The archipelago of 99 islands that make up Langkawi almost matches Singapore in land size and boasts modern amenities and infrastructure, while still retaining its traditional culture.
Shrouded in myths about ogres, gigantic birds, warriors, fairy princesses, battles and romance, it’s a natural paradise unmatched anywhere else in Southeast Asia. Its geological history dates back 500 million years and the islands contain many unique rock formations including numerous caves with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. The outstanding geological landscape and features of Langkawi led to its classification as the first Geopark, not only in Malaysia, but Southeast Asia by UNESCO, with the aim of preserving and maintaining its unique attributes through conservation and ecotourism.
The Chuping Limestone at Pulau Dayang Bunting dates back some 280 million years and it is this kind of history that makes Langkawi so spectacular. Nestled among Langkawi’s mist covered hills, limestone outcrops and lush forests are awe-inspiring waterfalls, like those of Telaga Tujuh, as well as mysterious caves and a rich diversity of flora and fauna.
Those looking for a holiday with a difference might try jungle trekking or taking a boat trip up the rivers and around the many islands. Kuah, located on the southeastern side of Pulau Langkawi, is the capital and entry point to the islands by ferry. Kuah is a thriving centre of modern hotels and, because of its duty free status, a shoppers’ haven. A visit to the Teluk Burau Oriental Village is recommended. Designed as a new concept in resort shopping, more than 30 specialty outlets offer a diverse variety and range of brands and products which can often be purchased very cheaply, from alcohol and perfume to electrical goods and tobacco. Langkawi International Fashion Zone (LIFZ) is a prominent international factory outlet showcasing many international fashion brands, like Gucci, Versace and Hugo Boss.
Beaches such as those of Pantai Cenang on the west coast and Pantai Kok on the opposite side of the island from the capital offer relaxation while the clear, emerald waters around the islands are ideal for watersports and recreation.
Nightlife is a special experience in Langkawi, as some of the bars are located right on the beach. Most popular nightclubs are located at the bigger resorts, however most of the local bars offer live music and performances as entertainment.
There is a wide choice of dining options, from local fare to Western and Eastern gourmet cuisines with Asian spices.
Langkawi, like every other Malaysian location, is a shopper’s dream come true thanks to its duty free status. Find what you need and more in the many shopping malls and retail outlets that you will find here. Expect to see international brands here whether you are browsing through perfumes, chocolates, liquor, luggage, fashion or mundane objects like utensils. Pay a visit to the quaint shops selling batik and songket prints if you are looking for unique gifts that reflect the island’s traditional roots.
Surrounded as it is by water, seafood is available in plenty in Langkawi and the locals have some incredible recipes that you can taste nowhere else. Enjoy Malay, Chinese and Thai cuisine here and experience fresh seafood with lobsters, crabs, mantis prawns, squids, king prawns and more at the many hotels dotting the more popular tourist centers of Pantai Tengah, Pantai Kok, Pantai Cenang and Kuah.
There is much to do here in Langkawi but the beaches draw the most attention from holiday makers. The best beach to visit is Tanjung Rhu, which is at the northern tip of the island. For nature lovers this is a must-see with its old limesone cases, crags and waterways offering some exciting spots to explore.