If you’re planning a long weekend getaway from a hectic week, Langkawi — being the first UNESCO World Geopark in Southeast Asia— is the natural remedy to open up your heart and relieve your stress. In Langkawi, you will get to explore UNESCO Geoforest Park, its famous duty-free shopping experience, and enjoy cuisine from all over Asia, including Thai, Malay, Western and delicious local seafood.
Getting to Langkawi
A direct flight to Langkawi cost less than RM200 via Kuala Lumpur and the flying time is around 1 hour. Isaac and I did a huge mistake for visiting during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (takes place once every two years) by not making any car rental booking beforehand. Upon arrival, we saw most of the car rental booths at the airport were closed; it took us hours to get a taxi to check-in to Sunderland Motel. I was so stressed at that moment: worried about not being able to rent a car and the entire trip would be ruined. Fortunately, we were able to rent a Kia Picanto at Kuta Square; the rental rate was 3 times higher than the usual :(
Even though we did not start our Langkawi trip in the best way, the rest of the 3D2N trip was enjoyable.
Our Hotel in Langkawi
Our stay in Sunderland Motel was very pleasant, the bed was very clean and spacious; the ambience is quite too. Kuah Night Market (open every Wednesday and Saturday) is just 2 mins away from the Motel. Taxi stand could be found just right at the front door and a duty-free store is just right next door. It is a decent motel for a traveller who wanted a place to sleep at a great location and most importantly, cheap.
Without further ado, here is our ultimate guide on the things to do in Langkawi.
Half-day Island Hopping
Island Hopping is one of the most popular and cheapest activities to do in Langkawi. We booked a 4-hour Island Hopping tour package that visits 3 southern islets of Langkawi. I was told that water sports equipment could be rented or given at the island and food & drinks were excluded in the package, so we only brought extra clothes, towels, snacks and water.
Pulau Dayang Bunting
We departed to our first stop at 9 am from the jetty. The boat ride took about 20 minutes for us to reach Dayang Bunting Island. Here is also where the UNESCO Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park located at. We were given an hour to explore and wander the entire island.
A concrete pathway led us to an uphill with about 100 steps hiking across the forest to the other side of the hill. Along the way, wild monkeys could be seen wandering around: do not carry camera, food or sunglasses openly nor trying to feed them with food. Once one monkey is given food, the whole family will come after you. If only you have enough food for all of them, or you will start a Planet of the Apes scene. No pun intended!
After 10 minutes of hiking, we reached the lake of pregnant maiden. The lake and its surrounding is part of the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park. A huge pontoon can be seen and a lot of activities can participate here: take a refreshing swim, kayak across the lake or take a boardwalk around the lake. At the end of the walk, you’ll reach the border between the lake and the sea; you’ll be amazed at how a mere 30-meter border made of rocks could separate a lake and a sea.
Pulau Singa Besar
We did not get off the boat at the second stop and were not able to explore the Singa Besar Island. However, we were able to witness how eagles swooped down from the sky to catch its prey in this stop. The guide performed an eagle-feeding session, and before throwing chicken pieces into the sea, we were told to get ready with our camera. Sadly, the eagles were too fast that my camera couldn’t even take a picture.
Pulau Beras Basah
Beras Basah Island, last stop of the island hopping tour, highlights extensive sandy shorelines, waving palm trees, and clear blue waters against verdant mountain surroundings. We were given an hour to explore this beautiful island. As we don’t want to get ourselves wet; we strolled along the seaside and took a lot of instagrammable pictures.
SkyCab Up Gunung Mat Cincang
Machincang Mountain, Langkawi’s best-known 8500m high mountain, is the home to Malaysia’s steepest cable car that carries passengers 708m above sea level to the peak. The sky was very cloudy on the day we visited, we could barely see anything on our ride up and saw a sea of clouds at the middle and top station. That itself was mesmerising as such nature monuments are hard to be seen.
Trekking and Challenge the SkyBridge
The only way to reach SkyBridge is via SkyCab. An additional of RM5 entrance fee on top of SkyCab ticket should be purchased at the top station. Visitors are offered two routes to visit SkyBridge: jungle trekking or taking SkyGlide. We took a no cost, challenging 10 minutes’ trek up to SkyBridge. If you’re unfit or person who are opting for a faster and convenient route, a fee of RM10 (excluding entrance to SkyBridge) for return journey by taking SkyGlide. Walking across suspended bridge felt like Peter Pan walking in the air. With a 360° panoramic view that is 100m above ground level, all stress were released!
Water Sports and Sunset Dinner at Cenang Beach
Duty-free Shopping in Kuah
Langkawi is a duty-free island. The price of alcohol is 10-12% cheaper; chocolates can be 30-40% cheaper, and there are a variety of fragrances too. We spent half a day shopping and eating at Jetty Point Complex and walked to Dataran Lang also known as Eagle Square and took pictures with the iconic brown eagle.
A weekend getaway just ended like that, and I am beyond grateful that I was able to travel to this beautiful island of my home country. If I were to visit Langkawi again, I would make sure to make my trip longer and adventurous.
Best time to visit Langkawi
It is best to visit Langkawi during the dry season which runs from December to February while rainy season runs from March to November and September being the wettest. Also, avoid visiting during the school holiday season as car rentals, hotels, and tour packages may not be a good bargain.