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Wondering what to do in Langkawi?
An archipelago of 99 islands situated off the west coast of the Malay peninsula in the Andaman Sea, Langkawi is Malaysia’s answer to a tropical island escape! The main island (Pulau Langkawi) is a serene paradise made up of sandy palm-lined beaches, jungle-cladded mountains and lush-green paddy fields. And it’s the perfect addition to a 3 week itinerary for Southeast Asia! So if you’re looking for the best things to do in Langkawi or haven’t heard of this idyllic little island and want to become acquainted, you are in the right place! Here are 4 days bursting with the best things to do in Langkawi, so you don’t miss out on any of the good stuff!
Tip: If you’re wondering where to stay in Langkawi, the bustling beach town of Pantai Cenang is a good option. It has plenty of amenities, it’s own fair share of things to do, and it’s a great base for exploring the island. And although popular, Pantai Cenang retains it’s chilled aura!
Day 1 – Beach day
Bask on Cenang Beach
Spend one day getting acquainted with Cenang Beach, which is one of the best things to do in Langkawi for free. Located in the bustling town of Pantai Cenang, Cenang Beach is a tropical sandy paradise that’s lined with palm trees and overlooked by distant islands. Cenang Beach is dotted with beach bars, and is a hotspot for adrenaline junkies. You can do an abundance of watersports here, such as jet skiing, banana boating and parasailing. And the long sandy beach has plenty of room to pitch your towel, so you can enjoy the lively atmosphere, warm Southeast Asian sun and crystal clear waters for a day quite easily!
Tip: Just like the human visitors to Langawi, jellyfish also like Cenang Beach. So if you do decide to take to the waters, just be mindful that they may be there too!
Watch the sunset
Watching the sunset over the horizon on Cenang Beach is one of the must-dos when visiting Langkawi. It is an iconic Southeast Asian experience, and one that will not disappoint whilst in Pantai Cenang. After an afternoon enjoying the tropical waters of Cenang Beach, why not retire to one of the many beach bars and reflect on your first day in Langkawi with a Piña colada in hand? If you are looking for a recommendation, I can vouch for Yellow Beach Café. With a chilled ambience, the sunset and cocktails can be enjoyed from the comfort of a quirky hammock chair complete with sand in between your toes!
Get your first taste of Malay cuisine
If you are a foodie, then you are going to love Langkawi (and probably most of Southeast Asia)! It’s your first day of this 4 day itinerary and time to sample some Malaysian cuisine after a busy day by the beach. One of the best budget places I found to eat in Pantai Cenang was Cactus Restaurant. Cactus Restaurant is a small diner located ~2km from Cenang Beach (~30 minute walk) which serves delicious international and local food at affordable prices! It’s a quirky little eatery with a super friendly atmosphere where the wallpaper consists of football shirts, flags, messages and photos!
Eat aiskrim goreng (fried ice cream)
Ready for dessert? On Jalan Pantai Chenang (the main street in central Pantai Cenang) you are likely to stumble across an array of huts that sell different snacks and treats, such as aiskrim goreng (fried ice cream). Now I don’t know how they fry ice cream, but it’s a thing in Langkawi, and it has a crunchy coating with a soft ice creamy centre! And it comes in every flavour imaginable – coffee, sweetcorn, strawberry, yam, chocolate (and the list goes on). You are either going to love it or hate it, but at least try it, as it’s certainly a unique sweet treat!
Day 2 – A head for heights
Ride the Langkawi SkyCab
One of the most famous attractions in Langkawi and a real contender for any bucket list for Southeast Asia is the Langkawi SkyCab. And this is no surprise given that it is the steepest cable car in the world. With the most stunning vistas over the Langkawi Archipelago and southern Thailand, Langkawi SkyCab offers breathtaking views across crystal waters, dense green jungle and islands afar which unfold as you climb up the mountainside towards the peak of Mount Machinchang. A ride in the Langkawi SkyCab is definitely one of the best things to do in Langkawi island, but you are going to need a head for heights (or at least to close your eyes)!
Walk across the Langkawi SkyBridge
After you’ve taken the stomach dropping ride to the summit of Mount Machinchang, you will find another of Langkawi’s jaw-dropping world record breaking attractions – the Langkawi SkyBridge. The Langkawi SkyBridge is a phenomenal structure which hangs high above the lush green jungle below, spanning across a deep chasm, and is one of the unique things to do in Langkawi. One of the longest curved suspension bridges in the world, walking across the Langkawi Skybridge and the small glass sections which sporadically make up its floor is a thrilling and memorable experience. Stood on Langkawi’s SkyBridge, you will be rewarded with spectacular views across the islands that make up the archipelago and the jungle cladded mountains that surround!
Tip: For Langkawi SkyCab and SkyBridge, you can buy tickets in advance online to avoid queues. These can also be purchased on the day at the Oriental Village. Arrive at the Oriental Village early in the morning to try and take one of the first gondola rides, as it should (in theory) be quieter!
Lose yourself in Art in Paradise 3D Museum
Back on solid ground, why not finish off day 2 by visiting Art in Paradise 3D Museum? Located in the Oriental Village at the base of Mount Machinchang, Art in Paradise 3D Museum is one of the fun things to do in Langkawi and is great for both small and big kids alike! The second largest 3D art museum in the world, it houses hundreds of artworks which appear three dimensional when photographed from the right angle! This might seem like your typical tourist trap, but it’s a mind boggling must-do on any trip to Langkawi where there’s hours of fun to be had! And it’s conveniently placed at the base of the Langkawi SkyCab, so why not?
Day 3 – Take a day trip
Cruise Kilim Geoforest Park
There are many day trips that can be taken from this tropical island, but if you only have 4 days in Langkawi then a day trip to Kilim Geoforest Park is probably one of the best you can do! A haven for nature lovers, Kilim Geoforest Park is located east of Langkawi and covers an area of 100 square kilometres. A nature reserve abundant with ancient limestone karts, emerald rivers, mangrove forests and wildlife such as white-bellied sea eagles and monkeys, Kilim Geoforest Park is home to geological features which formed up to 500 million years ago. It’s certainly one of the natural wonders of Asia, and indisputably makes for a wonderful day trip from Langkawi!
Tip: When sailing around the mangrove forests at Kilim Geoforest Park, watch out for the monkeys. You may come across a rogue one that dives into the water, swims across and jumps onto your boat! (I don’t know if this was just a fluke when it happened on my trip, or whether it happens all the time, but keep an eye out just in case!)
Day 4 – Sightseeing, retail therapy and relaxation
Wander Laman Padi (Rice Garden and Museum)
If you are a sucker for paddy fields like me (I don’t know why I’m so obsessed but they are one of my favourite landscapes), then spending the morning of your final day at Laman Padi is going to be your thing! It’s the place to go if you are a paddy field fanatic, serenity-seeker, nature lover, or agro-tourist! At Laman Padi you can learn about the evolution of rice cultivation or take a stroll besides the paddy fields! It makes for a lovely place to spend the final morning of your 4 days in Langkawi. There are restaurants where you can grab brunch or a coffee whilst you sit and enjoy the lush green scenery that surrounds. And, given that there’s no entry free (at the time of writing), it’s one of the cheap things to do in Langkawi if you’re only paying for refreshments!
Tip: Laman Padi is located on Jalan Pantai Chenang (the main street in central Pantai Cenang). So if you’re staying in Pantai Cenang then it should be within walking distance of your accommodation!
Enjoy an afternoon of retail therapy
Not only is Langkawi a tropical paradise, it’s also a tax free island (what’s not to love?) and there are various duty free outlets in Pantai Cenang. You can find duty free shops in Cenang Mall, along with other local shops and well known eateries (and there’s massage chairs and air conditioning too)! Located next to Underwater World in Pantai Cenang, Coco Valley is a large duty free outlet which stocks a range of items including an endless amount of chocolate, so head here if you fancy some tax free retail therapy! There are also an abundance of independent shops in Pantai Cenang, which sell local arts and crafts, souvenirs, and more.
Go for a massage
Southeast Asia has a lot of spas, and Langkawi is no exception to the rule. Many of these can be very affordable, so why not take the opportunity to finish off your time in Langkawi with a massage, or another spa treatment? There are various spas in Pantai Cenang, and to ensure you visit one that is budget-friendly and good quality do a little research before you go (TripAdvisor is a great place to check out reviews and find information on costs).
FAQs about Langkawi
Is Langkawi worth visiting?
If you are in search of a budget-friendly tropical destination with pristine beaches, clear waters, beautiful landscapes, a relaxed atmosphere, tasty food, and amazing places to see, then Langkawi is definitely worthy of a visit. If you are travelling Southeast Asia, Langkawi is the perfect addition to any itinerary, and if you’re from the region, it’s a beautiful destination to spend a few days.
How long do you need in Langkawi?
To get a good taste of what this idyllic island has to offer, 4 days is the perfect amount of time to spend on Langkawi. But if you have time constraints and are on a tight schedule, 2 or 3 days would be sufficient to see some of the main attractions, such as Cenang Beach, Kilim Geoforest Park, and Langkawi SkyCab and SkyBridge. Equally, you could spend longer in Langkawi if you want to explore more of the island and travel slower, so it’s really down to personal preference and time limits!
Is Langkawi expensive?
As with the majority of destinations, Langkawi can be as expensive or as affordable as you want it to be, depending on your travel style. But if you’re travelling on a budget, Langkawi is a great place to visit given it’s abundance of cheap accommodation and affordable flights to the island from other destinations in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, Langkawi is a tax free island so food and drink can be budget-friendly too (depending on where you eat).
Is there an international airport in Langkawi?
Yes. Langkawi International Airport is the airport which serves Pulau Langkawi (the main island of the archipelago). It is a relatively small airport and you can (currently) get direct flights to/from Langkawi from Singapore and other destinations in Malaysia. If you are coming from another destination where flights do not directly operate from, you will likely need to transit through another location which does, such as Kuala Lumpur.
What is the currency on Langkawi?
Langkawi is part of Malaysia, so the currency is the Malaysian Ringgit.
What is the best time to visit Langkawi?
The best time to visit Langkawi is from November-March. April-October are the wettest months of the year, but tropical downpours can occur year-round. Traditionally, the heaviest rainfall is during September and October. Being situated off of the west coast of mainland Malaysia, the climate is typically tropical and temperatures average 25-34°C year-round. Personally, I visited Langkawi in October (supposedly one of the wettest months of the year) and had no rain whatsoever.
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