Beautiful Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands, located at the very North of Malaysia, about an hour ferry ride away from the mainland of Malaysia and Thailand. Langkawi (pulau Langkawi) is one of Malaysia’s most popular islands. What to do in Langkawi? After having spent in total more than half a year in Langkawi I can tell you that here is a lot more to this island than meets the eye. And so, here is our list of the best things to do in Langkawi, Malaysia.
The best part – about one third of all these things you can do for free. Among them are also few of my personal favorites, like a hike to the top of Mount Mat Cincang. Definitely worth all the sweat.
Are you ready? Then let’s dive in. Here they are – 35 top things to do in Langkawi.
Where to Stay in Langkawi? | Best Things to Do in Langkawi
1. Book a Hotel in the Area of Pantai Cenang
First things first. Accomodation. If you want to stay in the best area in Langkawi – if you want to be close to everything – Pantai Cenang is your best bet. Or Pantai Tengah, which is just around the corner and also next to the beach (Pantai means beach in Malay), but much more quiet beach with just a few restaurants.
There are quite a few things to do in Pantai Cenang. It’s the main tourist area of Langkawi after all. About few of them in the following points.
GETTING THERE – If you are coming to Langkawi by ferry, there are several options as how to get to Pantai Cenang. You can rent a car or scooter right at Langkawi ferry terminal. Or you can take a taxi. If you are coming to Langkawi by plane, take a taxi from Langkawi airport to Pantai Cenang.
BUT REMEMBER – Langkawi has so much to offer, so don’t spend all your time in Cenang and in the nearby area. Rent a scooter, a car or find a driver for a full day and go and explore!
1. Cheap – Sweet Inn
A budget hotel short walk away from the beach (Pantai Cenang). Rooms are equipped with air conditioner and there is free WiFi. There is an on-site restaurant. Double room starts at MYR 110. Check the latest price!
2. Mid-range – Nadias Hotel Cenang
A very popular mid-range hotel 2 minute walk away from the beach. Hotel features a swimming pool, an on-site restaurant and juice bar. Double room starts at MYR 260. Check the latest price!
3. Luxury – Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort And Spa
A great 5-star hotel right on the beach, at the very end of Pantai Cenang. Thanks to its location you’ll never be more than walking distance away from all the best beach restaurants of Pantai Cenang at the same time having more peace than at most of the area’s hotels. Double room starts at MYR 1355. Check the latest price!
Best Things to Do in Langkawi
2. Say Hi to Penguins at the Underwater World in Pantai Cenang
Underwater World is located in Pantai Cenang area. It is one of Malaysia’s largest aquariums and, yep, they have penguins there as well. Thanks to its location you can easily walk there if you are staying near Pantai Cenang.
The park is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Entrance ticket costs MYR 46 (adult), MYR 36 (children). Combo tickets for several attractions in Langkawi are available as well. If you would like to buy one, ask for more information at the counter!
If you would like to visit the park at the time of feeding, you can check out feeding times here.
3. Learn More About Rice Planting at Rice Garden Museum (Laman Padi)
Wanna learn more about the rice planting and in particular about the history of rice cultivation in Langkawi? Then is the place for you to go. Same like the Underwater World this museum is located in Pantai Cenang area.
Musem is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.
4. Try Out Go-Karting at Morac International Karting Circuit
Everyone thinks of beaches and rainforest when they hear the word Langkawi. But did you know you can go racing on the karts in Langkawi as well? Now you know. Morac International Karting Circuit is just a short ride away from the area of Pantai Cenang and it’s close to Langkawi airport teritorry.
Open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM.
5. Try Out Parasailing at Pantai Tengah
What to see in Langkawi? What about the island itself from above? Are you ready for that? Then head over to one of the many booths selling tours and activities on the beaches of Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, and give a parasailing a try. The best time for the ride (which is usually around 5 minutes long by the way) – about an hour before the sunset.
You can try and go for the sunset, but, you know, you’ll not be the only one at that exact time and then you never know if you gonna make it in time or no.
Paragliding from the beach and landing on the beach usually is cheaper, but it’s not the only option.
Price is usually fixed and you’ll see it written on the board, but you can try and haggle. Or if you want something different than others are having you can ask for a longer ride for example. Especially if there is more than you alone.
6. Skydiving with Landing on the Beach, Anyone?
Wanna go higher and to see more? Here you have such an opportunity.
For more information and bookings: Skydive Langkawi.
7. Check Out the Best Beaches in Langkawi
Yes, there are a lot of restaurants on the beach in Pantai Cenang. But there are a lot of people on the beach as well. And water there isn’t the clearest. If you would like to search for more tranquillity go and explore other beaches of Langkawi.
1. Pasir Tengkorak is just a beach with a few holiday rentals next to it and sometimes a couple of street food vendors. Only a few tourists visit this beach. Locals tend to come in the afternoon, especially on Fridays. Come early in the morning and it may be only you and a few monkeys on the beach.
2. Best part of the Tanjung Rhu beach is the left side, as on the other side seabed may become muddy at times. Since it’s so close to the mangrooves. There are few beach restaurants near the beach and a couple of high-end hotels. On the beach you may be approached by a guard telling you that it’s a private beach (in particular if you go to the left side of Tanjung Rhu), but it’s not true. Because all beaches in Langkawi are public.
Another good option is Pantai Kok beach, which is much closer to Pantai Cenang. But try and go to Tanjung Rhu at least.
If you would ask me – what to do in Langkawi for 3 days and if it’s even worth leaving the area of Pantai Cenang – I would still urge you to leave Pantai Cenang for a day to go and see at least Tanjung Rhu (if you want something more than just a beach) or Pasir Tengkorak beach, both of whom I would put high on the list of the places to see in Langkawi.
8. Get Yourself a Huge Coconut at Tanjung Rhu
Coconuts here can be HUGE. And they cost about 5 MYR.
9. Go to the Top of Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s Highest Mountain
If you are short on time – take a taxi.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, rent a scooter and go on your own. Don’t worry, you can’t get lost on the mountain as there is only one road going up.
Or… you can also walk there. Read more about Gunung Raya here.
For me, personally, Gunung Raya is one of the most interesting places in Langkawi and a visit there one of the best things to do in Langkawi. No matter how you go there and if it’s morning, middle of the day or evening.
10. Take the Stairs Up the Gunung Raya
Yep, you can also walk all the way to the top of Gunung Raya. And, no, you don’t have to walk on the road. Although that’s an option as well. There are stairs going all the way from the bottom of the mountain to the summit. That’s 4287 steps. Estimated time necessary to climb all these 4287 steps is 2 hours 15 minutes.
I have once done in less than an hour. Another time it took me about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Don’t forget to count in time necessary to get down. And take enough water and some snacks. Because there are no shops or anything else along the way. Only lush rain forest and occasional tropical bird flying over your head.
Read more: Gunung Raya: Getting to the Top.
11. Head Off the Main Roads and Go Explore Langkawi
The best way to explore Langkawi? By scooter.
Just follow the Google Maps to a place, where there are some smaller roads, and go see what’s there. That’s the method that has worked the best for me in Langkawi, because the island is developing fast and there are less and less of these small roads left. However, that clearly isn’t a problem (not right now, though) when you just arrive to the island and everything is new to you. Because by far most the big roads here aren’t that big either and are interesting for riding and exploring.
12. Hike to the Top of Mount Mat Cincang
Many people have been to the top of Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s highest mountain. Since you can get there in so many ways, including by car and by motorbike. But only few have been to the summit of Gunung Mat Cincang (Mount Mat Cincang), Langkawi’s second highest peak. Simply because to get there you need to walk. And it’s not an easy walk. It may take you half a day as well, if you aren’t fit.
And, well, there isn’t that much information about it online either.
I have been there 3 times. And I’m returning whenever I’ll be in Langkawi again. It’s so worth it.
Trek starts at the top of Seven Wells waterfall. From there it’s a pretty straight forward route. Although beinning of the trail may be a bit confusing, especially if you aren’t into trekking that much and aren’t used to trails. But later it’s very easy to follow the trail. At about half of the journey, on top of a hill, there is a sign which says something along the lines, that that’s it.
But it’s not the summit of Mat Cincang. On the other side of the same hill trail continues and, as I already said, it’s only about one half of the trek that’s over by now.
You can take a break here and continue or turn around. Note that it isn’t going to get any easier.
I like nature. So for me Gunung Mat Cincang is among top 3 best places to visit in Langkawi.
13. Visit Langkawi Wildlife Park
It’s a large park with lots of animals and birds near Ayer Hangat area, where same like in Kuala Lumpur Bird Park you can also take part in animal feeding sessions. The park has a large walk-in aviary and there are special areas where mammals live.
Parks is open daily from 8:30 AM, last entry: 6:00 PM.
Entrance ticket costs MYR 39 (adult), MYR 22 (children). Several ticket options are available, including family package.
Private guides are available at MYR 20.
14. Check Out One of Langkawi’s Night Markets
Where to go for dinner in Langkawi? Head to the night market.
There is one important thing to know about night markets in Langkawi, though. They happen every night in a different place. Twice a week there is night market in Kuah, main town of the island, and then there are 5 other places where night market is being held once a week.
Langkawi Night Market Schedule & Location:
Monday – Jalan Makam Mahsuri Lama, Ulu Melaka night market (Google Maps).
Tuesday – Kedawang night market (near Pantai Cenang) (Google Maps).
Wednesday – Kuah night market (Google Maps).
Thursday – Kampung Temoyong night market (Google Maps).
Friday – Padang Lalang, Air Hangat night market (Google Maps).
Saturday – Kuah night market (Google Maps).
Sunday – Kampung Raja, Mukim Padang Matsirat night market (Google Maps).
For me, personally, it’s clearly one of the best things to do in Langkawi at night. Well, technically, it’s not a night, since night markets in Langkawi start about an hour or so before the sunset. But, ok, it doesn’t matter.
In Langkawi night market is what brings people together as soon as the sun sets. You’ll find lots of cheap local food there, sold by street food vendors, and some stalls selling clothing. And that’s pretty much it. What I would like to see as a tourist is more places where to sit down and have my dinner. There aren’t many of these as locals are used to takeaways and eating at home.
15. Try the Best Cheese Garlic Naan at Tomato Nasi Kandar
Tomato Nasi Kandar is a popular local restaurant in the area of Pantai Cenang, one of the best Langkawi restaurants in the area for budget travelers, who like to try local cuisine whenever they travel. They serve good and cheap local food. I could eat there every day. Wait, that’s exactly what I was doing when staying near Pantai Cenang for 2 months in 2017.
The restaurant is open 24/7.
My breakfast recommendation – roti pisang, which is almost like a banana pancake. Ask for condensed milk, if you like it.
Lunch – take something from buffet. Rice. Veggies. Curry.
Dinner – tandoori chicken and/or cheese garlic naan.
Location: Near Pantai Cenang (Google Maps).
More great Chinese and Malay food recommendations.
16. Take a Look at the Rainforest From Above From Langkawi Cable Car and Langkawi Sky Bridge
I like free attractions. And the view you’ll get from Langkawi Cable Car / Langkawi Sky Bridge is about the same you can get for free from Gunung Mat Cincang.
But still… I’ll tell you this. Go and try out that cable car! It’s worth the money. Add a bit extra and take combo: Langkawi Cable Car + Langkawi Sky Bridge. The top platform where you’ll be getting out is the best place in Langkawi for an astonishing 360-degree view of the island.
If you are on a very small budget, climb Mat Cincang.
Open every day.
There are private gondolas and VIP gondolas and also glass bottom gondolas. Different ticket combos are available.
See all the options here on the website of Langkawi SkyCab.
17. Chill at the Seven Wells Waterfall
A short walk/ride away from the Langkawi Cable Car is the island’s most beautiful waterfall – Seven Wells.
There are a few big waterfalls in Langkawi. If you have time only for one, then go for Sevel Wells.
Chillout or have a picnic at the base of the waterfall. Or go for a swim. You may see some local kids already there. Join them!
But don’t miss going to the top of the waterfall. There are stairs going up. I know, I know, stairs may sound too much for some of you taking into account humid tropical climate you have in Malaysia, but, hey, it’s totally worth it. And it’s not that long walk up there. Only a few hundred steps. But the view, it’s so good. And then there are natural pools with refreshing water where you can relax. Unless, of course, you come here in the dryest season.
And, yes, that’s here, where the trail to the summit of Mount Mat Cincang starts.
18. Go on a Canopy Tour in Langkawi
Are you ready to add some thrills to your vacation in Langkawi? Langkawi Canopy Adventures can help you with that.
For details and bookings check out their Facebook page.
19. Check Out the Art in Paradise 3D Museum
Yay for cool Instagram photos! This museum is one of the most popular attractions in Langkawi Oriental Village, a recreational center at the foothills of Mt Mat Cincang. It’s one of the largest 3D art museums in the world and largest in Malaysia.
The museum is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.
For more details check out their website.
20. Take Your Kids to the Langkawi Oriental Village
For them it may as well be one of the top 3 best things to do in Langkawi. Because it’s the only place in Langkawi where there are so many attractions available in a single place. Cable car is there. Art in Paradise 3D Museum is there. 6D cinema is there. Sevel Wells waterfall is just around the corner. And Duck Tour tours start from Langkawi Oriental Village.
21. Go Kayaking in Langkawi
Book a tour from an agent in Pantai Cenang or go to Tanjung Rhu yourself. Kayaking through the mangrooves, next to the beach and to small nearby islands is possible from there.
Going alone (and renting only a kayak) may not be possible or it will cost even more than booking a tour with a guide. That may sound ridiculous to you coming from Europe, but that’s just how it is here. For most of Asian tourists water sports is something very new and there are quite a lot of those who can’t swim. Thus rules are like they are.
22. Go On a Mangrove Boat Tour Near Tanjung Rhu
Same like with kayaking – you can book a mangroove tour from the nearest to you tour agent or go yourself to the Tanjung Rhu beach and buy a tour there. Most of mangroove tours start from Tanjung Rhu. In January 2018 the price was fixed – MYR 300 for a boat. Since there were 8 of us it cost us around MYR 35 per person.
During a 90-minute tour we also visited a large cave and fish farm, where we could have a lunch. At the end of the tour we were shown the eagle feeding. There were several options offered, most of whom were longer than ours.
23. Walk or Cycle the Langkawi Wave Breaker
Built to protect Langkawi airport, this structure now looks like a long-forgotten road going into the sea. You can’t get onto it with a motorbike because of the closed gates, but getting there with a bicycle is still possible. And worth it if you want to see yeat another side of Langkawi.
Locals go there to fish from the coast.
24. Relax at Hot Springs in Air Hangat Village
If hot springs is your thing, now you know where you need to go. But don’t set your expectations too high. Maybe I just don’t know how these kind of places should look like, but when I visited it last time it looked more like wannabe outdoor spa complex. And that was after 3 year upgrade.
But, again, it’s the only one of its kind in Langkawi.
25. Check Out the Nearby Islands by Going on an Island Hopping Tour
Let me start with this – if you have been to Thailand or Indonesia, and you have been on an island hopping tour there, then a standard tour in Langkawi might come as a dissapointment to you. And in this case definitely don’t take the cheapest tour and ask around for options.
Don’t get me wrong, nature in and near Langkawi is very beautiful. But at the same time during most of the island hopping tours in Langkawi you’re being taken not to the most beautiful places, as our experience shows. Cheapest tours start at around MYR 30.
So if you wanna see more of Langkawi’s beauty better try and find someone to take you on a customized tour, where you can stop where you want and see places you are more interested into, where you don’t need to spend an hour or two on an island you don’t like at all.
Another option would be to go an island hopping tour with jet ski.
26. Go on a Langkawi Archipelago Jet Ski Tour
Again, you can just go to the beach (that’s if you are in Pantai Cenang/Pantai Tengah) and ask around at tour agent booths.
Or you can book a tour online. Here is one option. It’s a 4-hour tour during which you’ll visit 8 islands.
27. What About a Romantic Sunset Cruise?
You can join a group of other people or you can as well book a private yacht, the choice is yours.
Most of these tours, however, start from and finish at Royal Langkawi Yacht Club. Just google or ask around and you’ll find some good deal.
28. Rent a Yacht With a Captain and Spend a Day or Two Cruising the Archipelago
The best way to see the whole archipelago? Here you have it.
If you are in Kuah already you may as well head over to Royal Langkawi Yacht club and ask around there.
29. Watch a Spectacular Sunset Near Royal Langkawi Yacht Club
Find some nice spot in the area or go for a dinner at the yacht club.
30. Watch a Sunset From Gunung Raya
And another of my personal favorites in this list of the best things to do in Langkawi.
But note that it’s not that easy to watch a sunset from Gunung Raya. I’ve been there more than 10 times and saw a beautiful sunset just twice. Rest of the times there were just too many clouds. No matter what it’s still a very special place where to spend some time just sitting there and watching the surroundings. You can come to this spot you see in the photo (don’t worry, you’ll notice it when going up the hill) for the sunset and spend there another hour.
To see how the island changes after the sun has set. How lots of bright green lights come on in the sea (thanks to men catching squid) and how the island lits up.
But be prepared that there is no road lighting And since it’s not the best quality road you’ll have to be careful going down.
31. Learn Diving in Langkawi
Try diving or get certified. It’s possible in Langkawi.
One of the options: Langkawi Scuba. They also have a beach kiosk on Pantai Cenang beach.
32. Rent a Bike and Drive the Scenic Road Leading to Datai Bay
Just do it!
You’ll be driving by Pasir Tengkorak beach, Temurun waterfall, Langkawi’s highest waterfall, and chances are you’ll spot shy dusky leaf monkeys (black monkeys with white face). Even if you don’t stop anywhere you’ll not regret it! This road is beautiful.
And it ends at the gate of an expensive luxury hotel. Where you have no other options but to turn around and drive back.
33. Visit Kuah and Take a Selfie With That Eagle
What’s the symbol of Langkawi? It’s eagle. And in Kuah, main town of the island, there is a big eagle statue.
If you are coming from Penang to Langkawi by boat (or from Thailand or mainland of Malaysia) then you can stop by here on the very first day. As the statue of eagle is next to the Langkawi ferry terminal. If you’ll be coming from Kuala lumpur to Langkawi by plane (clearly the best choice), then you will need to make trip to Kuah.
34. Duty Free Shopping in Langkawi. 3, 2, 1…
Alcohol. Tobacco. Lots of different chocolates from around the world.
All of that you can buy much cheaper in Langkawi than in other parts of Malaysia. I’m not an expert in alcohol, but most of these chocolates you can’t even find in other places in Malaysia.
Note that if you are planning on stocking up on booze don’t forget to take your passport with you. Since not that long ago there are some restrictions, limiting the amount of alcohol and tobacco one can buy. You can still buy as much chocolates as you want, though.
35. Go from Langkawi to Koh Lipe for a Day or Two
More beautiful beaches? Head over to Thailand. And I’m not joking.
Koh Lipe, known also as the Maldives of Thailand, is just a short ferry ride away from Langkawi. What’s the best part about it is that now even we, Latvians, and the rest of the world who need a visa to travel to Thailand, can go straight to Koh Lipe. Without going to Satun, as it was necessary earlier. Because now you can obtain Thailand’s visa on arrival in Koh Lipe.
Heading to Kuala Lumpur Next?
Check out the list of the best places to visit in Kuala Lumpur.
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.