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Exploring the Island of Langkawi

Pulau Langkawi – Island of Langkawi

Prepare yourself for utter beauty. 

Langkawi is an island amongst over 100 other islands and islets sitting approximately 30km off the North West coast of Malaysia. To put it bluntly, Langkawi is paradise. Surrounded by the picturesque turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, Langkawi is the perfect escape and not hugely recognised by tourists.

Langkawi Lighthouse

The main island has a range of terrains with a mixture of waterfalls at the North, jungle bound hills, paddy fields and roads that weave through the ever-changing landscapes. Great for exploring on the scooter, ps. watch out for the monkeys! If you’re into diving then Langkawi is also a special spot with amazing opportunities to explore the underwater world.

Unfortunately the quality of our photos from our time at Langkawi are dire to say the least. Our smart phone game was not up to scratch, we promise it will be next time! Please, please, please if you go anywhere beautiful make sure you can get some nice photos for memories!

Things to do

Pantai Cenang is inevitably going to be one the first stops for travellers, it was for us. It’s a great place to get your bearings of the island, rent a scooter, chill out at the beach and eat/drink out.

The island’s official name is ‘Langkawi, the jewel of Kedah’, Kedah being the Northwest state of Malaysia bordering Thailand. This name is evident when travelling through the island, seeing more than the beautiful beaches.


Cable Car

The cable car ride is referred to as one of the top 10 in the world. If that isn’t enough, Langkawi SkyCab takes you to 708 metres above sea level in a 15 minute ride up. Enjoy great 360 degree views riding up the steep cable car ride to Langkawi’s second highest peak of Mt. Machinchang. You will ride up to 600m where you will reach the first station, a great place to disembark and take in the amazing views. There is no need to spend too long here as the next cable car ride ‘the steepest in the world’ will ride to the top of the mountain. Be warned, it can be a little scary when the wind blows but we promise it is worth it even if you are scared of heights. Passengers leaving the SkyCab will be welcomed by a variety of stalls selling snacks, drinks and souvenirs.


The Langkawi SkyCab links you to the Skybridge where pedestrians can walk across one of the ‘World’s longest curved suspension bridges’ admiring the untouched jungle below. Located 2,300 feet above sea level, the Skybridge is a great place to get those Instagram worthy photos and watch the world go by from above.

Both of these can be combined in price and at 60-80 MYR (11 – 15 GBP) it cannot be ignored. We recommend researching prices online first to refrain from being ripped off.


Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls are referred to as Langkawi’s most beautiful natural attraction. The waterfalls name translated is Seven Wells Waterfalls as there are seven connected natural pools fed by seven different waterfalls in Mt. Machinchang.

Langkawi Waterfalls

It is locally said that the Waterfalls are home to fairies, most probably referring to the magical plant life that grows in the area. If you’re into hiking like us you will have to climb to the top of the waterfalls! It takes around 45 minutes but is really worth it. There are far less people at the top, in fact we were a group of 6 and were the only ones at the top. You will have a natural pool that is deep enough to jump in and dive in. Extremely enjoyable!

Rent a scooter and explore the island

As a group we headed into Pantai Cenang which is one of the better places to rent a scooter. To understand how best to rent a scooter in S.E Asia read our blog ‘Everything you need to know about booking flights’.
Once on board your scooter the island is yours to explore. We found some hidden beaches and passed monkeys playing in the middle of the road on the way to the waterfalls. It is a great way to gain freedom and really feel the wind blowing through your hair.

Langkawi Motorbike

Duty Free

An additional draw to Langkawi is the duty free aspect. You will be able to find exceptionally low prices for goods such as alcohol, tobacco products, chocolate, luggage, perfumes, kitchenware and sportswear. The Prime Minister of Malaysia even advocated keeping Langkawi duty free to attract local and foreign tourists which has been the case since 1987. You can find the best duty free outlets in the better known towns mainly Pantai Cenang and Kuah.

Remember the Guidelines!
  • Visitors must stay a minimum of 48 hours in Langkawi to legally avoid paying tax on purchased goods.
  • You can purchase up to 1,000MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) (approximately 180GBP) worth of duty free products per person, carrying a passport used to track duty free purchases.
  • Officially Malysia’s duty free alcohol limit to take off the island is 1 litre per person.
  • You can take up to 200 cigarettes off the island per person.

Interestingly, even with duty free tax some items can still be found cheaper in Kuala Lumpur the Capital city of Malaysia, so don’t stress if you can’t take everything you want with you. There are plenty more shopping opportunities throughout South East Asia.

Where to stay?

Tubotel Hostel

If you’re a backpacker like we were at the time of visiting Langkawi, Tubotel may be the right fit. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here with our very own private tube room. Although very snug, it was perfect for us as a travelling couple. Our friends stayed in a 4 bed shared dormitory and said it was ideal for their stay. The main attraction is the location of Tubotel. You can enjoy your breakfast looking out at the sea, sunrise and other surrounding islands and islets. You can also enjoy an almost private beach located right behind the hostel/hotel. We had this beach entirely to ourselves enjoying clean waters, iced coffee and the locality of the hostel to pop back for the toilet etc.

In Langkawi accommodation ranges in price but for the most is inexpensive. You can find different kinds of accommodation throughout the island. Whether you fancy staying local to the beach or immersed in the jungle this is absolutely possible in Langkawi depending on your budget.

Where to eat?

We recommend heading to Pantai Cenang/Kampung Lubok Buaya where the main strip of restaurants and bars offers anything your palette desires that night. From Indian, Mexican, Italian to Seafood, the variety is enormous.

Now because we are the biggest Indian food fanatics we will recommend our favourite restaurant first.

Mumbai Palace

The restaurant had a real authenticity and felt like a real family run restaurant. There was a great variety of Indian dishes served in Terracotta Curry pots. The food was delicious, at a good price, we highly recommend.

Restoran Nasi Kandar Tomato

From the outside this restaurant looks more like a service station on the side of the road. One of the travellers we met suggested this restaurant and we were dubious to say the least. But as the saying goes ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’, some of the best food we had in Langkawi!

3 Amigos Mexican Restaurant

A great place to enjoy some nachos and those typical Mexican dishes. We love to share food on our adventures (maybe not so much at home) and so this was a great stop to enjoy a bottle of wine and some nibbles.

Pizza on Fire

Have you ever tried flame grilled beef on a pizza? We hadn’t either until we sat at this small establishment located just off the main strip. Sitting on the typical white plastic chairs once again feels slightly homely when travelling around South East Asia. A great pizza place!

Warung Coffee Langkawi

As a group we went to this breakfast bar on a whim after searching desperately for something open during Tet (Vietnamese New year). It was delicious and one of the better coffees you can find on the island. Lovely staff, very welcoming and cute setting.

How is it that all we can talk about is lush food in a stunning location and all we have is a terrible photo of a McDonald’s in bed? I think that proves how Westernised we are and will always be!

Bars & Nightlife

We enjoy a more chilled vibe and so we recommend enjoying drinks and food or shisha at one of the many bars. Just walk around and you will find a place that tickles your fancy. If not here are some that we tried and enjoyed.

The Nest

The Nest is a rooftop bar that has the best viewpoint in Pantai Cenang overlooking Cenang beach. It is a great place to unwind after a day of exploring serving food and non-alcoholic drink at a good price. You can bring your own alcohol to consume with a corkage charge to stay on the property. Mixers can be purchased from Nest.

Another great idea of The Nest is that they have promotions on different nights and host events such as Live music, Ladies and Gents nights, Rooftop Cinema and Bring your own Booze nights.

Ah Chong Beach Bar Cafe, Scuba Cafe & Beach Bar Roots

All Cafe/bars are located close by each other and offer similar vibes. Staff are lovely and very friendly. Music plays all day long with a variety of genres and stay open late at night. Great places to watch the fire shows on the beach!

Langkawi fire rings

You can also enjoy bringing alcohol on to the beach chilling in your own comfort. We did this with a group of friends one night and thoroughly enjoyed it. A great way to meet new people and share travel stories.

Prices (in MYR)


Domestic Beer (0.5 Litre Draught) – 6.00 – 8.00

Imported Beer (0.33 Litre bottle) – 8.00

Meal for 2 people (Indian Restaurant for example, eating whatever we want) – 100 – 120

Meal at inexpensive restaurant per person – 12 – 20

McMeal at Mcdonalds – 12 – 22


Water (1.5 Litre Bottle) – 2 – 3

Absolut Vodka (1 Litre Bottle (in Duty Free)) – 50

Taxi 1km (standard tariff) – 4MYR per km

Taxi starting price – 4

When to visit?

Between November and April, the weather is more desirable in Langkawi. There is a good balance of sun and light rainfall. Personally, we enjoyed the light rainfall cooling us down whilst on the beach! Temperatures don’t vary too much ranging from 30°C to 35°C while at night, between 28°C and 29°C.

How long should you stay?

This certainly depends on you as individuals. We booked to stay for 4 nights and ended up staying for over a week because we enjoyed the feel of the island. It’s a small island, so you can see all the best sights within a short time, but remember to dedicate a little chill time! It’s a great place to stay without the hordes of tourists. Look into where you would like to travel next with great links into Thailand as well as back to Malaysia.

Useful Facts

Tap water is safe to drink. Although this is the case we recommend buying bottled water or bring your own water filter throughout South East Asia just to be on the safe side.

Use the taxi app (Grab) to get the best deals for Taxi journeys. We used the app and highly recommend.

Travelling Translated

Travelling Translated

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