Just off the northwest coast of Malaysia, in the Andaman Sea, there’s an archipelago of around a hundred lush and tropical islands showcasing verdant mountains, misty jungles, mango forests, and incredibly beautiful white sand beaches.
Langkawi is one of just four inhabited islands in this archipelago and it is the main island in this region. The name ‘Langkawi’ means ‘Red Eagle’ for which the island is famed.
Langkawi is located around thirty kilometres off the Malaysian mainland. It’s an easy commute by ferry or by air.
Langkawi is also affectionately and officially known as ‘The Jewel of Kedah’.
Langkawi is a natural paradise and a wonderful choice of destination in Malaysia.
The first time I visited Langkawi, I’d island-hopped from Railay Beach in Thailand all the way down the Andaman Sea to reach Langkawi. The second time I visited Langkawi, I flew directly from the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur. It’s just a one-hour flight to Langkawi from KL and I chose to fly budget airline Air Asia.
The third time I visited Langkawi (in 2023), I travelled from the neighbouring Malaysian island of Penang and thought I could take a relaxing (three hour) ferry ride between the two islands with Langkawi Ferry Services. Sadly, I discovered the ferry had stopped operating during the pandemic, and it has yet to resume. I had no choice but to fly instead but it’s only a 40 minute journey from Penang to Langkawi and again I flew with Air Asia.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- HOW LONG TO STAY ON LANGKAWI
- WHERE TO STAY ON LANGKAWI
- LANGKAWI ISLAND PRIVATE TOUR
- WHAT TO DO ON LANGKAWI
- LANGKAWI TRAVEL GUIDE AND TOP INTINERAY
- LANGWAKI CABLE CAR
- THE SKY GLIDE
- LANGKAWI SKY BRIDGE
- THE EAGLES NEST SKYWALK
- SKY BISTRO
- TEMURUM WATERFALL
- PANTAI CENANG BEACH AT SUNSET
- WHAT TO EAT IN LANGKAWI
- LANGKAWI SHOPPING
Each time I have visited Langkawi I have stayed on the island for one week. But there’s easily enough to do – or not to do – for a two-week holiday. Equally, if you are short of time, then don’t hesitate to grab a three-day break or a long weekend and experience the highlights. Langkawi is an island you can dip in and out of because you’ll always want to go back.
I’ve stayed in mid-range hotel accommodation and I’ve also stayed in a motel-style budget accommodation. I do occasionally like to stay in high-end and luxury hotels and resorts and there are plenty to choose from on Langkawi. I have always booked my accomodation on Langkawi using (aff) Booking Dotcom.
On our most recent trip to Langkawi, I was enjoying a fresh seafood dinner in a small off the beaten track restaurant with my backpacking husband, when we got chatting to our friendly waitress, a local to Langkawi, so we asked her opinion on where we should go on the island to see the top sights.
Her reply was that, if we wanted to spend a day touring the island’s very best and most interesting tourist sites, then we should hire her as our private driver. While we were mulling over her offer, and in case we were thinking of turning her down, she showed us photos of her car to prove it was modern and clean and well maintained and then she showed us photos of all her family too. We decided we liked her and so took her offer for a Langkawi travel guide and itinerary.
Maya picked us up from our hotel at 9am the following morning in her clean and modern car. She greeted us with a big enthusiastic smile and thrust a bottle of drinking water in our hands. Then we were off. She hadn’t actually given us her price for being our driver for the day yet. I guess we just had faith she wouldn’t rip us off.
There’s so much easily searchable information on the internet right now for a Langkawi travel guide and itinerary. You can find out lots from the Official Langkawi Tourism Site at Naturally Langkawi or from other tourist and travel websites.
So, for this reason, I’m NOT going to add to any more facts and figures or add to the already published lists of Best Things To Do on Langkawi. Instead, I’m simply going to tell you what Langkawi was like from my perspective as a tourist and Backpacking Housewife!
I’ll talk about my fabulous and recent experiences on Langkawi and I’ll show you the highlights of our fabulous private tour with our local tour guide who took us to experience THE WORLD’S STEEPEST CABLE CAR RIDE and THE WORLD’S LONGEST CURVED AND FREE SPAN SUSPENSION BRIDGE plus tell you what’s new in Langkawi – and it’s another WORLD’S BEST!
I’ve entitled this post Langkawi Travel Guide And Top Itinerary because these are the top sights to see!
Keep scrolling to see for yourself how amazing Langkawi is as a travel destination.
LANGKAWI TRAVEL GUIDE AND TOP INTINERAY
Langkawi Cable Car: Known as The Sky Cab this is currently the world’s steepest cable car ride offering the best scenery in Langkawi. The Base Station is at the foot of the mountain and the steep journey to the Middle Station will cover 1,700 meters giving you birds-eye views over what is claimed to be the oldest jungle in South East Asia. A short walk up steps to the Top Station and you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views of the beautiful mountain range and the archipelago of surrounding islands that lay like an emerald necklace across the Andaman Sea. You can find out more about tickets and opening times and schedules at the official website HERE.
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The Sky Glide: You can walk to the Sky Bridge from the Top Station but it’s a challenging trail through jungle with a steep path and steps. We paid for an extra ticket to take the Sky Glide instead, which is a small rail based ‘elevator’ that takes just two minutes to reach the Sky Bridge. There was a long queue of people though when we were waiting for the ride back. Find out more about the Sky Glide and ticket prices HERE.
Langkawi Sky Bridge: The world’s longest curved and free span suspension bridge! The Sky Bridge is a walkway that spans the distance between two jungle covered mountains and is an incredible feat of engineering. The views from the bridge are incredible and to add to the experience there is a glass panel in the floor of the pathway for you to stand on (or lay on – watch my video!) so you can really get a feel of the height and the wild jungle terrain way beneath you! Find out more about Sky Bridge HERE.
The Eagles Nest Skywalk: At 38 meters long, 30 metres wide and 645 meters above sea level, this eagle shaped observatory and Langkawi new attraction 2023 is the longest freestanding cantilevered skywalk in the world! Located on the top of Gunung Machinchang (mountain) the design also has a glass floor and was inspired by Langkawi’s icon – the eagle.
Temurun Waterfall: Temurun Falls on Langkawi is the tallest waterfall on Langkawi. It’s a three tier waterfall situated in the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park within Langkawi’s UNESCO Global Geopark status and on the northern face of Mount Machinchang. The Temurun Falls are to be found a short five minute walk on a path from the car park area through lush and ancient rainforest.
The cumulative drop of the Temurun Falls is about 200 meters (656 feet) and there are both shallow and deeper bathing pools to enjoy. The water is clean and cool and fresh so do take a towel and a swimsuit with you. If you want to climb up the tiers do take care as there’s no handrail and to reach the top I’d recommend water shoes to protect your feet from sharp rocks.
Again, watch out for wild macaque monkeys in the rainforest leading up to the falls and up to the upper tiers but be warned that the monkeys can get a bit feisty if you feed them as they’re sure to want more from you. They’re also known to steal so keep a keen eye on your belongings. I was fascinated by the monkeys and thought they were so very cute!
Cenang Beach at Sunset: After a wonderful and busy day sightseeing it was wonderfully relaxing to head back from the mountains and the jungles to Pantai Cenang – Langkawi’s tourist area – with its beautiful 2km white sand beach and its bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, hotels, homestays, and beach resorts. We sat with a cold cocktail at a beach bar overlooking the sea and the sand and we watched the sun go down on what was a special and truly memorable day on Langkawi.
Oh, in case you were wondering if we did get ripped off by our private local guide? Well, when Maya dropped us off and told us how much we owed her for the day, I was shocked. It was too little! There was no way that she’d covered all her fuel, her time, and her wonderful tour service with the small amount of MYR she’d asked of us. So we paid her double and also left a tip.
The best food in Langkawi is in my own opinion – seafood – and it’s super affordable here. On both times I’ve been to the island, I’ve been sure to eat at restaurants specialising in shellfish and other seafoods. There are street food stalls, small off the street restaurants, and large busy seafood restaurants along the main strip opposite Cenang Beach. All are amazing!
That said, I’ve also eaten fabulous local Malaysian food and delicious Chinese, Thai and Indian food too. The neighbouring island of Penang might be known as the food capital of Malaysia but Langkawi can hold it’s own when it comes to both local and cosmopolitan cuisine!
Interestingly, Langkawi is a duty-free island. This means goods brought into the island are not subject to government tax or import duties and that in turn makes purchases in shops and restaurants on the island less expensive to locals and to tourists than on the mainland.
This special duty-free provision was originally made in 1987 to make Langkawi ‘a shopping haven’ and to attract more Malay tourists. These days, the more affordable nature of the island is also now being appreciated by international tourists.
But as you can see, Langkawi has a lot more to offer visitors than a cheap holiday or vacation. I’m already looking forward to my next visit. I simply must experience the new The Eagles Nest Skywalk!
What about you?
Is Langkawi on your destination wish-list?
Is Langkawi on your midlife bucket-list?
Have you already been to Langkawi?
Let me know? Leave a comment!