This tropical paradise is one of Malaysia’s top holiday hotspots, and it’s easy to see why. Endless sandy beaches, picturesque scenery and bags of local colour have helped put this group of islands in the Andaman Sea firmly on the international tourist map. The main island, Pulau Langkawi, is where the majority of hotels are to be found, ranging from budget chains in the capital, Kuah, to luxurious resorts along the coast.
The Langkawi Cable Car is one of the most popular attractions for first-time visitors, giving a bird’s-eye view of the island from the top of Gunung Machinchang, over 700 metres above sea level. Come back down to earth at the Oriental Village, a picturesque lakeside shopping area at the foot of the mountain, where you can browse for souvenirs and grab a bite to eat.
Discover the island’s secrets at the Mashuri Memorial Mausoleum, which houses the shrine of the Malay princess Kota Mashuri, who laid a curse on seven generations of islanders. This historical complex also includes a theatre where performances of traditional dance are staged. Lagenda Park is another good place to find out more about the island’s fascinating folklore, with statues depicting local legends strung out along the waterfront.
Get up close with the wildlife at the Langkawi Crocodile Farm, or view the underwater world in the giant aquarium at the southern end of Pantai Cenang Beach, home to over 200 different species of marine creature and featuring a spectacular rainforest walk which is a favourite with families.
Use your Langkawi accommodation as a base to explore the area. Island-hopping itineraries vary, but a typical day trip will not only give you magnificent views of the coastline but also a chance to visit some of the neighbouring islands for a swim or a meal. Take a boat ride through the wild mangrove swamps, or discover the urban side of Langkawi life in Kuah Town, where you can visit the majestic Al-Hana Mosque, admire the giant monument of the sea-eagle, symbol of Langkawi, in Eagle Square, and go duty-free shopping in Langkawi Fair Mall.