Langkawi Island, Malaysia

The Malaysian island of Langkawi is located in the Indian Ocean in the centre of Malaysia. The popular holiday island offers everything a stressed holidaymaker's heart desires with beaches, resorts, untouched rainforest and waterfalls and fantastic viewpoints in the midst of breathtaking nature.

The Malaysian island of Langkawi (Pulau Langkawi) is located in the Indian Ocean in the centre of Malaysia and belongs to the state of Kedah. It is the main island of the Langkawi archipelago of the same name and a popular holiday island in Malaysia. Its area is 30 by 25km, the other 100 or so limestone islands in its vicinity are much smaller and only 2 others are inhabited. The Bumiputras make up the majority of the population, but Chinese, Indians and Thai also live on Langkawi. Orang Laut ("people of the sea") have settled on the south coast.


PICTURES: Holiday Island Langkawi


Langkawi can be reached by air from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore via the airport on the west coast. There are regular ferries from Kuala Kedah, Kuala Perlis and Satun in Thailand to the main town of Kuah. The road network on Langkawi is well developed, but if you want to be mobile all day, it is best to hire a moped or arrange a daily rate with a taxi driver.

Tip: Langkawi is a duty-free zone, which means that there is no customs duty and no taxes, which means that alcohol, for example, can be bought much cheaper than in the rest of Malaysia. But beware: Customs regulations do apply when entering Malaysia from Langkawi.

Langkawi's tropical climate means that temperatures hardly ever fall below 20°C, and the weather on Langkawi is hot and humid all year round - the perfect conditions for tropical rainforest, which covers almost all of Langkawi. In contrast to the urbanised neighbouring island of Pulau Penang, Langkawi has lost none of its magical originality and has remained the little paradise in the Andaman Sea that it once was.

Langkawi - the perfect holiday island

Reading this description, Langkawi probably fulfils all the climatic and infrastructural requirements of a perfect holiday island. In order to (further) boost tourism, Langkawi was integrated into the government project "Wawasana 2020″ ("Vision 2020") in 1990, in the course of which 70 projects are to lead Malaysia to become a fully developed industrial nation by 2020.

On Langkawi, the focus is naturally on tourism. Due to the tsunami in 2004, 95% of all bookings were cancelled, and even in the years that followed, the holiday industry recovered only extremely slowly. Neglected beaches and abandoned, partly damaged hotel complexes were the serious consequence.

One of the beautiful tropical sandy beaches on Langkawi Island, Malaysia - © Eky Studio / Shutterstock
© Eky Studio / Shutterstock

Langkawi is a sight in itself. Covered in tropical vegetation, the island can be easily explored on foot and offers breathtaking views at every turn. If you are looking for even more seclusion than in the wild forests of Langkawi, you can take a boat to one of the small neighbouring islands. These are uninhabited and offer absolute peace and relaxation, but also no amenities such as bars or toilets.

Highlights on Langkawi

The main town of Langkawi is Kuah in the south-east of the island. Right at the harbour entrance, ferries and yachts are greeted at Eagle Square by a huge eagle statue, a likeness of the majestic birds of prey that circle over Langkawi in large numbers.

Langkawi Beaches

The Black Sand Beach with its huge boulders in Langkawi, Malaysia - © Jan Mika / Shutterstock
© Jan Mika / Shutterstock

Langkawi is also known for its beautiful sandy beaches. Even the beaches of the biggest hotels are hardly ever crowded. The best known and most popular are the beaches on the west coast. Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok offer fine sand, eateries and resorts, with the first two being the busiest. Langkawi is not necessarily known as a diver's paradise, but if you are looking for clear water and colourful schools of fish, the best place is the nearby Pulau Payar Marine Park.


The highest mountains in Langkawi

The highest point of Langkawi is the 890m high Gunung Raya in the centre of the island. You can climb this mountain by car without much effort via a good road. The more athletic take the stairs: 4,287 steps lead from 55 to over 780m above sea level. From its summit, you have a fantastic panoramic view over the island, the scattered deco islands off the coast of Langkawi and the mainland of Malaysia. The breathtaking sunset at the summit is made absolutely perfect by passing hornbills and eagles.

View from the highest point of Langkawi, the 890m high Gunung Raya in the centre of the island, Malaysia - © liseykina / Shutterstock
© liseykina / Shutterstock

In the course of airtrekking canopy tours, visitors to Gunung Raya can also do the same as Tarzan. In an adventure fun park, you can swing through the jungle giants on steel vines, balance on steel rope bridges over rivers and abseil down trees and rocks.

If you don't want to go quite so high, you can also enjoy the breathtaking view of the island and the Andaman Sea from the Langkawi Sky Bridge. This suspension bridge is located on Mount Mat Cincang at a height of almost 700 metres and is equipped with two viewing platforms and can be reached within 15 minutes by cable car from the village of Oriental Village. This oriental village was created especially for tourists. In good weather, the view falls over the broccoli forest with its numerous waterfalls all the way to Thailand.

The Langkawi Sky Bridge - a suspension bridge on Mount Mat Cincang at an altitude of almost 700 metres, Langkawi, Malaysia - © Thomas Gorny / Fotolia
© Thomas Gorny / Fotolia

Langkawi Waterfalls

The most famous waterfall on Langkawi is Seven Wells. A fantastic waterfall in the rainy season, it is only a thin trickle in the high season. The strenuous climb to its edge is nevertheless worthwhile. Nearby is the Durian Perangin Waterfall, at the foot of which is a pool where you can swim. From Puntai Kok, the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls can be reached.

Zoos and events

For rainy days, Langkawi has Underwater World with a fascinating penguin enclosure and the Langkawi Crocodile Farm, home to up to 100 crocodiles, whose leather is also for sale in the form of bags and belts.

The main events on Langkawi are the biennial LAMI, an international military exhibition for ships and aircraft, and the annual Ironman Malaysia, where athletes swim 3.86km, cycle 180km and then run another marathon.

Related links:

Info on tours and restaurants on Langkawi (English)