With beautiful beaches, plenty of activities, and inexpensive living among its claims, Langkawi Island, Malaysia should be on your list if you’re looking for a tropical Asian island to visit.
Langkawi lies just south of the border between Malaysia and Thailand on the western side of the mainland. Warm, with sparkling blue-green waters and the scent of flowers and flavor-filled Malaysian cooking in every corner, it’s all you’d expect from an Asian island destination. Plus, the island is designated as a duty-free zone, so it’s a great place to get beer and wine and tobacco if you couldn’t afford to indulge during your travels beforehand.
Looking for built-up touristy areas to stay in on the island or a fancy hotel resort? Langkawi has that. Check out the southeast side of the island by the ferry terminal. The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa is a great place to stay if you want to spend a boatload of cash.
If you’re looking for super-cheap living, Langkawi has that, too, but you’ll have to take a long walk inland away from the malls and beaches. For around $5 US or less, you could book a dorm bed at the Vila Thai hostel in Pantai Cenang. It’s not fancy, but you wanted cheap, right? Food is also dramatically cheaper as you go inland, as well. What may cost $6 US near a mall on Langkawi, you can get for $2 or less at a restaurant inland where locals eat.
Now that you have food and accommodations figured out, what is there to do?
Top 6 Things to Do on Langkawi Island
1. Sky Bridge
If you’re a fan of heights, take a visit to the Sky Bridge. Astounding views await after a cable car brings you up Mt. Machinchang. It’s advertised as the, “longest free span and curved bridge in the world” and takes you on a walk way up in the atmosphere – or at an altitude of about 700 meters.
2. ISLAND HOPPING
There are lots of island-hopping boat tours offered to go to the small surrounding islands. Most of them include a stop at a beach to let people swim, so if you bring snorkel gear, you can do 2 activities in 1! Island hopping is highly recommended if only to get a better look at the formations of rock and trees shooting straight up from the sea. Your tour might include viewing red-tailed hawks in action, and, if you’re lucky, the following park:
3. Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park
Hope you like wild monkeys! You also can journey to the center of this park to have your feet nibbled on by catfish…if that’s your thing. There’s a large fresh-water lake in the middle, encircled on all sides by rock and trees, and you can rent ridiculous-looking swan or duck-shaped paddle boats, too.
You may have been tempted to try this activity out in the past but were discouraged by the cost. Well, in Langkawi, it’s cheap and easy to try it out, although we can’t speak to the safety of it. You can be flown like a kite by a boat for around $30 US.
5. WET MARKET
For an authentic and lively Malaysian scene and a rainbow of fruits, vegetables and animal carcasses, stop by a wet market. In addition to being a wild experience, it can save you even more on your food budget. There are more than one on the island, so ask locals where the closest one is. Or, head to the one in Padang Matsirat – you can even find it on Foursquare.
6. CENANG BEACH
Maybe all the other suggestions sound nice but you really just want to be a lazy tourist for a day, buying tie-dye shirts and lounging on the sand with a can of Tiger beer. That’s OK! You can head to Cenang, otherwise known as ground-zero for tourist activity and tourist it up to your heart’s content.