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"Langkawi" Top 5 Page for this destination Pulau Langkawi by phil_uk_net

Pulau Langkawi Travel Guide: 1,550 reviews and 3,951 photos

Beautiful beaches ...

Working my way through Malaysia, en-route from Singapore to Thailand, Langkawi was the stop after Penang.
It is a pleasant little island, perfectly suited for relaxing and taking it easy. There are some great beaches that are virtually deserted and some excellent restaurants. Accommodation is plentiful and there is a good range from budget to luxury.
I am not sure whether my experienced in Langkawi was typical. I went shortly after the Bali bombing which had had a severe impact on tourist numbers throughout the whole SEA region.

Being Malaysia, Langkawi is dominated by the Muslim culture of course. I have nothing against the people but I always had the impression there was a barrier between me and them. The friendly chats and big smiles that are common in Thailand aren't always there for the most part in Malaysia. The people aren't unfriendly but are not as open as in Thailand.

... lots of nature and wildlife ...

There is a lot of wildlife which is always a huge bonus for me. Troops of macaques can be seen everywhere but be cautious as they can be dangerous.
Isn't it great though to see monkeys at the side of the road as you drive past? Langkawi also has a good selection of reptiles including estuarine crocodiles (rarely seen), 2 meter long Monitor Lizards, 10 meter long pythons and King Cobras. The birdlife is colourful and it is common to see Sea Eagles and Kites soaring high above. Langkawi is famous for its variety of butterflies that can be seen fluttering all over the island.

... and a great place to tatally chill-out

It's my second time back to Langkawi and I have decided to stay at the same beach area I stayed at last time, Pantai Cenang. It's been about 10 months since I was here last and I am pleasantly surprised how little it has changed. There are a few new places and at least one resort is building more bungalows but generally it is the same peaceful place that I remembered. This is quite a contrast to Khaolak in Thailand. My last 2 visits there were spaced 10 months apart and the amount of developemnt that had gone on in that short space of time was frightening.

Recently, Malaysia Airlines started operating direct flights to Langkawi (and Penang) from London two times a week. The service has been operating since 19th October 2003 and there is a flight each week on Wednesday and Sunday. At the moment it doesn't seem to have made any difference. I guess that the people flying in will have arranged packaged accommodation with the larger hotels and will not be interested in the small hotels and guest houses around here. This may change in future though.

Timing in life should never be underestimated. Situations, people and places may be right for you at one time and wrong at another. When I first came to Langkawi it seemed too quiet and I found I was getting a little bored. My second visit was quite different. After the hustle and bustle of KL, timing my stay in Penang to coincide with a huge Deepavali festival and then falling ill, all I wanted was some real peace and quiet. Langkawi has proven to be the perfect choice. It has been raining a lot recently thus keeping people away. It is also the start of Ramadan, another reason for it being quiet. This is just the retreat I needed to chill out and recuperate.

So, what is Langkawi about? I can only really speak about Pantai Cenang as I haven't spent much time on the rest of the island. There are some great beaches around the perimeter of the island and jungle in the centre. The road that runs through Cenang is relatively quiet, especially compared with many resorts in Thailand. Accomodation options run from basic beach huts for about RM40 per night to luxurious spa resorts costing 30 times that. There are some excellent restaurants. Quite a few Europeans have moved out here to live and set up restaurants and consequently there is a nice blend of local and Western food. The island has a duty-free status although I haven't investigated whether there are bargains for the taking. My observations at duty-free shops at airports around the world is that their prices are more expensive than most shops where duty is paid.

Nightlife is almost non-existent, which at the moment, suits me fine. Langkawi is a real chill-out kind of place. It will suit some and not others. I think couples will like it, as will people on their own who want to completely relax. The clubbers will find nothing here. Families with very young children will probably be fine but kids a bit older may get bored. There are backpackers but not too many. The options for very cheap accommodation aren't that plentiful and thankfully the typical backpacker type haunts playing loud music and videos every night do not exist.

The picture shows the road going through Pantai Cenang (Cenang beach). Unlike places like Koh Samui and Phuket there is not a constant stream of traffic and noisy 2-stroke motorbikes. On the right-hand side is the beach with several resorts and restaurants. On the opposite side are restaurants and small shops. Langkawi is a little piece of paradise, long may it stay that way.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great beaches and restaurants, very relaxed and laid-back
  • Cons:There's not actually a lot wrong with Langkawi
  • In a nutshell:A fantastic place to rest and relax
  • Last visit to Pulau Langkawi: Jan 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (51)

Comments (27)

  • Mar 22, 2008 at 3:10 AM

    Sorry to say that Mokhtar passed away. I think Breakfastbar is run by his german wife now.

  • Openseas's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2007 at 8:02 PM

    phil, your tips have been very helpful. My son is traveling in Jan. So many thanks !

  • dfactor's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2006 at 2:56 AM

    Leaving for Langkawi this weekend, great stuff dude.

  • Tattugran's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2006 at 4:00 AM

    I loved reading your write up on Langkawi..very enjoyable

  • Blanula's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2005 at 10:24 AM

    Your tips were a great help. I'm off to Langkawi in 10 days. It will be the first time and I am getting quite excited!!!

  • dennisKL's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2004 at 9:35 PM

    you hav a great holiday here! you should check out more...Pulau Payar!...cheers.

  • neilward's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2004 at 5:06 AM

    I agree,nowt wrong with Langkawi at all

  • Imbi's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2003 at 9:08 PM

    Cant wait for my two weeks in January here. Phil you did a wonderful work here.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2003 at 1:55 AM

    Marvellous page, Phil. Just like being there. BTW HB 2 U!

  • bugalugs's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2003 at 5:30 AM

    Such a comprehensive page Phil, great tips, and the breakfast bar sounds really good. Have a very happy birthday on Wednesday :-) best wishes Di


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