Getting Around – Car & Bike Rental in Langkawi
Frequently using taxis on the island makes little economic sense – by the time you’ve queued to pay for the monopolised service from the airport to your hotel that’s already a cheap bike rental for a day or half a day’s cheap car rental in Langkawi. Unless you plan to relax by your hotel pool for the length of your stay you can look forward to paying whatever they can wring out of you (few use their meter) just to get from one end of the beach to the other, let alone across the island. As a result – half the time just to avoid the stress of haggling – far too many people come to Langkawi and get stuck on the Cenang Beach strip; we even know people from KL who have been coming here for years and don’t know the magic the rest of the island holds. It pains locals to think that the image most hold of our lovely island is an overcrowded beach of concrete hotels, chaotic watersports vendors and hectic shops. Outside of this, the island is as chilled as you’ll find in the region, with beautiful beaches, lovely winding drives and plenty of f&b outlets to pop into for a meal or just a cool-down drink.
Rent a car in Langkawi / Kereta Sewa di Langkawi
Rm60-90 is the cheapest car rental option you’ll get – a little hatchback run around. If there are 5 of you, or even if more than 2 of you are over 6ft tall, this is a bit cramped. For 2 or 3 on a tight budget looking for a cheap rental car though, it works completely fine.
Rm80-100 will get you a cheap sedan rental, a bit more spacious and a bit more luggage space. Add another Rm20 for a slightly smarter hatchback or Rm40 for a nicer sedan.
About Rm150-200 will get you a cheap van rental / people carrier with room for 6-7… or golf clubs… or 5 ladies who couldn’t decide what outfits to bring so brought their whole wardrobes. To rent nicer, more spacious van will be past the Rm200 mark.
From then on you’re renting flash cars and we doubt you care whether you’re getting exactly market rate so we shan’t advise. We’re not going to provide any recommended vendors, however the same standard rules apply:
- make sure you’ve seen the car before you hand over your deposit
- ensure the car has its tax paid (valid sticker on windshield)
- check there is insurance cover with your agreement
- ensure they’ve done the pre-rent damage assessment and given you a copy of it
- highlight to the car rental salesman that he’s (inevitably) given you it without petrol!
There are a few car rental operators in Langkawi Airport that provide reliable services, you’ll find a few of them in the Langkawi Airport baggage collection area in a row of car rental desks and more outside in the airport terminal. Bear in mind the prices above have a variation because it depends whether you’re renting a car in high or low season.
Petrol is cheap, though there aren’t too many stations so if you don’t know for sure that you’re going to be near one it’s wise not to let your vehicle get too dry (unless you’re about to hand it back!). In terms of driving, please take it very easy and concentrate at junctions and roundabouts, especially if you’re not used to driving on the left side of the road! Other than that it’s a very simply structured island, but don’t expect anyone to use their indicators or lane etiquette. What is also quite common is you’ll be driving down a single lane road and either the car in front will suddenly realise they’re at their dirt track turn off, or someone on a motorbike will pop out from nowhere. Kids also like playing near the street so as a general guide, don’t sit on someone’s bumper and take it easy on the small roads – no one’s in a rush here 😉
Rent A Bike in Langkawi / Sewa Motor Langkawi
If a car is out of your budget or you want to get a proper feel for the island as you tour it, you’ll need pay only Rm25 (low season) for a cheap bike rental in Langkawi. Renting a scooter works brilliantly if you’re on a budget; the island isn’t that big, nor is anyone in a hurry to get from A to B. Another benefit of motorbike rental is it allows you to find parking more easily on Pantai Cenang and (within reason) skirt around some of the often terrible traffic here or in Kuah. Our only caveat with this is if it’s a heavily rainy patch of the wet season it can be a bit dangerous with very wet roads if you’re inexperienced, or you could get stuck somewhere for a couple of hours. If you mainly plan on hopping from one café to another then it’s not an issue as you can just chill out for a bit longer, but if you’re running around doing activities many of them don’t have somewhere great for you to hang out and wait for the rain to stop.
Please also do not underestimate how moronic it is to drink and ride a motorbike, heightened by unfamiliar surroundings and often a lack of experience. As the number of bike rentals has grown rapidly recently we are seeing more and more of this and it’s a danger to both yourself and others. If you’re planning to have a big one do so near your accommodation and/or get a cab!
The only problem you’ll have renting a bike with this is getting to your accommodation from Langkawi Airport (or, more specifically, transporting your luggage). We’d recommend you contact those you’re staying with and ask if they can pick you up. Many of the friendlier operators are happy to do this, especially if there are a few of you coming in on one flight or they happen to be dropping others off (sometimes for a nominal fee) and it is much less stressful walking off the plane to someone holding a sign with your name than it is standing in line for an overpriced cab for 20 minutes.
If you’re feeling wild, some of the vendors stock nice bikes too – a Harley, for example, will cost you Rm300. If you do this, be sure to ride Jalan Bukit Malut, the coast road from Pantai Cenang to us for some good, windy fun with nice scenery. Another lovely ride is the route to the Datai & Andaman, from just North of Telaga Harbour.
So now we’ve told you how easy it is to explore and equipped you with the knowledge to acquire yourself a vehicle, safe in the knowledge that you’re not being ripped off, go forth and conquer Langkawi island!