One who travels to Langkawi must definitely rent a taxi to get around the island! Like many I’m sure, we were a little torn between renting a car or hiring a cab to take us around before arrival – but after meeting with Ani (a local taxi driver recommended by a colleague who visited earlier):
I would highly suggest hiring a taxi to tour around at least once if you wish to know more about Langkawis’ culture, as nobody knows more about this island and its’ back stories than the islanders themselves.
Depending on our itinerary for the day, we chose to either rent a taxi for a certain number of hours (MYR145 /4 hours) or opt for one-off taxi rides, whichever one was cheaper. Despite the fear of falling into tourist-y scams and rip-offs all travelers are weary of, Langkawi is surprisingly one of the places where we didn’t encounter any of those, so in general you will not be overcharged, but as the taxis are not metered, it would still be wise to determine the price before you hop on. It would also save you a lot of time on planning the logistics of things if you came without a concrete itinerary in mind like us.
DAY ONE: Airport > Hotel > Oriental Village > Langkawi Cable Car > Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls > Telaga Harbour
Having flown in from Penang (roughly a 35 min flight), we checked in at the hotel and was out and about by mid afternoon. Our first stop was the Oriental Village, though there wasn’t much to remember about this place except for the souvenir shops (and a shady bowl of grayish Asam Laksa) before we proceeded to the Langkawi Cable Car & Sky Bridge – a place definitely not for the faint-hearted. Being much more exciting than expected with an extremely steep 42 degrees climb (we later find out it is the steepest cable car ascent in the world), one can enjoy the breath-taking view as the car (not so slowly) ascended the vertical slopes of Gunung Mat Cincang, but being afraid of heights, we were not sure how we managed to get through that. Once you get to the top however, it is a view that shouldn’t be missed. On the day we went, the Sky Bridge was under maintenance (not sure whether to laugh or cry about that) but:
If you are planning to visit the Cable Cars, time it so you can witness the sunset, as I am sure it will be a sight to remember.
We went a tad too early and couldn’t stay long enough to watch, before we proceeded to our next stop: Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls (aka Seven Wells). The dry season lasting from November to April rewarded us with superb weather without a drop of rain at the opportunity cost that the Waterfall was almost non-existent aside from a thin trickle. Given it is a nice spot to have a taste of Langkawis’ nature via a short but STEEP hike (~10 to 15 mins), I wouldn’t recommend this to people who are looking to have a serious splash experience during dry season unless it was raining the day before – but you can still have fun cooling off in the shallow pools (like we saw a couple of local teenage boys doing), so definitely bring a towel and bathing suit for a dip… we totally regretted not bringing ours!
After the hike, we proceeded to the idyllic Telaga Harbour for dinner. If you wish to try some modern Malaysian cuisine with a comfortable setting, Privilege Restaurant & Bar is recommended. Though it is relatively pricey, I would say it is good value for money and everything from the view to the food and ambiance were on par with our expectations for a special evening out (this was the first time we ever traveled together you see).
DAY TWO: Kilim Geoforest Park > Mangroves > Eagle Feeding > Bat Cave > Crocodile Cave > Fish Farm > Cenang Beach
The next day, we meet Sam who was in charge of one of the Mangrove boat tours after our white coffee fix at a small boutique (must try!). We opted for a 3 hour trip that took us to see the natural landscapes and attractions including the famous Eagles, Bat Cave, Monkeys, Crocodile Cave and Fish Farm (though there are no actual crocodiles in Crocodile Cave).
I would say the boat tour is a can go in Langkawi if you enjoy a relaxing yet up close experience with animals, as the eagles and monkeys were literally feasting right next to the boat.
Sam also made the experience an enjoyable one being a great host with plenty of stories to share throughout the excursion. After a short break back at the hotel, we then proceeded to Cenang Beach for a stroll on the sand and to watch the sunset. If you are looking for a meal there, try out Mumbai Palace, which is an Indian restaurant located on the northern end of the beach. It isn’t a fancy restaurant (so the price is reasonable compared to the more lavish side of Cenang) but the Lamb Biryani is really spot on!
DAY THREE: Scuba Diving at Pulau Payer > Langkawi Night Market
I don’t remember how we got there, but Pulau Payer a must go if you are keen on clear water and blue skies. The day excursion included a light lunch and basic snorkeling equipment (life jacket, mask and snorkel), while scuba diving required additional costs. The snorkeling was fantastic with lots to see and great visibility, which could also be said for my first ever dive experience. Though it was merely a 15 minute fun dive, I was met with abundant fishes and a nursery of baby black tip reef sharks. The beach is small though, so I can imagine it can get extremely crowded during peak season (not sure if they monitor the number of people allowed on the island). It already felt slightly packed during the quiet season of April.
At night, we proceeded to the Langkawi Night Market, which is a roaming bazaar that unfolds in various spots on different days of the week. For us, it landed on the main town of Kuah that night. Here you can try out all the local street delicacies to your heart’s content (such as Nasi Ayam, Mee Rebus and for the adventurous: an entire durian fruit) , as everything is cheap and choices are plentiful, though not super great for shopping as there isn’t much to buy except for random clothes and toys.
Conclusion….. To read our subsequent itinerary in Penang, click here!