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Written by Savi, 39 Comments

THINGS TO DO IN LANGKAWI

 

Welcome to an Island Paradise. Here rice paddies dilly dally with lush tropical rain-forests and secluded beaches set the scene for stunning sunsets. It’s easy to spend weeks lazing around on Langkawi’s powdery beaches while devouring delicious Malaysian food but if you’re bitten by the travel bug, there’s tons of things to do in Langkawi.

 

Renting a car is undoubtedly the best way to explore the island. There are a number of car-rental booths at the airport and rental prices start from as little as £8/day. Here’s a short video of our time on the island and a list of our favourite things to do in Langkawi, Malaysia 🙂

 

 

1) Go Island Hopping

Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands located just off the coast of Malaysia in the Andaman Sea. Unsurprisingly there are dozens of opportunities to explore the small islands scattered around the main inhabited island. It’s easy to book a day tour on a catamaran or speed boat and visit a few islands. However we’re not big fans of the package tours that include clichéd pit stops such as Pulau Dayang Bunting (Island of the Pregnant Maiden) because such day trips involve tourists being packed like sardines into overcrowded boats and regimented stops at already jam-packed islands.

 

Instead we would highly recommend renting a boat for a day at Kuah Jetty or Tanjung Rhu Jetty (make sure you bargain!) to explore uninhabited islands.  Ask the boatman for suggestions and flesh out an itinerary before you start off for the day. If you’re in the mood for something indulgent and ultra-romantic, check out Casa Del Mar’s Castaway Picnic  – a gourmet picnic on a remote island just for the couple in question. It’s perfect 🙂

 

Things to do in Langkawi
Explore the islands that form part of the archipelago

 

2) Sample Local Food

Langkawi’s local food is all kinds of scintillating. Both of us have a long standing love-affair with Malaysian food, which we’ve written about many times- it’s just the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spicy. Our favourite places in Langkawi?

  • Nasi Kandar Tomato (Tomato Restaurant) is one of our favourite haunts in Langkawi – it’s open 24 hours a day. It’s really popular with locals and is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The sprawling restaurant has an enviable selection of Roti Canai (£0.20 – £0.80), Mee Goreng (£0.40), Malay curries (£1 – £2) at prices that will keep you going back for more. A word of caution – lookout for the original “Tomato Restaurant” because there are a fair few knock-offs. The real deal is on Jalan Pantai Tengah, just off Jalan Pantai Cenang.
  • If you enjoy Laksa, then you must try the Laksa vans lined up near the Langkawi Airport. Our sources tell us Laksa Power is the best of the bunch. Umm – so good.
  • If you’re after a light snack, hit the daily night market. The market is at a different place every night. Pick scrumptious satays, murtabak (flatbreads layered with minced lamb) and an Iced Milo (or Milo Dinosaur as it is known in South-East Asia) or Malaysian Syrup, a brightly-coloured cold drink.

 

Things to do in Langkawi street food
Local food in Langkawi – SO good 🙂

 

3) Go For A Mangrove Tour With Dev’s Adventure Tours

Glide through the labyrinthine mangroves of Langkawi on a speed boat or kayak while spotting snakes, eagles, monkeys, crabs, and snails. Marvel at the skirt-like trees that thrive in this mysterious swampy area and listen to the call of the cicadas. Don’t forget to visit Langkawi’s famous Bat Cave on your Mangrove Tour. This spooky cave is 390 million (yep, you heard that right!!) years old. Its walls are lined with hundreds of bats and rock structures – stalactites, stalacmites, straws, and sculptures all made of rock boast of the marks left on this cave over time.

 

Try to opt for an eco-friendly tour company that does its bit for the environment. This is especially important in Langkawi because its delicate eco-system is endangered by unlicensed tour operators who don’t respect speed limits imposed by UNESCO and don’t think twice before force-feeding birds and animals. We opted for a tour with Dev’s Adventure Tours after asking a couple of locals and would recommend the company. They have a host of educated guides on board who respect nature and don’t exploit animals. More information on their website :- www.langkawi-nature.com

 

Things to do in Langkawi
The skirt-like roots of Langkawi’s mangroves are endlessly fascinating

 

4) Relax At Tanjung Rhu Beach

There are beaches and then there’s Tanjung Rhu. Located at the northernmost tip of the island, this beach is straight out of a dream. A secluded powdery beach overlooking stray islands is surrounded by limestone crags and Langkawi’s famous rain-forests.

 

A part of this beach is reserved for the guests of Tanjung Rhu Resort but not too many people know that the rest of it is open to the public. That might be why it’s never too crowded. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find more than a dozen people there at any given time – perfect for day dreaming and other such 🙂

 

If you’re up for a boat ride, you could rent a boat at Tanjung Rhu Jetty and explore Gua Cherita (Cave of Legends). This set of two limestone caves sits in the midst of turquoise blue waters. Gua Cherita is shrouded in mystery. According to local folklore, the Princess of China was captured and kept hostage inside the caves by Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s eagle. However she was eventually reunited with her soulmate – the Roman prince – at Gua Cherita.

 

Things to do in Langkawi
Tanjung Rhu Beach aka Paradise

 

Things to do in Langkawi - Tanjung Rhu
Tanjung Rhu Beach – secluded and perfect!

 

5) Unwind At Wu Senses Sanctuary

Wu Senses is Mandarin for Five Senses and sure enough this is a retreat that will awaken your senses of taste, smell, sight, touch, and feeling. Owned by an affable Chinese lady Pei Pei, this retreat is located in the middle of lush paddy fields. Pei Pei’s house is perfect if you want to explore Langkawi on a budget. She lets out the entire house on Air B&B. Lemongrass trees and hammocks greet you as you enter this traditional wooden Malay house comprising two spacious bedrooms, a huge verandah, kitchen, and dining room. Pei Pei has worked in luxury spas for over a decade and is an excellent masseuse and chef. Make sure you sample her home-cooked food and sensational massages if you stay at Wu Senses Sanctuary. Our favourite part? The massage studio has large windows overlooking bougainvillea trees and paddy fields – a massage here is bound to put you at peace within seconds 🙂

More details on Air B&B here

things to do in Langkawi
The two of us with Pei Pei, the owner of Wu Senses Sanctuary

 

things to do in Langkawi
Relaxing at Wu Senses Sanctuary

 

6) Drive To Gunung Raya – Langkawi’s Highest Mountain

A picturesque drive on a winding road will take you to Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s highest mountain.If you love spotting wildlife, then you might be in for a treat on this drive. We spotted the monitor lizard and the ever elusive long-tailed Macaque (see our video above). Once you’re at the top of the mountain, you could take the elevator to the top of the Watch Tower for some seriously stunning panoramas of Langkawi. On a clear day, it’s easy to spot Langkawi’s lush rainforests, its network of roads, and 360° views of Langkawi’s awe-inspiring natural beauty. This is the perfect spot to witness one of Langawi’s famous sunsets.

 

Admission fee for the Watch Tower :- RM10/£2 (as of December 2014)

 

Things to do in Langkawi
The view from the top of the Watch Tower at Gunung Raya

 

7) Step On That Cable Car 

No list of things to do in Langkawi would be complete without a mention of the Cable Car. Yes it is one of Langkawi’s most touristy attractions, but you can’t leave the island without experiencing the world’s highest cable car ride can you?

 

Do yourself a favour and skip the rather tatty Oriental Village that is part of the complex. Make a beeline for the Cable Car. After a wobbly 15 minute ride on the world’s steepest cable car, followed by another 30 minutes of waiting for the clouds to clear, you will be rewarded with this magnificent view of lush tropical forests, turquoise water, and many of Langkawi’s 104  islands – it’s totally worth the wait 🙂

 

Tickets start at RM54/£10 (as of December 2014). More information on their website www.panoramalangkawi.com

 

things to do in Langkawi cable car
The view from the top 🙂

 

things to do in Langkawi cable car
The two of us at the viewing gallery

 

Things to do in Langkawi cable car
Langkawi’s Cable Car

 

8) Hike to the Durian Perangin and Temurun Waterfalls 

There is no shortage of waterfalls in Langkawi but Durian Perangin and Temurun Waterfalls would have to be our favourites. Durian Perangin is definitely the more popular of the two – it seems to be the locals’ favourite picnic spot on the island. You will spot a few shops at the entrance. Be prepared for a steep climb once you enter – Durian Perangin is a multi-tiered waterfall and there are panoramic points at every step of the way. The waterfall isn’t particularly spectacular but it’s free to enter and well worth a visit. Make sure you carry your swimwear – you could join the locals for a dip in the shallow rock pools made by the falls.

 

Temurun Waterfall, close to Datai Beach, is the lesser known of the two. The 3-tiered waterfall passes through scenic surroundings as you probably saw in the video above. Make sure you don’t carry food as there are a fair few macaque monkeys around. We hiked all the way up to the topmost tier and spent some time at the rock pool – we were the only ones there at the time, so we had the waterfall all to ourselves. Aah!!

 

A word of caution :- Langkawi’s waterfalls are reduced to a trickle during the dry season. You’re better off skipping them completely because a visit is bound to leave you disappointed. September, October, and November are the best months to visit the waterfalls. A hike to one of these waterfalls is definitely one of the more active things to do in Langkawi – after lazing on the beach for 4 days we welcomed the moderate activity 😉

 

things to do in Langkawi
We were the only ones around at Temurun Waterfall the day we visited 🙂

 

9) Talk To The People

It’s a fact universally acknowledged that island folk are the happiest people in the world (sorry Jane Austen!). We met such happy people during our stay in Langkawi – everywhere we went locals made us feel at home. That’s probably why we never wanted to leave. Here are some of the smiles we enountered and the stories behind them :-

 

  • Langkawi is predominantly Muslim, so Friday is observed as a weekly holiday. Every Friday, Muslims congregate for prayers in the numerous mosques scattered around the island. This is followed by family outings. These kids were sat on the table next to ours and spent 20 minutes pestering their parents for a second round of dessert. Sometime during those 20 minutes, they took a fancy to my camera and came to sit with us. We got talking and spent the entire afternoon with them. 3 hours later, I had to tear Savi away from this mischievous lot. Such posers 🙂

 

things to do in Langkawi
Gorgeous smiles everywhere

 

  • We pulled up on the side of the road to sample some street food. That’s when we spotted this lady frying banana fritters. I walked up to her to ask her if I could click a photo of the fritters – she called her grandsons out of the adjoining house and the next half an hour was spent clicking their photos. On getting back, we got the photos printed and sent the prints all the way to Langkawi 🙂

 

Things to do in Langkawi street food
Banana fritters anyone?

 

10) Watch the sun go down at Pantai Cenang

Langkawi’s sunsets are famous and not without reason. The colours at sunset are literally breathtaking. Pantai Cenang, Langkawi’s main strip, is jam-packed with beach-front hotels and restaurants. Make sure you drop by for drinks or a languorous meal as you watch the sky turn ochre, indigo, and violet all at once.

 

We love La Sal – the al-fresco restaurant at Hotel Casa Del Mar. The restaurant serves the best cocktails on the island and dishes up scrumptious grub as well. Of course the multi-hued sunsets are the star of the show. Still not convinced? Take a look at this :-

 

Casa Del Mar Langkawi Review-46
Sunset from La Sal, Casa Del Mar’s in-house restaurant

 

Things to do in Langkawi casa del mar
The in-house restaurant at Casa Del Mar – this picture says it all 🙂

 

Have you been to Langkawi? Is it on your wishlist? Just drop us a line in the comments below if you have any questions or suggestions on your favourite things to do in Langkawi 🙂

 

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Looking for the hotel of your dreams in Langkawi? Read our detailed review of Casa Del Mar or compare the best hotels here🙂

Wondering what to pack? Check out our Langkawi Lookbook for inspiration 🙂

Planning a trip to South East Asia? Don’t forget to read our tips on accommodation, street food, and sightseeing

 

39 thoughts on “10 Things To Do In Langkawi

  1. HI savi,

    Awesome post .

    Quick question : I’m in UK these days , and would like to meet one of my favourite bloggers 😛 In any case thats possible 🙂

    1. Hey Sonal – just getting around to replying to you. The past couple of months have been crazy as I mentioned over Instagram. Looking forward to seeing you whenever you’re here next 🙂

  2. It looks like you two had a great time. We were there in January 2014 and weren’t fans of Langkawi we actually only stayed 4 nights and then took a boat to Koh Lipe, Thailand which is now our favorite island in the world!

    1. Hey Hannah – Langkawi might not be our favourite place in SE Asia but we did enjoy it while we were there. Definitely need to explore Koh Lipe – heard such great things about it 🙂

  3. Awesome guys! Those beaches look so similar to those of Koh Lanta, which is right up the coast. I recall one beach in particular, it looks identical just about to Tanjung Rhu Beach, save a little bit of the background scenery. Same creeping vegetation on the beach and the sand is similar too. We’ve heard fab things about Langkawi; time to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    1. Hey Ryan – we’ve never been to Koh Lanta but heard great things about it too 🙂 The scenery in parts of South East Asia is eerily similar – I remember stumbling on a beach in Mui Ne, Vietnam that I could’ve sworn I’d seen in Cambodia 😉

  4. Hi, We are planning to go to Singapore this month for 3 days and from there 2 days to Langkawi. Please give us an insight as where we should stay and how to plan this 2 days trip.

  5. I somehow didn’t get to Langkawi when I was visiting Malaysia, and your post makes we want to go back!

    Langkawi was high on my list, but I had to choose between that and Borneo, which I ended up loving!

    -Todd
    PS – amazing Sunset from La Sal /Casa Del Mar!

    1. Hi Ananth,

      We actually just asked our hotel to arrange with a local supplier. Alternatively, when you land, you could just book at the airport itself – lots of rental agencies there and all seem to offer similar prices/service.

  6. I am planning to go langkawi for my honeymoon in jan’2016 will stay there for three night.
    can you suggest me how to arrange the these three days to enjoy fully.
    one more thing I want to ask is there any option to enjoy the nightlife in pub or disc(decent)?

  7. Hi guys,

    I just read your blog and i’m looking forward on following up on some of the tips as I just arrived in langkawi. Quick question though. Renting the boat, did you rent it with a captain or did you guys just drove it yourself?

    Looking forward to your reply

    Nick

    1. Hey Nick,

      I don’t think you’d get the boat all to yourself – it’ll always come with a captain, at least ours did 😉

      Cheers

  8. Hey, we visited langkawi this January. And its one of the best vacations we had. I would just like to update here that, I agree with Vid on Tanjung Rhu being the best beach ever, we wanted an affordable place to stay there on our trip. We stayed in a budget friendly cottage called Labu Labi Residences. It has the best view one could get at almost negligible prices. Its almost connected to Tanjung Rhu Resort, gives you the same view and serenity experience at much lower costs.

    Its a must visit place.

  9. Awesome recommendations! Can’t wait to try a few items on your list in two weeks. Do you recommend renting a car? Is it easy to drive there?

    1. Hey Menka – sure, it’s easy to drive in Langkawi. Just avoid the really crowded marketplaces 🙂 Have fun in Langkawi

    2. Hiring a car is the most easiest way to explore the island. There are car rental outlet at the langkawi airport. They are pretty affordable (and you can test your bargaining skills as well :)..)

  10. Hi, your blog on Langkawi is well written and extremely informative. Exactly what I was looking for.

    But, could you please suggest where I could stay with my husband? any good reasonable hotels which would be preferably on or close to the Pantai Cenang beach?

    Look forward to your suggestions!

    1. Thanks Prantika. We stayed at Casa Del Mar and Bon Ton in Langkawi and really enjoyed them. You’ll find detailed reviews, photos, and even a video on our blog which will give you a good idea of what to expect 😀

  11. Ive always been fond of Langkawi. Do travel there at least once a year at least. Being a Malaysian living in the capital , having a serene landscape to go to is always welcoming.
    Not sure if the food is to everyone’s liking but I totally love the local Malay delicacy that is the mixed rice with a whole variety of seafood spread.

    Feast yourself to some grill squid and fish with the local Malay belacan. You can find a whole street of restaurant near the airport (cant recall the name of the street). but just ask any local for ‘Kedai Ikan Bakar’.

    The island has been booming with new attractions for the whole family lately. For anyone that has not been to the cable car, you have to try it out. Quite an extraordinary view from the top of the mountain and not to mention the glass bottom skybridge.

    On the whole, i think Langkawi is one of the most underrated islands . Its clean, has some nice bars, really nice family fun activities and best of all, really pleasant locals generally.

    Brilliant pictures Savi Vid, what camera model did you use.?

  12. Thanks for the informative write up guys. I’m planning to visit in Aug second week for 3 days. Could you please help me with the must do things in 3 days.

    1. Hey Abhi – just pick and choose from these 10 things based on your interests. Do take the cable car – quite a cool view from up there 🙂

  13. Hi Savi,

    You guys are just wonderful among the travel blogs. I always loved your tips & description on the places you guys explore. Kudos to both of you and stay addicted to travelling !!!!

    Next month me and my friends are well set to explore Malaysia. I have a small enquiry on self renting a car in Langkawi, what’s your call on that? I will be there for 3 days in Langkawi. Will it be worthy or taxi is a better option?

    Look forward to your suggestions !!!

    1. Hey Mady,

      Thanks for your kind words 🙂

      We’d always suggest renting a car over a taxi – gives you so much flexibility to explore at your own pace. We had no problems renting in Langkawi 🙂

  14. Hey Savi,
    I have been reading your blog for long time now and i am planing my trip to Langkawi in August i just had one question, what was the document requirement to rent a car? do i need an international driving license ? Or Indian driving license will work?

    1. Hey Pallavi,

      You just need your Indian driving license to rent a car in Langkawi 🙂 we had no issues driving on the island and renting/returning was a breeze too 🙂

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