If you’re looking for a place with long white sandy beaches, gorgeous waterfalls to chase, lots of nightlife and most importantly, cheap cheap cheap beer, then I’d book your plane ticket to Langkawi immediately. Besides being an absolutely gorgeous group of islands, with plenty to do both day and night, Langkawi also has the added benefit of being totally tax free. Tempting isn’t it? I’m not by any means suggesting that this place should be a priority on your list solely because of this attribute, but nobody hates cheap beer on the beach do they really?
There are a couple of ways to reach the main island. It has an international airport if you want to take to the sky, or you can jump on a ferry from Penang in Malaysia or from various places in Thailand. From Ko Lipe it should only be about twenty minutes so that shouldn’t be too terrible a ride, otherwise the seas can be pretty sickness inducing.
There is absolutely no public transport on this beautiful island so it’s very much a place where you need to make your own way around. That being said, there are a variety of ways for you to do it that won’t set you back very much at all. Here you can rent a scooter, a bike, a car or even have someone take you around the island for the day if you’re in a big group, which will work out the cheapest. Fortunately the island is actually pretty small, so if you want to go and check out all the spots, you can probably get it done in a day.
What to do
The main tourist area is Pantai Cenang. I’d normally hesitate to send you to stay here but actually it’s the only place on the island that is worth spending any time on in an evening. Unless you’re willing to fork out your life savings on an all in resort, which is definitely a waste of money anyway, there aren’t many other towns for you to stay in. Pantai Cenang has a long gorgeous white beach. From here you can swim, do water sports or chill and watch the sunset. It’s lined with beach bars and hotels, but not to the extent of being spoilt. It’s actually an absolutely stunning beach.
On an evening Cenang has an abundance of great restaurants and some excellent nightlife. You can head to the popular places like Nest or Sunba, or there are loads of pop up bars/carts that get wheeled on to the beach. Let’s not forget that it’s a tax free island, so you can grab a couple of beers for no money at all and sit and chill with your new besties on the beach soaking up the island life. It isn’t a bad way to pass a few evenings.
Cable car to the top of Gunung Mat Cincang
So, admittedly this is a complete tourist trap and will probably be the most expensive activity that you do on the island. That being said, the view from the top is stunning and you can see for miles and miles to all of the islands that make up Langkawi, as well as to the South of Thailand.
Seven wells – Telega Tujuh
One of my favourite things about Langkawi is the number of waterfalls. This one is a great one and located only about a km up the road from the cable car. Feel free to go for a swim in the pretty chilly water.
This was easily the most beautiful waterfall that I tracked down on the island. Unfortunately, it’s only the most beautiful if it has been raining, otherwise it’s just a very tall face of rock. Again, the water is very cold so brace yourself, although saying that it’s welcome if you’re in the midst of a particularly sticky day, which happens often in Malaysia. You’ll find a lot of locals like to do cliff jumping here.
Tanjung rhu beach and Skull Beach
Both of these beaches are located in the North and they’re both stunning. They have a great view over to Thailand and tend to be a lot quieter than Pantai Cenang.
Kuah is another town on the island. If you want to visit then do but there’s very little to do except shop in the duty free. Saying that, there are over 80 outlets to choose from, so if you are hoping to stock up then here is an excellent place to be doing it.
It’s possible to go island hopping from a few different spots on the main island, but for the most part they take you to about three different islands. You’ll usually visit Pulau Dayang Bunting (island of the pregnant maiden) which has a freshwater lake in the middle called Tasik Dayang Bunting. Many locals believe that it has magical qualities and makes barren women fertile. Many other locals believe it has white crocodiles in it, which fortunately I discovered upon leaving rather than arriving. The boats will also usually take you to see the eagles feeding, which is very impressive. Langkawi’s skies are packed full with these stunning birds – in fact, Lang actually translates to Eagle.