Just off the mainland of north western Malaysia, nestled in the Andaman Sea, lies the archipelago of Langkawi. The ninety-nine islands, once a sleepy cluster of calm retreats, have now become a prized but exclusive destination for travelers seeking a relaxing visit and world-beating dive experiences. Langkawi also offers exploration adventures; natural havens; historical sites; and tax-free shopping opportunities.
Langkawi is accessible either by air or sea, with its International Airport located in Padang Matsirat, only 20 km from the sought after long stretches of pristine sand in Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah. Ferries service the four main routes to Langkawi from Malaysia & Thailand and run 24 hours a day. Both domestic and international flights to Langkawi can be found with MalaysiaExplorer.net's booking partner.
Nowadays Langkawi is amongst the most acclaimed resorts in Malaysia boasting newly restructured buildings with vibrant colours and attractive architecture, whilst retaining the same quaint old-world charm that characterizes the islands. The road network has been extensively modernized to provide easy access and travel, but not at the expense of the beautiful surrounding landscape which remains as enticing as ever.
Looking across the gorgeous and replenishing Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa (pictured) - MalaysiaExplorer.net's recommened top-pick resort
|Find out about the award|
History & Present Day
For many years Langkawi was under the rule of the Sultanate of Kedah, eventually overcome by the British during the colonial period. After World War II, the Thai monarchy took over the rule of the island, which accounts for the strong Thai influence in the Langkawi culture and architecture.
The origin of the island’s name apparently derives from the numerous eagles that inhabit the island, as well as its rich and blossoming natural habitats. Langkawi was also a hub for pirates after the war, as it offered a perfect hideout with its abundant vegetation and dense jungle. The villagers lived side-by-side with the pirates for many years but continued to lead a peaceful existence, harvesting the rice pads afar from modern development.
Today Langkawi is a treasure trove of cultural relics and natural sights as well as the centre of attraction for duty free shoppers, providing an unforgettable holiday for all types and expectations.
Things to see & do: Beaches
The idyllic beaches are one of the islands’ strongest natural assets and are undoubtedly amongst the most beautiful in all Southeast Asia, with the backdrop of tropical jungle lushness and wildlife specimens. Amongst the magnificent stretches of sand that should not be missed are the popular Pantai Cenang; the quiet and secluded Pantai Tenagah; and Pantai Kok boasting a sprawling stretch of fine, white sand as well as mysterious caves to be explored! Another highlight is Tanjung Rhu, better known as Casuarina Beach due to the abundance of Casuarina trees as well as palm and coconut trees. Located in the south, Tanjung Rhu is renowned for its shallow, warm waters, and during low tide one may actually walk to the islands that lie opposite the beach - Pulau Pasir and Pulau Gasing. Take time to travel here if you're a beach lover, as the stretches are considered amongst the best in Asia.
Langkawi is in fact a large cluster of smaller islands that are scattered throughout the crystal clear waters from the main island forming an archipelago that offers exclusive relaxing excursions as well as wildlife and nature exploration. There are breath-taking waterfalls to be admired, legendary and mysterious caves and wildlife to watch amongst the lush vegetation or soaring above the limestone hills and over the pristine beaches. Langkawi is also famous for its wildlife; abundant marine life; and of course water sports of all varieties.
Mountains & Scenery
Driving around Langkawi can be an adventurous alternative to the beach and tanning, as well as a pleasant and less stressful way of discovering the natural wonders the island has to offer. Rental options on the island itself are high quality and various. By car one can drive up to the mountainous areas and admire scenic panoramas from peaks such as the Mount Mat Cincang, the second highest peak in Langkawi situated in the northwest part of the island. From the Oriental village that boasts a beautiful oriental garden, there is a cable-car to take visitors up to the top of Mount Mat Cincang.
Langkawi is also a haven for shopping fans due to its duty-free status, and for the fun seekers, sophisticated nightlife is an important part of the island scenario, with tasteful bars and clubs located right on the beach providing the ideal setting for parties and romantic evenings.
Dining choices on the island are numerous offering a wide selection of appetizing dishes with varied cultural influences, seafood and spices being the main ingredients. Some excellent restaurants can be found in Pantai Cenang, Kuah Town, Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok, many of which overlooking the Straits of Malacca as they wash the golden shores.
Although Langkawi can be visited all year round it may be handy to remember that the monsoon season runs from July to mid-September, when rain is more abundant. However, during this season the waterfalls are more spectacular and the natural scenery is abundant and lush.
Search the widest range of accommodation options and resorts in Langkawi with MalaysiaExplorer.net's booking partner - also find verified guest reviews™ and image galleries.
Complete your trip with our travel essentials checklist: Tours, Flights and Car Rental
- Tailor all aspects of your holiday or visit to Langkawi with comprehensive tour and package choices.
- Read our top tips on car rental to ensure you choose a suitable vehicle at a good price.
- Our guide to Malaysia flights is packed with advice and pointers on finding the best routes and super deals.
Double click the map below to zoom in on Langkawi, and double right-click to zoom out!