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What To Do and Where To Stay in Langkawi
4 Apr. 2023
4 Apr. 2023
Discover what to do in Langkawi and embrace the natural paradise location, only 30 kilometers from the northwestern coast of Malaysia. The destination has managed to escape the over tourism that has affected many of the other popular places in Asia.
Boasting a splendid natural landscape across its 99 islands and islets, the community has embraced the laid-back lifestyle that comes with such an environment. Langkawi offers the experience of a Robinson Crusoe-esque escapade from the hustle and bustle of modern life, allowing guests to truly make the most of the archipelago’s relaxing atmosphere and stunning natural richness.
Located in the most southern point of Langkawi, Eagle Square and its iconic Dataran Lang (the 12-meter Red Backed Eagle that represents the island’s majestic eagles) jets out over the Andaman Sea. The name of the island itself is rumored to derive from the combination of two Malay words: Helang (Eagle) and Kawi (Marble). The Eagle dominates the view at Eagle Square, appearing like a bird readying itself for flight, and guides the approaching mariners towards Kuah harbour. At night, the eagle lights up, casting its reflections over the surrounding water pond.
The Cable Car and the Sky Bridge are two of the most popular attractions in Langkawi. Both are accessible from the Oriental Village that is home to over 95 outlets, shops, restaurants and kiosks.
The Cable Car is a 15-minute car ride up to the summit of Mount Machinchang, which is the second-highest mountain in Langkawi and 709 meters above sea level. The Cable Car ride engages on one of the steepest inclines in the world (42-degree during some parts) allowing visitors to enjoy some stunning views of the island. Once visitors have reached the top station, they can access a 410-foot-long curved foot bridge, the Sky Bridge that snakes around the top of Mount Machinchang. The view from the triangular platform is one of the most famous views in all of Langkawi.
Minutes from the Oriental Village is one of Langkawi’s most famous natural sightseeing spots: Telaga Tujuh Waterfall, also known as the Seven Wells Waterfall. The waterfall is so named for the 7 natural pools that have been formed at various levels by the water streams, with a height of 91 meters.
Visitors can access the waterfall after a short hike from the car park, and they can bathe and relax in the shallow pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Visitors can also hike to the top of the waterfall, and on their way will encounter a lot of the fauna and flora of the surrounding natural environment, such as Macaque Monkeys, giant squirrels, and even the Great Hornbills. From the top, visitors have access to the other natural pools and can bathe in those as well.
Located on the east of the island, the Langkawi Wildlife Park is a 5.5-acre wildlife natural reserve created in the style of a tropical forest.
The park is currently home to over 150 species of animals and birds from various parts of the world, such as South East Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, Malaysia, and even Russia. As it stands, the Langkawi Wildlife Park is the first park in Asia to offer fully covered walkways and trails all throughout the estate from the entrance to the exit, making it a particularly easy park to explore. The park also allows for close interaction with the animals and birds, with activities such as hand feeding sessions. Some of the species inhabiting the park include the Fennec Fox, the Malayan Porcupine, the Blue & Gold Macaw, crocodiles, flamingos, and more.
Found at the heart of Langkawi itself, Gunung Raya is the tallest mountain of the island (881 meters above sea level). The whole surrounding forest reserve extends for over 5000 hectares, and is home to an amazing ecosystem of flora and fauna. The mountain is flanked by two smaller mountains, Mount Mat Cincang and Bukit Sagar, and together, the 3 mountains used to be considered giants. While visitors can rent a car or driver to go up the mountain (the whole trip takes about 30 minutes), there are two trails that enable visitors to reach the top. The most popular one is the Thousand Memories Eagle Stairs, which is a 4 287-step staircase that leads to the top of the mountain, and a roundabout trail that takes about 4–5 hours.
Located at the northernmost tip of Langkawi, the Kilim Karst Geopark (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is home to incredible geological formations that include the mammoth limestone rocks, fossils, caves, lagoons, beaches, and -one of its main attractions- the lush mangrove forests. The Kilim Geopark is reached through a motorboat ride along the Kilim River, starting at either the Kilim Jetty or the Tanjung Rhu. The mangrove tour will bring guests deep inside the mangrove forests where they can find a number of animal species such as squirrels, mud crabs, monkeys, Monitor lizards, otters, crocodiles, and the occasional dolphins. The Geopark is also idle to spot a few eagle species such as the Reddish Brown Eagle, and the White Bellied Sea Eagle.
While the whole island is home to fantastic beaches, Tanjung Rhu is one of the most secluded and pristine of them. The fine, white sand beach is flanked by the casuarina trees on one side and the turquoise lagoon on the other. While there are no shades from the trees, Tanjung Rhu is known for a pleasant, mild breeze that flows from the Indian Ocean. From Tanjung Rhu beach, one can see some of the neighboring islands, and when the tide is low, they can even walk to Pulau Chabang, the nearest island.
One of the most popular activities on Langkawi is touring its waters and visiting the multiple islands surrounding it (the archipelago is known to have 99 islands). Various tours can be organized, either privately or in groups, where visitors can charter a yacht, catamaran or a small boat to visit the surrounding islands such as Pulai Datan Bunting and its famous Pregnant Maiden Lake. Visitors can see the hills surrounding the lake that form the shape of a woman lying on her back. The Sunset cruise is also a fantastic way to enjoy the sunset that graces Langkawi and its islands. It is the perfect time for visitors to witness dolphins, eagles, and jellyfish that populate the Andaman Sea.
The Datai Langkawi is scattered over 19 hectares in the heart of a 10-million-year-old virgin rainforest in the northeast of the island. The hotel invites guests to experience the rich natural ecosystem, which includes rare wildlife, indigenous flora, and access to the Datai Bay beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Designed by visionary architects Kerry Hill, the Datai Langkawi was inaugurated in 1993. In 2017, the hotel had a major $46 million renovation, led by architect Didier Lefort, an architect and interior designer who had helped Kerry Hill with the original plans for the hotel. Among the renovations is a nature center, a testament to the hotel’s interest and commitment to its environment.
In the hotel’s 121 rooms and suites, the décor pays homage to the country’s Malay, Chinese and Indian heritages. Each of the hotel’s accommodations has a “bungalow chic” style, with wood, mood lighting, period furniture and huge terraces that open onto the lush vegetation of this wildlife-filled jungle.
On the culinary side, the hotel delights with 5 restaurants and bars. The award-winning The Gulai House headlines the immersive gustatory experience with a menu that presents authentic Malay dishes. The setting is tucked deep in the rainforest and puts on display the rustic kampung house style, with floor seating, warm, atmospheric lighting and rustic dining tables. The Pavilion floats over the dense canopy that surrounds the hotel, and combines traditional Thai cuisine with far-reaching views over the rainforest.
The Dining Room, by the pool, offers a casual setting for breakfast and lunch, while The Beach Club and The Beach Bar invite guests to relax under the shade of the trees to enjoy hand-tossed pizzas and fresh cocktails. The Lobby Lounge overlooks the Andaman Sea and the rainforest. From Wednesday to Sunday, Tano Soliano offers a piano recital for a moment of contemplation in the middle of the jungle.
Built along a stream, the spa is rocked by the water, with its architecture entirely open to nature. There, guests can enjoy an immersive wellness experience with treatments that incorporate the benefits of healing plants, herbs and ancient traditions from the Malay culture known as the Ramuan. The spa collaborated with the Irish brand of luxury skincare products, VOYA for its beauty treatments, while specialist Bastien Gonzalez takes care of the manicure and pedicure services. To discover and contemplate the breathtaking nature around, the hotel offers the services of its naturalist guide.
Address: Jln Teluk Datai, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Transfer: Located 40 minutes from Langkawi International Airport
Opening period: All year
In the south east of the island, at the water’s edge, lies The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi, open since 2017. It took 7 years to build the hotel, and the result is a subtle blend of mother nature and indigenous designs.
Architect Phillipe Villeroux of the Tropical Area Architects firm drew inspiration from the Malaysian rainforest and culture itself when designing The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi. The property is infused with a sense of perfect harmony with the location’s landscape. Shielded by the dense vegetation, the place feels cut off from the rest of the world, and feels smaller and more intimate than it is.
The 119 rooms and suites display a blend of traditional Malay and Siamese designs, and are as contemporary and sleek as they come. Their true appeal, however, remains their ability to truly allow guests to feel immersed into the surrounding nature, thanks to their floor-to-ceiling windows offering breathtaking views of the ocean or the rainforest, and plunge pools that spill into the environs.
Elsewhere, The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi allows for a deep immersion into the culinary heritage of Malaysia, as well as China and India with 4 restaurants. The Langkawi Kitchen invites guests into a contemporary décor that hangs over the forest canopy. The lush surrounding can be appreciated through the floor to ceiling glass walls while the chef and their team brings out dishes that pay homage to cuisines from all over Asia.
The Beach Grill sits right on the edge of the water, and presents a seafood menu with a Malaysian twist.
Hai Yan offers a sophisticated and elegant setting with its wrought iron embroidery and warmly lit lanterns. The restaurant, on the waterfront, offers a superb view of the Andaman Sea and proposes Chinese dishes.
Finally, Horizon, a restaurant reserved for adults, seems to float on the water with its stilts.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa delivers its signature treatments and massages in six adorable egg-shaped pavilions above the waters. The wellness program takes its cues from the healing and beauty rituals of Malaysian shamans and midwives. And for instance, the Mandi Bunga Inspired Ritual is inspired from the bathing rituals in Malay royal houses. The spa is also home to a spacious deck and the island’s only hammam.
Address: Jalan Pantai Kok, Teluk Nibung, Langkawi
Transfer: 10 minutes from Langkawi International Airport
Opening period: All year
The Four Seasons Resort Langkawi is set on a 48-acre estate along the northern coast of Langkawi. Flanked by dramatic limestone cliffs and lush jungle on one side and the deep blue waters of the Andaman Sea on the other, the hotel is an immersion in the landscape and culture of Malaysia and is located in an area designated as a UNESCO World Geopark.
Its architecture, signed by iconic designer Bill Bensley, blends Moorish influences with traditional Malay-style accommodations. The hotel’s collection of 91 villas and pavilions is divided between those with views over the tropical gardens and those opening up to the beach and the lagoon. Inside, tropical wood is aplenty, whether it is the paneling, the furniture, or the decks that lead to the private swimming pools. Here and there, the decorations (bibelots, artwork, patterns) recall the rich, ancient Malay culture.
On the culinary side, guests have the choice between 4 restaurants and bars. Serai serves breakfast and a Mediterranean menu in a sumptuous Moorish setting overlooking the sea.
Kelapa Grill offers an international menu with an emphasis on wood-grilled steaks and local seafood, to be enjoyed indoors, by the pool or on the beach.
Ikan-Ikan is the place to go for delicious local Malaysian cuisine. There, the menu by Chef Ismail pays tribute to the culinary heritage of Malaysia with signature dishes such as the Udang Karipole (wok-friend Tiger Prawns with cashews, curry leaves and chili paste) and the Bawal Asam Pedas (stewed Andaman Golden pomfret Fish with Ginger Torch, Tamarind, and Kesum leaf).
Finally, the Rhu Bar, and its Middle-Eastern décor and atmosphere, brings guests right on the beach to enjoy tropical cocktails while sitting on the hanging swings and watching the sunset.
The Geo Spa offers a wellness program with healing treatments and beauty rituals steeped in the ancient knowledge of the Malay people. One example is the Raja and Ratu (King and Queen) couples ritual, designed to strengthen the emotional bond and energies between the partners, culminating in a traditional blessing ceremony.
Guests also have access to a fully equipped fitness center, and 2 swimming pools. The hotels also offers a large menu of activities such as jungle trekking, Mangrove excursions, sailing, fishing (including thanks to its fishing house), and many more.
Address: Jalan Tanjung Rhu, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah
Transfer: 25 minutes from Langkawi International Airport
Opening period: All seasons
Look to book your next break? Discover Langkawi with Lartisien! We have a selection of hand-picked luxury hotels in Malaysia that offer exceptional service, amenities and guest experience. Get in touch with our team for more information or to discuss a booking.