Langkawi consists of 104 islands, with the largest island being Langkawi. Only four of these islands are inhabited with a population of less than 100,000 in total. We stayed on the main island at Pantai Cenang which is one of the most popular beaches.
Getting in Langkawi
We took the ferry from Penang to Langkawi which takes less than two hours and departs daily. Daily direct flights from Kuala Lumpur or Penang to Langkawi are also pretty cheap and convenient for people who have less time.
There is no public transport on Langkawi, hence the best options to get around are taxis or motorbike rentals. Taxis operate by a fixed fee schedule, hence one cannot bargain on prices. A taxi from Kuah Jetty Point (the ferry pier) to Cenang beach costs RM30. It is pretty easy to find other people going in the same direction so taxi costs can be shared.
Motor bike rental is also pretty cheap and convenient since you will have the freedom of exploring the island at your own pace. Rentals start from RM35 a day and better prices can be negotiated for longer periods.
As goes for the rest of South East Asia, I would not recommend to book beforehand as prices are usually cheaper when you walk-in. Most places would also be happy to give you a discount for longer stays. We always shortlist some accommodations that are within our price range and requirements (location, review score, etc.) prior to arrival and then look around.
We stayed at The Cottage in a 6 bed dorm for RM40 per night for both of us. As there were no other guests we had the dorm for ourselves almost all nights.
Things to do
We spent most of our days in Langkawi at this beach. While it is not the most spectacular beach we have ever seen, it is still nice. Plenty of places to rent umbrellas and deckchairs for a cheap price and a lot of water sports available. Cheaper food and drinks can be found in the main road rather than in the seafront restaurants and bars. Make sure you do not miss a sunset on Cenang Beach during your stay.
Island hopping tour
The standard tour offered by all travel agencies for just around RM35. All tours include a stop at the Lake of Pregnant Maiden, eagle feeding and finally a stop on picturesque Beras Basah island for some beach time. Keeping in mind the price of this tour, I think it is a worthwhile activity but do expect large crowds.
We used Mangrove Tour by Bard and can highly recommend it. We left from Tanjung Rhu towards Kilim river which is part of the Kilim Geoforest park. Included in the RM100 per person was a stop at the floating fish farm, where we later had lunch, a visit to the bat caves, eagle watching and the mangrove forest tour. Tours are always cheaper when booked directly not online or through agents and hotels. Prices only differ slightly for these standard tours from different operators. It is a good idea to check latest online reviews from fellow travelers about different operators.
Rent a scooter
Rent a bike and go explore the island. Within reach you have amazing waterfalls, the sky bridge for magnificent views and the oriental village among other attractions. Roads in Langkawi are good and not busy, which makes renting a bike a great option even for those less experienced.
Location varies depending on the day. We went on a Thursday night, when it is closest to Pantai Cenang. Go hungry and you will not be disappointed.
Duty free shopping
In 1987, to increase Langkawi’s attractiveness to foreigners, it was granted a tax free status. The result is you can get a beer for as cheap as €0.30 from the duty free shops. Alcohol from bars can still be pretty expensive since it is mainly a commodity for tourists as most Malaysians are Muslim and do not drink.
Whilst traveling we learnt that sometimes it is not about a specific location but often about our experiences in that particular place. We cannot write about Langakwi without mentioning our friends from Office? No Thanks! It feels good to meet people in life with similar aspirations and dreams. Tara and Silviu thank you for making our time in Langkawi memorable. We hope to cross paths again soon, but in the meantime we will continue following your adventures from the lovely videos you are making. Follow them by subscribing to their YouTube channel and make your grandma subscribe as well 🙂