8 Free Activities To Occupy Your Time On The Island Of Langkawi

8 Free Activities On Langkawi

Many travelers who find themselves on the island of Langkawi use it only as a port of entry into mainland Malaysia. What they don’t realize is that the island has secrets. Ones that make it worthy of being more than an unexceptional layover.

The week leading up to my visit to Langkawi I was sitting in front of my laptop in the town of Ao Nang; in southern Thailand; having just experienced rock climbing for the first time on the limestone karsts at Railay beach.

Scouring the internet for ideas on the best things to do in Malaysia; I wasn’t coming up with much apart from tourist attractions and mediocre reviews.

I thought to myself “great; here goes a month of underwhelming locations and adventures.” I had little excitement for the days to come; it was all going to be up to my first destination to set the vibe and show me what the country had to offer.

The Island Of Langkawi

Lying just off the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia is the island of Langkawi. A collection of 99 islands and roughly the size of Singapore, this duty-free archipelago is covered in jungle-clad hills, towering limestone karsts, and sprawling rice paddies, all surrounded by white sand beaches.

Three main areas attract tourists and budget backpackers alike. Kuah; the main port town; is where all of the banks, medical centers, and shopping malls are located, and where you will arrive if traveling by ferry.

Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah are located on the West side of Langkawi where all of the resorts, hostels, and restaurants are. The word Pantai in Malay means beach, and these are two of the most popular. Just West of Cenang is the Langkawi International Airport (LIA) where you will arrive if traveling by plane.

In the North is an area known as Pantai Tanjung Rhu. This part of the island is much less crowded than Kuah or Cenang and includes a beautiful empty beach and lackluster waterfall.

Travel Tip: A taxi from the ferry terminal and the Airport to Cenang should cost RM30 or $6.50 and you should expect a Grab or Uber to cost around RM25 or $6

Getting Around Langkawi

The most important advice that I could give about getting around Langkawi is that it is far easier to have your own transportation. While companies like Grab and Uber have made it to the island, the best way; in my opinion; is to rent a scooter.

Renting a scooter will cost you RM30 or $7.50 per day, or you can rent for multiple days at a lower rate; say RM26 or $6.50 per day. That; in the end; will cost you less and allow you visit places that remain hidden from most tourists’ radar.

Travel App: Download an offline map app; particularly Maps.me. Most of the roads on Langkawi are well paved, but there are a few that lead to dirt paths and a long ways from your desired destination. That’s a waste of gas and your time. 

8 Free Island Activities

Regardless of your choice to rent a scooter, you will still have an island full of adventure awaiting; so I’ve put together a list of eight free activities to occupy your time on the island of Langkawi.

Before I get to that though, I want to mention a few popular activities not included in this list. They are the sky bridge and the natural GeoPark. I hear both are a great time. However, they are also quite pricey, and I felt that to truly enjoy your time on Langkawi you need to maintain a carefree, relaxed vibe, which is pretty hard to do if you’ve just shelled out a few hundred ringgit.

The West Side

I’ll start things off on the West side of the island which will be closest if you are staying in Cenang; which will most likely be the case.

7 Wells Waterfall

7 Wells Waterfall Langkawi, Malaysia

7 Wells Waterfall

Also known as ‘Telagah Tujuh’; the Seven Wells Waterfall is a collection of pools or ‘wells’ that rest at the base of a cliff where water from the nearby Machinchang Mountain rushes over the edge creating; you guessed it; a waterfall.

The lower viewing area pictured above; although beautiful; isn’t the main attraction. Lying just above are the second set of pools and a place aptly named

“Bridge Over The River.”

Bridge Over The River 7 Wells Waterfall Langkawi

Bridge Over The River

The second viewing area is laden with the four remaining wells and plenty of room to sunbath on the rocks. I recommend going earlier in the day to beat the hoards of other tourists looking to take a relaxing dip in the pools and plunge down the natural waterslides.

From Cenang: 40 Minutes

Skull Sand Beach

Skull Sand Beach Langkawi, Malaysia

Skull Sand Beach

The reason Skull Sand Beach is my favorite beach on Langkawi isn’t just because it reminds me of the Carribean. It also holds a dark secret; one that might make you think twice before entering its cool blue waters.

There are many legends surrounding Skull Sand Beach, but the one I like the most is that there used to be a prison on a small island just off the coast and due to a lack of security many prisoners escaped but never made it to shore. Their skulls and bones washed up on the shore of what is now Skull Sand Beach.

Creepy right?

From Cenang: 20 Minutes

The Temurun Waterfall

The Temurun Waterfall Langkawi, Malaysia

The Temurun Waterfall

While not so impressive during the dry season; the Temurun Waterfall is the tallest on the island of Langkawi. The water is much colder than at 7 Wells, but there is a good chance you will be the only one there.

By ‘the only one there’; I mean the only human. You will most likely have a few families of Macaque monkeys that won’t think twice about stealing your valuables; so watch out.

From Skull Beach: 5 Minutes

Cenang + Tengah Beach

Cenang + Tengah Beach Langkawi, Malaysia

Cenang + Tengah Beach

While not as peaceful or beautiful as the other beaches around the island; Cenang and Tengah Beach are a great way to end your first day of free adventuring. Grab some grub and sip on a cold refreshing beer as you watch the parasailers sway in and out of the sunset glow.

From Cenang: If you see land; turn until you see ocean. 😉

Mile High Central

Day two of free adventuring around the island of Langkawi starts off in a place not frequented by tourist. This place lies in the central part of the island and keeps a close eye on North, West, East, and South.

Gunung Raya

Gunung Raya Langkawi, Malaysia

360 Degree View From Gunung Raya

Gunung Raya; or the Great Mountain; is the highest peak on Langkawi and has a 360-degree view of the entire island as well as parts of mainland Thailand.

While the view from the top is amazing; in my opinion; it’s not nearly the coolest part. Surrounding the watch tower at the top of Gunung Raya is the abandoned D’Coconut Hill Resort. Signs are posted on every window that it will soon re-open but by the look of it; I don’t think so.

I was so freaked out about getting caught sneaking through this abandoned resort that I forgot to take photos. However, I did have my GoPro turned on. 😎

From Cenang: 50 Minutes

The North Side

Activities on the North side of the island are best after a hardy lunch, giving the sun time to heat up the afternoon air. There are only two locations left to visit so take your time and relax.

Tanjung Rhu Beach

Tanjung Rhu Beach Langkawi, Malaysia

Tanjung Rhu Beach

The favorite of many travelers; and my second; Tanjung Rhu Beach lies on the northernmost point of the island and is yet another white sandy beach with small islands floating just offshore.

It’s easy to spend a few hours there soaking up the sun and cooling off in the refreshing salt water. Despite its popularity with travelers on the island, I was quite surprised to find only a handful of beachgoers.

From Cenang: 30 Minutes

Durian Perangin Waterfall

Durian Perangin Waterfall Langkawi, Malaysia

Durian Perangin Waterfall

The smallest of the three waterfalls on the island of Langkawi; the Durian Perangin Waterfall is nothing to write home about but it’s a nice place to relax and take a break from the afternoon heat.

From Tanjung Rhu: 10 Minutes

Tempting Fate

After you have had your fill of adventure in the North it’s not a bad idea to head back to the hostel for a power nap during the heat of the day.

Once the sun has relinquished it’s fury and the temp starts to go down you can head out for arguably the best sunset on the island…

and tempt your fate on a burning bridge.

The Abandoned Bridge

The Abandoned Bridge Langkawi, Malaysia

The Abandoned Bridge

Back on the southwest side of the island is an abandoned pier that has a bridge; for lack of a better word; bridging the gap between the island and the concrete walkway out in the bay.

The walk across is pretty nerve-racking as you inch your way over rotten two by fours that cover up the missing supports. It’s especially terrifying when a local man passes you at full speed on a motorbike.

I’m not done yet!

When you are set up on a tripod; focused on capturing the perfect shot, and you suddenly notice a small column of smoke rising from the planks of the bridge 60 feet above the water; the only thing you can do is freak out.

That’s right the bridge was still on fire! All of those burnt planks I’d passed on the way out had been set ablaze earlier that day. Jesus!

When Should You Go?

As with all destinations in Southeast Asia; it’s important to know what time of year you should visit to avoid being socked in by monsoonal rains. The prime weather window on the island of Langkawi is from late November until the end of March.

Which is technically their ‘dry season’ and the time when the sun will be around most of the day with the temperatures soaring to nearly 100°F or 38°C.

That’s Perfect beach weather.

Where To Stay In Langkawi

There are loads of accommodations on the island ranging from mid to high priced, but only a few good hostels. They are located around Cenang and; in my opinion;  one shines brighter than all the rest.

The Honey Badger Hut Hostel is a compound just outside of Cenang owned by the minister of tourism and rented by a South African named Lloyd. The staff is made up of other travelers volunteering which keeps the vibe nice and relaxed. They also rent scooters for the lowest price I could find on the island.

What really sold me on the place where the animals. There are cats and dogs, and cows that act like dogs. You read that right; the cows like to lay next to you and have a good ol’ scratch behind the ears; just like a dog.

Enjoy Your Time

No matter what you end up doing, whether it’s the 8 activities listed above or just a week of lazing on the beach; the main thing to remember is to stay relaxed and leave your worries at the gate. It’s the only way to truly enjoy your time on this big island in the heart of the South Pacific.

Thanks For Reading!!

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