Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, was my first international trip. I made many goof-ups, like not knowing I had to pay for checkin luggage while flying with Air Asia, underestimating how long it can take to get out of the airport (I made my way out of Langkawi airport at 11 pm, not exactly a good idea to get into a cab in that late at a far flung remote island). But the biggest mistake I made was I didn’t research Langkawi enough. At the airport there were many kiosks offering boating and mangrove tours, a bunch of friendly seeming ladies at a kiosk convinced me you can’t book these tours at the beach, you must buy them here. So I did. Big mistake. Huge. 😉 Now that I’m a little more travel-smart, I’ve researched all the things to do in Langkawi that do not involve being packed off into an idiotic boat tour, so that you don’t do the same thing I did. Pick from this Guide to Langkawi for the best things to do in the island of Langkawi.

PROTIP: Rent a car or bike at the airport. This is the best way to explore the island and not have to negotiate cab drivers. Prices start at about 15$ (INR 1050) per day.

Eagle Square

Eagle-Square-in-Langkawi

Eagle Square, or Dataran Lang is one of Langkawi’s best known manmade attractions, a large sculpture of an eagle poised to take flight. A sight that greets visitors to the island via ferry, the 12 metre-tall statue is one of the island’s most instantly recognizable monuments. There are a few shopping opportunities available around here.

Langkawi Skycab

This is one of the steepest rope cable cars in the world and you’ll get the most amazing scenic views of the island. The Skycab takes you to the top of Mount MatCincang. Once you reach the top, you can stop for a while to get a 360 degree panoramic view of the whole island. It costs about USD 10 (INR 700).

Eagle Watching

Langkawi has an incredible variety of birds, categorized into mangrove birds, rice paddy birds and and rainforest birds. Most of these birds are migratory in nature and the island is the perfect place to watch them among mangrove forests and limestone ridges. There are three rare and protected species of eagles you can find here and watch them nesting and breeding.

Kilim Geo Forest

mangrove-tour

Langkawi’s coast in lined with magroves and an amazing variety of flora and fauna such as tree crabs, macaques, bats, bogaks trees etc. Stopping off at the jetty, you can walk into a mangrove swamp that leads to the bat cave.

Skytrex Adventure

Thanks to Skytrex you can swing through the jungle on the zipline. Prices start at about USD 15 (INR 1000). More info here: Skytrex Adventure.

Mangrove Tour

You can rent a boat or a kayak to glide through the mangroves to spot eagles, monkeys, snakes, crabs, snails and various rare and medicinal plants. This is also where you can visit the bat cave mentioned above. It’s a 390 million year old cave!!! And its walls are lined with hundreds of bats and stalactites and stalacmites.

Pulau Payar Marine Park

Pulau Payar Marine Park is a popular site for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts keen on exploring Langkawi’s undersea action. Just 30km south of the main island, it is about 45 minutes away from the Kuah jetty point and you can take either a catamaran or a speedboat to get here.

Gunung Raya Mountain

Gunung Raya is Langkawi’s highest mountain. The drive up is very scenic and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to spot monitor lizards. at the top of the mountain is a watch tower for some stunning view of the surroundings. Make sure you catch the sunset here.

Waterfalls I: Durian Pernagan

Along the slopes of Mount Raya. It has 14 tiers and along the way you can see unique rock formations and rich vegetation. Following the crystal clear waters leads you to some hot springs in Kampung Ayer Hangat.

Waterfalls II: Temurran Waterfalls

These falls are a 30 metre drop and falls a pool of refreshing water that you can swim in. This is also considered the scenic of all the falls.

Waterfalls III: Telaga Tujuh Falls

The name of this waterfall means ‘Seven Wells’, referring to seven intertwined natural pools fed by seven separate waterfalls in Mount MatCincang. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb to the top of the falls. Watch our for monkeys!

PROTIP: Make sure that you don’t visit the waterfalls in the dry season, as they are often reduced to a trickle. But be extra cautious if you’re there right in the middle of the monsoon.

Gua Cherita and Tanjung Rhu Beach

Tranquil and no other humans around for miles. Located at the northernmost tip of the island is the Tanjung Rhu beach on the edge of the rainforest. You can rent a boat and head to the Cave of Legends: Gua Cherita. They are a set of limestone caves surrounded by clam waters. Local legends says the Princess of China was kidnapped and hidden in the caves by Garuda, Lord Vishnu‘s eagle and later was reunited with her soulmate, Roman Prince Gua Cherita.

Daily Night Market

The night bazar happens daily from 7-10PM, but it changes its location every night. The weekly locations are as following:  Monday at Ulu Melaka, Tuesday at Kedawang, Wednesday at Kuah Town, Thursday in Pantai Cenang, Friday at Air Hangat, Saturday again at Kuah Town and Sunday at Padang Matsirat. You can buy souvenirs, clothes and local crafts. The best thing to do here is to eat the street food.

Cycle through the paddy fields and villages

Wander, or cycle through the rural landscape if you want a break from the coast. You can see rice paddy fields and rubber plantations, the Kampongs (villages), and get a glimpse of local life.

BONUS TIP: Land at sunset. Fly out late afternoon from Kuala Lumpur so that you an watch the island from the air as the sun goes down in a blaze of colours.

You can also travel by boat to Thailand from Langkawi (I almost did) so if you’d like to do that, plan ahead.

Festivals & Events

April:

Langkawi International Festival of Art (LIFA): Held in the Ibrahim Hussain Museum and Cultural Foundation in the Datai Bay area, this 10-day event sees talented artists and artisans from around the world participating in painting, sculpting, dance, music and poetry.

Langkawi International Water Festival: Water sports activities such as island-to-island kayak races, fishing competitions, underwater treasure hunts and sand castle building. Activities are organized around the island, and at Telaga Harbor Park.

December:

Langkawi Craft Festival: Hosted by the Langkawi Craft Complex, it gives retail space to local businesses for showcasing and selling local arts and crafts. Items can include batik prints on silk as well as silverware, wood and paper crafts.

Ramadan, exact start and end dates change very year:

Ramadan in Langkawi is a sacred month for the local Muslim community, where locals are forbidden from eating, drinking, and partaking in vices from dawn to sunset. Also known as Puasa Month, it takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar.

Hope you enjoyed this Guide to Langkawi. If you like, you can also check out: 25 Things to do in Kuala Lumpur and How to do Malaysia Differently.