Langkawi Island took me by surprise. Persuaded by a travel buddy to book a 1.5-hour spontaneous flight from Kuala Lumpur, I arrived with little expectations of what to do here apart from beach bumming and resort life. The charm of this Malaysian archipelago made up of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea might not have struck a chord with me right away, but boy, when it did, I was taken away.
I remember when clearly: that one sunset we motorcycled past rural farmland, stopping at roadside market stalls for local feeds, then journeying up twisting roads through dense ancient jungles (oh, the crisp air) towards 880m high Mount Raya rewarding ourselves with the dreamiest dusk sky over tiny islands scattered around the coastline.
Nature’s lushness teamed with genuinely friendly locals and authentic Malaysian cuisine makes Langkawi a winner of a long, indulgent weekend island escape. It’s also home to a couple of my most memorable sleepovers.
Scroll down to find the best of where I ate, stayed and played on Langkawi Island.
Eat & Drink
- Love local food too? Traditional no frills buffet-style restaurants are dotted around the island serving fish and chicken curries and spicy sambals. A well-known family-run joint is Siti Fatima in residential Kuah town.
- Also in Kuah is Wonderland Food Restaurant, arguably Langkawi’s best seafood restaurant.
- Look out for roadside stalls and vans cooking and serving authentic Malaysian street food.
- Night markets from 5pm until late are held at different locations every day of the week. (M: Ulu Melaka, T: Kedawang, W: Kuah, T: Bohor Tempoyak, F: Air Hangat Roundabout, S: Kuah, S: Padang Matsirat)
- Cantonese fare at Z&F Restaurant. Divinity comes in the form of their silky tofu. Do try homemade durian or mango ice cream made to order at their fruit shop next door too!
- If your palate craves international cuisine, look no further than award-winning Japanese restaurant Unkaizan. Ridiculously good, reasonably priced.
- For a tipple, a plethora of beach bars stretching from Pantai Tengah to Pantai Cenang await you.
- Nest Rooftop Cafe will soothe your soul with delightful mocktails and live house tunes.
- (Psst. Buying alcohol in Malaysia is expensive due to high taxes, however Langkawi is a duty-free island. Grab a bottle of wine from a supermarket and find a secluded spot on the beach. Remember to respect the environment and leave no trace.)
Four full days on Langkawi Island would be enough for me to sample its local food, nature and island life offerings. I recommend staying two nights near Pantai Cenang or Pantai Tengah to be close to nightlife and watersports. Here, have a unique sleepover inside Temple Tree’s antique homes. If you want to indulge in modern comforts while remaining close to nature, get high up in the canopies inside Ambong Ambong’s suite. On a smaller budget, The Fint Hus offers quaint, cosy studio rooms. For romantic seclusion, head northeast to luxury chic Tanjung Rhu Resort for flowing cocktails and long seaside days.
The best way to get around Langkawi Island is to hire a motorbike or car. That way, you can spontaneously stopover at secluded beaches, hawker stalls and jungle treks. Here are my top things to do on Langkawi Island:
- Paragliding over Pantai Cenang during sunset.
- Temurun Waterfall for a refreshing rainforest dip. (Note: the pool can be shallow during dry season)
- Mount Raya for sweeping sunset views. Motorcycling to the top was an adventure in itself.
- A tailored private boat tour departing from Tanjung Rhu Beach. These are plentiful and can be organised on the spot.
- Langkawi Eco Tours with professional Dev’s Adventure Tours. Check out their trips offering nature cycling, mangrove kayaking, jungle trekking, bird watching and more.
- Beach bar hopping from Pantai Tengah to Pantai Cenang. It’s less than 30 minutes walk from one side to the other. Towards Pantai Cenang, you can catch local fire dancers putting on a show.
1. Sailing the islands surrounding Tanjung Rhu Beach.
2. Limestone cliffs.
3. Sipping tea in my outdoor wooden bathtub at Temple Tree.
4. The tranquil Datai Bay exclusive for The Andaman guests.
5. Grasshoppers at Tanjung Rhu Resort.
6. Sunset seen from Tanjung Rhu Resort.
7. Fresh grilled lobster with garlic lemon butter at Wonderland Food Restaurant.
8. Pineapple sangria at Tanjung Rhu Resort.
9. A stopover at secluded Pantai Pasir Tengkorak.
10. Langkawi Sky Bridge above Mount Mat Cincang.
11. Street food cooked and served from a market stall.
12. Preparing homemade durian ice-cream at Z&F Restaurant.
13. Homemade durian ice-cream at Z&F Restaurant.
14. Jungle countryside on the way to Mount Raya.
15. A misty jungle horizon atop Mount Raya.
16. Large wooden bathtub in a suite, Ambong Ambong.
17. A memorable sunset atop Mount Raya.
Did you like this blog post? Share it with your friends and subscribe for more.
Official Tourism Malaysia website.