Langkawi, famously known as the Jewel of Kedah, is a district in Malaysia made up on 99 islands. That’s right; the entire region is made up of islands. So, what will you see when you go to Langkawi? You will experience turquoise blue water, white sand beaches, locals and tourists roaming around in bikinis and swimming trunks, and a zillion (it feels like that) duty-free shops. If you are planning on visiting Kuala Lumpur, I recommend going to Langkawi, It’s just an hour away by flight, and the Langkawi airport has a beautiful runway surrounded by water. Imagine looking out of the window of an airplane and being surrounded by crystal clear blue water.
Where to Stay in Langkawi
Now, if you’re seriously considering a trip to Langkawi, then you must stay at a beautiful resort. In my opinion, any resort that has a private beach will qualify as a lovely resort. If your budget allows, do stay at Vivanta Rebak Island by Taj Hotels. This property is on its very own island, and it is so exclusive that you can only get to the property using the hotel's ferry. Another luxury resort that you should stay at is The St. Regis Langkawi. The rooms here have the most beautiful view of the Andaman Sea, and there are four over-the-water villas which are breathtaking.
Now that you know why you must visit Langkawi and where you should stay, here are the five things do while you’re in Langkawi.
The 5 Best Things to Do in Langkawi
1. Have Fun-in-the-Sun with Some Water Sports
Langkawi has a myriad of fun water sports and since it is surrounded by the Andaman Sea the water is usually very calm. That means you don’t have to worry about ‘the risk’ or ‘danger’ of water sports in uncertain waters. You can go kayaking, parasailing, ride a jet ski, climb into a banana boat, or go into the water for a little dip. If you want to check out the uninhabited islands, kayak tours are the best way to see them. If you want a 360-degree view of the Langkawi islands and blue waters, then opt for parasailing. You’ll find many kiosks on the beaches which offer water sports. They’re always going to quote a higher price so don’t forget to haggle for the best price. The only thing that's required is that you be a little friendly, smile a little, and ask them to give you a better rate. It’s pretty simple.
2. Get Up Close and Personal With Flamingos, Penguins, and Seals at Underwater World Langkawi
Many people will think, "Just another aquarium," but the Langkawi aquarium has African penguins and Rockhopper penguins. I’m assuming most people are as obsessed with penguins as I am. Make sure to check the feeding schedule on the website before you go, because watching these penguins feed is probably the cutest sight you’ll ever see and is a once in a lifetime experience. There is also a seal that has been trained to do some cool tricks. Again, you’ll get to see this at the scheduled feeding time. The good part is that the feeding times are barely half an hour apart so you can head from one feeding to the next. There is also a walkway that you go through when you enter, and while walking through this, you’ll see flamingos, many species of fish, some species of monkeys, and birds flying around. It’s almost like being out in the wild.
3. Check Out the Views from the Langkawi Skycab and Sky Bridge
The Langkawi SkyCab is the steepest cable car in the world; that’s right, the world! The view from the gondolas and the view from the top is beyond beautiful, but seeing is believing, so maybe you’ll get the idea in the photo below. There is also an option of traveling in the gondola with a glass bottom, but I’d recommend that for the daredevils because the ride up is a little daunting itself. The SkyCab is three stations; the base station, the central station, and the top station. The top station is 708m above sea level! Once you’ve reached the top, head over to the Langkawi Sky Bridge (photo earlier in the article) to walk on a bridge suspended in the mountainous air to get the best panoramic view of Langkawi. You’ll see islands on one side and an untouched jungle on the other. As long as you don’t have vertigo or a fear of heights, you'll enjoy the Langkawi Sky Bridge.
4. Shop till You Drop at the Duty-Free Shops
As I mentioned earlier, there are many duty-free shops in Langkawi. Everything sold in these shops is duty-free. That includes perfumes, chocolates, alcohol, clothes, bags, cigarettes, and more. Walking into these stores is like walking into Candyland. Every type of chocolate that you can imagine, any chocolate under the sun, you’ll find here and at nominal prices. I think I bought 3 Ritter Sport chocolates for the price of $1. Even the alcohol selection is pretty vast and very inexpensive, but you'll need to carry your passport with you to buy alcohol. Usually, there is some deal going on for the perfumes, so make sure to ask. All the duty-free shops will have the same price, so you don’t need to worry about getting a better deal at the next shop.
5. Walk Along Pantai Cenang: The Most Famous Street in Langkawi
Pantai Cenang is where everything is located. The duty-free shops, the aquarium, the beach, the street food, the nightlife, and more can be found here. Unless your idea of a beach vacation is to relax in the comfort of your resort, then you must head to Langkawi's most famous street. If you’re looking to buy some cute beachwear, maybe a costume or a sarong or flip flops, then you’ll be spoiled with choices from the many street shops. There are a lot of restaurants too and a McDonalds if you’re craving a cheeseburger after enjoying all the authentic Malaysian food. There is this one place called My French Factory which has the beat crepe’s I’ve ever eaten so do yourself a favor and go there for dessert. As you continue walking along this street, you’ll reach the duty-free shops and the Langkawi Aquarium. Also, the beach runs parallel to the street so whenever you’re bored of eating or shopping, head back to the beach!
While a lot of forums online talk about all the ‘outlet shops’ which gave many brands, I think it is important for you to know that these are very nice first-hand copies and not the original products. There might be one or two shops which sell authentic items, but I did not come across any! So, when you’re in Langkawi, enjoy the experience of street shopping instead of hunting for these outlet malls. Other than that, enjoy a relaxing day on the beach, get your adrenaline pumping with the water sports, and take in everything that Langkawi has to offer.