In recent years, the competition for Asia’s top beach destination has grown fierce. Destinations the continent over are constantly out-promoting each other in an attempt to be that stylish new global hotspot. Langkawi, meanwhile, knows that the best path to victory is to simply not compete. One of the most relaxing places to visit in Malaysia, Langkawi makes no apologies for being exactly what it is – which happens to be an amazing beach town just off the global radar.
Beaches and Coastlines
With soft sands and plenty of room to sunbathe, Langkawi’s beaches are an excellent way to relax and let all of your worries drift away. Pantai Cenang is Langkawi’s most famous beach, and with good reason – the sunsets here are legendary. During daylight hours there’s plenty to do as well, with everything from snorkeling to banana-boating on offer. If that sounds a bit too busy for you, head instead for the solitude of Tanjung Ruh Beach where you can soak up the sun without all the bustle.
More fun lies just off the beach, with plenty of boat rides available to check out the surrounding sea and coastlines. A trip through the mangroves of Kilim Geopark is a highlight, as it will allow you to take in much of the island’s unique geography – and even walk through it at times! Boat tours of the surrounding archipelago are also available, and are a great way to check out Langkawi’s unparalleled natural splendor.
Any self-respecting island paradise has its share of adventures away from the beach, and Langkawi is no exception. One of the best ways to take in everything the island has to offer is the Langkawi Cable Car. From your vehicle dangling high above the jungle, you’ll be able to take in forests, waterfalls, beaches, and much more. You can get up close with one of these waterfalls by taking a hike up to Durian Perangin, a beautiful framed cascade in the middle of the forest.
If heights aren’t your thing, consider checking out the sights in town. Eagle Square is an impressive downtown structure that juts out into the bay and provides some great photo ops. The Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise provides some great encounters with tropical birds such as flamingos and toucans. You’ll have the opportunity to feed most of these birds, alongside decidedly non-avian creatures such as raccoons and crocodiles.
Once you’re good and hungry yourself, check out one of Langkawi’s many wonderful restaurants. If you’re really up for an adventure, make your way out to The Gulai House, a traditional Malay restaurant located deep in the island’s jungles that serves up a truly wild and unforgettable experience.
Perhaps a bit more than the other short getaways in Malaysia, Langkawi wears its local culture as a badge of honor and plays home to many sites that are mythic in nature. Seeking them out can make for a great – and unique! – day away from the beach.
First stop – the Mahsuri Tomb and Museum, a place that tells the tale of how Langkawi became cursed for seven generations. For curses in a more natural setting, spend the day hiking up Gunung Raya – the tallest mountain on the island. Beware! It is said to be cursed by a giant.
Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls offer a curse free myth to explore. The waterfall is home to beautiful natural pools you can swim in that are said to be home to fairies. After splashing around, finish out the circuit by heading to Taman Legenda, an outdoor theme park/museum that is home to sculptures depicting various stories and characters from Langkawi folklore.
Header photo by Nur Syafiqah on Unsplash