Just over the border from Thailand you’ll find the Malaysian island of Langkawi. From it turquoise blue waters to its beautiful beaches and stunning views, there is no shortage of amazing things to do!
We’re here to give you the ultimate travel guide and a complete list of the best things to do in Langkawi, Malaysia!
Place To Visit in Langkawi: The Best Things To Do
When To Visit Langkawi
Just like other Southeast Asian islands, Langkawi has their dry and rainy seasons.
- November – April: The best time to visit Langkawi is from November to April. Your trip will be full of pretty blue skies and sunshine.
- May – August: The Southwest monsoon rolls over the island meaning afternoon thunderstorm and choppy sea conditions.
- September – October: These two months are considered Langkawi’s rainy season. However, even though showers are heavier, it is possible to experience a short tropical downpour versus an all day thunderstorm.
We visited the first week in July and didn’t have one single thunderstorm. The weather was lovely and it wasn’t as crowded.
Why Visit Langkawi?
Located on Malaysia’s west coast, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands scattered throughout the Andaman Sea.
Langkawi is famous for its duty free shopping, nightlight and epic island vibes. It is a perfect getaway for anyone looking to relax (and shop) in paradise and a great stopping point before traveling onward into the rest of Malaysia or into Thailand.
How To Get To Langkawi
You have two options on how to get to Langkawi. You can fly into Langkawi or catch a ferry to Langkawi from Thailand or other ferry ports in Malaysia.
1) By Plane
Yes, yes, there is an airport on Langwaki.
Langkawi International Airport is located on the northwestern part of the island and depending on where you are coming from, direct flights to the island are available.
2) By Ferry
If you are coming from Thailand or Malaysia, you have some options on how to get to Langkawi by ferry.
Outside of the popular Penang to Langkawi and Koh Lipe to Langkawi ferry route, we created the map below to give you a better idea of the ferry terminals and routes you can take to get to Langkawi, Malaysia.
Thailand to Langkawi by Ferry
If you have the time, traveling from Thailand to Langkawi by ferry is a fun way to arrive in Malaysia!
There are a few ways you can get to Langkawi from Thailand. We wrote a whole separate post on what options you have and which route we took.
Check out our post to help you plan “How To Get To Langkawi, Malaysia from Thailand”
Penang to Langkawi by Ferry
There are three ferry options when coming from Malaysia but the most popular route for tourists is through Penang.
Penang to Langkawi by ferry is direct and leaves from Swettenham Pier on the north-easternmost corner of Penang island.
The ferries themselves are comfortable with cushioned seats, air condition and have a TV upfront that play movies – yup, we watched Django on our ferry ride from Penang to Langkawi
Penang to Langkawi Ferry Cost & Ferry Schedule
The ferry ride from Penang costs about 80RM ($19-ish USD) and takes about 3 hours. There are two daily departures, one in the morning, at 8:30am, and the other in the afternoon at 2:00pm.
TIP: Try and get on the 8:30am ferry as you run a risk of rough sea’s on the afternoon route. We’d hate for you to get sea sick.
Penang to Langkawi Ferry Tickets
The best way to book is through your accommodation or online. If you book through your accommodation, they can book your ticket, print it out for you and arrange transfer to Swettenham Pier.
We highly recommend buying your ticket at least 1 to 2 days prior to your departing date to ensure you get the date and time you want.
How To Get Around Langkawi
Now that you’re safe and sound on the island of Langkawi, you may be wondering “how do I get around?” Public transport is lacking on Langkawi so our recommend is to rent a car or scooter! For us, a car was more economical as we had three other people traveling with us at the time.
We rented a car through our accommodation, The Tokmann Inn. You can work directly with your accommodation to see what services they offer in terms of vehicles or look at booking through Langkawi Airport Car Rental.
How Many Days To Spend In Langkawi?
To see the highlights of Langkawi, two days. If you want to stay a little longer, three to four is an absolute perfect amount of time to cross off those must-see items before heading off to other destinations in Malaysia or Thailand.
Things To Do In Langkawi
1) Waste Away The Day on Pantai Cenang
Pantai Cenang is the most popular beach in Langkawi. From white sandy beaches to beachfront restaurants and bars, you have everything you need to be set for the day.
Pantai Cenang is 2km long beach that has vendors renting every water sport you could imagine. If water sports aren’t your thing, rent a chair and umbrella from one of the cafes and soak up some vitamin “sea” for the rest of the day.
2) Ride the Langkawi SkyCab
The Langkawi SkyCab is one of if not THE major attraction of on the island and honestly, rightfully so. The cost is 55RM ($13 USD) per non-Malaysian adult and the ride takes about 15 minutes to get to the top.
The ascent goes a little something like this….After your 15 minute ride is done, you’ll exit and be at “Middle Station. Once at the Middle Station, which is 650m above sea level, you have the option to walk the viewing platforms or walk higher to the Top Station which is 708m above sea level.
Both stations offer absolute insane panoramic views of the island! We swear, you can see what feels like for miles. Well worth the trip, if you’re not scared of height 🙂
You can book your ticket online or buy your ticket once you arrive to the SkyCab station.
3) Take a Swim on Tanjung Rhu Beach
Looking for something a little less crowded beach than Pantai Cenang? Head to the northernmost tip of the island.
Here, you’ll find the quiet Tanjung Rhu beach with beautiful limestone karsts jutting out from the water. A few mom & pop cafes are along the beach but for the most part, it’ll be just you and the sea breeze.
4) Take a Walk Around
If you want a break from lounging on the beaches of Langkawi, our tip is to just walk around. Jalan Pantai Cenang is the street just opposite Pantai Cenang Beach.
This strip offers loads of duty free shops and cafes for you to explore.
Also, it is home to some beautiful fields that if you get off the main streets, you can find a few beautiful places tucked away.
5) Eat Fresh Seafood
No island visit is complete without stuffing your face with some fresh seafood, right? Langkawi has fresh seafood brought in daily so whether you want lobster or crab, prawns or grouper, one of the tasty seafood cafes and restaurants will give you your fix.
Below are our top three recommendations for you to check out and they are in no particular order. They’re all amazing places to grab a bite!
6) Watch the Sunset on Pantai Cenang Beach
Short and sweet, end your day at Pantai Cenang Beach with a White Tiger beer in hand and watch the most epic Malaysian sunset.
Cheers to good times and beautiful vibes!
8. Go and See The Eagle Square
This is one of the most iconic spots in Langkawi and an absolute must if you want interesting and memorable photos from your holiday. Eagle square is located in Kuah, the main town of the island. This impressive statue stands 12 meters tall and is positioned on a star-shaped dock.
There are also lots of beautiful fountains, bridges, and other sights to explore and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to try while you are visiting this popular spot.
9. Visit Underwater World Langkawi
The Underwater World aquarium is located in Pantai Cenang and features over 500 different aquatic animals that you can go to and see. The aquarium also includes a 15-meter long underwater tunnel that you can walk through to explore sea species from all angles.
If you’re a nature lover, this is a fantastic opportunity to see species native to Asia and the Pacific.
10. Climb the Gunung Raya
Looking for a hike in Langkawi? Look no further than the Gunung Raya Trek. Comprising of 4,287 concrete steps through rainforest, the Gunung Raya hike is a workout for sure.
Gunung Raya is the tallest mountain on Langkawi at 881 meters (2890 ft) high. The hike up the mountain is steep but very exciting and if you are lucky, you might just see many exotic animals in their natural habitat.
Is Langkawi Expensive?
Short and sweet, yes. Especially when compared to other islands in Southeast Asia, Langkawi is definitely more expensive.
While it is duty free shopping, it’s a fairly developed, touristy island and if you are looking for a beach-front accommodation, be prepared to pay.
Of course, expensive to us, may not be expensive to the next person 🙂 There are definitely options that cater to those on a budget – you may just have to look a little harder.
Is Langkawi Safe?
We were in Langkawi for 5 days and during this not once did we feel threatened or scared. The people on Langkawi are so incredibly nice, friendly and helpful.
We understand bad things happen without rhyme or reason, but truly Langkawi has to be one of the safest places in Malaysia.
For The Budget Conscious: If you are wanting to stay with a sweet family, you need to book your stay at Tokmann Inn. Yati and Mas are kind, amazing hosts who will take absolute care of you during your time on Langkawi.
For The Luxury Inclined: Looking for a beach front resort & spa? Look no further than Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort And Spa is your spot. From cozy seaside chalets to beautiful gardens and a pool, Meritus is luxury waiting for you.
For Something In Between: The Smith House is tucked away from the beach, but no worries, the pool on site makes up for it along with the amazing breakfast and friendly staff.
For more places to stay on Langkawi you can check out the latest places and prices here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)