7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

Stuart Forster

written by
Stuart Forster

updated 03.06.2024

Looking to unwind on a tropical island somewhere in Southeast Asia? Then you may want to head to the island of Langkawi: Malaysia’s ultimate escape from the country’s frenetic cities. From trekking into the rainforest to wildlife-watching – all between spells of relaxing on a wide, sandy beach – here are a few reasons why you should escape to Langkawi.

1. Because cocktails flow freely down by the sea

While beach resorts abound, there are still a few brilliant beach shack bars left on Langkawi’s shores, many of which are on the sands of Pantai Cenang.

Kalut Cafe And Bar is a great casual place to relax. Here you can enjoy the sunset from beanbags directly on the beach. As the evening progresses, this is a great place to go dancing. If you're lucky, you may catch the bar's reoccurring live fire show.

Looking to relax and recharge? Discover the perfect hideaways in our guide to the 20 most relaxing vacation spots.

2. Because it’s teeming with weird and wonderful wildlife

Board a boat at Kilim Jetty to tour the waterways of Kilim Karst Geoforest Park. You’ll have a good chance of spotting pythons between the twisted roots of mangroves and bonnet macaques feeding.

Keep your mouth closed when you pause to view the awesome sight of bat colonies hanging in caves within limestone formed 550 million years ago – who knows what might drop from above!

The island also provides habitat for more than 200 bird species. In the island’s foliage you’re likely to spot oriental pied hornbills, easily identifiable thanks to their bulbous beaks. Females have blue eyes and the males’ are red.

You’ll need well-attuned ears to identify the call of greater racket-tailed drongos, which have a quiff-like crest and distinctive twin tail feathers. Impressively, the drongos are able to mimic as many as 26 calls by other birds and animals, including the whooping and shrieking of monkeys.


Malaysia is teeming with great wildife © Barbara Bednarz/Shutterstock

3. Because you can trek in an ancient rainforest

Pack your boots and hike, to the sounds of squealing cicadas and chirping birds, in dense rainforest on the slopes of Gunung Raya and Gunung Machincang, Langkawi’s highest mountains. Companies like Dev’s Adventure Tours and Junglewalla offer guided tours providing insights into nature and wildlife.

Alternatively, follow marked trails at your own pace. Locals rate the trail to the Telaga Tujuh waterfalls, whose seven pools are associated with legends featuring fairies.

4. Because the sea waters are warm and ripe for swimming

If you’re a water baby, then you’ll love Langkawi. Ocean temperatures fluctuate between 28–30°C (82–86°F), making swimming in the sea inviting and pleasant. Be warned though: jellyfish can be a problem. The creatures, known locally as obor obor, lay their eggs by the shore on evenings. Several resorts protect guests with anti-jellyfish nets. Wearing a rashie or T-shirt helps minimise your exposure to stings.

For more about the weather, see our guide to when to go to Malaysia


Cable car through Langkawi Island © Smarta/Shutterstock

5. Because you can ride a cable car in tropical temperatures

Cable cars are usually associated with winter holidays but riding the Langkawi Skycab lifts you above the dense canopy of the virgin rainforest decking Gunung Machincang. The peak of the steep-sided mountain stands 708m above sea level, where viewing platforms prove popular spots for enjoying panoramas of the island. On clear days you can see the coastline of southern Thailand beyond the glimmering Andaman Sea.

If you have a head for heights, ascend to the Top Station in one of the glass-bottomed gondolas, peering over the ancient jungle’s treetops on the way. The 15-minute ride carries you 2.2 kilometres.

At the top you can cross the 125-metre long Sky Bridge. The world’s longest free span, curved bridge dangles above a chasm from a single metal pylon. Blend in by snapping selfies on the vantage point that doubles as one of Langkawi’s best-known landmarks.

6. Because there’s great accommodation for all

Whether you’re strapped for cash or want to splash out, there’s somewhere for you on the island of Langkawi.

Many of the beachfront resorts are aimed at the higher end of the market – many making a perfect romantic getaway for couples in love. If stepping down from a chalet onto a white-sand beach to spend a morning dozing in a gently swaying hammock sounds up your street, splurge on the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa at Pantai Cenang.

For those who looking for five-star accommodations, Casa del Mar Langkawi features rooms with beach views, an outdoor swimming pool and free bikes to discover the island with.


Beach chairs, Tanjung Rhu Beach © Alan Tan Photography/Shutterstock

7. Because there are miles of silver sand for the beach bums…

If you want to roll out your towel and while away time on Langkawi’s sandy beaches, head to popular Pantai Cenang, on the south-west coast, or for ultimate relaxation, head north to the quieter Tanjung Rhu.

If lying on the sand taxes your patience try a jet ski tour or sunset boat cruise in waters around the island. They don’t cost the earth and are a great way to see Langkawi’s pretty shoreline.

Planning your trip to Malaysia

Ready for your trip but daunted by the hours of research it takes to create the perfect itinerary? We're here to help. Our tailor made trip service takes care of all of the planning and booking so you can focus on holiday. Our trips are created by local travel experts and are completely customisable to your personal preferences. Not to mention, when you land in Malaysia, you'll have supoort 24/7. 

Or if you prefer to plan your own trip, don't miss our Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei — with plenty of travel tips and insights. 

Stuart Forster

written by
Stuart Forster

updated 03.06.2024

Stuart is an award-winning travel writer whose work has been published in magazines such as National Geographic Traveller, Wanderlust plus Food and Travel. From the north-east of England, he has lived in Germany, India and Portugal. He travels frequently to Canada and the Netherlands. Follow him @goeatdo on Twitter & Instagram.

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