Things to do in Langkawi

Visiting Langkawi, The Jewel of Malaysia

I have been fortunate enough to visit Malaysia a few times and discover a number of fascinating places throughout the country: the historical streets of Malacca and George Town, the spectacular Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the pristine jungle coast of Penang National Park, the gorgeous and wild Tioman Island… But there is a place that blew my mind enough for wishing to go back over and over again: Langkawi.

Langkawi is a 99-island archipelago located in the north of the west coast of Malaysia in the Andaman Sea, right next to the border with Thailand. Its official nickname is the Jewel of Kedah – the Malaysian state it belongs to. With such a nickname, you can guess it isn’t some random island.

Langkawi is home to spectacular landscapes made of jungle-covered peaks, fabulous beaches and untouched mangroves teeming with wildlife. It is a paradise for nature lovers and beach lovers alike and I can’t imagine not including it in any itinerary in Malaysia.

Wondering what exactly you can discover and enjoy Langkawi’s nature and landscapes? Read on!

#1 – Langkawi Cable car

Open in 2002, Langkawi’s cable car quickly became a hit. Located 12 km north of the airport, it will take you to the top of 550 million year-old Mt Machincang – the second highest mountain in Langkawi. It is also one of the 3 Geoforest Parks of Langkawi, with Dayang Bunting and Kilim (see below), declared World Heritage by the UNESCO.

At the touristy Oriental Village, you will quickly find where to buy your tickets. In high season, the queue can be really long and the attraction very crowded. Arrive early!

If you can afford it, pay the 50 RM extra for an express lane ticket. It know it’s not cheap, but at least you get to really enjoy your day and have all the time to focus on the views instead of the queues. I made this financial sacrifice and absolutely didn’t regret.

You will first stop at a first viewing platform at the Middle Station, with a fantastic panorama towards the west coast and central Langkawi. But the best is yet to come.

Take the cable car again to the top of the mountain, where 2 other platforms await you. The 360-degree view over Langkawi is exceptional. If it’s sunny, you will clearly see the island of Koh Tarutao, belonging to Thailand.

From the second top platform, you will be able to buy a cheap 5 RM ticket to one of the most spectacular walks of your life. The Sky Bridge is a real technical prowess. Nested into a spectacular environment made of cliffs, precipices and built over a dense jungle, it will clearly be a highlight of your day.

If you are spending several days in Langkawi (and I hope you are!!), make sure to keep the sunniest day for this visit. The ticket can feel a little steep for those on a tight budget, but it’s totally worth it.

VIRTUAL TOUR – Langkawi Cable Car

Check out the fabulous landscapes of Langkawi from the cable car platforms and the Sky Bridge – Must-see! (7 panoramas).

Click Here to View The Virtual Tour

The virtual tour opens in a lightbox. Use your mouse to move around the 360° panoramas.

Photo Gallery

#2 – Dayang Bunting Geoforest Park

Dayang Bunting Island is quite a big piece of wilderness located just south of the main Langkawi Island. But even before reaching the island, you are already sailing in a fantastic landscape made of numerous karstic islands partially covered with a lush tropical forest: the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park.

It is easy to visit through a day trip you can book with your hotel or hostel.

The main point of interest of the area is its lake (called the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden), amazingly separated from the open see by nothing but a thin strip of land. There is a path to follow along the lake, until you reach the narrow point where you are between the lake and the sea.

But the day tour doesn’t stop here. You are then taken to the nearby Singa Besar Island. In on of its bays, surrounded by the mangroves, dozens of fishing eagles will be there fishing their food right in front of you. These birds are the symbol of Langkawi and watching them is a great show!

If you have a good lens, you will have fabulous photography opportunities with the fishing eagles, the mascot of Langkawi.

The last stop of the tour is Beras Basah Island, where you are welcomed by a wonderful beach in an untouched environment.

The Dayang Bunting Geoforest Park is a great opportunity to discover Langkawi beyong the main island, and can only recommend going for this day tour.

VIRTUAL TOUR – Dayang Bunting Geoforest Park

Discover the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden and the beach of Singa Besar Island, a real natural paradise! (5 panoramas).

Click Here to View The Virtual Tour

The virtual tour opens in a lightbox. Use your mouse to move around the 360° panoramas.

Photo Gallery

#3 – Kilim Karst Geoforest Park

At the north-east corner of the beautiful island of Langkawi, the fantastic karstic landscapes around 3 interconnected river estuaries have been protected in the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park.

Here, rivers meander in the middle of an extensive mangrove, itself nested between countless limestone hills and cliffs. One of the most beautiful beaches in Langkawi, Tanjung Rhu Beach, is also located in this area.

Just like the Dayang Bunting Park, the Kilim Geoforest Park is easily visited with a day tour booked from your hotel, or you can rent a boat tour on the spot on Tanjung Rhu Beach. The tour lasts 4 to 5 hours and usually costs RM120 (28 USD).

The tour takes you deep inside the wilderness of the park, and it is a great opportunity to see some of Langkawi’s wildlife up close. Spotting macaque monkeys is almost guaranteed.

For more information, you can read the full article about Kilim Karst Geoforest Park.

VIRTUAL TOUR – Kilim Karst Geoforest Park

Visit the extensive mangroves and rock formations of the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park. (5 panoramas).

Click Here to View The Virtual Tour

The virtual tour opens in a lightbox. Use your mouse to move around the 360° panoramas.

Photo Gallery

#4 – Immersing Yourself in The Countryside

If you want to take a break from mountains, jungles and mangroves there are also quite a few villages scattered around the island, in the middle of a very charming and picturesque countryside.

If you happen to rent a bicycle or a scooter to explore the island on your own, I really suggest you to take a bit of time to try a random small side road and get lost in the villages and the rice fieds.

Some villagers may look at you wondering what you are doing here, but if you nicely ask to take a few pictures around their rice paddies, they will be happy to let you explore their little corner of countryside. Langkawi’s countryside is often swampy, which explains why the rice grows so well.

You will be enchanted by all this greenery, peaceful countryside atmosphere and wild mountains in the background. I believe these countryside make nice opportunities for discovery and photography, and it’s too bad they are often overlooked by most visitors.

VIRTUAL TOUR – Langkawi’s Countryside

Get lost in the pretty rice paddies in the middle of Langkawi’s contryside. (2 panoramas).

Click Here to View The Virtual Tour

The virtual tour opens in a lightbox. Use your mouse to move around the 360° panoramas.

Photo Gallery

#5 – Visit The Mysterious Black Sand Beach

Coming from anywhere in the west of Langkawi (Cenang Beach, the Cable Car…), following the road that goes along the north coast, you will arrive at the Black Sand Beach.

Don’t expect a pitch-black sand, the black sand is largely mixed with “normal” clear sand. But it’s still kind of a curious thing. The phenomenon creating this black sand is not fully understood. In the world, black sand is most of the time the result of volcanic activity. It is not the case here.

It is known that two minerals called tourmaline and ilmenite coming from the Gunung Raya (Langkawi’s highest mountain) are responsible for making the sand dark. However, this usually doesn’t happen: these two minerals are used by industries to create… very white products like paint or paper. So why does it turn sand black here? It’s still a mystery.

VIRTUAL TOUR – Black Sand Beach, Langkawi

Check out the mysterious Black Sand Beach, on the northern coast of Langkawi. (1 panorama).

Click Here to View The Virtual Tour

The virtual tour opens in a lightbox. Use your mouse to move around the 360° panoramas.

#6 – Tanjung Rhu Beach – The North East Tip of Langkawi

From the Black Sand Beach, continue 4 more kilometres on the road and you will come across my personal favourite beach in Langkawi, Tanjung Rhu Beach. Running along a thin strip of land nested in the gorgeous landscape of the Kilim Geoforest Park, Tanjung Rhu is a fantastic escape from the crowded Cenang Beach (see below).

A part of the beach is privatized by the Tanjung Rhu Beach Resort, but a large part is accessible to the public until 5 pm. You will be delighted by its calm and shallow waters, and the unique feel with nearby islets scattered along the horizon. A must-see!

VIRTUAL TOUR – Black Sand Beach, Langkawi

Check out the mysterious Black Sand Beach, on the northern coast of Langkawi. (1 panorama).

Click Here to View The Virtual Tour

The virtual tour opens in a lightbox. Use your mouse to move around the 360° panoramas.

Kilim Tanjung Rhu Beach

Tanjung Rhu Beach

#7 – Watch The Sunset On Cenang Beach

Cenang Beach (pronounced “chenang“) is the touristic heart of Langkawi. This long stretch of fine white sand is the perfect place to have a walk, sit at a bar or restaurant, have a swim in warm waters – or just relax after a day out exploring the wilderness.

If you are to spend a few nights on the island, chances are that you will end up booking a room in one of the many hotels and guesthouses in the Cenang area, and that’s what I would recommend doing. There are tons of hotels to choose from in the area, for all kinds of budgets.

Another interesting point to consider is that from Cenang, most touristic spots in Langkawi are easily accessible. I had a lot of pleasure renting a scooter in Cenang and explore the island at my own pace, venturing as far as Tanjung Rhu.

Last but not least, as the beach is facing west, it is also the ideal spot to watch the sunset.

VIRTUAL TOUR – Black Sand Beach, Langkawi

Check out the mysterious Black Sand Beach, on the northern coast of Langkawi. (1 panorama).

Click Here to View The Virtual Tour

The virtual tour opens in a lightbox. Use your mouse to move around the 360° panoramas.

Photo Gallery

This is it! These are my 7 recommendations for things to do in Langkawi for nature lovers. If you know of any awesome place somewhere in Langkawi, please share it in the comments below!

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Langkawi Pinterest Image

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