Langkawi is synonymous with ‘tropical paradise.’ This breathtaking island, officially known as Langkawi Permata Kedah (Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah) is an archipelago of 104 islands, lies at the northern tip of Peninsular Malaysia in the southern Andaman Sea, and is part of the state of Kedah.
The duty-free paradise offers everything from pristine white beaches, exotic marine life, majestic views of mist-covered mountains, magnificent waterfalls, lush ancient rainforests, quaint villages and magnificent golf courses. Here is a list of the best things to do in Langkawi.
Head to the beach
The main reason tourists flock to the island is for its beautiful beaches. Pantai Cenang is one of the loveliest beaches on this island paradise, where you can choose to swim, jet-ski, water-ski, windsurf or go catamaran sailing and boating. You will find a lot of restaurants, bars, and bars in the area as well.
Tanjung Rhu is an unspoiled enclave nestled in the shade of swaying casuarina trees. It’s also the location of some luxury resorts.
Pasir Pantai Hitam – literally ‘black sand beach’ – is named for its glittering black sand, which is thought to be caused by tin or an oxide of tin. The beach is only a few meters wide and boasts souvenir shops and fishing spots.
Ride to the top in a cable car
The Langkawi Cable Car ride takes visitors on a 20-minutes ride from the base station at Oriental Village to the peak station at the top of Mount Machincang. It grants a spectacular view of the surrounding islands, the hillside flora, and several waterfalls, and offers an occasional glimpse of wildlife.
The Pulau Payar Marine Park comprises four islands: Pulau Payar, Pulau Lembu, Pulau Segantang, and Pulau Kaca, of which Pulau Payar boasts some of the finest diving sites on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The waters teem with a fascinating array of hard and soft corals, as well as multi-colored tropical fish. You’ll also find some artificial reefs at Pulau Kaca and Pulau Lembu. The park is open all year round but the best time to visit is between February and November.
Play a round of golf
Golf is one of Langkawi’s most popular attractions, and its courses are among the most spectacular in Asia. The three courses available on this beautiful island include Datai Bay Golf and Country Club, Gunung Raya Golf Resort, and Langkawi Golf Club.
There is a wide array of caves to explore, each with its unique allure. Langkawi’s most famous cave, Gua Cerita or Cave of Stories features ancient inscriptions on its walls, believed to be verses from the Quran. It’s easily accessible by boat from Tanjung Rhu. Another cave worth exploring is Gua Pinang, as it was submerged under the sea for thousands of years. Among the interesting features here are the ancient seashells embedded in the cave walls.
Explore the island’s geoparks
Langkawi is the Southeast Asia’s first geopark. The islands have a geological, archeological and ecological heritage that among others include 400 million-year-old rock formations, mangrove forests and a myriad rare flora and fauna. The combination of various geological processes over the years and the prolonged weathering since it surfaced around 220 million years ago has resulted in the magnificent geological landscape and features of Langkawi today.
Among the parks to visit are the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park, which hosts the oldest geological formation in the country; the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, and the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park.
Soak in healing water
Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells), at the foot of Machincang Mountain, is believed to be the popular haunt of fairies and as such is reputed to have healing powers. At the top of this waterfall, the mountain water flows into seven interconnected natural pools. A trail of concrete steps traverses the mature rainforest above. You can proceed further into the forest by following the stream to find cool secluded pools.
Take a boat ride through Mangrove forests
Mangrove forests are an important link in maintaining the delicate balance of ecosystems particularly with its unique root systems, which prevent soil erosion and clean the waters. The Mangrove forests of Langkawi, the only ones in Malaysia which grow on limestone beds, serve this purpose and are also a haven for birds, insects, reptiles, and primates. Forest reserves in Sungai Air Hangat, Sungai Kilim, Sungai Kisap and the Tuba Straits are best explored by taking a cruise along the rivers.
Shop for souvenirs
Langkawi Craft Complex Teluk Yu, Mukim Bohor
This one-stop arts and crafts center brims with local craftworks such as fabrics, ceramics and metal artifacts. At the demonstration area of the complex, skilled craftsmen demonstrate the intricate techniques of producing local arts and crafts such as weaving, batik painting, woodcarving, and plaiting. This complex also houses the Historical and Legend Museum, where you will get to learn about all the myths and legends of Langkawi. Its bazaar-style shops make browsing pleasure. The complex is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, and entrance is free.
Explore fantastic food
Restaurants of all calibers abound in Langkawi, with luxury resorts boasting fine dining outlets. Cafes and restaurants are scattered around the island with Pantai Cenang hosting a large number of casual dining establishment. Seafood is a must when on the island.