A few weeks ago, I posted about the first leg of my Malaysian adventure, and now it’s time for part two: Langkawi. Admittedly I only spent about 36 hours there, but they were 36 pretty fantastic hours.
Langkawi’s official title is Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah. It’s often referred to as an island but technically it’s an archipelago of 99 islands, although the majority of tourist action happens on the largest one, the eponymous Langkawi Island.
It’s tipped to boast some of the best beaches in Malaysia, and although I have only visited two Malaysian coastlines, it’s undeniable that Langkawi’s shores are pretty damn good. The Malaysian government are very much aware of this, as it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into the development of the island’s tourism. There’s an abundance of attractions, such as a sky bridge, cable cars and a marine park- plus the island is duty free. Result. Yet in spite of the thriving tourism, Langkawi does not feel overrun. There’s a refreshing absence of skyscrapers and seedy clubs; Langkawi is touristy, but not spoiled. There’s so much to do that you could probably stay for a week, but we made the most of our 36 hours in paradise, and here’s how:
The Yellow Beach Café
The Yellow Café on Cenang Beach is the perfect place to eat, drink and watch the sunset over a gorgeous white sand beach. Cenang is Langkawi’s most popular beach and situated close to the majority of accommodation, making it the perfect place to spend your evening. Food and drinks are reasonably priced and if you order a bottle of wine you get access to the upstairs area, where you can chill in a beanbag booth or in the hot tub with an inflatable flamingo friend. We loved it so much that we went for dinner, breakfast and dinner again.
Skytrex is a high ropes adventure course in the middle of the Malaysian rainforest. It costs about £13/$18 for the most advanced course, which is very doable if you have an average level of fitness (or below-average, if I’m any indicator) and it’s a pretty fun way to spend a few hours, although you’ll sweat like nobody’s business in the Malaysian heat. There are very few photos due to our lack of a Go-Pro, but if you’ve ever been to Go Ape, you’ll get the picture.
Tanjung Rhu Beach
Tanjung Rhu is a stunning, virtually untouched beach on the north side of the island. Its beauty caused us to utter a collective “wow” upon first sight. When the tide goes out, a natural walkway is revealed and you can paddle out to the limestone islands in the distance as the sun starts to set. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon relaxing, swimming and and sheltering under palm trees from the hot Malaysian sun.
Duty Free Alcohol
Malaysia is a pretty cheap country, but the high alcohol tax tends to push travel costs up. In a bid to attract tourists, Langkawi went duty free in 1997, meaning it’s a very cheap place to drink. Plus, there are duty free stores where you can buy a litre of Absolut vodka for RM45 (£8.25/$11.60). Smirnoff and other brands are even cheaper. We decided to stock up and take some to our next stop, Penang. You’re only allowed 1 litre per person on the ferry but we decanted some extra into a water bottle and no-one checked our bags at all, so whilst I’m not condoning alcohol smuggling…