Langkawi, Malaysia

16 Things to See and Do in Langkawi (2023 Updates)

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The island of Langkawi is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. With beautiful beaches and incredible resorts, it was one of the first places that put Malaysia on the map as a viable tourist destination in the 1980’s. Sine then, tourism has continued to flourish and now caters to everyone, from backpackers taking their right of passage around south east Asia, to celebrities looking for their private slice of paradise.

Langkawi has a variety of different sides from all pampering resorts, to budget hotels in the main city Kuah, to small bungalows close to the tourist beaches.

From each of these there is plenty to see and do on your doorstep.

However, if you want to see everything Langkawi has to offer, I highly recommend hiring a scooter or car for a day or two so that you can get out and explore Langkawi island to the greatest extent.

I’ve broken down this guide into what to see in Kuah, the main city and the possible first port of call if you arrive to Langkawi by ferry, around the Pantai Cenang area where you are likely to stay if you fly into Langkawi airport and stay close to a picturesque beach, and what to do on the rest of the island if you do get the chance to get out and explore.

But if you’ve booked your trip and are wandering the best things to do in Langkawi, wait no more as I’ve got the answers!

Langkawi, Malaysia

Top Things to See and Do in Kuah

Kuah is the main town on the island of Langkawi, and if you arrive by boat from the mainland, it will be your first port of call. Whilst there isn’t a great deal to see or do, and I wouldn’t recommend staying there, it would be nice to spend part of a day there on a tour around the rest of the island.

Duty Free Shopping

As Langkawi is a duty free island, there are numerous outlets offering the usual duty free fare such as alcohol, cigarettes and perfumes. Due to Malaysia’s high alcohol taxes, getting your booze here is a no brainer. A small can of Tiger beer can be as low as 3RM (ยฃ0.60) whereas it normally retails for between 6-10RM (ยฃ1.10-ยฃ1.80) in the rest of Malaysia. Similar savings can also be had on spirits. Be warned though, if you buy too much and want to take it home, you may have to pay duty when you leave Langkawi.

Dataran Lang

Once you’ve left the major ferry port, Dataran Lang (Eagle Square) will be your next stop. This square with a gigantic eagle statue welcomes all guests to the island. At 12m tall, the eagle looks out to sea as a protector for the island. It also give the name to Langkawi (Lang – eagle, kwai – red/brown colour).

Langkawi, Malaysia
The eagle statue at Dataran Lang.

Legenda Park

Langkawi is a place of myths and legends, with almost every natural feature on the island having a story behind it. Legenda park is located just next to Dataran Lang and contains diaramas and large statues depicting these myths. Whilst it is a lovely park located on the coast with some cheeky macaque climbing around, there is very little information on the actual sculptures in the park, so a guide may be warranted.

Maha Tower

The Maha Tower is one of Langkawi’s most recent attractions. Building started in 2014 and opened to the public in 2021, it now stands alone on its own little peninsula overlooking the rest of Kuah.

For an international adult (eg not a Malaysian citizen), it costs 78RM to go to the top of the tower at 139m high. To go at sunset costs 90RM. Considering this is a similar price to the Petronas Towers and KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur, it does seem pricey.

Langkawi, Malaysia
Maha Tower

Top Things to See in Cenang

If you are coming to Langkawi as a tourist, it is highly likely that you will be staying in Cenang. Just a short drive from the airport, Cenang is home to most of the hotels, a lively main street with numerous eating options and a place where you can rent scooters or book tours around the island. Of course, if you wanted to spend your time in a more horizontal position, it is perfectly fine to just relax by the golden beach.

Pantai Cenang

Let’s be honest, this is the real reason to come to Langkawi. It may not be the most adventurous thing to do in Langkawi, but sitting on a golden beach on a lush green tropical island is hard to beat. For the softest sand, head to the northern end, close to the Pelangi Resort, where there are also fewer locals but even then, only a small number of western tourists. The southern end, including down to Pantai Tengah, is the best place to catch sunset. Along the beach are some beach bars as well as rentals for water sport activities.Langkawi, Malaysia

Tackling the water sports on the beach

To get the adrenaline pumping again after catching too much sun, head to one of the many stalls on the beach that rent out jet skis. With parasailing and banana boating also available, there will be something to get your pulse racing. If you would rather spend your time under the water instead of above it, SCUBA diving is on offer from 170RM for one dive.

Langkawi, Malaysia
Jet ski’s at Pantai Cenang

Laman Padi

See how rice is traditionally grown at Laman Padi. The open air museum still has a working rice farm and depending on the season, it is possible to pick your own rice. The small museum and restaurant makes a fantastic place to visit after more adventurous activities and is also child friendly.

Langkawi, Malaysia
Laman Padi

Underwarter world

Another family friendly activity, Underwater World is a great place to go to learn all about the different types of aquatic life. From the coral reefs of the tropics, to a penguin enclosure, spend a few hours at Underwater World to experience one of the best aquariums in south east Asia.

Get a massage

Being a hub of tourists, Cenang is also a hub of a variety of spa options. Along Jalan Pantai Cenang, there are ample places to get a variety of massages, from a simple foot rub to full body Thai massage. Realistically, you get what you pay for to a point. Operators are very honest with their pricing and expectations, with full body massages for one hour ranging from 60-100RM.

Temonyong Night Market

Staying close to Pantai Cenang on a Thursday night? Head to Temonyong night market, a small but bustling night market with a wide variety of food to suit all tastes. Many of the stalls only have the signs for their food in Malay, knowing it’s a place for locals and not designed for tourists. Bargain prices for excellent food is always a winner!

It is also home to some of the best satay I have ever tried (and I have tried a few!). Go with friends and family and take a bit of everything and share.

Langkawi, Malaysia

Things to See and Do in the rest of Langkawi

Beaches

The beaches in Langkawi are a massive drawcard for those that head there. Although Cenang is the main tourist area, there are some great beaches further afield. Tanjung Rhu on the north of the island has pristine white sand looking at green cask limestone figures out to sea. Heading out to any other the smaller islands around will also allow you to explore beautiful secluded beaches.

Langkawi, Malaysia
Tanjung Rhu

Kota Mahsuri

Kota Mahsuri was once the site of a tomb of a young woman killed after being accused of infidelity. Legend has it, as she was killed, her blood flowed white, proving her innocence so she cursed the island of Langkawi for seven generations. A tale that adds to the mystery of of the myths and legends of Langkawi.

Nowadays it contains a small museum, a theatre for traditional performances and information on the history of Langkawi.

A bit far from Kuah or Pantai Cenang, it will take a tour or personal transport to visit.

Kilim Forest Geopark

The Kilim Forest Geopark, is a unique wonder in Langkawi, with mangrove forests, limestone karsts, caves filled with bats, and countless other species of wildlife.

Bats, eagles, monkeys and stingray can be seen on boat trips around the park.

Kayak tours are also available. Contact Farly Khalid, of Xtreme Langkawi for kayak day tours that take in all of the above!

Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge

The Langkawi Sky bridge was built in 2005 as a view point over the entire island, and on a clear day, with views as far away as Thailand.

Park up and make your way through the Oriental Village to the cablecar that will whisk you high up into the trees, 66m above sea level. The Langkawi cable car takes about 30 minutes to the top, with an additional stop on the way up (not particularly necessary in my opinion, but a nice photo opportunity).

The 125m long Sky Bridge is an extra 6RM with another small cable car, or a steep walk down to it. The bridge with glass in the floor, allowing views to the rainforest canopy below, has a sleek curved design that blends in with nature.

Tickets for foreigners start at 85RM with fast track entry another 50RM. Even if you don’t get fast track entry, single foreign travellers will often be ushered to the front of the queue to make up numbers of the 6 person containing cable cars.

Langkawi, Malaysia
Langkawi Sky Bridge from the top of the cable car station.

Seven waterfalls (Telaga Tujuh)

A short hike from the car park first leads you to first of the pools and one of the highest waterfalls in Langkawi. Nestled in amongst thick jungle, the falls lead down to some refreshing pools where it is possible to swim and relax. A short walk further up the pretty well maintained steps is the telaga tujuh, or seven pools. Legend has it that they were 7 fairies living in the pools but have since been scared off. With no fairies around, the pools are a perfect place to relax in the refreshing water in the rainforest environment.
Langkawi, Malaysia
View from the top of the Seven Waterfalls

Wat Koh Wanararm

Wat koh Wanararm is just 5 minutes outside of Kuah and is one of the finest examples of a Thai buddhist temple in Langkawi. With Thailand just a few kilometers away, the Wat and stumpa’s are a chance to see the beauty of Thailand whilst staying in Malaysia.

Langkawi, Malaysia
Wat Koh Wanararm

The 16 Best Things to Do In Langkawi

Langkawi is a beautiful island sitting in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Malaysia. With direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, and boats to the mainland as well as Koh Lipe in Thailand, it is easy to get to Langkawi and for your holiday.
With such a great diversity of things to see and do, Langkawi is likely to become a popular digital nomad destination over the next few year.
Langkawi has everything you could wish for from relaxing beaches to adventurous activity. If you find yourself on this little slice of Malaysian paradise and wondering what the best things to do are in Langkawi to do whilst there, this list will give you all the answers.
Langkawi, Malaysia

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