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Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi,(Jawi:لانكاوي ) officially known as Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah (Malay: Langkawi Permata Kedah) is an archipelago of 99 islands (an extra 5 temporary islands are revealed at low tide) in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. In 2008, Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah consented to the change of name to Langkawi Permata Kedah in conjunction with his Golden Jubilee Celebration. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of some 65000, the only other inhabited island being nearby Pulau Tuba. Langkawi is also an administrative district with the town of Kuah as the capital and largest town. Langkawi is a duty-free island.

The name "Langkawi" has two possible origins. First, it is believed to be related to the kingdom of Langkasuka, itself a version of... Read more

Langkawi, Malaysia

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Langkawi,(Jawi:لانكاوي ) officially known as Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah (Malay: Langkawi Permata Kedah) is an archipelago of 99 islands (an extra 5 temporary islands are revealed at low tide) in the Andaman Sea, some 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. The islands are a part of the state of Kedah, which is adjacent to the Thai border. In 2008, Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah consented to the change of name to Langkawi Permata Kedah in conjunction with his Golden Jubilee Celebration. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi with a population of some 65000, the only other inhabited island being nearby Pulau Tuba. Langkawi is also an administrative district with the town of Kuah as the capital and largest town. Langkawi is a duty-free island.

The name "Langkawi" has two possible origins. First, it is believed to be related to the kingdom of Langkasuka, itself a version of the Malay negari alang-kah suka ("the land of all one's wishes"), centered in modern-day Kedah. The historical record is sparse, but a Chinese Liang Dynasty record (c. 500 AD) refers to the kingdom of "Langgasu" as being founded in the 1st century AD. Second, it could be a combination of the Malay words 'helang', meaning "eagle" and 'kawi', meaning "reddish-brown" or "strong", in old Malay.

Langkawi eventually came under the influence of the Sultanate of Kedah, but Kedah was conquered in 1821 by Siam and Langkawi along with it. The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred power to the British, which held the state until independence, except for a brief period of Thai rule under the Japanese occupation of Malaya during World War II. Thai influences remain visible in the culture and food of Langkawi.

Langkawi remained a sleepy backwater until 1987 when the island was granted tax-free status with the intention of promoting tourism and improving the lives of the islanders. The following boom was spectacular and now Langkawi figures on most every European travel agency's radar.

This spectacular boom was also due to the fact that Mahsuri's curse was lifted with the birth of her 7th generation descendant.

Sheltered by the mountainous backbone of Peninsular Malaysia, Langkawi escapes the northeastern winter monsoon entirely and enjoys sunny skies in winter when the eastern provinces are flooded. Coupled with natural white sand beaches, lush jungle foliage, and craggy mountain peaks - but hampered by inaccessibility - the island was at one time touted as "Malaysia's best-kept secret".

The 10,000 hectares of Langkawi and its 99 islands were declared a Geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2007.


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Langkawi, Malaysia: Port Information


Large cruise liners may dock at the Star Cruises jetty. It is situated eight miles west of Kuah. There are no facilities at the jetty and there is no public transport on the island. Take an organized tour, a taxi, or rent a car/scooter/bicycle.
Besides, cruise ships may anchor offshore, and passengers are transported ashore by tender boats – right to the center of a town.

Get around Langkawi, Malaysia


There is effectively no public transport on the island, so your choices are to use taxis or to rent a car, motorbike/scooter, or bicycle.

By taxi

By car or motorbike/scooter

Renting a car or motorbike/scooter is highly recommended due to lack of public transport. This can be done at the airport, the port complex, or from shops on Pantai Cenang. Refrain yourself from renting from touts, as many are operating illegally without permits and usually without insurance. Remember that accidents happen to tourists on motorbikes/scooters every day, so be careful although the traffic is not as chaotic as e.g. in Penang.

Remember to have a regular check on your fuel level, petrol pump stations, (gas stations) are far from one another. However, rental agencies do not care how much fuel is in the tank when the vehicle is returned so do not spend more on fuel than you have to. Some rentals do check the level and mark it when you sign the slip.

At the gas/petrol station for the first time will confuse you. You will need to guess how much fuel you need and pay first. Sometimes you fill up your car/bike and you haven't used what you have paid for not to worry you can claim this back at the counter.

Remember to drive safely and slowly on the island and on the left side of the road. There are tourists, children and animals like chickens, cows, and even buffaloes crossing. Take care not to run over the beautiful snakes or monitors. Cattle and snakes like to lie on the road at night; the blacktop radiates heat.

Laws you need to know.

  1. Driver's license needs to be with you at all times.
  2. Seat belts are mandatory in all vehicles.
  3. Helmet mandatory. The hospital does not have facilities to treat head injuries, so you will have to get a medivac out to Penang, which takes 45min+ — if the helicopter is available.
  4. International driver's license not necessary but must have text in English.

Roadblocks are commonplace in Langkawi; they are mainly interested in locals with no license/tax disc. Make sure you have the above items and your seat belt fastened, and you will have no problems.

By bicycle

You can rent bicycles in many of the hotels. 

What to see in Langkawi, Malaysia


  • Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls aka Seven Wells (Gunung Mat Cincang, Northwest corner of the island, 45 km from Kuah, walking distance from Oriental village and cable car (10 min)), +60 4 9667789. This waterfall is named after the seven natural pools along its path. Legend has it that fairies used to come down to the pools to bathe and frolic. There are 2 viewing areas at Telaga Tujuh. The lower area is at the base of the waterfall and the higher area is where the 7 pools are. You can bathe in the pools and even slide down the slick rock between them. Be warned, to get to the 7 pools, you have to climb 638 steps which can get quite slippery when wet. As with most Malaysian tourist sites, the toilet facilities are not maintained and rubbish is strewn everywhere.

There is also a jungle trekking course available at the site which will lead you through a trail of about 2,500 m, up 2 different mountains. This trail is achievable with slippers, but it is best to wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots as some segments of the trail are nearly vertical. Be warned that these trails are not recommended for family trips.

  • Gunung Raya (take the snaking paved road through the jungle). The tallest mountain on the island, at 881m. Spectacular views from the lookout point on the top. There is a resort hotel serving meals and indifferent coffee at the summit. There is a lookout tower which one may climb. There is also a possibility to climb the mountain which requires good health as there are 4287 steps in the stairs...
  • Crocodile Adventureland, Jalan Datai, Mk. Ayer Hangat (on the way to Teluk Datai), +60 4 9592559. Daily, 9 AM-6 PM, Show Time: Daily at 11:15 AM & 2:45 PM, hourly feedings. Over 1,000 crocodiles and alligators. Witness a boxing match of man vs crocodile, or take a ride in a rickshaw drawn by a crocodile. This attraction will not be enjoyed by some visitors, the crocodiles are inbred and deformed.
  • Laman Padi Rice Garden (northern end of Pantai Cenang, opposite Casa Del Mar Hotel), +60 4 955 4312. 10 AM-6 PM. Rice fields and nice landscaping. Museum in English details process of cultivating rice. Free.
  • Legend Garden (400 metres from Kuah Jetty beside the CHOGM Park and Al-Hana Mosque.), +60 4 9664223. 8AM-11PM daily. Beautiful garden located on 50 acres, designed based on Langkawi heritage. 
  • Underwater World (Pantai Cenang), +60 4 9556100. 9:30 AM-6:30 PM on weekdays and 9:30 AM-8:30 PM on weekends. An indoor aquarium. Try to catch the feeding times.
  • Eagle Square. The square, featuring a giant eagle statue, is beautifully landscaped with scenic ponds, bridges and covered terraces, and is especially beautiful when illuminated at night
  • Oriental Village. Asian-themed village featuring restaurants, an exotic snake charmer, jugglers, silat displays, traditional music, kite flying demonstrations, palmistry, portrait painting. A miserable elephant is forced to offer rides to tourists. In the future, a tiger may be added into the collection of their non-native wildlife. Rent a segway to scoot around Oriental Village.
  • Galeria Perdana, +60 4 959 1498. 10 AM to 5 PM, closed Mondays. Museum featuring gifts Malaysia has received from foreign countries.
  • Wild Life Park. It is a zoo. Many wild animals to see.
  • Ibrahim Hussein Foundation Museum (Teluk Datai), +60 4 959 4669. 10 AM-6 PM. Abstract paintings.

What to do in Langkawi, Malaysia


  • Langkawi Cineplex, A-14-15 Pokok Asam, Kuah 10th floor of Langkawi Parade Shopping Complex (Level 10, Langkawi Parade Megamall), +60 4 9661006, e-mail: feedback@langkawicineplex.com. Only movie theatre in Langkawi. Current Hollywood and local films.
  • Go-Karting, Lot67, Jl Pantai Cenang, +60 4 955 5827, +60 4 955 5792. Morac International Karting features a 1,000m track.
  • Golf (Northern part of the island), +60 4 959 2620. There is a world-class, 18-hole golf course located near the Datai resort.
  • Yoga Now, 15 Lorong Keramat, Pantai Cenang (Follow the signboards for Yoga Now on the road behind Rasa Restaurant - 10min walk from the beach.), +60 16 2715 082, e-mail: yoganow@hotmail.com. Daily yoga classes 09:00-11:00 & 16:00-18:00. Traditional Hatha Yoga classes in English (also French, Dutch and Chinese). Run by an Irish/Malaysian couple. Yoga retreats and workshops are also available.

Beaches

  • Pantai Cenang - The most popular beach in Langkawi, features fine powdery sand and many beachfront restaurants and bars. Located at the south-western tip of the island, 2km long.
  • Pantai Tengah - Located just south of and contiguously with Pantai Cenang. 1km long. Means ‘Middle Beach’. Peaceful and tranquil alternative to the hustle and bustle of Pantai Cenang. All inclusive resorts popular with families.
  • Pantai Kok - Isolated, relatively undisturbed stretch of beach in the western part of Langkawi Island, 12km north of Pantai Cenang. Telaga Harbour as well cable-car ride to the peak of Mat Cincang Mountain and the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls are located here.
  • Tanjung Rhu - northernmost tip of the island. Centuries-old limestone caves, mangroves, waterways, limestone crags, and sandy beaches make it a nature lover's paradise. This beach is made up of 2 long stretches that include Tanjong Rhu Resort and Four Seasons, half of the Tanjung Rhu beach "belongs" to these resorts, guards don't allow you trespass the limits of "their" beach.
  • Datai Bay - The most expensive resorts are located here.
  • Burau Bay - Beach lined with rocky outcrops located at the West Coast of Langkawi. Nearby Burau island is also a roosting place for migratory birds.
  • Pantai Pasir Hitam - Means ‘Black Sand’. The sand is mixed in white and black shades, due to rich tin and iron ore deposits.
  • Pasir Tengkorak - Very beautiful small beach in the North of the island.

Tours

Tours can be arranged via any hotel or a multitude of online agencies. Prices vary; the ones given here are averages.

  • Blue Water Star Sailing, +60 13 407 3166. Private & sharing yacht charter cruises; cruise packages for sunset, full day or overnight cruises around Langkawi and in the Andaman Sea.
  • Mangrove Tour Langkawi, +60 12 578 5408. Educational and recreational tour. The tour slowly cruises the river and you will able to watch animals like birds, monkeys, and eagles actively searching for food. You can experience for yourself the mangrove trees on your left and right banks of the river.
  • Stardust Sailing Yacht, +60 12 4050649. Combined mangrove and sailing yacht tour incorporating eagle watching, sting ray feeding, a traditional fish farm excursion and a mangrove speedboat safari for 1 hour plus a 6 hour sailing yacht cruise to the Langun Island Sand Spit Beach and incorporating the Pirate Lagoon as well as fishing, saltwater jacuzzi, join in sailing, dolphin spotting, tunnel cave.
  • Island Hopping Tours. You will be brought to several islands around Langkawi, usually the Pregnant Maiden Island and Pulau Beras Basah. A dive into the cool deep Pregnant Maiden Lake is a must. The tours take 4 hours and leave at 9:30 AM and 2:30 PM. They have pick-up service and can be booked from any hostel/motel at lower rates.
  • Jet Ski Island Tours or Jet Ski Safari, +60 12 2002155. Breathtaking view touring the islands of Langkawi on a jet ski. You will be given a choice of three different tours. Private tours can be arranged. The tours take approximately 4 hours and leave at 9 AM ending 1 PM. They have pick up service and can depart from Pantai Cenang or Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort.
  • Birdwatching Tours. There are over 200 species of birds on the islands. The best times to watch them are the early mornings or early evenings.
  • Marinas. Four first-class marinas provide berths for many international yachts.
  • Kayaking & Swimming Adventure. 4-hour tour. Paddle along the mangrove forest. Opportunities to see kingfishers, sea eagles, kites, plovers, herons, fiddler crabs, and mudskippers.
  • Jungle Trekking in the Rainforest. 4-hour tour. Lots of monkeys and birds. Junglewalla also offers tours suitable for families or advanced hikers.

Jungle trekking is free if you follow any of the numerous jungle trek routes available throughout Langkawi. The vegetation is not dense and will be a memorable experience.

  • Mangrove & Limestone Cruise. 4-hour tour. Explore the mangroves forest and the ancient limestone outcrops and rock formations and possibly walking fish, Kingfishers, and Eagles.

Prices vary, depending on the quality of the guide as well as the package components.

  • Nature Walk. 2-hour tour. At sunrise or at dusk. See monkeys, insects, and flying squirrels.
  • Scuba Diving & Snorkelling. Only around Pulau Payar Marine Park (20km south of Langkawi). There is a viewing platform for relaxation between underwater adventures. While Pulau Payar Marine Park does boast healthy coral and a good variety of fish, you will not be issued fins with your snorkel and the lunch the various tour operators supply is well below par.
  • Eagle Feeding. While you are on one of the various boat tours, the tour operators will toss pieces of chicken to the eagles. This is a wonderful display but encourages the eagles to rely on tourists for food, and not to hunt on their own. As a result, it is very destructive to the eagle population. Please do not support eagle feeding. Tell the boatman to keep the chicken for himself.
  • Helicopter Joyrides, Pekan Baru, Kuah Town, +60 4 9699690. See Langkawi from Aerial View at a very affordable price. New excitement in Langkawi. 
  • Cable Car Ride & Hanging Bridge (in Oriental village, close to Pantai Kok), +60 4 959 4225. Ride the cable car to the top of Gunung Mat chinchang and walk across the 700m high Sky Bridge for a spectacular view of the islands and Thailand. Includes a very steep section which is spectacular both going up and coming down. Doesn't operate in bad weather. Also, it doesn't run during the regular maintenance days, check before you go. Officially you are not allowed to take food and drink on the cable car, but they seem not to be checking backpacks (when unlucky and all your water is taken by the security, you can buy one at the top). If they are not operating, or you are really into hiking, you can trek partway up the mountain through the jungle. To do this, from the parking lot at Telagah Tujuh Waterfalls go left just before the road goes really uphill and then turn left again at the water reservoir. The trek is very steep most of the way and in a pretty bad condition because the contractors laying down the piping for cables littered garbage all the way to the top. Only attempt this if you are fit and have good hiking boots. Temperatures at the top of the mountain are 4-5⁰C lower than at sea level.

What to eat and drink in Langkawi, Malaysia


Eat

There are lots of options. Be adventurous and strike out on your own to savor the numerous foods at the stalls and restaurants all over Langkawi.

Generally, restaurants are expensive and the portions are smaller there than at stalls, so you may want to order more than just a main dish at a restaurant. Also, if you don't like spicy food, watch out: Langkawi people like their food hot, and even if they tone things down at your request, you may still find your food challenging to eat. Try one of the many seafood restaurants, but beware of certain restaurants advertised in the brochures targeting tourists. An example of such restaurant is the 'Coco Beach Restaurant', close to the airport.

If you choose to order seafood or fish, take note if the price is by weight or by a set price for the dish. The unwary can be hit with a much larger bill than expected. Also, beware of restaurants telling you that they only have the bigger size lobsters available, as that is what they tell everyone (a common practice at Coco Beach Restaurant and Palm View Restaurant, at Pantai Cenang). When your lobster or crab is served, you will discover that you will definitely be paying for 900g of shell instead of meat! To counter this, order fish, squid, and prawns, to be safe.

Budget

For a taste of simple Malay-style breakfast, just walk up to a small stall opposite the Underwater World in the mornings and feast on the famous freshly-prepared banana leaf-wrapped nasi lemak (steamed rice in coconut milk). Go local and enjoy this with a glass of hot teh tarik or really good local coffee. This very unassuming stall is just simple and great (clean too!) The nasi lemak comes with curried beef, squid in chili, fried salted fish or chicken.

  • AddaMaya Café (Pantai Cenang (near Haji Ramli's; or opposite Nadia's Comfort Inn)). Small, cozy place for meals and coffee. The chef can whip up great meals - from local dishes to western fast food easily (and in that little cabin of his). It can get a bit dusty as it is located fronting the main road. Locals like to come here for good food at reasonable prices.
  • Rafi's Place (sandwiched between Restoran Aliah's and Tomato Nasi Kandar on Pantai Cenang). Rustic shack. No visible signboard either but ask around and you will find Rafi's. Rafi is a Penangite but has been on the island since 1988 so he considers himself very much local. Ask him for recommendations and he'll happily tell you. Ample parking space in front of his 'shack'. Good ambiance especially early mornings.
  • Tomato Nasi Kandar (Opposite Langkawi Boutique Hotel). Typical budget Indian food establishment with patrons all day (and night!) long. Very crowded even in the wee hours of the morning. They serve an enormous variety of dishes, from the flavored roti varieties to naan, briyani and kebabs. The standard is quite high - to an extent where the meal is extremely value-for-money. The only problem is that their waiters are exceedingly bad at taking orders.
  • Restoran Fatimah (near the Kampung Tok Senik Resort on the road to Ulu Melaka). Try this for really authentic Malay food. Their lunch spread is amazing - so amazing that they attract busloads of Malaysian visitors. Just enjoy the food and leave your cultural baggage and complaints behind as you will be in a totally different ambiance but friendly, nevertheless.
  • Restoran Almaz, northern end of Pantai Cenang (Next door to the 'Laman Padi Rice Garden' and across the road from 'Casa Del Mar'). A really nice little restaurant with Roti and Indian food that is very tasty and cheap. We were incredibly impressed with the food and were over the moon with the price.

Mid-range

  • Artisans Pizza Cafe (Pantai Cenang). Offers freshly cooked pizzas with both traditional and Malaysian toppings. The satay pizza and sambal pizza are particularly good. You can dine in or takeaway and they also deliver to guesthouses and the beach. Their house specialties: Hungarian Goulash and Madam's Fishbake are particularly recommended. Tomato soup is also great.
  • Babylon Mat Lounge & BBQ (Right on Pantai Cenang). Mats are laid out on the sand for guests to sit on and there is a low table with a candle. They also have a live band or playlist that is passed off as a DJ. In contrast to the atmosphere, the staff are quite rude compared to other places.
  • Breakfast Station (A couple of min walk from Restoran Haji Ramli). Lunch starts/breakfast ends at 12 PM. Great Balinese decor, rustic with cozy ambiance. Fantastic and fantastic Nasi Lemak. The Western spread is a pleasant surprise. Best omelette in town.
  • Cenang Boat Quay, Pantai Cenang. Offers a variety of pizza, German sausages, pasta, local dishes, and fusion food. Opening in April 2009 is a grill fish hawker. The concept here is by individual hawker selling the different styles of food. Sunset view at the Quay.
  • Champor Champur, Pantai Cenang. Moderately wacky fusion food in a fusion setting courtesy of a Dutch-Malaysian couple with an affinity for Africa. Great ambiance - feels like eating in an outdoor garden.
  • Difiqa (Pantai Cenang, close to Red Tomato). Great for tasting Roti Canai at breakfast with some very spicy dips as accompaniment. Great tasting local coffee and fresh fish too.
  • Fat Mum Restaurant, Pantai Tengah, +60 2 4707863. Just up the road from Awana Resort. Great authentic local Chinese seafood restaurant, good food at a reasonable price.
  • Hole in the Wall Fishfarm & Restaurant, Kilim River, northeast part of the island (Call for free shuttle), +60 4 9675301. Floating on the river, part of the amazing scenery of the Kilim Mangrove Forest. They serve the freshest Malay style seafood you will be able to eat on Langkawi island. The traditional dishes of freshly caught fish, prawns, crab, lobster. are famous. Shuttle service from Kilim jetty to the fishfarm restaurant and return is free of charge for lunch and dinner guests. However, if your bill is less than RM50, you have to pay an absurd amount for the shuttle. The logical workaround here is to order the cheapest available item. If you book a Mangrove Tour, you will most definitely end up having your lunch here. However, you may want to give their package buffet a pass and try their dishes.
  • Restoran Haji Ramli (Pantai Cenang). Open till 1 AM. Your Nasi Campur haunt by day and run-of-the-mill Tom Yam shack by night. 'Ikan Bakar' - Grilled fish and other fresh seafood a'la carte after 3 PM. Fresh terubuk (shad) which is unheard off in the mainland! Grab a couple of fist-sized prawns and cuttlefish (squid) cooked Tom Yam style for a gastronomical lesson in local seafood. Their seafood dishes can be cooked in a myriad of different styles that will surely suit your tastes.
  • Mimi (A few min walk from Underwater World, on the opposite side of the road.). Greatest 'ikan bakar' or grilled fish with tantalizing self-made sauce. Also offers a variety of traditional Malay dishes like tomyam and 'ayam masak merah' (chicken cooked in non-spicy sauce).
  • Orkid Ria Seafood Restaurant, Lot 1225 Jl Pantai Cenang, +60 4 9554128. 11 AM-3 PM. Dinner: 6 PM-11 PM. Some tables having water views. They have fresh seafood displayed out front. Choose from a wide range of cuisines, including dishes prepared in Malay, Thai, Chinese and Western styles.
  • Rasa Restaurant (Pantai Cenang). Good Malaysian food at reasonable prices. Seating available outdoor in the courtyard overlooking the main road or inside.
  • Red Tomato Restaurant and Lounge, 5 Casa Fina Ave (Pantai Cenang, in front of Underwaterworld tel), +60 12 5136046. Every day from 9 AM-10:30 PM. Red Tomato Garden Cafe used to be opposite AB Motel but moved 800 m down the road in May 2011. Now it has become Red Tomato Restaurant and Lounge and has still retained its charm and great dishes. Look out for the owner's red VW Beetle parked in front of the place. Has great western breakfast and lunch menus, and pasta and tasteless pizza for dinner. Homemade bread, good choice of cheeses. Gluten-free pasta is available. Air-con and terrace seating, Free WiFi and a red piano. Owned by a German lady.
  • Rose Tea 2 (Pantai Cenang). Closed on Friday. Thai food. Great service.
  • Sun Cafe (Pantai Tengah). A friendly and relaxing restaurant that offers a variety of Western food, Italian food, and Malaysian food. Hot and cold beverages, cappuccino to milkshake, fruit juice, mocktail. If you love fish, try their fillet of barracuda. They are also open for dinner too. Also famous for the very nice restrooms.
  • Taj Mahal, Landcon Square (opposite Zon Shopping Mall). Huge open sided restaurant, also has an air-con room opposite for hot days. Specializes in Arabic and North Indian dishes all of which are very healthy, very tasty and very cheap. Very popular with locals and with Indian and Arabic holidaymakers. Great place to just sit around for a few hours occasionally ordering another batch of fresh flat breads and dips.
  • T. Jay's Italian Bistro & Pizzeria (Pantai Cenang, 0pposite Underwater World), +60 4 9553995. 8 AM-11 PM. Though this place looks a little sleepy, they make some great wood-fired pizzas.
  • Telaga Arabic Cafe and Restaurant (Pantai Cenang). The same kitchen serves an indoor dining area and a large outdoor area across the street. Good with reasonable prices. Stay and enjoy some of the best hookah/shisha (tobacco water pipe) smoking anywhere. While good, the food is not as great as some Middle Eastern restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Tulsi Garden, Pantai Tengah. Good Indian food (northern and southern). Quiet place to have dinner and chat with friends. You can ask the chef to tone down the chili or spiciness levels.
  • USSR Restaurant (Telaga Harbour Park). Russian fare. Waterside restaurant with tables overlooking the harbor. Managed by Russian expats who serve up the real deal.
  • Wonderland, Lot 179, 180, 181 Pusat Perniagaan Kelana Mas (Kuah), +60 12 6230441. 5:30 PM – 11:30 PM. Locals claim that Wonderland serves up the best seafood on Langkawi Island; offering local favorites of traditionally cooked seafood entrees, the chili crab is especially flavorsome. Service is friendly and prompt and the atmosphere is lovely.

Splurge

  • Feast @ Sheraton. International buffet and ala carte menu. A varieties menu from unique local cuisine to western dishes. Choose to dine inside in air-conditioned environment or having your dine at terrace while enjoying the natural environment overlooking the Andaman Sea.
  • La Sal at Casa del Mar (Pantai Cenang, on the beach). As expected on holiday, dining is a relaxed, quality experience at your Home by the Sea. Food offers the best in Modern Asian and Western Cuisine with a focus high-quality fresh produce and is served by attentive and friendly staff. The bar offers a wide variety of wine from the old and new worlds. The cocktail list is exciting and innovative with themed cocktails around our sunset, pool side relaxation and post dinner period.
  • The Light House (The edge of Pantai Tengah). Fantastic food on the beach wonderful views.
  • The Loaf, Lot No. C9 Perdana Quay (Telaga Harbour Park), +60 4 9594866. 8 AM-11 PM; closed Thursday. Japanese style bakery & bistro owned by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia. Quality breads and full meals. Amazing view of the harbor and the yachts especially if you have your breakfast al-fresco outside. Attentive staff. Try Tun's Favourite Breakfast set (2 softboiled eggs, a bowl of mutton curry and thick toasted bread) with coffee and orange juice. Good place to have a leisurely breakfast.
  • Mare Blu (Perdana Quay, Telaga Harbour Park), +60 4 9593830. The only authentic Italian restaurant on Langkawi island. The restaurant offers typical Italian food, good wines, and draft beer. The Mediterranean style surrounding is just beautiful and the tables are set up right on the waterfront.
  • Papadam (Pantai Cenang (near Underwater World)). Indian restaurant that also serves Arabic food.
  • Sunsutra, Jl Teluk Baru (Pantai Tengah). Fine dining restaurant that serves great Western food too. If you're a big fan of lamb, you must try their lamb shank. Tender and full of flavors. Its portion is huge too! Good for someone who wants a hearty meal.
  • Unkaizan, Lot395 Jl Telok Baru Pantai (Near to Awana Porto Malai), +60 4 9554118. 6 PM-11 PM. Japanese restaurant, with excellent food and wonderful service.

Drink

Because of Langkawi's tax-free status, alcohol is much cheaper than in the rest of Malaysia. Religious Muslims do not consume alcoholic drinks, and while they do tolerate non-Muslims who do, try not to behave in a rowdy imbibed manner near them, their houses, mosques, and please respect local culture and communal sensitivities. For those living on a budget, you can obtain alcohol at cheap prices from the local duty-free shops - the larger the outlets, the lower the prices.

Despite low alcohol prices, Langkawi is predominantly popular with couples and families. Single travelers and backpackers may, therefore, be disappointed with the lack of nightlife. Most bars remain empty, particularly in the low season, and the 1-2 nightclubs may only seem worthwhile in the peak season, and even then only on Friday or Saturday nights. Overall, Langkawi provides a family-friendly alternative to Thai locations such as Phuket and Koh Samui.

  • Chime Nightclub @ Sheraton. Takes on a complete personality change and is Langkawi’s hottest night spot, starting with “sun-downers” on the terrace. Features night live entertainment with stunning performance from musician band while DJ spinning the music all night long.
  • Little Lylias Langkawi. Beach Bar
  • Sunba Retro Bar, Jalan Teluk Baru (Pantai Tengah), +60 4 9531801. Until 3 AM.

Shopping in Langkawi, Malaysia


ATMs and Money Exchange booths are available at the Langkawi Airport, at Langkawi Parade Shopping Complex, next to Underwater World at Pantai Cenang and at Cenang Mall.

Langkawi is a duty-free island, and alcohol is significantly cheaper here than in the rest of Malaysia.

Hotel tariffs and retail goods are exempt from government duty. Visitors with more than 48 hr stay in Langkawi are exempt on items like wines and liquor (1 liter), tobacco (200 cigarettes), apparel, cosmetics, souvenirs and gifts, food and food preparations and portable electronic items (one item).

Shop around before buying: the airport is probably the most expensive place to buy anything. Shop in Kuah town for batik, tobacco products, and chocolate confectioneries.

  • Langkawi Parade Megamall (Langkawi Parade Shopping Complex), A-14-15 Pokok Asam, Kuah (In Kuah, 10 min ride from the Kuah Jetty), +60 4 9667528. Daily, 10 AM-10 PM. One of the largest duty-free shopping complexes in Langkawi. A one-stop shopping location for wines & liquors, chocolates, local souvenirs, clothing & beachwear, luggage, home decor, electronics and much more. Grocery store on bottom level offering fresh and frozen foods.
  • The Zon Duty-Free Shopping Complex (Pantai Cenang, next to Underwater World), +60 4 9555300. Daily, 9 AM-7 PM. Cheap place to buy cigars, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, clothing, electronics, chocolates, and biscuits.
  • Kompleks Budaya Kraf (Northeastern Coast). Enormous handicrafts center built in the neo-Islamic style
  • KV Tobacco, 136, Kompleks Kelana Mas (5 min walk away from Kuah, in an area called the Trimula), +60 19 5422558. Daily, 1:30 PM-8:30 PM. Well stocked tobacco and cigar shop. Easily recognizable by a big orange signboard, and door painting by the left. Has a variety of Cuban cigars, rare European smoking pipes, and packed tobaccos. Knowledgeable and friendly shop owner.

Safety in Langkawi, Malaysia


Stay healthy

The biggest health risk on Langkawi is from jellyfish stings, especially during January - June season. Uninformed visitors are stung every day and the lifeguards on Pantai Cenang and the hospital treat more or less severe cases of jellyfish stings most days. There are several species of jellyfish in Langkawi's waters, while most will give you a nasty sting or a burn, there are some that will cause partial paralysis or even kill, in case of the lethal box jellyfish. If you have been stung badly, don't exert yourself physically as this will pump the toxins around the bloodstream and aggravate the symptoms. Vinegar is the only scientifically proven treatment for tropical jellyfish stings, apply it for 30 seconds to block toxin which has not yet been absorbed into the blood. To stay safe, swim only in stinger suit.

Langkawi can have a lot of mosquitoes depending on the time of year and location (i.e. Mangrove areas), so don't forget to use mosquito repellent. "Off" spray and various citronella or DEET based products are available in most supermarkets.

Average temperatures are hot or hotter; it's the tropics. Be sure to stay hydrated. You will need to drink about 3 liters a day and don't wait till you are thirsty to drink. Room temperature water preferably. De-hydration accounts for a large percentage of dodgy tummy holiday illnesses.

Stay safe

Speedboats can often bounce off the waves at very high speeds and passengers can get quite strong jolts into the non-sprung seats, so persons with back or neck problems should not travel on the speedboats, but on the ferry. There have been reports of serious back injuries happening on the speedboats. They are also known as 'vomit comets' due to the number of people succumbing to sea sickness. Bring lots of water and be prepared for a bumpy ride!

Drive slow and watch out for erratically piloted motorbikes, pedestrians, and livestock. Inside Kuah Town, watch out for errors in the road arrows - they may lead you into wrong lanes or into barricades. at night, watch out for water buffalo sleeping in the road.

Crime is generally not a problem on Langkawi, especially compared to the larger cities in Malaysia. In theory, you don't even have to lock your car, because it cannot get off the island without customs knowing about it!

Beware of smart wild monkeys. Those at Tengkorak beach attack humans who have food. If attacked, pick up stones (or just pretend to do so) and throw them at the monkeys, this will scare them away. Also, do not carry plastic bags as the monkeys associate these with food. Don't let them get too close to you or they will steal your (sun)glasses.

Language spoken in Langkawi, Malaysia


Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, but it is difficult to find someone who doesn't understand English.

LOCAL TIME

11:47 pm
November 13, 2019
Asia/Kuala_Lumpur

CURRENT WEATHER

27.86 °C / 82.148 °F
moderate rain
Thu

28.69 °C/84 °F
moderate rain
Fri

28.58 °C/83 °F
light rain
Sat

29.33 °C/85 °F
light rain
Sun

28.44 °C/83 °F
overcast clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

MYR

1 USD = 0 MYR
1 EUR = 0 MYR
1 GBP = 0 MYR
1 AUD = 0 MYR
1 CAD = 0 MYR

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