Langkawi, is the collective name given to an archipelago of 104 tropical islands located 20 miles (30km) off the northwestern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, where the Andaman Sea merges with the Straits of Malacca.
Since 1990, the hard working Malaysian Tourism board has promoted the largest and most developed island of this group, Pulau Langkawi, as a tropical beach paradise. Today the island is one of Malaysia’s most popular tourist destinations.
Langkawi is world-renowned for its pristine beaches. Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, beaches on Langkawi’s western coast are the island’s most developed, while Datai Bay and Tanjung Rhu, which are located on its north half are more isolated. The island’s landscape is in fact quite diverse and aside from beaches, also features mountainous hinterlands, towering waterfalls, limestone outcrops and hot springs. The town of Kuah is the center of administration for Langkawi.
Best time to visit Langkawi
Langkawi is blessed with year round hot, sunny and humid weather, characterized by temperatures that range from 33°C (90°F) to 23°C (75°F). The island also experiences a wet season that usually lasts from July to October, though brief, tropical showers are a common occurrence throughout the year. The best time to visit Langkawi is generally thought to be between the months of November to March.
Citizens of the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland do not require a visa for Malaysia. Citizens of these countries can enter Malaysia and stay visa free for up to three months, provided their passports are valid for at least six months beyond the date of their arrival in Malaysia.
Citizens of various other countries are required to obtain a visa for their visit to Malaysia from the Malaysian consulate or mission located in their home. Details about requirements and the types of visas, issued can be found on the website of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Getting to Langkawi
The tropical Island of Langkawi, is served by its Langkawi International Airport. The Langkawi airport receives domestic and international carriers, like Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly and Silk Air, which provide air links to destinations like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Thailand and more.
Most tourists who arrive in Langkawi take a taxi to get to their hotels though many resorts also offer airport pickups by their own shuttle buses for their guests.
Langkawi can also be reached by an overnight train journey from Kuala Lumpur, though the route is not that convenient and requires transfers by taxi and ferry as well. Bus connections to Langkawi are also not that convenient, however if you are travelling to Langkawi from Penang then you could possibly consider using the direct ferry that travels between Penang and Langkawi.
Langkawi is equipped with a good selection of hotels and resorts, some of which are especially child-friendly. Some of these hotel properties are:-
Federal Villa Beach Resort and Spa Langkawi
Located within close reach of various Langkawi attractions, like Underwater World, Pantai Cenang Beach and Mashuri Memorial Mausoleum, the Federal Villa Beach Resort and Spa offers 77 air-conditioned, well-appointed guestrooms. The rooms at The Federal are equipped with modern conveniences like safes, coffee/tea makers, satellite TV and more. The hotel also offers facilities like a full-service spa, two outdoor swimming pools, children’s pool, an indoor pool, two restaurants, a poolside bar and a lounge. Wireless Internet is available in the public areas of the hotel for a fee.
The Sheraton Langkawi
The gorgeous Sheraton Langkawi hotel is set amongst 38 lush acres in the Pantai Kok area of the island. The resort is equipped with a private beach and offers facilities like an outdoor infinity pool, a full service spa, outdoor tennis courts and a 24-hr fitness facility. For its young guests, the hotel offers a children’s pool, a playground and recreational activities at the Lutong Kids Club.
The hotel’s 238 guest rooms and 20 suites feature Malaysia-inspired décor and are outfitted with LCD TVs offering premium satellite channels and free movies, safes, tea and coffee makers and more. In room wireless and wired Internet access is available for a charge.
The Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort
The Meritus Pelangi Beach resort is located near popular Langkawi attractions like Pantai Cenang Beach and Underwater World. This beach front property extends over 35 acres and offers facilities like a full-service spa, 2 outdoor swimming pools, outdoor tennis courts, and a fitness facility. Wireless Internet access in available in the public areas of the hotel for a fee.
The hotel is also equipped with a children’s pool and a children’s club and offers 331 air-conditioned and well-outfitted rooms and suites.
Langkawi is primarily a beach resort though it also offers a few cultural attractions, which are worth perusing whilst on holiday in Langkawi.
The attraction of Mahsuri Makam features the tomb of Langkawi’s legendary Princess Mahsuri. Located in the village of Mawat, 12 km from Kuah, this peaceful, marble crypt is associated with the sad tale of Princess Mahsuri, who was unjustly accused of adultery by her jealous mother-in-law. According to the legend, the fair maiden bled white blood at her execution, a sign of her innocence. As she lay dying, Mahsuri laid a curse on the island so that it would remain barren for seven generations. The curse has not come true as the island of Langkawi has prospered and grown over the years. Aside from the shrine, which is located within a small garden, the site also features a small house museum, which displays Mahsuri’s jewelry and the weapon that killed her.
The Ibrahim Hussein Museum and Cultural Foundation
The Ibrahim Hussein Museum and Cultural Foundation is housed in a modern building, dramatically perched on a cliff in Langkawi. This museum was established in 1991 and showcases the many works of its founder, who is considered to be one of the greatest Malaysian artists of all time. The museum offers free access for children.
Langkawi’s magnificent Al-Hana mosque which is located next to the Tourism Information office in Kuah was inaugurated by the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1959. The mosque is an exponent of traditional Islamic architecture and features a gold onion shaped dome, arches and minarets and intricate carvings which bear a distinct Malaysian influence.
Langkawi’s Eagle Square or Dataran Lang, hosts the island’s best known attraction, a 12 m (39 feet) sculpture of an eagle poised to take off. This structure is located near Langkawi’s jetty and is surrounded by fountains, terraces, bridges and restaurants. The square provides great photo opportunities and offers beautiful views of Kuah Bay. It is a popular spot for an evening/morning stroll.
Ride the thrilling Langkawi cable car
The Langkawi cable car offers a thrilling, fourteen minute ride to the summit of Mount Macinchang located at a height of 706m (2,316-ft.). This cable car offers the longest free-span, single-rope cable car system in the world, and one of the steepest rides.
The rocky summit of Mount Macinchang also hosts a long, curved, suspended bridge. This bridge, which is suspended from single pylon, which is 82m (269 feet), hangs approximately 100m (300feet) above ground and offers visitors great views of the dense jungle canopy that adorns Mount Macinchang.
Go snorkeling at Pulau Payar Marine Park
Pulau Payar Marine Park, which is located 19 miles off Langkawi, is a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving in Langkawi. The park, which extends over four uninhabited islands, Pulau Payar (the largest), Pulau Kaca, Pulau Lembu and Pulau Segantang, is filled with coral and much marine life. Many local tour operators offer day trips to Pulau Payar Marine Park.
Learn about the legends of Langkawi at Lagenda Langkawi Dalam Taman
The Lagenda Langkawi Dalam Taman is an interesting and beautifully landscaped theme park that is located near Langkawi’s Kuah jetty. This large garden museum is littered with several colorful sculptures that depict scenes from Langkawi legends and feature creatures like giants, ogres and princesses. The sculptures all have signs in English for the benefit of visitors.
Discover exotic birds at the Langkawi Bird Paradise
Langkawi Bird Paradise (Taman Burung Langkawi) is spread out over five acres along Jalan Ayer Hangat and is accessed via a ten-minute drive from Kuah. This park which was founded in 2002 is set up as a tropical garden. It features more than 2500 exotic birds that belong to more than 150 species. Popular displays at the park include the Macaw’s Courtyard and the Flamingo pond.
The park also features a walk-in aviary, a 15m high man made waterfall and offers opportunities to feed and take photos with colorful feathered inhabitants. Your children are bound to enjoy visiting this wonderful Langkawi attraction.
Marvel at ocean creatures at Langkawi’s Underwater World
Langkawi’s popular Underwater World attraction is located at the end of Pentai Cenang beach front near the island’s Zon duty-free shopping center. This aquarium, which is the largest in Malaysia, offers displays of 200 different species of marine creatures like sharks, giant rays, harbor seals, rockhopper penguins and the Amazonian Arapaima, the largest freshwater fish known to man.
Langkawi Tourist Information Centre, Kuah
Jalan Persiaran Putra, Kuah, Kedah
Phone: +604-966 7789 / 9416
Fax: +604-966 7889
Langkawi Tourist Information Centre, Langkawi airport
Phone: +604-955 7155
Langkawi Tourist Information Centre Jetty
Pusat Penerangan Pelancongan Jetty Point
Langkawi, Lot SB-2S, Setellite Building,,
Jetty Point Complex, Jeti Kuah, Langkawi, Kedah
Malaysian Tourist Office, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2615 8188 or www.tourism.gov.my
Emergency contact for Malaysia- 999
Foreign Embassies in Malaysia
United States Embassy, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2168 5000
British High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2170 2200
Canadian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2718 3333
Australian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2146 5555
South African High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2170 2400
Irish Embassy, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2161 2963
New Zealand High Commission, Kuala Lumpur: +60 (0)3 2078 2533