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Langkawi is the name of a 99-island archipelago situated 30kms west of northwest Malaysia near the country's border with Thailand. Only a couple of these islands are inhabited -- Pulau Langkawi and the much smaller Pulau Tuba. Langkawi received its duty-free status in 1987 and was declared a UNESCO geopark 20 years later. Mangroves and limestone crags are the dominant landscapes of Tanjung Rhu, Pulau Langkawi's northern tip. Pantai Cenang, the archipelago's best known beach, is best seen from Oriental Village's famous Sky Bridge.
TOP LANGKAWI ATTRACTIONSLangkawi is not the place to pack your itinerary full of things to do. It's not a place for running about. On Pulau Langkawi, the tempo is slow and the code of conduct is take it easy. Relax on the beach, have a big breakfast buffet in your hotel, sit on your villa balcony and watch the sunset. Take your time making it out to see some of the Langkawi attractions.
Tanjung Rhu beach is where visitors are most likely to encounter clear water, but Pantai Cenang remains the island's busiest beach. Nearby Telaga Harbour includes the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls, the secluded Pantai Kok beach, and Mat Cincang Mountain, whose peak can be reached by cable car.
Water sports is something fun to try while in Langkawi. Get on a jet ski and ride the open water. Take the skies by parasailing, where your parachute is attached to a boat and you run off the beach into the air and make a round back to land safely on the sand. Of course, with the beautiful waters, snorkelling and diving in Langkawi is also a great activity.
Langkawi's best snorkelling and scuba diving is found in Pulau Payar Marine Park, which also features a scenic viewing platform. Popular boating tours include a traditional Malay sailing junk voyage to the Thai island of Koh Lipe, mangrove cruises, sunset dinner cruises aboard a boat with a saltwater hot tub, and several yacht charters. Jet-ski and helicopter tours are even more thrilling ways to explore Langkawi.
Another attraction near Pantai Kok is the Asian-themed Oriental Village, which visitors can explore by segway or even on an elephant ride. Oriental Village's most popular attraction is the cable car leading to Gunung Mat and the Sky Bridge from which visitors can see as far as neighbouring Thailand.
WHERE TO STAY IN LANGKAWI
Some of the most exclusive resorts in Langkawi are located on Datai Bay. Datai beach is beautiful in itself, and surrounded by rainforest with lots of wildlife. Native species include peacocks, hornbills, iguanas, monkeys. Check out The Andaman, Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Vivanta by Taj and The Westin for a slice of luxury on the island.
Other popular areas to stay in Langkawi are Pantai Cenang which is busy but convenient, Padang Matsirat for more peace and quiet, or find a hotel in Pantai Kok which is close to the Langkawi Airport. It's a good location for exploring the outdoors like Telega Tujuh Waterfalls, Mat Cincang Mountain and hop on that Langkawi Cable Car.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN LANGKAWI
For a more relaxed time with no chance of water splashes, visit Air Hangat Village for a natural salt water jacuzzi bath, take a sunset dinner cruise or take the SKyCab cable car which starts at Langkawi's Machinchang Mountain and offers you a wide view over the entire island. From there you can take a hike down the suspended SkyBridge.
Food in Langkawi Restaurants
Even though many Langkawi island resorts include all meals in their packages, for a taste of simple local food cooked with love venture out to the Langkawi seafood restaurants and roadside stalls. Nasi lemak is a traditional Langkawi breakfast. Visit Ayer Hangat Market for a bigger spread of local dishes.
If you're in the mood for a cocktail or two, Langkawi is tax-free so alcohol is cheap on the island. But of course drink in moderation, public drunkenness is frowned upon.
Shopping in Langkawi
It might not be the best place for super fashionable shopping, but you can get cosmetics, clothes and food items for pretty cheap in Langkawi thanks to its duty-free status. Most duty-free shops are situated in Kuah or Pantai Cenang. The northeast coast is the location of Langkawi's largest handicrafts centre, Kompleks Budaya Kraf, well worth a visit.