Langkawi Island, located 30km off the northwest of the Malaysian mainland, is home to breath-taking waterfalls and forest valleys. An archipelago of 101 islands, the jewel of the state of Kedah is the only UNESCO Global Geopark listed in the South East Asian region.
With Malaysia’s proximity to the equator, Langkawi’s consistent warm weather makes it a popular tourist destination all year round, and its turquoise waters certainly helps!
Read on to find out more about the best things to do in Langkawi:
1. Mangrove Tour
When it comes to experiencing the best sights of Langkawi, look no further than Langkawi’s mangrove tours. You can either book your tours online in advance (recommended for larger groups/private boats) or check out the packages available at Tanjung Rhu Jetty or Kilim Geoforest Park Jetty. Most tours are leisurely boat rides but you can opt for kayaking in some parts.
Have a leisurely tour through Langkawi’s extensive forest ecosystems, wetlands, mangrove forests and beaches and enjoy the breeze as you hit up some of Langkawi’s best attractions. Along the way, you might even see monkeys and eagles perching on tree branches looking down at you.
Depending on your preferred tour duration, you can choose to hit up all the attractions available and even go for longer tours that include swimming at one of the many private beaches available. Most tours include a visit to the bat-speckled walls of the Bat Cave, a cruise through the Crocodile Cave, a quick eagle feeding session and a trip to the Floating Fish Farm!
End your tour with a journey through the Andaman Sea and don’t forget to take a few pictures in front of the Kilim Geoforest sign!
2. Langkawi SkyCab and SkyBridge
If you fancy seeing Langkawi from approximately 700 metres above sea level, look no further than Langkawi’s SkyCab! Suspended atop the mountain of Machincang, the cable car ride begins at the foot of the mountain, at the beautiful Oriental Village, and takes about 15 minutes. The village is also a great place for sightseeing, as it offers a myriad of retail activities, food stalls, exhibits and even a petting farm, all centred on a small lake.
The cable car ride offers amazing panoramic views of Langkawi and even glimpses of nearby islands if you happen to be there on a cloudless day. You can even opt for a glass bottom gondola, a 360 gondola or even a private gondola instead of the standard one. While you have your eyes on the surrounding area, don’t forget to look out for a glimpse of the Seven Wells Waterfalls on your way up!
Once you make your way to the top, you’ll see a couple of viewing platforms as well as a small café and a gift shop. The viewing platforms offer stunning views of the Straits of Malacca, Paradise 101, Thailand’s islands in the distance as well as the Skybridge below!
The SkyBridge is a curved suspension bridge, which stretches for 125 metres over the mountain’s canopy, offering incredible views of the surrounding landscape and is an amazing spot for that idyllic Instagram shot! Feeling adventurous? Why not pose on one of the glass floors?
3. Cenang Beach
The most popular beach in Langkawi, Chenang Beach is about a 2km long stretch of white sand that is popular with locals and tourists alike. The stretch of beach plays hosts to multiple hotels, resorts and chalets, and with a road that runs alongside it, you can find shops, restaurants, souvenir shops, bars and even spas at these parts.
With kiosks on the beach offering snorkelling, Jet Ski rentals, parasailing and boat rides, the beach offers excellent options for water sports. If you prefer swimming or just lounging around on the beach, Chenang is perfect for that too! However, be prepared for a massive influx of visitors during peak seasons such as school holidays.
Chenang’s vibrant beachside shops are also part of why people flock there. You can find all sorts of things like beachwear, hats, souvenirs and restaurants that offer all kinds of cuisines. At night, beach bars are the stars of Chenang Beach, as some of them feature nightly fire shows and outdoor seating for patrons.
4. Snorkeling at Payar Island
Located 35km south of Langkawi, Pulau Payar (Payar Island) is the most popular snorkelling and diving destination, famous for its corals and is about 45 minutes away from Langkawi’s Kuah Jetty.
Along with Pulau Kaca (Glass Island), Pulau Lembu (Cow Island) and Pulau Segantang (Segantang Island), Pulau Payar Marine Park is the oldest marine park in Malaysia and boasts diverse marine life and bright, multi-hued soft corals. With sandy beaches suitable for picnics and hiking trails for anyone who prefers staying away from the water, there is something for everyone.
As the marine park is home to many endangered species of fishes and marine organisms, tourist activities are restricted, so you will have to book a tour or package in advance.
5. Duty-Free Shopping
Langkawi was granted a duty-free status since 1987, making it a shopping heaven! Items like alcohol, chocolates, fragrances, kitchenware and luggage are significantly cheaper at designated stores.
Chocolates and alcohol are probably the most popular and most bought duty-free items, and you can usually find them in the same establishment. The best duty-free shops can be found along Cenang Beach and also the town of Kuah, the capital of Langkawi.
There’s Coco Valley, which is located next to Underwater World Langkawi at Cenang Beach and also in Kuah town. Like the name suggests, Coco Valley has a large range of chocolate products available as well as some liquor and cookware. The Zon Shopping Paradise is also next to Underwater World, which offers more diverse items like perfumes and leather goods in addition to liquor and chocolates. Teow Soon Huat Duty Free and Haji Ismail Group are both located at Kuah town, and are often patronised by locals. You can find all kinds of chocolates and suitcases there for irresistible prices, sometimes even cheaper than the ones at Cenang Beach.
If you’re strapped for time, you can even get tax-free goodies at Langkawi International Airport and at the Jetty Point ferry terminal on your way out of Langkawi.
6. Seven Wells Waterfall
Located 20 minutes away from Langkawi Sky Bridge, Seven Wells Waterfall, also known as Telaga Tujuh Waterfall, is one of Langkawi’s most beautiful natural attractions. It flows down Mount Machincang and is made up of seven natural pools that cascade to a lower pool below.
The lower section is easily accessible by a short hike from the parking lots and is popular among families looking for a refreshing dip on a hot day. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb all the way to the top of the waterfall, which takes about an hour of steep steps. Be careful though, the walk up can be quite strenuous and the currents can get pretty strong, especially after some rain.
7. Hidden Langkawi
Hidden Langkawi is located at Pantai Tengah, and true to its name, it’s a bit of a hidden gem! Its entrance along Jalan Teluk Baru is understated but don’t let that fool you, this hideaway boasts amazing vibes, performances, food and views!
Operating from noon to 2am, this double-storey restaurant serves decadent milkshakes, cocktails, pizzas, tacos and fries, all of which you can enjoy with an amazing sunset view overlooking Pantai Tengah or while watching stunning fire shows at night. If you’re looking for a chill place to have some quality time and food, this is the place to be!
8. Atma Alam Batik Art Village
Looking to explore your more creative side? For only RM30, the batik-painting activity is a must-do! Be surrounded by a tranquil ambiance, with greenery and fishponds while producing your masterpiece!
While waiting for your batik painting to dry, take a walk around the Batik Village and maybe get yourself something else to take home! Atma Alam also sells everything batik, from purses, masks, neckties to kaftans, dresses and traditional wear, so that you too can strut the streets of Chenang… Langkawi-style!
9. Visit the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden
Also known as Tasik Dayang Bunting, the lake is situated on the second largest island in Langkawi’s cluster. Legend says that the waters are imbued with powers to heal infertility. Despite its proximity to the sea, it is the largest freshwater lake in Malaysia and is a popular stop in most island-hopping tours! Amid forested hills and rocky outcrops, this beautiful lake is a popular spot for water activities, especially for families!
To swim in the lake, you’ll need to have a life jacket, as the lake is especially deep. However, the specially done kiddie pools are the perfect depth for children and for anyone who just wants to dip their toes. Feeling adventurous? Go ahead and rent one of the kayaks or try out the Aquaritz iAQUA SeaDart! The first of its kind in Malaysia, the stylish watercraft propels you forward, making for a unique experience unlike any other!
10. Indulge in delicious cuisine
Despite being a tourist hub, Langkawi still very much has that small-town vibe, with influences from Malaysian states as well as nearby Thailand. You can find all sorts of cuisines here, from fresh seafood to authentic Thai food and traditional Negeri Sembilan food.
We highly recommend Wan Thai Langkawi Restaurant if you’re in the mood for spicy Tom Yam soup, Wonderland Food Store if you’re feeling like seafood, Scarborough Fish & Chips if you’re looking for Western food, or even Cili Kampung for their infamous Daging Salai Masak Lemak Cili Api!
Langkawi Island is one of, if not the most popular Malaysian beach destination islands, thanks to it being home to not just great food and stunning landscapes, but also lost legends and glorious waterfalls.
Have you made your way to the Jewel of Kedah?