Langkawi is the biggest island of an archipelago off the northernmost west coast of Malaysia so it’s close to Thailand. You can get to Langkawi by plane, they have a small airport there, or by boat. Most flights that come to Langkawi or leave from there come from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. There are also some flights to and from Singapore, mainland China and other places in Malaysia. The ferry takes you to and from Penang, another Malaysian island, Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah on the Malaysian west coast, as well as Satun and Koh Lipe in Thailand.
There is no public transport in Langkawi so you either rent a car/motorbike or take taxis or Grabs. Grab, a service like Uber, is actually better than a taxi as it is cheaper. In terms of where to stay I would suggest Cenang beach as it is a lively neighborhood. I stayed in Kuah, a town where the harbour is. There is not much to do there and there are also not many restaurants there.
There a several things you can do in Langkawi apart from lying on the beach all day. That is fun too though.
As I said before there is not much to do in Kuah. Should you take the ferry there tough, you can visit the big eagle statue, the Langkawi eagle is quite famous and there is also a nice park right next to the eagle, Taman Legenda. All of this is just a few feet away from the harbour.
The Mahsuri Mausoleum or Makam Mahsuri is the most historic place you can visit in Langkawi. Mahsuri was a woman who was accused of adultery and therefore executed. Before she died she placed a curse on Langkawi. It said that the island should not prosper for seven generations. As she bled white blood, a sign of her innocence, as well as her curse coming true, she is somewhat of a legend in Langkawi. Apart from the tomb, there is a museum detailing Mahsuris history and the history of the island. There are also a few traditional houses you can see there. Entry fee is RM17 (~€3,40 or ~$4) as of August 2017.
It is nice little place but if you’re not interested in history or just have no time, there is no harm in not going.
Langkawi Cable Car & Sky Bridge
A must see on the other hand is the cable car up to mount Machinchang. You have a view of the entire island from up there. There is also the sky bridge you should not miss. On a clear day you can see as far as Thailand. The cable car ride is supposed to be the steepest in the world. The view is really brilliant.
I payed RM55 (~€11 or ~$13) for the Cable Car (this is package deal with some other stuff at the Oriental Village – the 3D museum is also included in this and a really fun experience) and RM5 (~€1 or ~$1,20) for the Sky Bridge. If you pay RM15 (~€3 or ~$3,50) for the Sky Bridge you can go there by Sky Glide, a train ride of sorts. Otherwise it’s a couple of stairs that are somewhat challenging as the height of the steps changes all the time. I simply saw it as some fitness training.
Underwater World Langkawi
Underwater World Langkawi is a mix between zoo and aquarium. With RM46 (~€9,10 or $10,75) it is one of the more expensive things you can do in Langkawi. Especially given that it is quite small. You can see birds, penguins, seals and lots and lots of fish and other sea creatures there. I only spent an hour inside, but if you need a cool down after a day on the beach, why not. The aquarium is right between Cenang beach and Tengah beach.
Pantai Cenang & Pantai Tengah
These two beaches are pretty much next to each other and both have a unique charm. If you like to do all kinds of water sports then Cenang beach might be more for you as it is full of stalls where you can book water ski tours, jet ski tours and other stuff. You can do that at Tengah too but there is actually more space to just be by yourself for swimming or sunbathing. Both are really, really nice though. Except that the beach is full of litter. Littering is a huge problem there so be careful of plastic and other garbage lying around.
The pictures actually show no litter, because I tried to avoid getting it on to my photos. 😉
You should not leave Langkawi without an island hopping tour. There are other boat tours offered there too and I have to admit I only did the island hopping one. It is a nice tour though and lasts about four hours. Prices can wary but you can get the cheapest for RM35 (~€7 or ~$8,20).
A boat brings you to Pulau Beras Basah first where you can walk along a strech of beach. There are monkeys living there and they are not shy. They want to get tourists food and other supplies even stealing them when people are swimming in the water. Unfortunately, people are littering all over the beach which means that the monkeys want to get that too. Which has to be one of the most heartbreaking things to see.
You are picked up after about an hour and the boat takes you to Pulau Singa Besar where you can watch eagles getting their food from the water. You stay in the boat for that one and after a few minutes you journey on.
The next and last stop of the tour is Pulau Dayang Bunting. The legend of the island speaks of a pregnant maiden, so naturally the island looks like it from one side. There is a freshwater lake there, where you can swim or rent a canoe to paddle trough the water. As there was so little time, an hour again, I just went half-way round the lake on a gangplank. You need to pay RM5 (~€1 or ~$1,20) to enter the area of the freshwater lake as it is a geopark. There are also monkeys there but not as much littering going on. Afterwards the boat brings you back to the jetty.
There are plenty of other things to do in Langkawi, I just didn’t get to do them as I was only there for three full days. All in all, I would recommend Langkawi to anyone travelling around Malaysia or even Thailand.