Travel Guide: Langkawi

This weekend was the first of our three consecutive weekends of travel. As I’m sure you gathered from my last post, I’m not 100% delighted with life here and Mitch and I decided it was high time to begin exploring Malaysia. We chose the island of Langkawi because it has beaches and we wanted to spend some time in clean mountain air, which one can find everywhere in Malaysia except in cities.

Our trip started Friday evening on a pretty amazing AirAsia plane. These are iPhone photos so they’re not the best quality, but I guess AirAsia loves Taylor Swift as much as I do!

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I’ve never flown AirAsia before and got a good laugh out of just how “budget” the airline is.

Poor Mitch's legs hardly fit!
Poor Mitch’s legs hardly fit!

Our plane arrived about an hour late but the Seaview Guest House where we were staying is pretty close to the airport. Lesson learned: You get what you pay for. We paid $12 a night and had a room with two double beds and use of a shared bathroom located at the bottom of a very steep staircase. It was not pretty and I wouldn’t stay there again. (We do, however, plan to return to Langkawi.) Seaview Guest House isn’t exactly conveniently located (again, you get what you pay for) and we needed to take taxis everywhere we went. Since Langkawi is a very touristy island, each taxi ride cost RM20. It’s only about RM50 to rent a car for the day, so we learned after the fact, so that’s what I’d recommend to other travellers. We will definitely do that on our next trip.

The best part about Seaview Guest House, though, is that it’s attached to a bar so we were able to have our first cocktails since coming to Malaysia. Like the room, the drinks were cheap; unlike the room, they were amazing. There were a handful of people hanging out at the bar when we got in Friday night so we joined two guys from Sri Lanka and had a lot of fun talking to them. We exchanged contact information via Facebook (oh, Facebook, how useful you are) and spent quite a bit of time with them last night, too. Meeting new people is a lot of fun, especially when everyone is brand new to an area and when everyone is on holiday and therefore pretty happy!

We woke up pretty late on Saturday and then ventured to an area called Oriental Village, which is very pretty but also very touristy. Langkawi is famous for a cable car ride from Oriental Village to the closest mountain and we really wanted to go. There’s also a bridge that connects the mountain to its neighbor that adventurous people can walk along. We totally planned on doing that but the bridge was closed for maintenance, another reason we have to go back.

It was sunny when we got to Oriental Village, rained, and got sunny again, which you can see in the photos:

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Not only was it beautiful, but we also found recycling!

Recycling?! In Malaysia?! What????
Recycling?! In Malaysia?! What????
Happy recycler
Happy recycler

Thanks to the weather, our cable car excursion perhaps was not as thrilling as it might have been. Visibility gradually decreased as we went up the mountain, which reminded both of us of skiing out West in the US. On a clear day, one should be able to see the entire island, but this was not a clear day. It was beautiful, though, in a very different way. At times, it honestly looked like the fog was creeping up around us. It was rather sobering to be so small and insignificant and hidden in a cloud when we knew there were mountains around us. The air smelled fantastic, too. If we were going to be in Langkawi longer, we would have waited to see if the weather cleared up but we didn’t have that option. That’s the drawback of short trips, I guess, but it’s better than not going at all. I’d definitely go again on a clear day.

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In sharp contrast to Seremban, Langkawi has wildlife! It also has cats and dogs everywhere, but so do we. We passed multiple groups of crab-eating macaques searching for food, picking bugs off each other, and, in the case of this one, pursuing mates.

Macaque on a mission
Macaque on a mission
There were also groups of buffalo and cows grazing in just about every open field (and some not so open fields)
There were also groups of buffalo and cows grazing in just about every open field (and some not so open fields)

The afternoon remained cloudy but we went to the beach anyway and walked up and down for long enough to watch the beginning of the sunset. We passed a creek of little fishing boats on the way there, which I just loved.

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The beach had some of the softest sand that I’ve ever felt, but we had to go pretty far into the water to find it. Otherwise it was rather rocky. There’s a marina in Langkawi that we passed on the way to the beach and a lot of the boats are fishing boats, so it was fun to watch them move around very slowly and then finally head back to the marina with their catch for the day.

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As the sun began to set, it also managed to break through the clouds so we had a spectacular sunset when we got back to Seaview.

I have a thing for pictures of rooftops. I took this as soon as we got back from the beach and I love the way the light from the setting suns reflects on the roofs.
I have a thing for pictures of rooftops. I took this as soon as we got back from the beach and I love the way the light from the setting suns reflects on the roofs.

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Our Sri Lankan friends introduced us to a new arrival at Seaview, a guy from Japan taking a year off from university to practice his English. We all had a few drinks and then we all went to Cenang Beach late Saturday night, once the tide had gone out. The sand was soft and the waves were larger and louder, which I love. We didn’t going into the water because it was 10pm by that point, but next time we visit Langkawi, I’d love to stay at Cenang Beach because that’s where all the action is – restaurants, shops, places to book island tours, etc. Next time, we also plan to visit the city of Kuah and hike up to Seven Wells Waterfall, which we could see from the cable car.

Lessons learned from this trip:

  • In terms of accommodation, you get what you pay for
  • Stay in the city where the action is
  • Taxis are expensive and renting a car is not; therefore, rent a car
  • Be friendly and you’ll make friends

It was a really great weekend. We were very glad to get away from the city, breathe clean air, spend time outside and in nature, meet cool people, and just be somewhere else. Hopefully we’ll return to Langkawi before leaving Malaysia because there’s definitely more to see and do!

5 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Langkawi”

  1. Langkawi looks really nice. The nature is something compley else compared to other cities in Malaysia (especially KL) and the beaches look really promising. Glad to hear that you had a nice weekend 🙂


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