Langkawi is one of Malaysia’s best-known and most popular beach destinations. A stunning archipelago of 99 islands, it’s a bucket list destination with plenty to see.
The largest island, Langkawi features a range of breathtaking seaside resorts, making it a popular choice for anyone who adores beautiful beaches and luxury hotels – and especially couples seeking a romantic escape.
But there is definitively more to Langkawi than a honeymooner’s retreat. The island’s outstanding geological landscapes have earned it the geo-park title by UNESCO – making it the only geo-park in Southeast Asia, and one of only 50 worldwide, and its best attractions make the most of the natural landscapes, expansive parks, and iconic structures that no first-time visitor should skip on their travel itinerary.
Add in a rich history, amazing food, excellent diving opportunities, exciting nightlife and dirt-cheap shopping, and Langkawi is guaranteed to appeal to every traveller no matter what your tastes and budget.
1. Pasir Tengkorak Beach
Langkawi is rightly famous for its pristine beaches. Datai Bay, Pantai Cenang, and Tanjung Rhu are rated among the best in the world, while vast roads provide easy access to its vibrant beach towns.
But arguably the best beach on an island famed for them is Tengkorak Beach or, literally translated, ‘Sands of the Skull Beach’. Pasir Tengkorak is often overlooked by tourists who settle for the famous Cenang Beach on Langkawi’s southern side. However, as locals will attest, it is simply beautiful and beautifully simple, surrounded nature for 360 degrees. A standout attraction is the spectacular, Temurun waterfall nearby – an ancient 200m, three-tiered cataract, which is one of the highest beachfront waterfalls in the world.
A great option for casual picnics and stretching out on a towel for a few hours, this pocket-sized beach is unlikely to become overcrowded, except on weekends. It is nestled between two small headlands and the waterfall is only a few minutes by car to the west or a 15-minute trek.
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2. Gunung Raya
With an altitude of 881 metres, Gunung Raya is the highest peak in Langkawi. According to local beliefs, the mountain is the cursed form of a giant called Mat Raya, who had once dwelt on the island. The dense rainforest is home to numerous wildlife such as leaf monkeys, flying foxes, macaque monkeys, squirrels, mountain hawk eagles, white bellied sea eagles, and great hornbills, making it one of the best hiking destinations on the island.
3. Telaga Tujuh Waterfall
Telaga Tujuh Waterfall is a spectacular natural Langkawi attraction that locals claim is home to the island’s faeries. Set on Langkawi’s western headlands, its name means Seven Wells Waterfalls, referring to a series of seven connected natural pools fed by seven separate waterfalls in Gunung Mat Cincang. Visitors can enjoy a dip in the cool water or brave the steep long climb to the top of the waterfalls, past huge rocks and through the seven pools, where macaques, hornbills, and squirrels can be spotted along the journey.
4. Langkawi Sky Bridge
The Langkawi Sky Bridge is a 125-metre-long curved pedestrian bridge that offers an exhilarating (and sometimes terrifying) view of the verdant Gunung Mat Cincang, stunning Telaja Tujuh waterfalls, and several islets surrounding Langkawi. Set 700 metres above sea level, it is only accessible via a vertiginous 15-minute ride aboard the Langkawi Cable Car ride. The sturdy Sky Bridge can accommodate up to 250 people at a time, with two triangular platforms where you can relax and enjoy the cool breeze.
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5. Pulau Payar Marine Park
Just 30km south of Langkawi Island is Pulau Payar Marine Park, offering up some of Langkawi’s best snorkelling and diving opportunities. Just 45 minutes away from Kuah Jetty via catamaran or a speedboat, one of Pulau Payar Marine Park’s best features is its Coral Garden, a secluded section filled with colourful corals. Those eager to explore the park will have to obtain permission from the authorities (fishing is strictly prohibited) before venturing into the waters. Alternatively, you can join a tour group, which is usually inclusive of snorkelling gear, lunch, and drinking water.
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6. Underwater World Langkawi
Set along the vibrant Pantai Cenang beach town, Underwater World Langkawi houses more than 500 species of sea creatures including harbour seals, rock hopper penguins, seahorses, as well as flamingos and mandarin ducks. A highlight is a 15-metre walkthrough underwater tunnel, where you can enjoy close-up views of sharks, giant stingrays, and green turtles. And when you tire of the life aquatic, head next door to the Zon Shopping Paradise and Coco Valley and indulge in a great selection of duty-free goods.
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