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Located in Andaman Sea, Langkawi is an archipelagic region consisting of 99 islands, with Langkawi Island as the main island. Langkawi is part of Kedah state and known as “The Jewel of Kedah”. The name came from its beautiful archipelago’s scenery.
Only 4 islands are inhabited. Kuah is the capital city and the largest town. Malay is the main ethnic group in Langkawi. The rest are Indian, Chinese and Thai. Islam is the predominat religion, followed by Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.
Way before tourism became the main supporting industry, agriculture and rubber cultivation were the biggest supporting industries of Langkawi’s economy. The most popular tourist attractions in Langkawi are Kuah town, Cenang Beach and The Killim Karst Geoforest Park.
To promote tourism, Langkawi host several international tournaments like the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Show (LIMA) and Tour de Langkawi.
Among 99 islands, these are the main and the most popular areas in Langkawi:
Located in the southeast of the island, Kuah is the arrival point for most tourists who come by ferry. As a transit city, Kuah has lots of shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, etc.
Payar Island Marine Park consists of 4 islands: Payar Island, Kaca Island, Lembu Island and Segantang Island. This marine park is known as one of the best snorkeling and diving sites in Malaysia.
As one of the most famous destinations in Langkawi, Rebak Island has a wonderful scenery you may not find in other places. Many resorts with international standards were built here. From the island, you can take a boat to visit Langkawi’s popular beaches like Cenang Beach and Tengah Island.
Langkawi was ruled by Kedah’s Sultanate before British took over. Thai monarchy took control of the islands after the British. Thai influence can be seen in Langkawi’s culture and building architecture.
After the World War II, Langkawi became the pirate’s nest. The dense jungles on the islands were the perfect place for pirates to hide. Meanwhile, the natives lived peacefully and did some agricultural activities for living.
Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, worked with Kedah authorities to develop Langkawi. Nowadays, Langkawi is a modern archipelago and the second busiest islands in Malaysia after Penang.
Langkawi International Airport (LGK) in Padang Matsirat is the only airport on the islands. The airport serves both domestic and international flight from and to Langkawi.
Transportation from and to Langkawi International Airport
Since there is no bus service at the airport, you have to rent a car or use a taxi to take you to city center.
There are several licensed car rental agencies at the airport’s arrival hall.
Rates: starts from RM90 (depends on distance and car type)
Most tourists choose taxi as their transportation to take them to hotel. The taxi will impose fixed rates depending on distance.
Rates: starts from RM20
(All prices may change at any time)
If you use ferry, you will arrive at Kuah Jetty, the main ferry terminal in Langkawi.
Ferry routes and rates (one way):
(All prices may change at anytime)
To enter Langkawi, most of all nationalities of ASEAN countries except Myanmar are allowed to come without visa and stay up to 30 days. However, there are some countries that need visa to visit Langkawi.
Click here for more information.
These are several public transportations in Langkawi:
Bus service is very limited in Langkawi. There are two main routes: Kuah Jetty – Kuah town center and Kuah Jetty – Cenang Beach.
Rates: starts from RM2
Taxi is the most common and convenient transport in Langkawi.
Bike: starts from RM15 per day.
Car: starts from RM90 per day (depends on the car’s type).
Motorbike: starts from RM25 per day.
(All prices may change at anytime)
Langkawi has three seasons: dry, rainy and mid season. Dry season lasts from January to March, meanwhile April – August is mid season and then rainy season lasts from September to December.
Malay is the official language spoken in Langkawi. However, people also speak English, Tamil and Chinese for daily conversation.
Langkawi has lots of wonderful places to visit, here are some of them:
With great water and white sand, Cenang Beach or Pantai Cenang is one of the most favourite beaches in Langkawi. What are the best things to do here? There are so many joyful activities you can do here like swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling.
As the most visited beach in Langkawi, it has lots of hotels, restaurants and shops. For party-goers, there are bars open till late and offer you great entertainment.
On weekdays, Kok Beach is not as crowded as Cenang Beach and makes it a perfect place to relax. With a beautiful panorama of lush greenery and clean water, Kok Beach looks like a masterpiece.
On weekends, Kok Beach gets a little bit crowded with so many families picnicking. But it does not make the beach less attractive. You can buy souvenirs in Oriental Village which is not far from the beach. It has lots of things to offer such as accessories and shirts.
Dataran Lang or Eagle Square is another best manmade attraction in Langkawi. The main attraction is a 12-meter eagle statue. If you come to Langkawi by boat, this eagle is the first thing you will see. Eagle is believed as the origin of Langkawi’s name, ‘Helang’ means eagle and ‘Kawi’ means reddish brown.
In the morning and afternoon, local families and tourists come to Dataran Lang. The square is a perfect place to see the beautiful view of Kuah bay. From here, you can see many ferries sail in and out from the port.
Do not forget to take a ride of cable car in Langkawi. The cable car will offer you a breathtaking view from the height of 708 meters above the sea level. For 15 minutes, you will see the Andaman Sea surrounded by mountains and islands.
If there is no queue, you can ride cable car all by yourself. But on the weekend and holiday which are the queue is long enough, you need to share the cable car with 3-5 more passengers.
Here are some cultural attractions in Langkawi you must visit:
Al Hana Mosque or known as Masjid Al Hana is the largest and most famous mosque in Langkawi. The mosque is built with Moorish style architecture. It has so many big windows, beautiful mozaics and calligraphies on the walls. The most eye catching thing is the gold onion shaped domes.
Located in Kuah town, the mosque is open for public. But just like other mosques around the world, you have to take your shoes off before entering.
Langkawi Craft Complex is the most favourite place for tourists to buy authentic souvenirs of Langkawi. The place does not only sell Malay handicrafts, it also offers craft making demonstration.
What can you buy here? To please people at home, buy them batik, rattan basket and bags made from pandan leaves.
Langkawi’s nightlife by locations:
Kuah has lots of bars and lounges but they will not open untill late hours. Some popular bars and lounges in Kuah are Capuccino House, Charlie’s Place, Woodpacker Lounge and night market that opens every Wednesday and Saturday evening.
As the centre of Langkawi’s entertainment, Cenang Beach has lots lof bars and lounges that stay open untill very late hours. Some popular bars and lounges in Cenang Beach are Babylon Mat Lounge, Little Lylia’s Café, Oasis Bar and Restaurant and Beer Garden.
The most popular bars and lounges in Kok Beach are Chime, Bar Centro and Mare Blu.
To eat the authentic Malay food in Langkawi and other delicious meals, here are some places you must visit:
Wear t-shirt and shorts for swimming, especially for women. The natives swim fully-clothed at the beach since bikini is considered as an improper swimsuit.
Do not point someone with your forefinger or touch someone’s head since these are considered as bad attitudes in Langkawi or other Malaysian cities.
Be careful of buffaloes while driving on the road. In Langkawi, buffaloes often cross the road out of nowhere.