Langkawi Island Life – Lush, Tropical, Timeless

  • 0
Langkawi Island Life

Langkawi Island Life – Lush, Tropical, Timeless

It was raining when we arrived at Langkawi’s small international airport. We’d just taken 2 shuttle flights from Phuket, with a short transfer in Kuala Lumpur. These AirAsia flights only cost us €58 per person, and were the quickest, cheapest and most efficient way of travelling between the two islands. We were now looking forward to a full week of Langkawi island life.

We had booked two accommodations on the island. The first of these in the capital – Kuah: The second close to the popular beach areas around Pantai Cenang. Our first objective on arrival was to get some local Malaysian currency, followed by a taxi to our hotel in Kuah.

Langkawi Island Life – Getting around with ‘Grab’

Since there are no practical bus services in Langkawi, your best bet on arrival is to hire a car. Failing that, you can always use Malaysia’s very efficient Grab independent taxi service. This is the local version of Uber (which you can also use) but we found Grab offered a better service and a better App. The average cost for short trips around the island is never much more than RM 10 (€2).

Of course, to use either of these services you’ll need a modern smartphone and ideally a local SIM card with some internet usage. Sim cards are cheap as chips in Malaysia, and will save you a small fortune if you’re using your phone during the trip.

Langkawi Island Life

Langkawi Island Life – Jetty Point, Langkawi

Kuah and its Surroundings

Our first taste of Langkawi was in the capital, Kuah. For the first 2 nights we’d booked ourselves into the Langkawi Seaview Hotel not far from Jetty Point on the south-east coast of the island.

Kuah stretches out along the coast westwards for around 3 kilometers from Jetty Point. Jetty Point itself is a hub of activity featuring the Billion supermarket, Starbucks, and a few restaurants and cafes. Close by, Legenda Park offers a very relaxing and peaceful oasis, with direct access to empty sandy beaches.

Langkawi Island Map

Langkawi Island Map (click to view)

Supermarkets and Shops

Langkawi’s larger supermarkets can be found in Kuah, including Billion Supermarket (near Jetty Point) and the ambitiously-named Langkawi Parade Megamall a couple of kilometers along the coast. The Parade has over 40 duty-free retail, food and entertainment outlets. There’s also a food court offering local and international dishes.

Next door you’ll find the Teow Soon Huat Department Store & Supermarket, advertised as Langkawi’s first and foremost department store. On the basement level,the supermarket offers fresh produce, frozen and canned foods.

They’re constructing a new water theme park along the coast just before you reach Langkawi Parade.

Initially, we were a little underwhelmed with the supermarkets in Langkawi. By western standards they’re quite dated with a limited range of products and brands. There was also notably little in the way of fresh meat, fish or vegetables. What we were to learn was that these fresh products are available in the wet markets that can be found dotted around the island.

Basically, in Langkawi there is no one-stop store. You can find most of what you’re looking for, but you need to shop around and discover these places for yourself.

Wet markets are associated with fresh foods, wet floors and humid temperatures. They usually have an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, sea food and poultry. The term ‘wet markets’ comes from the constant use of water to wash down foods and floors to keep them clean and humid. The humidity ensures that the food stays fresh for longer. These markets are open from sunrise to late night, with the best produce being found early in the morning or in the evening.

Langkawi Night Markets

Night markets are held every day of the week in Langkawi, close to prominent locations such as Pantai Cenang, Kuah, and Padang Matsirat. Known locally as Pasar Malam, these are lively affairs with local vendors setting up stalls along a stretch of road, selling food and sundries from 17:00 until 22:00.

There are five night market locations:

  • Kuah Night Market – Every Wednesday and Saturday
  • Kedawang Market – Every Tuesday
  • Temoyong Night Market – Every Thursday
  • Air Hangat Night Market – Every Friday
  • Padang Matsirat Night Market – Every Sunday
Langkawi Island Life

Langkawi island life – The Langkawi Eagle

Pantai Cenang & Pantai Tengah

The most popular tourist areas in Langkawi are centered around the Pantai Cenang-Pantai Tengah stretch of coastline. Starting just south of the airport, the area extends for around 3½ kms to the southernmost tip if the island. Here you can find a good concentration of hotels and guesthouses as well as bars and restaurants.

This is the most developed area of Langkawi, and is becoming ever more so. However, its still a relaxed place to spend some time, offering great beaches and local street food.

Langkawi’s Geoparks

The mountains, islands and beaches that make up Langkawi’s archipelago comprise 99 thickly forested tropical isles dating back half a billion years. The main island itself is home to the most ancient rainforest on the planet.

There are three distinct areas that form the Langkawi Geopark, each with its own unique geological makeup.

  • The Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest park sandstone and granite mountain range in the north west of Langkawi is the oldest rock formation on the island, standing at 800 meters above sea level. It was created over half a billion years ago and was the first part of South East Asia to rise from the seabed during the Cambrian period.
    The Gunung Raya in the center of the island is the tallest mountain range standing at 881m.
  • The Kilim Karst Geoforest Park in the north east offers an array of winding mangrove rivers around the Kilim River. Karst is the local name for limestone. The rivers are surrounded by near vertical hills and caves formed from millions of years of erosion, containing fantastic limestone formations. There’s plenty of marine life in the waters as well as the famous Langkawi eagles up in the mountains.
  • Off the south coast of Langkawi you can find Pulau Dayang Bunting – the second largest island of the archipelago, famous for its fresh water lake known as Lake of the Pregnant Maiden. The lake originated as a massive limestone cave which collapsed. Here you can also find the finest Permian marble formations in the world.

Langkawi Cable Car

The Langkawi Cable Car, also known as Langkawi SkyCab claims to be one of the steepest cable car rides in the world. It takes you up 708 meters above sea level to Langkawi’s second highest peak  – Mount Machinchang.

From here the view of the surrounding islands is breathtaking.

There are also plenty of activities to tempt you to the top, such as the curved and precarious pedestrian SkyBridge, a variety of shows at the SkyDome, and for the more energetic the SkyTrail trek between the middle and top stations.

You can board the cable car close to the Oriental Village located on the west coast of the island. The price for a ticket to the top starts from RM 30 (€6) per per person.

Langkawi Island Life – The Beaches

In just a week we didn’t get much time to spend hanging out on the beaches. However, the following places caught our attention and would definitely bring us back for more.

Kuah Beach

Just behind the center of Legenda Park you can reach a good stretch of clean white sand beach extending northwards for around 400 meters. The water here is warm as bath water, though murky with the silt and muddy sand.

Pantai Cenang Beach

Cenang beach is a long beautiful stretch of sand, and is also probably the busiest beach in Langkawi. There are lots of restaurants and bars along the beach and it can get crowded in the high season. This area is developing fast, and long gone are the days where there were only a few hotels and resorts to choose from.

Pantai Tengah Beach

Just south of Cenang beach, Tengah Beach is another long stretch which is relatively quiet. The water is quite shallow during low tide, but great for a paddle. There are plenty of places nearby to eat, as well as restaurants and cafes on the main road.

Tanjung Rhu Beach

On the north tip of Langkawi, Tanjung Rhu beach bends along the coastline past the Four Seasons resort, and towards a backdrop of majestic rock formations and blue ocean. There are a few small shops selling clothing and batiks as well as several cheap, local restaurants offering delicious Malay dishes.

Langkawi Island Life

Langkawi Island Life – Tanjung Rhu beach cafe

Although more difficult to reach, this is a much more relaxing place to spend your time, with far fewer tourists.

Langkawi Island Life – Eating Out

Of course, being in Malaysia – and not far from the gastronomical island of Penang – you can expect to enjoy some really delicious food in Langkawi. We were certainly not disappointed.

Smiling Buffalo

The Smiling Buffalo is is a small garden cafe that stays open just for breakfast and lunch. It is well worth finding, offers delicious food and drink, and even has live entertainment some days. The Smiling Buffalo is hidden away on a country road just north of Cenang, right next to the Village 19 Retreat. Its about a 20 minute walk from the north end of Pantai Cenang seafront.

Secret Recipe

At the Secret Recipe in Kuah we had a Thai seafood spaghetti and a curry, together with a couple of drinks for RM 75 (€15). Definitely a good choice of restaurant if you’re in this part of the island.

Starbucks at Jetty Point

Also in Kuah, Starbucks offers its trademark products. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, coffee and cakes for two came to RM 40 (€8).

Coco’s Bistro

Coco’s Bistro is a favorite with the expats living on the island. If you’d like to take a break from traditional Malay or Chinese food, here you can get Irish Stew, Rib Eye steak, Hungarian Goulash and Barracuda Fish n’ Chips.  Set in a calm garden area, the quality of food and drinks is both excellent and inexpensive.

Coco’s is located just left off the main road when travelling from the airport to Kuah, at Lot 1296, Kg. Chandek Kura, Mukim Kedawang.

Langkawi Island Life – It’s Duty Free!

… and of course, how could we possibly end this article without mentioning that Langkawi is a duty-free island. If booze, chocolates and tobacco is your thing, then this is one of the few places in Malaysia where you can get it at a fraction of the cost of most other places.

For us, this is just the cherry on top of the cake!

Langkawi Island Life

Langkawi Island Life

After Langkawi, we would be heading south to Penang, which like most of the rest of Malaysia isn’t duty-free. We’d just have to see how many bottles of gin we could stash away in our rucksacks…




In Langkawi there is a good variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Although we didn’t have any major disasters with our choices, its a good idea to take a little time to review the locations in detail before making a booking.

Our own experiences and recommendations for guesthouses, hotels and resorts are coming up next…


If you enjoyed Langkawi Island Life, you may also like:

Langkawi Island Life

Tell us what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

__________________________________________

Malay Peninsula West

Malay Peninsula West Coast
Malay Peninsula West Coast
If you're planning a multi-destination road trip, then booking an open-jaw flight can be a godsend. [...]
Phuket Thailand - Welcome to Russia
Phuket Thailand - Welcome to Russia
Our Malay peninsula west coast journey actually started in Phuket Thailand – just north of the Thai-[...]
AirAsia Inflight Experience
AirAsia Inflight Experience
Following a few days in Phuket, we planned to take a short AirAsia flight south to the tropical isla[...]
Langkawi Island Life - Lush, Tropical, Timeless
Langkawi Island Life - Lush, Tropical, Timeless
It was raining when we arrived at Langkawi's small international airport. We'd just taken 2 shuttle [...]
Langkawi Accommodation Options
Langkawi Accommodation Options
With just 1 week in the archipelago, we didn't have as much time as we'd have liked to experience La[...]

Get free updates by email

Don't miss any Malaysia updates, including hotel and restaurant costs & recommendations...

East Malaysia & Borneo

Planning a Travel Itinerary Around Malaysia
Planning a Travel Itinerary Around Malaysia
We always wanted to visit Borneo - even more so than Malaysia. So when we found reasonably priced fl[...]
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Funnily enough, it was a Tuesday when we arrived in Belgium. We knew this must be Belgium because of[...]
Kuala Lumpur - First Impressions
Kuala Lumpur - First Impressions
Our flight went non-stop from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, departing at 20:50 in the evening and arri[...]
Cherating Accommodation Options: Resort or Guesthouse?
Cherating Accommodation Options: Resort or Guesthouse?
After our first night in Kuala Lumpur, we made an early start: We needed to get to the bus station t[...]
Miserable in Mersing Malaysia
Miserable in Mersing Malaysia
Mersing Malaysia is the gateway to Tioman Island, a very popular destination for travellers. We had [...]
Tioman Island Ferry
Tioman Island Ferry
Although we arrived at the ferry terminal in the morning, the Tioman Island ferry wasn't due to leav[...]
Juara Beach -Tioman Island, Malaysia
Juara Beach -Tioman Island, Malaysia
 on Juara beach is a relatively new place. It comprises 8 to 10 compact but comfortable raised woode[...]
Into the Tioman Rainforest
Into the Tioman Rainforest
One of the nicest beaches on Pulau Tioman is Juara beach on the northern coast. There are rivers at [...]
Kuantan by Taxi from Mersing
Kuantan by Taxi from Mersing
After 4 nights in Tioman, we planned to take an early ferry back to Mersing, and then travel on by b[...]
Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
From Kuantan, we would have to take 2 flights to reach Kota Kinabalu, with a change in Kuala Lumpar.[...]
Kuala Penyu Tempurung Seaside Lodge
Kuala Penyu Tempurung Seaside Lodge
Before leaving Kota Kinabalu, we telephoned ahead to our next lodging - the Kuala Penyu Tempurung Se[...]
Borneo Wavehunters
Borneo Wavehunters
White Water Rafting is a "must do" activity if you are staying a few days in the vicinity of Kota Ki[...]
Sepilok Borneo - Where to Stay & Eat
Sepilok Borneo - Where to Stay & Eat
After 4 days in Kuala Penyu, we organized a taxi to take us to the airport at Kota Kinabalu. Our nex[...]
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center
Our first day in Sepilok, and we were keen to get a closeup view of the orangutans. The Sepilok Oran[...]
Borneo Rainforest Discovery Centre
Borneo Rainforest Discovery Centre
Located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Borneo Rainforest Discovery Centre is one of S[...]
Jalan Petaling - Kuala Lumpur Chinatown
Jalan Petaling - Kuala Lumpur Chinatown
Jalan Petaling, otherwise known as the Kuala Lumpur Chinatown, is as good a reason as any to visit t[...]
Malaysia & Borneo : Highlights & Costs
Malaysia & Borneo : Highlights & Costs
Our actual trip to Malaysia & Borneo closely followed our plan regarding the places we would vis[...]

__________________________________________