself at the renowned Heavenly Spa by Westin™ where you can indulge in therapeutic wellness offerings derived from Malay, Ayurveda, Turkish, Swedish and Indonesian facials, body exfoliations, foot and bathing rituals. Or frolick in one of their four seaside pools. Or attend one of their complimentary yoga sessions.
The Westin’s numerous facilities will ensure that you will always have an activity to look forward to! For those in big groups, you can stay in their roomy two-storey five-bedroom villa and a Bale Benggong, a traditional Malay massage area complete with comfy massage chairs. Prices start from RM351 per night.
How to get around Langkawi
There is a public bus service in Langkawi, though the service is spotty – buses are few, the waits are long and the schedule (or lack thereof) is irregular. So the best way to get around would be by car, whether it’s by taxi or rental car. You can rent a car at the airport or at the jetty. Taxis are readily available, though they may end up being rather pricey as they are catered towards tourists.
Malaysia’s easing of the restrictions on interstate travel is joyous news for everyone, but remember to always take precautions to stay safe against Covid-19! Wear your mask unless eating or drinking, avoid touching surfaces, frequently clean your hands, and maintain distance from others. This way, you’ll not only be protecting yourself, but others too. Kita jaga kita – we take care of each other.
Written By: Natalie
Edited By: Jamie