Langkawi is an archipelago consisting of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea, south of Thailand, 30km off the mainland coast of northwestern Peninsular Malaysia. The islands are a part of Malaysia's Kedah state, but are adjacent to the border of Thailand. By far the largest of the islands is the eponymous Pulau Langkawi (Langkawi Island), 478.5 square kilometers, with an estimated population of 100,000. The only other inhabited island is Pulau Tuba.
Langkawi's most prominent mountains, Gunung Macinchang and Gunung Raya, and a whole series of towns and villages are said to named after a local legend. The story tells the tale of a wedding between two families of giants, with Mat Raya's son wanting to marry Mat Cincang's daughter. During the wedding feast, a fight broke out between the two wedding parties, reputedly because the son was caught flirting with another woman.
During the fight, pots and pans were thrown, and a large pot of gravy (kuah) was broken and the contents flowed onto the ground. The place where the gravy was spilled became known as Kuah (the largest town on Langkawi island) and where the crockery (belanga) was broken (pecah) was location of the village Kampung Belanga Pecah. The gravy seeped into (kisap) the earth at the village named Kisap.
The name "Langkawi" has two possible origins. First, it is believed to be related to the kingdom of Langkasuka, itself a version of the Malay negari alang-kah suka ("the land of all one's wishes"), centered in modern-day Kedah. The historical record is sparse, but a Chinese Liang Dynasty record (c. 500 AD) refers to the kingdom of "Langgasu" as being founded in the 1st century AD. Second, it could be a combination of the Malay words 'helang', meaning "eagle" and 'kawi', meaning "reddish-brown" or "strong", in old Malay.
Langkawi eventually came under the influence of the Sultanate of Kedah, but Kedah was conquered in 1821 by Siam and Langkawi along with it. The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 transferred power to the British, which held the state until independence, except for a brief period of Thai rule under the Japanese occupation of Malaya during World War II. Thai influences remain visible in the culture and food of Langkawi.
Langkawi remained a sleepy backwater until 1987, when the island was granted tax-free status with the intention of promoting tourism and improve the lives of the islanders. The following boom was spectacular and now Langkawi figures on most every European travel agency's radar.
This spectacular boom was also due to the fact that Mahsuri's curse was lifted with the birth of her 7th generation descendant.
Sheltered by the mountainous backbone of Peninsular Malaysia, Langkawi escapes the northeastern winter monsoon entirely and enjoys sunny skies in winter when the eastern provinces are flooded. Coupled with natural white sand beaches, lush jungle foliage and craggy mountain peaks - but hampered by inaccessibility - the island was at one time touted as "Malaysia's best-kept secret".
The 10,000 hectares of Langkawi and its 99 islands were declared a Geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2007.
Langkawi Ferry operates fast air-conditioned boats from Kuala Perlis (RM18, 75 minutes), Kuala Kedah (RM23, 105 minutes), Penang (RM60, 165 minutes), and Satun (RM30 or THB300, 75 minutes)(Satun ferry to Langkawi: last boat departs Satun at 4pm(2009).
Telaga Harbour operates ferries from Ko Lipe, Thailand twice per day during the high season, at 9:30 and 14:30 (RM128 one-way, RM248 return, 75 minutes). These boats dock at the south end of Pattaya Beach. Bookings can be made online.
There is effectively no public transport on the island, so your choices are to use taxis or to rent a car, motorbike/scooter, or bicycle.
A taxi from the Airport to Pantai Cenang costs RM18. You can buy a coupon at the taxi desk in the airport. From the ferry terminal to Pantai Cenang the price is RM24.
Renting a car or motorbike/scooter is highly recommended. This can be done at the airport, the port complex, or from shops on Pantai Cenang. Do not rent from touts, as many are operating illegally without permits and usually without insurance. But they don´t care. Renting an air-conditioned mid-sized sedan costs RM100-RM150 per day (depending on model, condition and length of stay) and a 150cc motorbike/scooter costs RM40 to RM45 per day. Cheaper but usually very used and older are the semi-automatic 115ccm bikes for RM25 a day. Remember to have sufficient fuel in the tank as gas stations are far from one another. However, rental agencies do not care how much fuel is in the tank when the vehicle is returned so do not spend more on fuel than you have to. Fuel only costs about RM 1.80 a litre and you should return the bikes with the same filling level as you picked it up. Some rentals do check the level and mark it when you sign the slip. Remember to drive safely and slowly on the island and on the left side of the road. There are tourists, children and animals like chickens, cows and even buffaloes crossing. Take care not to run over the beautiful snakes or monitors. Cattle and snakes like to lie on the road at night; the blacktop radiates heat.
You can rent bicycles in many of the hotels. Expect to pay between RM10 and RM30 per day.
Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls aka Seven Wells, +6049667789, Gunung Mat Cincang, Nothwest corner of the island, 45 kms from Kuah, This waterfall is named after the seven natural pools along its path. Legend has it that fairies used to come down to the pools to bathe and frolic. There are 2 viewing areas at Telaga Tujuh. The lower area is at the base of the waterfall and the higher area is where the 7 pools are. You can bathe in the pools and even slide down the slick rock between them. Be warned, to get to the 7 pools, you have to climb 300+ steps which can get quite slippery when wet. As with most Malaysian tourist sites, the toilet facilities are not maintained and rubbish is strewn everywhere. There is also a jungle trekking course available at the site which will lead you through a trail of up to 2500m, up 2 different mountains. This trail is achievable with slippers, but it is best to wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots as some segments of the trail are nearly vertical. Be warned that these trails are not recommended for family trips.
Gunung Raya, Take the snaking paved road through the jungle, The tallest mountain on the island, at 881m. Spectacular views from the lookout point on the top. There is a resort hotel serving meals and indifferent coffee at the summit. there is a lookout tower which one may climb for 10rm.
Crocodile Adventureland , +6049592559, Daily, 9am to 6pm, Show Time: Daily at 11.15am & 2.45pm, Hourly feedings, Jalan Datai, Mk. Ayer Hangat 07000, On the way to Teluk Datai, Over 1,000 crocodiles and alligators. Witness a unique boxing match of man vs crocodile, or take a ride in a rickshaw drawn by a crocodile. this attraction will not be enjoyed by european visitors, the crocodiles are inbred and deformed.
Laman Padi Rice Garden, 955 4312, 10am-6pm, Northern end of Pantai Cenang, opposite Casa Del Mar Hotel, Rice fields and nice landscaping. Museum in English details process of cultivating rice.
Oriental Village , Asian-themed village featuring restaurants, an exotic snake charmer, jugglers, silat displays, traditional music, kite flying demonstrations, palmistry, portrait painting. A miserable elephant is forced offer rides to tourists. In future, a tiger may be added into the collection of their non-native wildlife. Rent a segway to scoot around Oriental Village.
Summer Palace, Pantai Kok, now closed; the building is a monument to the foolishness of man.
Pantai Cenang - The most popular beach in Langkawi, features fine powdery sand and many beachfront restaurants and bars. Located at the south-western tip of the island, 2km long.
Pantai Tengah - Located just south of and contiguously with Pantai Cenang. 1 km long. Means ‘Middle Beach’. Peaceful and tranquil alternative to the hustle and bustle of Pantai Cenang. All inclusive resorts popular with families.
Pantai Kok - Isolated, relatively undisturbed stretch of beach in the western part of Langkawi Island, 12km north of Pantai Cenang. Telaga Harbour as well cable-car ride to the peak of Mat Cincang Mountain and the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls are located here.
Tanjung Rhu - northernmost tip of the island. Centuries-old limestone caves, mangroves, waterways, limestone crags and sandy beaches make it a nature lover's paradise. This beach is made up of 2 long stretches that include Tanjong Rhu Resort and Four Seasons..
Datai Bay - The most expensive resorts are located here.
Burau Bay - Beach lined with rocky outcrops located at the West Coast of Langkawi. Nearby Burau island is also a roosting place for migratory birds.
Pantai Pasir Hitam - Means ‘Black Sand’. The sand is mixed in white and black shades, due to rich tin and iron ore deposits.
Pasir Tengkorak - Very beautiful small beach in the North of the island.
Tours can be arranged via any hotel or a multitude of online agencies. Prices vary, the ones given here are averages.
Island Hopping Tours, You will be brought to several islands around Langkawi, usually the Pregnant Maiden Island and Pulau Beras Basah. A dive into the cool deep Pregnant Maiden Lake is a must. The tours take 4 hours and leave at 9.30AM and 2.30PM. They have pick-up service and can be booked from any hostel/motel at lower rates.
Birdwatching Tours, There are over 200 species of birds on the islands. The best times to watch them are the early mornings or early evenings.
Kayaking & Swimming Adventure, 4 hour tour. Paddle along the mangrove forest. Opportunities to see kingfishers, sea eagles, kites, plovers, herons, fiddler crabs and mud skippers.
Jungle Trekking in the Rainforest, 4 hour tour. Pick up from your hotel. Lots of monkeys and birds. Junglewalla also offers tours suitable for families or advanced hikers. Jungle trekking is free if you follow any of the numerous jungle trek routes available throughout Langkawi. The vegetation is not dense and will be a memorable experience.
Mangrove & Limestone Cruise, 4 hour tour. Explore the mangroves forest and the ancient limestone outcrops and rock formations and possibly walking fish, Kingfishers, and Eagles. Prices vary, depending on the quality of the guide as well as the package components. It can range anywhere from 120-200rm for adults.
Nature Walk, 2 hour tour. At sunrise or at dusk. See monkeys, insects, and flying squirrels.
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, Best around Pulau Payar Marine Park (20km south of Langkawi). There is a viewing platform for relaxation between underwater adventures.
Eagle Feeding, While you are on one of the various boat tours, the tour operators will toss pieces of chicken to the eagles. This is a wonderful display, but encourages the eagles to rely on tourists for food, and not to hunt on their own. As a result, it is very destructive to the eagle population. Please do not support eagle feeding. Tell the boatman to keep the chicken for himself.
Cable Car Ride & Hanging Bridge, +604959 4225, Ride the cable car to the top of Gunung Mat chinchang and walk across the 700m high Sky Bridge for a spectacular view of the islands and Thailand. Includes a very steep section which is spectacular both going up and coming down. Doesn't operate in bad weather. If they are not operating, or you are really into hiking, you can trek partway up the mountain through the jungle. To do this, from the parking lot at Telagah Tujuh Waterfalls go left just before the road goes really uphill and then turn left again at the water reservoir. The trek is very steep most of the way and in a pretty bad condition because the contractors laying down the piping for cables littered garbage all the way to the top. Only attempt this if you are fit and have good hiking boots. Temperatures at the top of the mountain are 4 to 5 degrees lower than at sea level.
Go-Karting, 604-955 5827/604-955 5792, Lot67, Jalan Pantai Cenang, Morac International Karting features a 1000m track.
Yoga Now , +60 16 2715 082, +60 16 2715 082, Daily yoga classes 9 am - 11 am and 4 pm - 6 pm., 15 Lorong Keramat, Pantai Cenang, Follow the signboards for Yoga Now on the road behind Rasa Restaurant - 10 mins walk from the beach., Traditional Hatha Yoga classes in English (also French, Dutch and Chinese). Run by an Irish/Malaysian couple. Yoga retreats and workshops are also available.
Practically all resorts have their own restaurants and most tourists choose to eat in, but there are a few other options as well. Be adventurous and strike out on your own to savour the numerous foods at the stalls and restaurants all over Langkawi. Try one of the many seafood restaurants. Having said that, beware of certain restaurants advertised in the brochures targeting tourists. An example of such restaurant is the 'Coco Beach Restaurant', close to the airport.
If you choose order seafood or fish, take note if the price is by weight or by a set price for the dish. The unwary can be hit with a much larger bill than expected. Also, beware of restaurants telling you that they only have the bigger size lobsters available, as that is what they tell everyone (a common practice at Coco Beach Restaurant and Palm View Restaurant, at Pantai Cenang). When your lobster or crab is served, you will discover that you will definitely be paying for 900g of shell instead of meat! To counter this, order fish, squid and prawns to be safe.
For a taste of simple Malay-style breakfast, just walk up to a small stall opposite the Underwater World in the mornings and feast on the famous freshly-prepared banana leaf-wrapped nasi lemak (steamed rice in coconut milk). The price is most affordable at less than RM 2 for a pack. Go local and enjoy this with a glass of hot teh tarik or really good local coffee. This very unassuming stall is just simple and great (clean too!) The nasi lemak comes with curried beef, squid in chili, friend salted fish or chicken.
AddaMaya Café, Pantai Cenang (near Haji Ramli's; or opposite Nadia's Comfort Inn), - small, cosy place for meals and coffee. The chef can whip up great meals - from local dishes to western fast food easily (and in that little cabin of his). Problem is, it can get a bit dusty as it is located fronting the main road. Locals like to come here for good food at reasonable prices.
Rafi's Place, sandwiched between Restoran Aliah's and Tomato Nasi Kandar on Pantai Cenang, Rustic shack. No visible signboard either but ask around and you will find Rafi's. Rafi is a Penangite but has been on the island since 1988 so he considers himself very much local. Ask him for recommendations and he'll happily tell you. Ample parking space in front of his 'shack'. Good ambiance especially early mornings.
Tomato Nasi Kandar, Opposite Langkawi Boutique Hotel, Typical budget Indian food establishment with patrons all day (and night!) long. Very crowded even in the wee hours of the morning. They serve an enormous variety of dishes, from the flavoured roti varieties to naan, briyani and kebabs. The standard is quite high - to an extent where the meal is extremely value-for-money. The only problem is that their waiters are exceedingly bad at taking orders.
Restoran Fatimah, Near the Kampung Tok Senik Resort on the road to Ulu Melaka, Try this for really authentic Malay food. Their lunch spread is amazing - so amazing that they attract bus loads of Malaysian visitors. Just enjoy the food and leave your cultural baggage and complaints behind as you will be in a totally different ambiance but friendly, nevertheless.
Artisans Pizza Cafe, Pantai Cenang, Offers freshly cooked pizzas with both traditional and Malaysian toppings. The satay pizza and sambal pizza are particularly good. You can dine in or takeaway and they also deliver to guesthouses and the beach. Their house specialties: Hungarian Gnoulash and Madam's Fishbake are particularly awesome.
Babylon Mat Lounge & BBQ, Right on Pantai Cenang, Mats are laid out on the sand for guests to sit on and there is a a low table with a candle. They also have a live band or playlist that is passed off as a DJ. Some travellers have expressed concern about the over-friendliness of staff toward female patrons and have complained about poor service.
Breakfast Station, Lunch starts/breakfast ends at 12PM, A couple of minutes walk from Restoran Haji Ramli, Great Balinese decor, rustic with cozy ambiance. Fantastic and fantastic Nasi Lemak. The Western spread is a pleasant surprise. Best omelette in town.
Beach Garden Resort's Beer Garden , Happy hour from 15:00 - 19:00PM, Offers 1st class Western & Malay dishes in a stylish holiday - beach atmosphere. Superb wine selection, draft beer and German wheat beer (own import) as well as cocktails.
Cenang Boat Quay, Pantai Cenang, Offers a variety of Pizza, German Sausages, Pasta, local dishes and fusion food. Opening in April 2009 is a Grill Fish hawker. The concept here is by individual hawker selling the different styles of food. Amazing Sunset view at the Quay. A Must TRY!!
Champor Champur, Pantai Cenang, Moderately wacky fusion food in a fusion setting courtesy of a Dutch-Malaysian couple with an affinity for Africa. Great ambiance - feels like eating in an outdoor garden.
Difiqa, Pantai Cenang, close to Red Tomato, Great for tasting Roti Canai at breakfast with some very spicy dips as accompaniment, Less than RM5 for 2! Great tasting local coffee and fresh fish too.
Fat Mum Restaurant, 012-4707863, Pantai Tengah, Just up the road from Awana Resort. Great authentic local Chinese seafood restaurant, good food for a reasonable price.
Hole in the Wall Fishfarm & Restaurant , 049675301, Kilim River, northeast part of the island, Call for free shuttle, Floating on the river, part of the amazing scenery of the Kilim Mangrove Forest. They serve the freshest Malay style seafood you will be able to eat on Langkawi island. The traditional dishes of freshly caught fish, prawns, crab, lobster etc. are famous.Shuttle service from Kilim jetty to the fishfarm restaurant and return is free of charge for lunch and dinner guests. If you book a Mangrove Tour, you will most definitely end up having your lunch here. However, you may want to give their package buffet a pass and try their dishes.
Restoran Haji Ramli, Open till 1AM, Pantai Cenang, Your Nasi Campur haunt by day and run-of-the-mill Tom Yam shack by night. 'Ikan Bakar' - Grilled fish and other fresh seafood a'la carte after 3PM. Fresh terubuk (shad) which is unheard off in the mainland! Grab a couple of fist-sized prawns and cuttlefish (squid) cooked Tom Yam style for a gastronomical lesson in local seafood. Their seafood dishes average 4-4.5 RM per 100g, and they can be cooked in a myriad of different styles that will surely suit your tastes. Meat dishes vary from 6-12 RM.
Malay House, Pantai Tengah, Offers good but not necessarily authentic Malay food in an atmospheric garden full of lush greenery, water features and exotic art.
Mimi, A few minutes walk from Underwater World, on the opposite side of the road., Greatest 'Ikan Bakar' or grilled fish with tantalizing self-made sauce. . Also offers a variety of traditional Malay dishes like tomyam and 'ayam masak merah' (chicken cooked in non-spicy sauce).
Oasis, Pantai Tengah/Cenang, A great beach hangout serving western meals and drinks. It comes alive in the evenings.
Orkid Ria Seafood Restaurant , +6049554128, 11am-3pm. Dinner: 6pm-11pm, Lot 1225 Jalan Pantai Cenang, Some tables having water views. They have fresh seafood displayed out front. Choose from a wide range of cuisines, including dishes prepared in Malay, Thai, Chinese, and Western styles.
Rasa Restaurant, Pantai Cenang, Good Malaysian food with reasonable prices. Seating available outdoor in courtyard overlooking main road or inside.
Red Tomato Garden Cafe, +60125136046, Saturday to Thursday from 9:00am to 10:30pm, Closed Friday., Pantai Cenang, in front of AB Motel, Free WiFi. Look out for the owners red mini parked in front of the place. Has great western breakfast and lunch menus, and pasta and pizza for dinner. Home made bread, good choice of cheeses. Gluten free pasta is available. Free WI-FI! Owned by a German lady.
Rose Tea 2, Pantai Cenang, Outstanding Thai food. Great price and great service. Closed on Friday.
Sun Cafe , Pantai Tengah, A friendly and relaxing restaurant that offers a variety of Western food, Italian food, and Malaysian food. They also serve a range of hot and cold beverages - from cappuccino to milkshake, from fruit juice to mocktail. If you love fish, try their Fillet of Barracuda. It's light and healthy. They are also open for dinner too. It is a great place for a delightful meal or a casual conversation over a cup of coffee.
T. Jay's Italian Bistro & Pizzeria, +6049553995, 8.00am to 11.00pm, Pantai Cenang, Opposite Underwater World, Though this place looks a little sleepy, they make some great wood-fired pizzas. T Jay's Special pizza is recommended.
Telaga Arabic Cafe and Restaurant, Pantai Cenang, The same kitchen serves an indoor dining area and a large outdoor area across the street. Good good with reasonable prices. Stay and enjoy some of the best hookah/shisha (tobacco water pipe) smoking anywhere.
Tulsi Garden, Pantai Tengah, Good Indian food (northern and southern). You may even get to talk to the owner, Palani on some nights. Quiet place to have dinner and chat with friends. Best part is you can ask the chef to tone down the chili or spiciness levels.
USSR Restaurant, Telaga Harbour Park, Russian fare. Waterside restaurant with tables overlooking the harbor. Managed by Russian expats who serve up the real deal.
Feast @ Sheraton , International buffet and ala carte menu. A varieties menu from unique local cuisine to western dishes. Choose to dine inside in air-conditioned environment or having your dine at terrace while enjoying the nature environment overlooking the Andaman Sea.
La Sal at Casa del Mar , Pantai Cenang, on the beach, As expected on holiday, dining is a relaxed, quality experience at your Home by the Sea. Food offers the best in Modern Asian and Western Cuisine with a focus high quality fresh produce and is served by attentive and friendly staff. The bar offers a wide variety of wine from the old and new worlds. The cocktail list is exciting and innovative with themed cocktails around our magical sunset, pool side relaxation and post dinner period.
The Light House, The edge of Pantai Tengah, Fantastic food on the beach wonderful views
The Loaf , +6049594866, 8AM to 11PM; closed Thursday, LOT NO. C9 Perdana Quay, Telaga Harbour Park, Japanese style bakery & bistro owned by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia. Quality breads and full meals. Amazing view of the harbour and the yachts especially if you have your breakfast al-fresco outside. Attentive staff. Try Tun's Favourite Breakfast set (2 softboiled eggs, a bowl of mutton curry and thick toasted bread) with coffee and orange juice. Good place to have a leisurely breakfast.
Mare Blu , +6049593830, Perdana Quay, Telaga Harbour Park , The only authentic Italian restaurant on Langkawi island. The restaurant offers typical Italian food, good wines and draft beer. The Mediterranean style surrounding is just beautiful and the tables are set up right on the waterfront.
Papadam, Pantai Cenang (Near Underwater World), Indian restaurant that also serves Arabic food.
Sunsutra , Jalan Teluk Baru, Pantai Tengah, Fine dining restaurant that serves great Western food too. If you're a big fan of lamb, you must try their lamb shank. Tender and full of flavours. Its portion is huge too! Good for someone who wants a hearty meal.
Because of Langkawi's tax-free status, alcohol is much cheaper than in the rest of Malaysia. Religious Muslims do not consume alcoholic drinks, and while they do tolerate non Muslims who do, try not to behave in a rowdy imbibed manner near them, their houses, mosques, and please respect local culture and communal sensitivities. For those living on a budget, you can obtain alcohol at cheap prices from the local duty free shops - the larger the outlets, the lower the prices. Expect to pay RM 25 for 1L Absolut, RM 45 for 1L Kahlua, RM 60 for 1L Bailey's.
Chime Nightclub @ Sheraton , Takes on a complete personality change and is Langkawi’s hottest night spot, starting with “sun-downers” on the terrace. Features night live entertainment with stunning performance from musician band while DJ spinning the music all night long.
If you are looking for budget accommodation, your best bet would be to walk along the beach and adjacent road at Pantai Cenang. Prices there normally range from RM35 to RM100 per room per night, on or next to the beach.
Cenang Beach Motel, +60 955 1395, Northern end of Pantai Cenang, Good value. Clean rooms with fan or air-con directly on the beach.
Gecko Guesthouse, Northern end of Pantai Cenang. Take the small road across from Orkid Ria restaurant, Bar on site.
Melati Tanjung Motel, Pantai Cenang,
Palms Guest House, +60176310121, Pantai Cenang, 8 rooms, run by a British couple. Hot water. Two nights minimum.
Zackry Guest House, Lot.735 Jalan Teluk Baru, Pantai Tengah, Great place for young and single backpackers. Family-run guest house. Free wi-fi, TV & DVDs at the common area. Common kitchen. Free coffee and tea. Free refill drinking water facility. Fan shared bathroom and ensuite aircond room available. Not suitable for family with children below twelve and or elderly.
Awana Porto Malai , Southern tip of Langkawi, 208 spacious rooms and suites offer panoramic views of the lagoon and nearby islands and equipped with modern amenities and facilities. Fun swimming pool with fountains and slide for kids.
Beach Garden Resort , Pantai Chenang, small, German managed insider resort right on the beach. Short ways, clean rooms, small pool, ice cold draft beer and imported German beer. One of the best reataurants on the island. Cosy athmosphere.
Best Star Resort , +6049551808, +6049551808, Lot PT 892, Jalan Pantai Cenang, Pantai Cenang, next to AB Motel, Beach front resort. Clean, comfortable and friendly. Coffee Garden. Air-conditioned rooms.
Charlie Motel, +6049551200, Pantai Tengah, Dialysis treatment also available
CoCoTop Hotel, +6049672559, Kelibang Kuah Langkawi, 5-10 minutes to town and jetty., Quiet, Clean, Aircondition, Friendly Environment with a hint of bakery fragrant every morning from a local owned bakery , 30 Rooms hotel with air-con, attached bathroom (hot and cold shower) and two single beds and TV. Short walk from convenience shops, near the town and jetty, friendly and english speaking locals, able to customize local tour pakage, car rentals and internet wifi is available!.
Eaglebay Hotel Langkawi , +6049668585 or +60194499880, +6049668585 or +60194499880, No. 33 Persiaran Putera, Kuah, All 132 rooms are furnished with air-conditioning. The Hotel's Central Park Restaurant offers delectable Malay, Chinese and Western cuisine.
Federal Villa Beach Resort , End of Pantai Tengah, 88-room 3-star beach resort on 4 acres of land with a breath-taking view of the sea. Cozily tucked against a backdrop of majestic green hills fronting a white sandy beach.
Helang Hotel , +6049553030, +6049553030, Jalan Lima, southwestern part of Langkawi, 5 minutes walking distance from the airport and 3 minutes walking distance to the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre, 232 spaciously large rooms averaging 480 square feet. Langkawi's premier convention hotel.
Holiday Villa Resort , 2 swimming pools, 3 tennis courts. Facilities in the 258 sea-facing guest-rooms and luxurious suites includes Colour TV, in-house movies, air conditioning, fridge, mini bar, in-room coffee/tea-making facilities and in-room safe deposit box.
Kampung Tok Senik Resort , Lot 1577, Kawasan Mata Air, Mukim Ulu Melaka, Along the road to Ulu Melaka, For a great rustic and rural ambiance try this full-fledged resort with a difference. No beaches here but a truly green surrounding.
Mutiara Burau Bay , This sprawling resort is nestled in the tropical splendor of the rainforest. The Mutiara has four restaurants as well as 150 cabanas. There's a long stretch of beach and plenty of space for you to stake your own private spot if you don't mind swimming in the sewage outfall The Seashell Beach and Cafe is a nice little place you can while away the evening with a couple of drinks and a pretty good live band. Go early to get a table as it can fill up pretty quickly after dinner!
Sandy Beach Resort , +6049551308, +6049551308, Pantai Cenang, Has been there for quite sometime. Rather sprawling... straddling both sides of the Pantai Cenang road. The beach-facing rooms are most popular. The regular beachside barbeque is great.
Shirin Villa, Pantai Cenang, 3 bedrooms (2 air-cond + 1 fan). For 6 pax, Suitable for couple, friends & family gathering. Fully furnished, Astro TV, Kitchen, fridge.
Tropical Resort, +6049554075, Pantai Tengah, opposite Sun Café, Quiet and clean chalets. Owned by Musa and his German wife, Laila. Rooms come with fan or air-con, attached bathroom (hot and cold shower) and two single beds and TV. Short walk from the beach, convenience shops, Malay style eateries, car rentals, stylish cafés, spa. Long term stays at discounted rates are available.
The Andaman , +6049591088, +6049591088, Built in the middle of a 50 million-year-old virgin tropical rainforest, cradled between the majestic Mat Cincang mountain range and the deep-blue Andaman Sea. Centuries old trees, many with huge buttress roots and jungle creepers envelope the resort creating a haven far from the bustle of city life. The resort features 186 superb rooms & suites in a stunning setting.
Sang Ria, Jalan Tasik Anak, Pantai Tengah, A tastefully designed beach villa in a contemporary Asian style. Their breakfast is legendary and delicious but must be booked in advance. Near great restaurants, bars and cafes. http://www.purveyorofdreams.com
Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort , +6049591888, burau bay, just next door to the Mutiara Burau Bay, Biggest hotel on the island, with 502 rooms and suites. There are seven F&B outlets including the newly-opened Mizumi Japanese Restaurant. Myriad of facilities for family holiday.Nature walks with a qualified guide are provided free of charge to guests. Beach football, kiddie pool, watersports, etc. 5 minutes walk to the Cable Car station at the Oriental Village. 40 mins from Kuah town. This resort has abundant wildlife, some unique to the island.
Bon Ton , Bon Ton Resort Langkawi is one of the island's most stylish, unique and intimate resorts, with eight individually styled antique Malay villas. Nam Restaurant at Bon Ton is regarded as one of the best on the island.
Casa del Mar (Pantai Cenang) , Boutique resort with 34-room sea-facing rooms. Day spa, gymnasium, non-motorised watersports facilities. Restaurant & cocktail bar on the beach. Suitable for couples and adults.
Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa , Pantai Tengah, This 4-star 258-room picturesque resort is sprawled over 13 acres of land. Large swimming pool with open air jacuzzi, an indoor pool for ladies and the Amoras spa.
Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa , 350 rooms are spread over 51 clusters of elegant wooden chalets offering pool, sea or lake views. The Meritus offers seven F&B outlets including two pool bars and the excellent Niyom Thai Restaurant.
Rebak Island Resort - A Taj Hotel , +6049665566, +6049665566, On privately-owned 390 acre Rebak Besar Island, a 15-minute ferry ride from Port Langkasuka jetty, 82 rooms. Managed by India's Taj Group. It consists of clusters of timber chalets. The hotel has the only fully equipped marina in Malaysia.
ATMs and Money Exchange booths are available at the Langkawi Airport and next to Underwater World at Pantai Cenang.
Langkawi is a duty-free island, and alcohol is significantly cheaper here than in the rest of Malaysia.
Hotel tariffs and retail goods are exempt from government duty. Visitors with more than 48 hours stay in Langkawi are exempt on items like wines and liquor (1 liter), tobacco (200 cigarettes), apparel, cosmetics, souvenirs and gifts, food and food preparations and portable electronic items (one item).
Shop around before buying: the airport is probably the most expensive place to buy anything. Shop in Kuah town for batik, tobacco products and chocolate confectioneries.
The Zon Duty-Free Shopping Complex, +6049555300, Daily, 9:00am – 7:00pm, Pantai Cenang, next to Underwater World, Cheap place to buy cigars, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, clothing, electronics, chocolates, and biscuits.
Kompleks Budaya Kraf, Northeastern Coast, Enormous handicrafts center built in Neo-Islamic style
KV Tobacco, +6019-5422558, Daily, 1:30pm-8:30pm, 136, Kompleks Kelana Mas, 5 minutes walk away from Kuah, in an area called the Trimula, Very affordably priced & well stocked tobacco and cigar shop. Easily recognizable by a big orange signboard, and door painting by the left. Has a variety of Cuban cigars, rare European smoking pipes and packed tobaccos. Knowledgeable and friendly shop owner.
Langkawi is a Geopark but still needs to improve its environmental friendliness. Don't participate in certain activities such as eagle feeding and monkey feeding as this harms the animals by encouranging them to become reliant on tourists and you may give them the wrong food. Also softly suggesting to the locals that littering or using plastic is not good for the environment will greatly assist over time.
Langkawi has a lot of mosquitoes so don't forget to use mosquito repellent.
Also, temperatures can be hot, so be sure to stay hydrated.
Be careful driving around Langkawi at night. Although main roads are well-lit, some of the more minor roads are not very well lit and may pass through Kampungs (traditional Malay villages) or rural areas where the locals seem to take a very casual approach to road safety. Drive slow and watch out for erratically piloted motorbikes, pedestrians and livestock. Inside Kuah Town, watch out for errors in the road arrows - they may lead you into wrong lanes or into barricades.
Crime is generally not a problem on Langkawi, especially compared to the larger cities in Malaysia. In theory, you don't even have to lock your car, because it cannot get off the island without customs knowing about it!
Beware of smart wild monkeys. Those at Tengkorak beach attack humans who have food. If attacked, pick up stones (or just pretend to do so) and throw them at the monkeys, this will scare them away.
Jellyfish are increasingly prevalent and have caused at least one death - a Swedish tourist in early 2010.
The main post office in Kuah Town. Mini Post Offices can be found in Padang Mat Sirat and in the Padi Complex in Pantai Cenang. Courier service, Poslaju shop can be found at Taman Berlian, Kuah.
Broadband is available and many Internet cafés can be found along Pantai Tengah, Pantai Cenang and Kuah. In addition, many of the upscale hotels and resorts provide free wi-fi. Red Tomato Garden Cafe & Casa del Mar also provides free wi-fi.
Ko Lipe — Great diving and snorkeling at the only inhabited island in Tarutao National Marine Park, a short speedboat ride (1.5 hrs) away on the Thai side of the border.
Ko Tarutao another island in Tarutoa National Marine Park, however does not suffer from the rapid development issues faced by Ko Lipe.
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