The area of Langkawi that you choose to spend your time in will depend on your preferences. Although Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands, most visitors stay on the main island, Pulau Langkawi. Just a small number of the other islands are inhabited, whilst several others are home to tourist attractions which can be reached by boat. Although the main island is small, visitors can select from places that ooze secluded luxury, or lively areas bustling with busy shops, restaurants, and accommodations, filled with excited travellers. Many of the most popular tourist hotspots, such as Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, are lined with sensational beaches, whilst others like Kuah Town require a little more travel if you want to tip your toes in the ocean. Whether you prefer to be close to an abundance of shops, walking distance to thrilling tourist attractions, or somewhere peaceful, Langkawi has a perfect place for you.
Far away (by Langkawi standards) from the other popular tourist areas, at the north-west end of the main island, lies the secluded hideaway of Datai. Accommodation here is limited to just a couple of upscale, all-inclusive resorts situated along the waterfront. See how the other half holiday with private access to the beautiful beach, and luxurious amenities, such as jacuzzis, saunas, spas, and private swimming pools. Life in Datai largely revolves around the resorts. They organise exciting water and beach activities for guests, and most of the area’s bars and restaurants are located within the resorts. Aside from resort life, the scenery here is stunning, with gorgeous Tengkorak Beach, the magical 200-metre, three-tiered Temurun Waterfalls, and the lush rainforest that stretches along the mountain slopes all the way to the pristine coastline. Other worthwhile local attractions include the Crocodile Farm and the Ibrahim Hussein Museum & Cultural Foundation art gallery.
Visitors who love to shop will feel as if they’ve died and gone to retail therapy heaven when they arrive in Kuah Town. A plethora of duty-free shopping centres are brimming with stores selling all kinds of goods at wallet-friendly prices. Kuah Town is the capital of Langkawi, and home of the Kuah Jetty, which is Langkawi’s main ferry terminal. Although there is no beach, several attractions, restaurants, and shopping centres are located along the beautiful waterfront, boasting sensational views. Aside from the many shops, Kuah Town is also home to one of Langkawi’s most popular tourist attractions: Eagle Square. There are also plenty of accommodation options to suit everyone from the budget backpacker to the luxury traveller. You’ll be spoilt for choice with an abundance of budget, mid-range, and fine dining restaurants serving a diverse range of cuisines, and numerous bars and lounges serving drinks late into the night.
Pantai Cenang is the most popular place with tourists. The gem of the lively area is beautiful Pantai Cenang Beach. Idyllic white sands stretch ahead, lined by the turquoise ocean to one side, and coconut and casuarinas trees on the other. Beachgoers can select from a number of tempting beach and water activities, such as boat tours, jet-skiing, and parasailing.
Plenty of budget and mid-range accommodations, as well as several upscale hotels and resorts, are located just moments from the beach, boasting sensational views. Meanwhile, Jalan Pantai Cenang Road is bursting with shops, restaurants, and spas. Mornings are lazy with many shops closed until 10am, and just a select few eateries open for breakfast. The vibrant nightlife stretches into the small hours, with plenty of restaurants and bars open late along both the main road and the beach. Exciting tourist attractions in Pantai Cenang include Underwater World and the Rice Museum.
Luxury travellers will be in heaven at Pantai Kok, with a number of exquisite five-star resorts along the bay offering gorgeous ocean views and serene private beaches. There are also several lovely mid-range hotels and inns, and a peaceful public beach with a picturesque curved stretch of white sand. Jet-skiing, banana boating, and other exciting water sports are available here.
If you love scenic nature walks, you will adore the trails meandering through lush greenery and forestland. There are a couple of complexes with shops selling clothes, accessories, gifts, souvenirs, and more, as well as tempting restaurants serving mouth-watering dishes from various cuisines, many with beautiful harbour views.
Pantai Kok is also home to some of Langkawi’s best tourist attractions, such as Seven Wells Waterfall, and the cable car which rides through the rainforest up to the top of Mount Mat Cincinang, where you can enjoy unrivalled views of Langkawi.
Located just a 20-minute drive from Langkawi Airport, Pantai Tengah is popular with tourists, mostly for its stunning beach. Pantai Tengah Beach is more peaceful than Pantai Cenang, but just as lovely, with picturesque white sands lined with palm trees. Tourists can choose from a range of thrilling water sports and delightful boat tours from the beach.
Pantai Tengah offers a tranquil atmosphere, yet it still has many accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences located along the beach. The shopping complex and the main road, Jalan Pantai Tengah, are home to an array of eateries, bars, and shops selling clothes, souvenirs, gifts, accessories, essentials, and more. A diverse range of restaurants serve delicious Malay and international cuisine, and lively bars are open late into the night.
Whilst the area is not home to any of the main tourist attractions, everything in Langkawi is just a short drive away.
Tanjung Rhu is located on the north-west coast of Pulau Langkawi and offers a serene, secluded ambience. The sparkling sea is lined with soft, powdery white sand which is much less frequented than the beaches of more developed tourist areas. Meeting the bay at Tanjung Rhu is the Kilim River, home of the popular Kilim Geopark which can be explored on a boat tour.
Accommodation options in this area are few; however, there are a couple of wonderful luxury resorts, as well as some budget motels and homestays. Shopaholics may be disappointed, although there are several small, local shops lining the coastal road, selling clothing, souvenirs, and gifts. There is very little choice in the way of restaurants, although the resorts offer excellent waterfront restaurants, and you can discover street food stalls along the roadside.
Tanjung Rhu is ideal for travellers who crave serenity, away from the hustle and bustle of busier areas.