What You Need to Know About Hiring a Private Boat in Langkawi
Langkawi isn’t just one island, but many. Ninety-nine to be precise. Langkawi is an archipelago, and only four of its islands (including the main one, Pulau Langkawi) are inhabited.
Unsurprisingly, island hopping tours are among the most popular activities for visitors to Langkawi, with literally dozens of operators running daily trips from the jetties at Kuah and Teluk Baru.
But, if you’re after something a little more special – a private tour – the options are more limited, and you’ll really want to make sure you’re getting value for money.
Why Choose a Private Boat Tour in Langkawi?
The answer is simple.
Langkawi’s most picturesque islands are uninhabited, and their unspoiled natural beauty is what makes them so stunning. Sharing that “pristine”, “secluded” beach with 40 of your fellow tourists can take a little romance out of the experience.
Don’t get us wrong. As long as you choose a responsible, environmentally conscious tour operator who doesn’t overcrowd their boats (remember – always ask questions before agreeing on anything!) there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a group tour. They’re inexpensive and a great way to meet fellow travellers. But having an entire, breathtaking beautiful deserted island to yourself, is something completely different, and altogether unforgettable.
How to Book a Private Boat in Langkawi
Most people arrange private boat tours through the tour desk at their hotel, or at one of the many tour agencies in resort areas like Pantai Cenang. Booking through an agency is of course, the easiest way to go, and you should be able to choose between larger and small group tours, and various itineraries and activities depending on your budget. While you’ll obviously be paying extra for the service, for most tourists the convenience is well worth it. You’ll be picked up straight from your hotel, so all you have to do is wake up on time!
Hiring a Longboat
If you want to save money, or have your own itinerary in mind, you can try and organise a private trip directly with a local boat operator.
One popular and inexpensive option is to head out on one of the traditional (motorised) longboats with one of the local boatmen. There are plenty of boatmen hanging around at Kilim jetty in Air Hangat, as well as Tanjung Rhu jetty. However, you’ll have to break out your bargaining skills to get a good rate per hour, and not all of the boatmen speak English, which can make negotiations a little tricky. Write down or map out where you want to go (if you’re not sure, most boatmen follow a standard “tourist trail”), for how long, and how much you’re willing to pay, and you should be able to work something out.
As of 2018, travellers are reporting prices of around 250RM for an hour, or around 100RM per hour for three hours or more.
Longboats are a fun way to experience island hopping in Langkawi. The boatmen know the islands intimately, and if you get a driver who can speak some English, it can open the door to a thoroughly interesting cultural exchange. On the downside, the longboats generally can’t cover as much distance as the larger tourist charter boats, and you won’t have a “tour guide” per se.
Private Yacht Charters
If you’re wanting to splash out for the ultimate James Bond experience, you’ll need to go where the high rollers play.
Boat in the Bay are a luxury yacht charter company with a booking office at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club. They can arrange everything from intimate sunset dinner cruises to fully-catered events at sea. Naturally, you’ll need to book everything in advance – arrangements can be made via their website.
Where to Go on a Private Island Hopping Tour
Need some inspiration? Check out our article on Island Hopping in Langkawi!