What’s the story?
We visited Langkawi as part of our two and a half week trip to South East Asia. We tried to cover a lot of ground during this trip so added Langkawi as a quick stop between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Ambitious maybe, but we were keen to see this little piece of paradise in between the big cities. We thought it would also offer a little bit of respite (and lots of beach) from all the sightseeing we’d been doing so far on the trip.
Cenang – our base
Whilst you can definitely do luxury very easily in Langkawi, this wasn’t really the aim of our trip in South East Asia, where we were keen to do a mix of both low cost options, as well as a few special treat boutique hotels thrown in too.
With this is mind, we stayed the first two nights in a B&B just outside Cenang. As a popular tourist area, Cenang seemed like a good base for our limited three night trip. The B&B was just outside the main town so away from the hustle and bustle, but still within an easy 15 minute walk of all amenities. For the final night we moved to stay just down the road at Temple Tree after finding a very good last minute hotel deal. I’d secretly had this place in my sights all along (full review coming soon!), and it is definitely one of my favourite hotels (read more on why here).
Cenang restaurant picks
Although Cenang was a great base and the beach was amazing, you could, like me, be a bit disappointed by the main road which is a bit blighted by the local mall with its McDonalds and other chain stores. Probably to be expected in a main tourist area, and despite this there were definitely some gems too in terms of restaurants on offer outside the main chains.
The best breakfast was in Red Tomato just along the main road. It served incredible pancakes as well as delicious eggs. We loved it so much we went back everyday! The Yellow Beach cafe also provided a very chilled out vibe for lunch just off the beach. If you really want luxury though and to treat yourself then a romantic meal on the beach at Casa Del Mar is a must. This boutique hotel and restaurant are definitely recommended as a special treat.
Exploring the island – highlights
Although Cenang was nice, we hadn’t come to Langkawi to be based in one place and I truly fell for the island when we explored it further afield (by scooter). This is something I thought was the worst idea in the entire world initially. I’m pretty risk averse at the best of times and would NEVER get on a motorbike, let alone a scooter. Somehow Josh persuaded me and I’m so glad he did. Langkawi is the place to do this as the roads are well signposted and quiet to drive on. (We did have a minor issue with how to open the petrol cap but that’s another story).
There’s lots to see and do on the island but as we were limited on time we picked the following and would definitely recommend including these activities in any tour of the island:
Langkawi Cable Car
Our first stop was Panorama Langkawi, 40 minutes from Cenang. The main attraction here is the Cable Car which takes you 708m above sea level with incredible views over the rest of the island. I’d recommend going early and paying extra for the express lane so you don’t spend any time queuing. There’s more to this attraction than the Cable Car (although that alone is worth the visit). At the top there’s also a really impressive sky bridge (the longest free span and curved bridge in the world!). It’s probably not great if you’ve not got a head for heights, but otherwise it’s a must visit. As well as these attractions, the centre also runs guided tours in the area and a range of other activities which can be viewed on their website here.
Air Tehran Telstar Tujuh (Seven Wells) waterfalls
Now we’d seen Langkawi from above we were eager to get back down to explore more of the beautiful island. Next stop was Air Tejun Telaga Tujuh (or Seven Wells) waterfalls.
A 30 minute walk up (a lot of) steep stairs and you are very much rewarded. This spot has amazing views, waterfalls, and pools if you fancy a quick dip (which is highly recommend after the walk).
Beaches of Langkawi
I’d heard a lot about the fantastic beaches of Langkawi and the high end hotels so we thought we’d go and have a look (plus the ride is through incredible countryside and pretty spectacular). Look out for the Monitor lizards along the way, they are huge!
We stopped at the Datai hotel which is a high end, luxury resort hidden away in the lush greenery. Feeling a little bit underdressed we only had a quick explore around it before heading off to the nearby Andaman hotel. Just along the bay the hotel is the perfect spot for lunch in the hotel beach bar. Datai beach is picture postcard perfect but pretty impossible to access without going through one of the hotels on this coast. Stopping for food meant that we were able to visit the beach (and experience a bit of the hotel’s luxury!) without having to stay here so the perfect way to experience luxury for less!
Tanjung Rhu Beach
The other beach on our list during our whistle stop tour was Tanjung Rhu Beach. It’s definitely worth the trip and has amazing views over the islands in the distance. It’s also really peaceful with few people so another big bonus.
We headed back to Cenang after our adventure, firmly in love with Langkawi and really glad we took the time to explore. I’d recommend you hire a bike (or a car) and get out and see the island properly. As Langkawi is small you can cover a good amount in a day and we managed to cover all the above easily without feeling too rushed.