Eager to enjoy Thailand-ish beaches without the crowds? Pulau Langkawi, i. e. Langkawi island, is Malaysia’s northernmost island and actually geographically closer to its neighbor.
|Lots of space for anyone on Pulau Langkawi.|
It’s the same turquoise waters, white sands, swaying palms, and enchanting long tail boats as in Krabi and on the Andaman islands – but there are so much fewer tourists that you can actually enjoy it.
The island can be accessed by ferry from Kuala Kedah, Kuala Perlis, and George Town – which is where I came from. If you prefer to fly, there are domestic flights from Kuala Lumpur and international connections to Singapore and Guangzhou.
On the island, there is no public transportation, so that you either have to take a cab – don’t worry, there is a standard fixed price system – or rent a car, motorbike.
The island’s major part consists of forest-covered hills and dense vegetation, but what brings most of the visitors to Langkawi are the beaches, Pantai Cenang, a long stretches of fine white sand, being certainly one of the most beautiful ones.
While the beach area is still more or less undisturbed, though along the parallel running road you’ll find restaurants, bars, shops and stores, malls and tour operators. Because once you get tired of just laying on the beach and swimming in the Andaman Sea, they can arrange for you to explore other parts of the island and the waters around.
|Boats waiting for passengers.|
For Malaysian people, shopping is really a big thing on Langkawi since there is an incredible number of duty-free outlets. One of the great deals is on liquor – which is quite ironic in an Islamic country…and in this part of Malaysia with a population of 90% Malay, they tend to be pretty strict about it.
Another popular activity is a visit to the peak of the Gunung Mat Chinchang mountain. You can go up from Oriental Village by a Cable Car and then cross the Sky Bridge for fun – and breathtaking views.
|The Sky Bridge grants the best views.
(Photo: fusionstream, Bridge at summit, Langkawi, CC BY-SA 2.0)
There are various boat tours – day or half-day – to deserted islands or to Langkawi’s coastal mangrove forest, a monkeys’ refuge. Another very interesting stop is at a bat cave where an amazing number of bats was sleeping hanging upside down on the ceilings.
|Mother and child at the exit of the bat cave.|
Unfortunately, there is also a visit to a fish farm included as well as eagles being fed. I wonder what these poor birds feasted on before their lunchtime was considered instagramable…there is also a lunch included – which turned out to be…..neglectable.
|From beach to beach by boat.|
All in all, although Pulau Langkawi is relatively touristy – obviously especially around the beach areas – compared to Thai beaches e. g. in the Krabi region, it’s pretty calm and you can even find secluded spots.
|Definitely not crowded.|
Best place to sleep:
A good option for those who want a bit of comfort combined with a relaxed atmosphere might be the beach front Meritus Pelangi Resort.
Best place to eat:
There are all sorts of restaurants along the main road Jalan Pantai Chenang. I particularly enjoyed the family styles restaurants at the corner of Jalan Pantai Chenang and Jalan Bohor Tempoyak where you can help yourself to some Thai inspired dishes on a generous buffet: Chenang Thai Food Corner and Siti Thai Food – the geographical proximity to Thailand takes its toll.
Then go to the main post and take your pick!