Langkawi is a picturesque island located off the coast of Penang in Malaysia and is a great place to come if you want to sample some island living. Langkawi has a laid back atmosphere that makes it very different from other parts of Malaysia, and many people flock here for the pretty beaches and natural scenery. Some of the highlights of the island include its soaring peaks with sweeping vistas as well as its iconic cable car.
Even though Langkawi is small, there is a huge amount to do here, and you will find some engaging museums, shopping outlets, and other spots like aquariums and craft villages. The island also has duty-free status, so if you want to go shopping and snap up a few bargains then this is the place to do it.
One of the delights of Langkawi is that it has many different attractions that will appeal to visitors, but you can also easily get away from the main tourist hubs and spend time sampling the local food and strolling in the traditional markets.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Langkawi:
1. Visit Eagle Square
Eagle Square is called Dataran Lang in Malay and this is one of the most iconic spots in Langkawi.
The square is located in Kuah which is the main town on the island and once here you will find a huge statue of an eagle about to take flight which stands at a height of some 12 meters.
It is also close to a clutch of other attractions such as Taman Legenda Langkawi so you can combine a trip here with several other points of interest.
As well as the statue, Dataran Lang has some pretty fountains, scenic bridges, and a few restaurants and cafes dotted around the area.
Recommended tour: Private Guided Island Tour of Langkawi
2. Check out Galeria Perdana
Galeria Perdana is one of the most interesting museums in Langkawi and was founded by Dr. Mahatir Mohamad who was the former prime minister of Malaysia.
The museum is dedicated to showcasing the gifts that Mahatir received during his time in office, the majority of which were given to him by previous heads of state.
Just some of the items on display at the museum include Formula One racing cars and a number of objects like vases which feature Mahatir’s image.
The museum itself is well worth checking out as you will find soaring ceilings that have all been hand painted.
3. Visit Mahsuri Tomb and Museum
Langkawi is a place steeped in local legend and the most famous of these is the story of Mahsuri, an extremely beautiful woman who was sentenced to death when others became jealous of her good looks.
The island of Langkawi was then said to be cursed for seven generations, and you can learn all about the story at the Mahsuri museum.
There are a number of galleries that you can visit and you can even see Mahsuri’s former home and her tomb which sits in the center of the complex.
4. Take a ride on the Langkawi Cable Car
One of the jewels in Langkawi’s crown is the Langkawi Cable Car which will take you to the top of Mat Cincang Mountain.
The journey takes around 15 minutes but on the way you will be able to experience the amazing views as you sweep over lush rainforests and past tumbling waterfalls.
The peak stands at a height of 708 meters and there is an observatory deck at the summit and on a clear day you can see all the way across to Sumatra in neighboring Indonesia.
The cable car leaves from the Oriental Village which you can explore either before or after your ride.
Suggested tour: Matcincang Sky Trail and Cable Car Ride
5. Check out the fish at Underwater World Langkawi
Located in the town that backs on to Pantai Cenang, Underwater World Langkawi is a great spot to visit if you want to know more about the marine life for which this island is famous.
There are some 500 different species here which include seahorses, seals, and even rockhopper penguins.
The main highlight of the facility is an underwater tunnel which stretches for some 15 meters and means that you can observe the aquatic life up close from every angle.
Some of the species that you will see glide by here include turtles, stingrays, and sharks, and the aquarium is also part of a complex that includes the Zon Shopping Paradise and Coco Valley which are two of the main spots on the island to buy duty-free items.
6. Take a mangrove tour of Kilim Geopark
Langkawi is covered in pretty mangroves and they are said to have protected the island and lessened the damage when the tsunami hit in 2004. As such, this is one of the most important eco-systems in this part of Malaysia, and the best way to visit it is to take a scenic boat tour of the area.
As well as boating around the swamp you will also get to see rugged caves, limpid pools, and areas of forest lands.
Most of the boat tours last around 2-3 hours and you can get off at certain spots in the mangrove swamps and walk around to take in some of the natural beauty on foot.
Recommended tour: Langkawi UNESCO Geopark Mangrove Cruise
More adventurous: Geopark Eco Zipline Adventure
7. Soak in the water at Air Hangat Village
If you want to relax in Langkawi then you need to head to Air Hangat Village.
Air Hangat actually means ‘Hot Water’ in Malay and with that in mind you will find a range of hot springs here that are said to have healing properties.
The hot springs are natural salt water springs although be warned that the waters here are genuinely quite hot, but if you have any aches or pains then this is one of the best ways to unwind.
There are different areas in the hot springs and you can either choose a private open-air Jacuzzi or opt to soak in a larger communal pool.
You can also get a range of other spa treatments here such as soothing massages.
8. Climb Gunung Raya
Gunung Raya soars to a height of 881 meters and as such this is the highest peak in Langkawi.
This is also the spot of another one of Langkawi’s famous legends as the mountain was said to have been cursed by a giant named Mat Raya.
The hike to the top of the mountain is rather steep in parts, and you can either go it alone or you can hire a guide.
On your way to the top you will pass wide swathes of primary rainforest and can expect to see animals like flying foxes, monkeys, eagles, and hornbills.
9. Visit the Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise
If you love animals then make your way to the Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise where you will find some 150 species of colorful birds.
Some of these include ducks, owls, toucans, and even flamingos, and the park is designed to mimic the natural environment of the animals.
You will find a large aviary here as well as other scenic features such as waterfalls and you can even get up close to some of the animals here as there are daily feeding sessions.
Some of the animals that you can feed include raccoons, crocodiles, and pelicans, and if you are travelling with younger visitors then this is a great spot to visit.
10. Enjoy the water sports at Pantai Cenang
Pantai Cenang is one of the most famous and best loved beaches in Langkawi.
It is also one of the most popular and with that in mind you will find a huge number of activities here which are perfect if you love water sports.
Just some of these include jet skiing, paragliding, and of course snorkeling and swimming, or if you want something a little more fast-paced then you can even go for a thrilling ride on a banana boat.
The beach is also famous for its sunsets so make sure to come in the afternoon so that you can watch the beautiful light show here.
11. Tour the islands
Langkawi is actually an archipelago which is made up of 104 different islands in the Andaman Sea, many of which are uninhabited.
With this in mind, you can go on a boat tour which will let you island hop around, and some of the most visited islands include Pulau Dayang Bunting which means Island of the Pregnant Maiden.
You can either join a more organized tour or you can rent a boat from the Kyah Jetty or the Tanjung Rhu Jetty which will give you more freedom to explore as you see fit.
You can also sign up for other tours such as a Castaway Picnic which, as the name suggests, includes a trip to a secluded island where you enjoy a romantic picnic.
Recommended tour: 4-Hour Jet Ski Tour Dayang Bunting 8 Islands, Langkawi
12. Hike to Durian Pernangin
Langkawi is known for its pretty waterfalls and one of these not to miss is Durian Perangin.
This is also one of the most popular on the island and you will find that it can be quite crowded at the weekend when locals flock here to picnic.
The hike to the waterfall is quite steep and this is a multi-layered cataract which means that you can stop along the way at the different tiers and check out the views.
There is also a rock pool at the base of the falls where you can go for a refreshing swim.
13. Explore Pulau Payar Marine Park
Pulau Payar Marine Park is located around 30 kilometers away from the main island of Langkawi and you can get here via a 45 minute scenic speedboat ride.
The main reason to come to the Marine Park is to take in some protected areas of natural beauty in this part of Malaysia such as the Coral Garden which is covered in a range of different kinds of colorful coral.
You can also go snorkeling here are part of a tour if you want to get a look at some of the prettiest underwater habitats in Langkawi.
14. Cool off at the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls
Probably the most famous of all Langkawi’s waterfalls is Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls which means ‘Seven Pools’ in Malay.
As with much of the island, there is a legend attached to the falls and locals claim that fairies live here.
The waterfalls get their name as there are seven natural pools or wells in the rock face here that are fed by seven different cataracts that come down from Mat Cincang Mountain.
It is a rather steep climb to get to the top of the waterfalls but it is more than worth it and you will pass some pretty scenery on the way as well as some cheeky monkeys.
Other species to look out or include graceful hornbills and scurrying squirrels and this is one of the prettiest cascades in all of Langkawi.
15. Visit the Art in Paradise 3D Museum
If you are looking for a rainy day activity then consider a trip to the Art in Paradise 3D Museum.
Here you will find some 200 different works of art which look as if they are three dimensional and this facility has the claim to fame of being the largest 3D art museum in Malaysia.
The building is divided up into nine different zones which have different themes and some of these include a castle zone, a safari zone, an Egyptian zone, and a Malaysian zone.
16. Visit Taman Legenda Langkawi
Langkawi is known for its myths and legends and if you want to know more about them then consider a trip to Taman Legenda Langkawi where you will find a theme park that is dedicated to telling the stories behind all the folklore.
Most of the museum is open-air and you can either walk around the facility or take a relaxing ride in a buggy.
The theme park looks out over the pretty Kuah Jetty and you will find some 17 sculptures here that depict different legends that are famous on the island.
Just some of the characters that you are likely to encounter include giants, ogres, and princesses.
17. Have lunch at Nasi Kandar Tomato
Langkawi is not as well known for its food as neighboring Penang which is a shame as the food here is simply delicious.
With that in mind, one of the best places to sample the local flavors is Nasi Kandar Tomato which serves up traditional Malay fare called Nasi Kandar.
This comes in the form of a plate of rice to which curries, meats, and vegetables are added and you can also get other dishes such as famous Roti Canai which is a kind of Indian bread served with a curry dipping sauce.
Nasi Kandar Tomato is one of the most famous places to get high quality Nasi Kandar in Langkawi and you will find it conveniently located on Jalan Pantai Tengah.
18. Visit MARDI Langkawi Agro Technology Park
The MARDI Langkawi Agro Technology Park is one of the best places on the island to visit if you want to see how fruit and vegetables are sustainably farmed in the area.
The park grows a huge range of exotic tropical fruit which you can sample when you visit and it aims to educate visitors on how to the Malaysian government is working to preserve and showcase local produce.
Some of the delicious fruits that you can sample here include jackfruit, mangosteen, durian, rambutan, dragon fruit and mangoes.
19. Sunbathe on Tanjung Rhu Beach
One of the most scenic beaches in Langkawi is called Tanjung Rhu beach which lies in the north of the island.
Due to its slightly secluded location you will find clean white sands and the beach is rarely very crowded as many people don’t even realize that it is open to the public.
As a result, this makes a great pick if you want to beat the crowds and you can also rent boats at the jetty here and explore some of the sights offshore from the beach.
One of the most famous spots is the Gua Cherita which means the Cave of Stories in Malay and this is supposedly the place where a Chinese princess was taken by a Garuda, a mythical bird belonging to Lord Vishnu.
20. Segway around the Oriental Village
The Oriental Village is an Asian-themed park and village which has traditional performances and models of local buildings.
Just some of the attractions on show here include jugglers, marital artists, and musical performers, or you can learn how to fly a traditional kite.
If you like you can also get your portrait painted here or get you palm read and one of the ways to get around the village is to zip along on a Segway.
21. Take a cruise
If you really want to take in the beauty of Langkawi then one of the best ways to do this is to take a cruise off its pretty shores.
Many companies offer the chance to go for a sunset cruise around the island which takes you out onto the water just in time to watch the sun slip below the horizon.
Most cruises also offer a dinner buffet as part of the package which makes this a great choice if you are looking or a romantic experience that allows you to dine under the stars aboard a catamaran.
22. Eat at Ayer Hangat Market
Another great place to sample the local food in Langkawi is the Ayer Hangat Market.
Here you will find a huge selection of different local dishes, and just some of the delights on offer include barbecued meat skewers called satay as well as rice and noodle dishes.
This is one of the cheapest places to try an array of street food and is also some of the most authentic on the island.
The market also sells a range of other products like clothes and some souvenirs so this is also a great place to come for a little local retail therapy.
23. Wander along Pantai Kok
Pantai Kok is one of the less well known beaches in Langkawi and is around 12 kilometers from the main beach on the island known as Pantai Cenang.
As this beach is not visited as much as many of the others in the area, you will find clean sands here and this is a nice spot to visit if you want to sunbathe without the crowds.
The beach is close to the famous Langkawi Cable Car so it is easy to visit both at the same time.
24. Visit Laman Padi Rice Garden
If you want to know more about how rice is cultivated in Langkawi then head for the Laman Padi Rice Garden.
Here you will find a vast expanse of lush, emerald-green rice fields and there is a museum here which will take you through the process of how rice is produced and then subsequently harvested.
Anyone looking for a bit of an adventure can even go out into one of the rice paddies and have a go at planting the rice although bear in mind that you will need to take your shoes off in order to do this and the mud makes for a rather slimy experience.
25. Walk along the Langkawi Sky Bridge
One of the most famous spots on the island is the Langkawi Sky Bridge which stretches for an impressive 125 meters and is basically a long pedestrianized bridge that offers amazing views of the surrounding countryside.
Some of the sights that you will see in the distance include some of Langkawi’s surrounding islands as well as Mat Cincang Mountain and the Seven Pools Waterfalls.
In order to get to the bridge you will need to take the Langkawi Cable Car to its summit and then move on to the bridge from there.
If you want to linger and enjoy the views then there are several triangular viewing platforms located along the bridge.