– A Local’s Guide to Things to Do in Langkawi –
This article features our little-known pointers for what to do in Langkawi to save you the time of sifting through all sorts of random Tripadvisor forums. A tropical holiday in Langkawi doesn’t have to consist only of tanning on the sand; and we generally find that beachside smoothie / beer tastes much better when it’s been earnt! We’ll help you steer clear of tourist traps, tell you how much fun should cost so you know what to expect, and throw in a gem or two whilst we’re at it. This post will constantly evolve as our lovely little island does, so be sure to check back each time you’re on the way to visit this lovely island of Langkawi to ensure you’re always in the know! If you’re looking for tips for the top Langkawi restaurants to eat the best Langkawi food at then be sure to check out our other articles, or have a look at our menu and gallery.
Out on the Water
Catered Jetski / Island Hopping Langkawi
Langkawi actually refers to 99 islands in the area, with the Langkawi Island being the main one. As a result, a lovely half day exploring the surrounding islands on either an island hopping boat or by jetski is one of the best things to do in Langkawi. Island hopping boats in Langkawi are obviously the much cheaper option – a 4-hour trip should cost RM250-300, whereas jetskiing can cost anywhere from Rm600-1000 for a similar trip. There is an element of timing required to make the most of your trip too, with the levels of the tide. Too low and the boats can’t get in to pick you up / drop you off, but if it’s higher some of the nice private beaches on the islands are covered and you can’t drive your jetskis into the caves (which is really quite cool!). If you go Langkawi island hopping we recommend going to the Pregnant Maiden Island Lake as one stop – just don’t bring snacks or anything shiny with you though, the curious monkeys on the path from the jetty to the lake aren’t scared of taking anything they fancy! We’d then suggest you get your driver to take you around the islands until you find a private beach with no one on it that you can pitch up at for a picnic. As the food provided on these trips is usually very basic, we at The Fat Frog do full catering for them to ensure your private tropical beach experience is a properly indulgent one! Tell your operator you’ll bring your own for a discount, call us up, tell us how many of you there’ll be at what time and what your eating and drinking preferences are, and we’ll have a couple of eskies filled with food, drinks and temporary eating utensils waiting for you when you’re due to set off. We’ll get them all back off you when you return – price varies depending upon requirements.
Jetskiers have two MUST-do’s, one thing to remember to negotiatie and another timing element to them. Provided the weather is good, jetskiing is most fun when the waters are as calm as possible and this is usually early in the morning. However, a lot of the vehicles on Pantai Cenang are quite old and as a result suffer from reliability issues when going on longer tours, so you need to be clear with the providers you use that you won’t be paying a full fee if there is a breakdown. We’ve had varying experiences with this, but it can be anything from a 10-minute fix by your guide to something that halves the value of your trip. Be clear with your expectations and don’t agree to pay anything more than 50% in advance.
Must Do’s: Firstly, the aforementioned caves are an incredibly cool thing to drive through – though slightly challenging if you’re not particularly confident in steering and throttle control. Listen to your guide and hop on the back of their jetski if you’re not certain you’ve got a handle on things. Secondly, the highlight of your trip will almost certainly be the river between Pulau Dayang Bunting and Pulau Tuba. If you come into it from the Northern mouth and stay right at the end of it you’ll enter the mangrove rivers of Dayang Bunting which are also great fun – the water is like glass and great fun to rip around on.
Up in the Trees
(photos credit: Skytrex-Adventure)
Skytrex / Umgawa Langkawi
As activities in Langkawi go, this is a great way to really feel like you’re spending time on an island mainly covered in jungle by getting into the thick of things. Umgawa is significantly more expensive at around Rm480 a head, but great if you’re looking for something fun and thrilling with only a small amount of physical exertion. Fly across the jungle on a network of zip lines, it’s a unique experience in spectacular surroundings as they whizz by! Skytrex’s key difference from Umgawa is it is a bit more challenging in terms of requiring you to apply a bit more effort, balance and coordination to get through the course – less relaxed but more rewarding. There are different levels that you can attempt after having (quite literally) learnt the ropes in their training course, and they vary in terms of height from the forest floor and difficulty in the obstacles. If you’re new to rope courses and are afraid of heights then the easier course is the one to go for, however if you’ve any experience or are looking to also get a thrill out of your day we’d recommend going for the more challenging course! The double lanyard system used is the international standard for such activities & is extremely safe, so even if at times you feel a bit wobbly underfoot, you know you’re not in any real danger. At Rm55-65, it’s great value.
At the Bottom of the World
Air Terjun Terumun (Terumun Waterfall)
Many will recommend Telaga Tujuh & justifiably – it is a great spot… but it’s too well known as a Langkawi tourist attraction and as a result often overcrowded. If you’ve got a set of wheels and fancy taking a drive down a beautiful road to and from your destination, we recommend the waterfall out towards The Datai/Andaman. Not hard to find; if you’re heading towards the Datai keep a look out for a strange, artificial rock cluster forming a bridge over the road with a Langkawi Falls sign on the left and you’ll have just missed it. It’s most special mid-year in low season when there’s been a few months of rain to ensure it’s gushing over the rocks to combine high waterlevels with low tourist traffic. Sun starts to creep into the main pool at around 09.30, if you want to avoid the crowds make sure you’re punctual for this. Once it gets to 11am expect company.
And… On top of the World
Standing a massive 881 metres above sea level, it is locally fabled that it houses the spirit of Mat Raya, a giant who once lived on the island and was cursed into existence as a mountain. The dense rainforest is home to numerous wildlife; keep your eyes peeled for birds of prey circling and potentially monkeys & lively squirrels. You can drive a large portion of the way up but in general it just makes for a nice hike to the highest point on the island. We find that getting out and about and getting involved in activities on holiday in Langkawi breaks up the poolside lethargy and makes an afternoon cocktail by the pool feel far less guilty!
Langkawi Cable Car & Skybridge at Mat Cincang
Well known and rated, and justifiably. This sits high on any tour guide’s recommendations for Langkawi tourist attractions and, whilst as a result it’s highly populated, it offers a view of Langkawi and its surrounding 98 islands that is seriously spectacular. The Langkawi Cable Car journey is fun in itself, but the newly renovated Langkawi Skybridge really completes the stunning adventure, reaping the rewards of climbing a mountain without actually having to do so! If you’ve got a few days on the island, keep this flexible though – a lot of the fun to be had in Langkawi doesn’t require stunning weather, but this is one of those that is really a waste of time if it’s overcast. If you’re at the bottom of the mountain and you can’t see the top of the Langkawi Cable Car & Skybridge, don’t bother going up. The logic rings true – you won’t be able to see down and out across the view. Go try the Skytrex we’ve discussed above or trundle down the road for a dip in the waterfall whilst you wait for things to clear up! Alternatively, a coffee or beer at the marina is another relaxing way to pass the time. Yes, it will mean that you’re heading to stand on the top of a mountain and walk along an uncovered bridge in the stinking heat, but wear a big hat and you’ll be fine to last until your Cabana ice cream at the bottom.
Don’t ask us why they have such sporadic opening times, we have no idea! What we do know is that if you hate crowds and queuing as much as we do, especially in high season and on the weekends… Get there early and get up and down before the waves of people who prioritised a long, lazy breakfast arrive! When they say they open at 9.30, that is actually for the Langkawi Sky Bridge – the first Cable Car will usually set off at about 9.15 – so we’d recommend being there for 9am and getting your tickets. Keep a look out on the right on the way up if you’re facing forwards, you’ll be able to see Telaga Tujuh!
Another top tip is that if you get to the top and can’t get out onto the skybridge yet, buy your ticket first (sold separately at the top) before the queue grows and then go through once it’s open. Unless you’re very old or handicapped the Langkawi SkyGlide is something of an unnecessary gimmick – the 5minute nature walk is quite nice when the crowds on the narrow path are low, and it’s a good, brief workout! Be lazy by the pool in the afternoon whilst everyone else sweats it out.
Langkawi Cable Car Cost: RM35/55(local/forgeinersadults) and RM25 (children two to 12 years old)
Langkawi Cable Car Opening Times: Monday & Tuesday 10:00 – 19:00, Wednesday 12:00 – 19:00, Thursday 10:00 – 19:00, Friday & Saturday 09:30 – 19:00 (often varies, check website for updates)
Location: Jalan Telaga Tujuh Teluk Burau, Langkawi Tel: +604 959 4225