Langkawi vs Bali – which is better?

If you want to visit a tropical island paradise, then both Bali and Langkawi may make the shortlist. The two destinations have a similar climate and fantastic scenery consisting of beautiful beaches, spectacular mountains, and lush rainforest, and both make excellent holiday destinations. So which is better? To answer that question we must consider several factors.


Bali measures 5,780KM2, whilst Langkawi’s main island is much smaller, at 478.5KM2, with 98 smaller islands to explore. The larger size of Bali means more choice of hotels, restaurants, attractions, and areas to stay in. However, Langkawi’s smaller size may be seen as a positive, as it is quick and easy to get from one place to another. This is particularly problematic in Bali due to the traffic jams that occur regularly with more cars on the road. Furthermore, for a relatively small place, Langkawi offers plenty of choice of accommodation, restaurants, and attractions to suit a wide range of budgets and preferences.


As Bali is larger than Langkawi, it’s no surprise that it is home to more people. Over 4 million people live in Bali, compared to Langkawi which has a population of 110,000, with 75,000 of them residing on the main island. Although Bali is bigger, it has a higher population density, and also attracts more tourists than Langkawi. Put simply, Bali is busier, which may be viewed as a positive or a negative. If you love the hustle and bustle of populous areas, then Bali may be the place for you. However, it can be argued that the increase in population and tourism over recent years has taken away from Bali’s relaxing atmosphere. Langkawi’s smaller population has kept the blissful relaxation vibes intact.


Being a larger and more developed location, Bali has plenty to offer those in search of retail therapy. However, Langkawi has a secret weapon that shoppers adore. Since achieving duty-free status in the 1980s, malls and shops have been able to sell a whole range of goods at a fraction of the usual price. This also means that alcohol is particularly cheap here, which is excellent news for those who love to enjoy a few drinks on holiday.

Attractions and activities

Both Bali and Langkawi offer visitors plenty of activities to fill their days with, from enjoying the natural landscape to visiting man-made tourist attractions. Pristine beaches are a major selling point of both locations. Being larger, Bali has more beaches to select from; however, they tend to be busier. Langkawi’s seawater is generally warmer, which is a pro for those who love a swim. That said, Bali is richer in terms of culture and art, with several impressive temples to visit. Both destinations are home to unique attractions, so it depends on which ones appeal to you more.

So which is better? It comes down to individual preferences. If you love to be spoilt for choice on things to do and be surrounded by plenty of other people, then Bali could be ideal. If you prefer dreamy, serene tranquillity, then Langkawi is your perfect paradise.