This is the top rated 4-star hotel in Pantai Kok
This is the top rated 5-star hotel in Pantai Cenang
This is the top rated 5-star hotel in Kuah
This is the top rated 3-star hotel in Burau Bay
The name Langkawi refers to a group of islands off of the northwest coast of Malaysia, although the main island known locally as Pulau Langkawi is by far the largest and most significant. It has become a popular island with both domestic and international tourists, helped greatly by the decision to make the island tax-free in 1987. Kuah is the main town of the island and is the primary port connecting mainland Malaysia, however the island does also have an international airport with flights to Singapore, Thailand and other internal Malaysian destinations.
Nature is the largest draw to Langkawi and the archipelago was in 2007 declared a Geopark by UNESCO. This status has added to the popularity of the island with visitors keen to experience the stunning and diverse scenery. Despite this upturn in tourism, the island still lacks behind much of Malaysia in terms of infrastructure and development and this is evident when exploring the smaller towns and natural highlights. Public transport is limited and so the typical methods of transport are either taxis or renting private transport. Scooter and car rental is very common and easy on the island and provides real flexibility for travellers, particularly those staying in Langkawi Island hotels further away from Kuah. As mentioned, the island’s airport is one of the primary access points, with most accommodation options offering transfers directly from the airport to wherever the resort is situated. Langkawi Island is reasonably small and thus most journeys are less than one hour, even with the lower quality roads.
The principal town and capital of the island has a modest population of around 30,000, but has seen a vast development in the past two decades. Most of Langkawi’s shopping and commercial activity is in Kuah, plus it sees a high number of tourists coming through, including all those arriving by ferry. Although many of the island’s visitors come to stay in resorts close by the various beaches, Kuah does also have a significant number of the hotels on Langkawi Island. These are mostly situated along the waterfront and harbour area, taking advantage of the pleasant sea views. Kuah is home to several large shopping centres as a result of the island’s tax-free status, consequently these are well-frequented particularly by domestic tourists from mainland Malaysia. A trip to Malaysia is never complete without spending a great deal of time in the local eateries; fortunately Kuah possesses several localised restaurants, many with a strong seafood focus given the nature of the destination. The town does also house a few tourist attractions of its own, such as the Al-Hana Mosque and Langkawi Legend Park, however most of Langkawi Island’s appeal lies further afield in its nature.
A huge draw for the island is its array of beaches around the perimeter and this is where visitors tend to spend most of their time. The beaches vary in size, accessibility and development, with the most frequented being Pantai Cenang. Located in the south-west of Langkawi, the beach is a sandy two kilometre stretch with calm waters containing dozens of jet-skis and banana-boats. The strip behind the beach is home to multiple markets and shops plus an extensive assortment of the hotels in Langkawi Island. Pantai Tengah offers a quieter experience just a few minutes south of Cenang, an area popular with families staying in all-inclusive resorts. For some of the most attractive beach scenery, travellers can explore the more remote beaches, less touched by mass-tourism. Pantai Kok and Pasir Tengkorak are great examples of this, with the latter having some of the clearest ocean water throughout the islands. A final beach of note is the notoriously beautiful Tanjung Rhu, in the very north of Langkawi. Home to a picturesque series of limestone caves and sandy beaches that are simply stunning, plus several high-end resort accommodation options.
Aside from the beaches, Langkawi also contains a multitude of natural wonders and intense wildlife inland. There are many tours available heading into the dense jungle to observe the range of species native to Langkawi, including a variety of birds and monkeys. Tours are also available to the mangroves and limestone caves in the north, providing a chance to get a closer look and different perspective. The tallest mountain on the island is that of Gunung Raya lying in the centre of the island, accessible by a long and winding road, or indeed by a jungle trek. From here guests can witness spectacular views across Langkawi and out to the ocean, in all directions. Another significant natural feature of the island is the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls, home to seven pools which visitors are free to bathe in. From here there are a series of further treks into the jungle and down to remote beaches that present little patches of peace and tranquility. Finally, for a chance to experience everyday life for the locals who have lived on the island for generations, explore the smaller villages and rice paddies in between the larger towns.