Langkawi is an archipelago in the north-west of Malaysia made up of 99 islands. The main island, Pulau Langkawi, is a popular destination for adding some sun, sand and vitamin sea into a Malaysia travel itinerary, thanks to its stunning scenery and being easily accessible, compared to the Perhentian Islands, for example. I spent 5 nights on the island as part of a longer tour of Malaysia. I’m sharing what to do in Langkawi, plus some great places for food and drinks.
What to Do in Langkawi:
Get a dose of adrenalin on a half-day jetski tour with MegaWaterSports
I’d never jetskiied before, but this was SO fun. You can either share a jetski or drive your own . You’ll be part of a small group with a guide who leads you to different islands in the archipelago. There’s also the chance to swim and ‘fun drive’ around quieter areas. Guaranteed fun!
If you take an action camera, make sure it’s fully attached to the arm. Mine fell into the sea and it was several before I realised so there was no chance of finding it. Oops.
Parasail over the glistening sea
The sky above Langkawi’s coast is dotted with colourful parachutes due to the huge amount of beach-front water sports operators offering parasailing. Along the Pantai Cenang beach there are several places to do this from, many with haggle-able prices. Another first for me, this (approx.) 10 minute ride took us over 100m in the air, offering beautiful panoramic views (and an uncomfortable bum).
Watch the sunset from Pantai Cenang
The beach Pantai Cenang faces west and is therefore the perfect spot to watch the sun set beneath the horizon. Whether you’re staying at a beachfront hotel, or head to one of the many beach bars, you’ll witness a myriad of colours come together over the waves. My favourite time of day.
Look over insane landscapes from the Sky Bridge
The Sky Bridge is the world’s “most spectacular pedestrian bridge,” partly thanks to the incredible views over the Strait of Melaka and the Andaman Sea and is at the top of the world’s “steepest cable car ride”. With accolades like that, it’s bound to be amazing. Now, there’s no guarantee you’ll actually be able to see the views. Unfortunately, despite sunny skies below, when we headed up there, thick cloud masked the views and we couldn’t see a thing! Still – it made for quite a mist-erious atmosphere (sorry).
Get up close with wildlife on a boat ride through the mangroves
Mangrove tours are popular in Langkawi and there are several tour operators you can book them with. These operate in the north-east of the island so if you’re staying on Pantai Cenang expect a fairly long drive to get there. Tour lengths range from 2-6 hours so do some research and think about what you’re looking for!
We opted for the 2 hour shared boat tour with Natasha’s Mangrove Tours. In total there were 4 of us on the boat with one guide/driver. I’d say this 2 hour tour was long enough and gave us some interesting experiences – we didn’t feel we’d missed out by not doing a longer tour.
We were taken to a bat cave (literally full of bats!) and saw wild monkeys swinging through the mangroves. We also went to a fish farm where we were able to stroke a sting ray (it was never on my bucket list, but I’ve done it now) and to an area in which a good 15+ eagles were swooping into the water and grabbing fish to eat, which was amazing to see.
Eat and Drink
Hopefully that gives you some ideas of what to do in Langkawi… now let’s move on to the important stuff! Clearly I was very hungry during this trip, so I don’t seem to have any photos of the food. Trust me though, these are great options.
Watch the waves at The Cliff
Speaking of cocktails, you’re going to want to head to The Cliff. Another bar/restaurant located along Pantai Cenang, what makes this place different is the fact it’s actually built on top of the water. We visited on a weekday afternoon and were the only ones there for quite a while. It provided a peaceful spot to listen to the waves and people watch over the beach. The cocktails are great – there’s a huge menu including some of their own concoctions. The Edge of the Rock was delicious.
The perfect sunset view at CBA bar and restaurant
At the north of Pantai Cenang is the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort hotel, but you don’t have to be a guest to access CBA. It lies on the sand, surrounded by palm trees, providing a wonderful spot to watch the sunset. The menu offers a wide choice, including western and Asian food and cocktails.
Get your sugar fix at My French Factory
There are two creperies along the main strip of Pantai Cenang – ‘My French Factory’ and ‘Breizh.Up’. Having a massive sweet tooth, I went to both, and would definitely recommend My French Factory over Breizh.Up. It’s small, but if there’s space, sit inside where you can watch the crepes and waffles being made and carefully decorated to perfection by the guys that run it. We went when it was very busy, so there was a bit of a wait, but the food was 100% worth it.
Fill up on delicious Middle Eastern cuisine at Damascus or Yasmin Syrian Restaurant
I’m a falafel lover, so we actually had two Middle Eastern dinners whilst in Langkawi. We stumbled on Damascus when caught in a heavy storm one evening and, as the first place offering veggie food and shelter, jumped straight in. It’s a small, seemingly family-run affair, but the falafel kebab was delicious.
Conversely, we sought out Yasmin Syrian Restaurant after seeing their brilliant reviews on Trip Advisor. The menu is heavily meat-oriented, but their veggie mezze was great, the service is super and I’ve honestly never seen a Middle Eastern restaurant so packed.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Frangipani Langkawi Resort, right on the beach, which has won several awards for their environmentally-friendly practices. They do great stuff to protect the environment there, such as daily eco-walks, recycling and offering guests the chance to ‘adopt’ a tree. For some reason, they don’t have places to fill up re-usable bottles. Instead, they put 4 plastic bottles in each room everyday…
It’s a large resort on Pantai Tengah beach which is a little further south than Pantai Cenang. That means it’s quieter, and you can still walk to Cenang in about 15 minutes.
Where’s your favourite island in S.E. Asia? I’ll have to get planning another beach break soon!
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