So far I have traveled to 50+ countries in my lifetime and I have to say, I fell in love with the nature and beauty in Langkawi, Malaysia. I am almost hesitant to tell you about it, as I don’t want tourism to spoil what we have experienced. At the same time I wish you could all see this place. I know I have more of the world to see, but Langkawi Malaysia ranks very high for us. Come with us as we show you our guide to Langkawi, and check out all of the fun things to do in Langkawi with kids. We would like to thank Naturally Langkawi for providing us this week-long experience in the luscious Langkawi.
About Langkawi Malaysia
The name Langkawi is actually made from 2 local words. Langkawi is the home of eagles and it is also geographically rich in marble rock; loads of the stuff. Since eagle in Malay is ‘Helang’ and marble in Sanskrit is ‘Kawi’, they’ve just put these words together as ‘Helangkawi’, which later became Langkawi. So there you go, the translation for Langkawi is Eagle Rock! They have this big sculpture of an Eagle on a rock near the main ferry port. Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands, forming the regions first geopark. When you are out on the water and up close and personal with these beautiful rock islands, you get a feel for how amazing this world really is. The rock islands are dated over 550 million years old and almost all of them have a mushroom-capped top of wild jungle growing on them. During our Jet Ski Island Hopping tour, we were up close and personal with these beauties and even rode through a cave. It was refreshing to see so much nature and natural surroundings which weren’t overrun with resorts and tourists. If you want to see Langkawi, this is the time to go.
Why We Loved Langkawi
- Gorgeous Beaches – We found the sand to be very soft and white. We are beach and sea loving people, deep in our veins, and we are pretty particular about them. These were lovely to walk along. We aren’t much for just sunning on the beach, as we like to keep active or be in the water. Check out this guide to Langkawi Beaches!
- Adventure! – Just take a look at our list of things to do in Langkawi and decide for yourself.
- Romance – Yes, even with 2 kids in tow! After 18 years of marriage we still have a some sparks left in us.
- Diversity, Nature & Culture – We were surprised at the options for dining around the island. There is such a good mix of cultures. Of course predominantly Malay, with a mix of Indian, Chinese, Arabic and more. We experienced rainforests, mangroves, wildlife, beaches, and even learned about their culture and legends. It was absolutely majestic watching eagles soar above us. That would be a rare sighting in the USA and they were plentiful while in Langkawi.
- Sunsets! – We love a spectacular sunset and when we were awake early enough to see the sunrise, it was just as amazing.
- Easy access from mainland Malaysia – We found very inexpensive flights from Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Penang. It was about $14 each to fly to Langkawi from Penang and about $18 each to fly from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur. Of course you will need to check for the best deals for your dates. We almost always use Skyscanner for the cheapest options.
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Things To Do In Langkawi With Kids! (*parents discretion)
Of course when you are on an island, you get a chance to have a mix of activities, both on land and sea. We are suckers for both, but have a tendency to love the water activities. Don’t be surprised with our amazing list of favorites, some of which we provided a full review on TripAdvisor. Just look for the link “Our Review” at the end of the activity, if you want to know more about our experience.
- Island Hopping Tour on Jet Skis – Our experience was provided by Mega Water Sports. This was no doubt the family favorite! Yes, we can ride Jet Skis anywhere, but no other place can we go on an 8 island hopping tour and spend 4+ hours out having a blast. We also had time to learn about the local legends, like the Pregnant Maiden and swim in her lake. Just so you know, we didn’t drink the water. Read Our Review to find out more. * I would say this is appropriate for older children, who are confident swimmers and have the strength to hold on. There is plenty of bouncing around and perhaps a bounce off as well.
- Mangrove Kilim Geoforest Park – Boats hired from Tanjung Rhu or the Kilim River cruise through Langkawi’s Geoforest Park along winding rivers flanked with dense mangrove swamps, rainforests and unusual geological formations. We experienced, watching bats in the caves, seeing monkeys all around, eagles soaring and feeding, as well as fish feeding at Hole in the Wall. We even had our boat driver take us out of the park slightly, where off in the distance we could see Thailand in the Andaman Sea and stopped for a quick swim. Our Review
- Rice Museum – The Laman Padi in Langkawi may not be high on most lists of things to do, but you should check it out. We visited a similar museum in Vietnam and were surprised to find out we didn’t know as much about rice as we thought. It is free and located on Chenang Beach, across from the Meritus Pelangi Resort & Spa. You can also dine over the rice paddies at Seashells, more on that below.
- Langkawi SkyCab (also referred to as the Langkawi Cable Car) – The Langkawi SkyCab is the longest free span for a single rope cable car at about 950m. There are 2 viewing areas, the highest is at 650m above sea level. There are really incredible views from up there and you can get a feel for how big the geopark is. They do have VIP and glass bottom car options, for those that like a little something extra. I think I would freak out if mine had a glass bottom! Our Review
- Mardi Agrotechnology Park – If you love fruits and eco tourism, then this is a perfect place for you. Spread over some 35 hectares of land area, this agrotech park was set up in 1990 and is run & managed by the government. There is a guided fruit farm tour offered inside the park. Some of the many fruits you can see here include star fruits, guava, citrus, mango, rambutan, pulasan, durian, cempedak, jackfruits, longan, and many others. We didn’t have time to explore this activity, but we had to leave some things for a return visit.
- Rhino Adventure – Our experience was provided by Naam Adventure. Who doesn’t love a bit of riding around and climbing hills, exploring local villages and bouncing around? I know our kids had a blast. This is a perfect tour for beginners with 4×4 driving or off-road experiences. Alan and I used to own a Jeep and have experienced a variety of fun off-road toys, so this was nice and leisurely for us. It was about a 45-minute guided tour and we even learned about rubber trees! I love it when homeschool sneaks into the day!
- Underwater World – Underwater World Langkawi is Malaysia’s largest aquarium, housing more than 500 species of animals and sea creatures including harbour seals, rockhopper penguins, sharks, as well as flamingos and mandarin ducks. We do like aquariums, but we have plans to visit one in Singapore, so missed out on this one.
- Parasailing – Our experience was provided by Naam Adventure. Up up and away. We had seen many parasailing operators while visiting Penang, but opted not to do it as the landings didn’t always look the safest. When presented the opportunity to give it a try in Langkawi, we hopped at the chance. Especially when we found out it was with this class act, including being released and returned to the boat. They let you decide if you wanted to get wet or not. If it was a yes, you could dip in to your toes, knees or thighs. Lars asked for a dip, but didn’t get one because it was too windy. As a mom, I appreciated the crews decision for safety over the “I did it” moment. A great day out, as it was paired with the Rhino adventure.
- Eco Adventure Activities – Skytrex Adventure – If we had just one more day, this would have been on our list of things to do. The kids were begging to go, but we were just so busy. I don’t mean to sound snobby about this, but we have done our fair share of zip lining and things like this around the world, remember me becoming a serious tree hugger (go to 5 min marker) in Jamaica? We wanted to do other things in Langkawi, this time around. This would likely be a kid favorite for sure. It is located near the craft center and there are many package options to choose from.
- Snorkeling/Diving – Our experience was provided by Langkawi Coral Island. We spent the day out at the Pulau Payar (Payar Island) Marine Park and the day was ours to explore. It was about a 1-hour ferry ride out to the island and we had about 4 hours to snorkel and eat the box lunches provided. Alan opted to go for a single tank dive, for a nominal additional fee. It was fantastic to show the kids things that 90% of the people there, didn’t take the time to notice. We found several nudibranchs, a grouper as big as Anya, many black tip reef sharks, angel fish, parrot fish, puffer fish, all kinds of coral and more. The kids were openly grateful that their parents were experienced divers and could find all of these “hidden gems”. Most people just swim on by and look for the brightly colored fish, rather than take the time to see what is really beneath them. It was great to see their enthusiasm for sea life. After lunch, the crew gathers the scraps and they are thrown off the end of the pier. It was shark and fish feeding time! An Amazing Experience with the kids!
- Bird Watching – Langkawi Wildlife Park & Bird Paradise is a five-acre park and home to over 2,500 exotic birds from 150 species such as canaries, owls, eagles, toucans, hornbills and flamingos.
- The Langkawi Duck Tour – The Langkawi Duck Tour is a 45 minute amphibious bus/boat tour from Oriental Village to Telaga Harbour Park and back. We were driving behind one and it was funny to see it on the road. Everyone on board had grins from ear to ear, as we passed. This would be a big hit with the younger kids for sure and below 4 yrs is free!
- Sunset Dinner Cruise – Our experience was provided by Naam Adventure. This was a very peaceful and relaxing evening out. Remember that romance I mentioned above? Well, the kids hung out on the bow of the boat, while Alan and I had the evening to hang out drinking wine in the back. This was about a 2-hour tour of the surrounding islands and we also learned about some local culture. Once the sun set, it was back to the jetty. Our Review
- Waterfalls – There are at least three, easily accessible, waterfalls to be visited: Durian Perangin Waterfall, Seven Wells Waterfall and Temurun Waterfall. We visited during the dry season, so didn’t venture out to see any of the waterfalls.
- Rent scooters! – Just get out and explore off the beaten path. If you know us, you know we like to get out and explore. Our schedule was jam-packed during our visit, so renting scooters is the one thing we wished we had time for. Just check out our scooter adventures in Vang Vieng, Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Phangan. It is okay to just go and get lost, explore and then find your way back. Rental periods are usually for 24 hours and it is fairly very low-cost entertainment.
There are also many organized tours for you to enjoy from being active on walking or biking tour, to enjoying a food or wine tour. There is so much to do and Viator has so many great offers for you. Click here to see their latest Langkawi Deals!
Places To Stay In Langkawi
We were in Langkawi a total of 6 nights and stayed 3 nights at 2 different resorts. We understand everyone doesn’t have a budget for resorts, so we asked fellow travelers their thoughts on where they were staying. We have a list available for you below, of the recommended accommodation. Of course there is far more to choose from, but we didn’t want to list things unless they were recommended.
- Berjaya Langkawi Resort – This is one of the largest 5 star resorts on the island. If you are looking to get away from it all and have the rainforest, white beaches, glistening sea and great service, than this is the place for you. We stayed here for 3 nights in a Rainforest Studio Chalet and have provided a full review of our experience. There are over 400 rooms on 70 acres of rainforest land. It feels like you are one with nature, yet have all of the 5 star amenities. They also have those to die for chalets over the beautiful blue Andaman Sea available as well. It is located near the water and but not close to town. It’s just a 50-minute drive from the ferry port and about 25 minutes from the airport. There are just a couple of shops and restaurants within walking distance, at the Oriental Village. They also have many available within the hotel property. Check prices and availability.
- Meritus Pelangi Resort & Spa – We stayed here for 3 nights in beach front connecting rooms. This was really our ideal style of acommodation. The resort wasn’t too big and it was within walking distance to town. We had easy beach and pool access and the staff was very welcoming and helpful. This is located on Chenang Beach, where you will find many of the watersports activities available. There are also many international as well as local restaurants, and plenty of shops. I also recommend the spa treatments here. I enjoyed a 1 hour massage, during our visit. We’ve provided a full review of our experience on the blog. Check prices and availability.
- Adya Hotel – This is a newer 4 star hotel and is a favorite among families with children. It is located near the water and close to town. It’s just a 10 minute drive from the ferry port and about 15 – 20 minutes from the airport. There are shops and restaurants within walking distance, as well as options within the hotel. This is rated very highly among families with children. Check prices and availability.
- One Hotel Helang – If you are looking for something close to the airport, this is a great option. There isn’t much within walking distance, but many of the activities are organized as tours and transportation is often provided. This is a 4 star property with above average family ratings. Check prices and availability
- The Danna – This is a luxury hotel situated right near the marina. It is actually very close to the Berjaya and the Langkawi Skycab. It is located near the water, but not close to town. It’s just a 45-minute drive from the ferry port and about 20 minutes from the airport. This is rated very highly among families with children. We met a nice couple on our Jet Ski tour that was staying there and they raved about the property. Check prices and availability.
- The Cottage Langkawi – This property provides cottages and backpackers hostel rooms. It is located along Chenang Beach. They offer affordable prices, for those that aren’t looking for the resort experience. This is rated very highly among families with children. Check prices and availability.
- There are also many Homestay options, which provide you with more of a local experience. We met the owner of this homestay, but did not have time to go and see it. MyZ Homestay
Places To Eat In Langkawi! We all love our food and during our week in Langkawi, we were provided with a variety of eating options. We requested that we not always have the 5-star experience and eat where the locals eat. Our request was honored and we had a nice mix of fine dining, casual dining and absolute local. We will share them all with you!
- Seashells – Located on Chenang Beach, across from the Meritus Pelangi. The food was local Malay and delicious. We dined above the rice paddies and really enjoyed the ambiance. Our Review
- Orkid Ria Seafood – Located on Chenang Beach, great food, service and prices. Our Review
- Jom Ikan Bakar Masakan Ala-Kampung – This is as local as it can get. A wonderful seafood buffet, with chicken options as well. This is very low-cost and tasty as well. There are a few of these located around the island. The one we visted was fairly close to the airport. Our Review
- Hole in the Wall – Located within Kilim Geoforest, this was not only a great local food, but also a fish feeding station. While we were waiting for our food, it was off to feed the fish and touch the sting rays. Our Review
- Laila Kebab House – Located within the Oriental Village, at the base of the Langkawi Skycab. This was one of our family favorites for sure. The food was in abundance and excellent. Our Review
- Meritus Pelangi Resort –
- Spice Market Restaurant – We enjoyed the daily breakfast buffet as well as 1 dinner buffet. It was like we were in a food amusement park. We wanted to try everything! Outside was someone making fresh items on the grill, all we had to do was select what meat we wanted grilled. There was also a noodle and pasta station, as well as endless fruits, desserts and entre items.
- Berjaya Langkawi Resort
- Dayang Cafe – They provided amazing daily breakfast and dinner buffet options. Each evening is a different theme, so the food options change. They have a few cooking stations for made to order items and plenty of options for all tastes.
- Pahn Thai Restaurant – We dined here one evening at sunset. It was worth it for the views alone, but we also enjoyed some Thai food. I know that may or may not be exciting for some, but after spending 5 months in Thailand and being away for a while, it was a nice treat for us.
For an alternative point of view, check out the Nomadic Boys’ gay guide to Langkawi.
Have you visited? Do you have more fun things to do in Langkawi to add to our list? Just comment below.
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Disclosure: Our accommodation was provided by the Naturally Langkawi and all opinions are our own. Have you been to Langkawi? Share your recommendations with us in the comments. We hope we’ve been informative and helped you discover a new vacation destination. Would you like to visit Langkawi? Just ask us what you would like to know. We will do our best to answer or refer you to the right location.