Langkawi – The Hawaii of Malaysia (Pantai Cenang)

I arrived to Langkawi’s Kuah Jetty around 11:00am via Ferry from Penang.  It costs ~60RM/person and takes about 2.5 hrs to get here.  It was quite a long ride and I did sure to take sea sick pills before boarding.  On the approach to the island, Langkawi feels like Hawaii, perhaps Kauai.  It has lush mountains, tropical landscape, largely undeveloped, and probably about the same size as Kauai.  Once arrived, I walked into the Kuah Jetty terminal and was surprised.  I was expecting the usual rundown ferry terminal of most places in S.E. Asia, but the Langkawi terminal was big and looked more like an airport terminal.  There were many stores and restaurants including Starbucks.  Starbucks is a sign of civilization for me and perhaps things can be expensive on this island (Langkawi is pricier than Penang or mainland Malaysia, but not that much).   Langkawi seemed to be preparing itself for more tourism.  Currently, not too many people know of Langkawi.

Langkawi Pantai CenangLangkawi Malaysia









A short walk (approximately 150M) from Kuah Jetty is the Langkawi Eagle Square, the famous eagle symbol of Langkawi.  I have seen this in so many travel sites, so decided to walk over to get a couple of snap shots.  I then walked back to Kuah Jetty and picked up free maps from the tourist center next to the Taxi stand (most taxi will have this for free inside their car as well).   The taxi stand seemed to have standard prices, controlled by the local authorities, and my ride to Pentai Cenang cost RM24.  Once I got further away from the ferry terminal, the small Kuah town faded away into lush green forest and undeveloped land.   The taxi driver was very friendly and gave pointers once we pasted some interesting spots.

Pantai Cenang

Langkawi Malibest Resort

Malibest Resort

It took 20-30 mins to get to Pantai Cenang.   I choose to stay at Pantai Cenang over other area because I wanted a mix of night life, street food, and awesome beaches.  Also, I was drawn to the tree house bungalow at Malibest Resort.  I checked in and felt in love with my room.  It was right on the beach, and itself was the coolest looking thing on the beach as well.  I told myself I would watch Sunset here and go nowhere!  There were a lot of restaurants around the area, food stalls to high end.  I was surprised to see Mexican food too.  I ended up having lunch at some local restaurant (RM8) after I saw a bunch of local people walked in.  It was a good sign.

Pantai Cenang’s golden sand beach in front of the resort was wide but not soft.  There were mixes between small rocks and broken shells.  The beach is very long, and on the left side was a big Langkawi sign mounted on a hill.  The beach was not crowed at all, even in the middle of December holiday season.  There were several vendors renting banana boats, Jet Ski, and kayak.  I walked along the beach and stop by a small stall to get some alcoholic drinks but ended up with just an ice cream.  Not every restaurant serves alcohol due to religion.  If you want to get an ice cold beer, make sure to ask them first.  I strolled around and relaxed until sunset, then watched a perfect sunset from my tree house balcony.

Langkawi - Babylon, a chilling Pantai Cenang Bar

Babylon, a chilling Pantai Cenang bar

Langkawi Pantai Cenang Night Life

Babylon beach bar at night









At night, nothing special except eating.  I even ended up having 2 meals that night from 2 difference places, each costing no more than RM15.  I probably had more than 30 sticks of chicken satay.  I later grabbed drinks at Babylon, a very chill beachside bar, where chill music and fire show entertained guests.  Babylon hits the spot; a perfect relaxing setting.  When back at the hotel, I turned off the AC and opened my window.  I thought about my plans to see Langkawi Sky Bridge and Telegah Harbor in the morning.  The sound of the waves made me fall as sleep in no time.

I highly recommend Langkawi to everyone.  It is like an underrated and less developed Hawaii, and most of my friends back in U.S. never heard of it.  Also, most tourists in Asia flock to Phuket, Koh Samui, or Bali, and never paid much attention to Langkawi.  A path less taken indeed. Do try to spend at least 3 days here.  There are waterfalls, many beaches, and many nearby islands that I did not get to see due to my short stay.


  1. Pingback: Inexpensive Trip to Langkawi, Malaysia - BCM Fest

  2. Local food and delicacies also what makes Langkawi so unique. Fusion with Malay, Thailand will make drooling for more. Perhaps in another time, I recommend you to go to Pasar Malam. 🙂

  3. we will be in Singapore on Oct. 1, then we plan to take the train to KL by 11pm. Can we buy the ticket as soon as we arrived Singapore by 4pm, or it necessary to have a reservation?

  4. Hi, thanks for your informative post. Just have some inquiry. Staying at Pantai Cenang, around how much the rates for over night? What place is your recommendation for a budget-stay? Thanks.

    • $30 to $70 USD overnight is reasonable. Try Malibest Resort where we last stayed at. They have rooms ranging from $20-$70/night.

  5. Hello, in your opinion:
    1. is it necessary to pre-purchase ferry tickets from Penang to Langkawi online? Travel period early-mid March.

    2. Which is the best way to get from Langkawi to KL? I am considering the plane (if there is a sale fare) but it may be risky scheduling a flight on the same day as another outbound flight from LCCT. It may save me time & money travelling from KL city to LCCT though. Also if I pick an earlier flight from Langkawi to KL (in case of delays), I’ll have too much spare time at LCCT just waiting for the flight out of KL.

    Thank you 🙂

    • 1. No…you can purchase it on day of. We have never seen the ferry full. Check schedules online.
      2. Take the flight to KL. Otherwise, you can ferry and train, but you end up spending your time waiting for train.

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  8. Langkawi Island is full of Malay’s Legend. It is unique and beautiful…especially Malaysia Government really invest to develop the island.

    • And they do a very good job keeping its natural beauty and making sure commercial development don’t over run it like Phuket.

      • It was only on my 3rd and last day that I figured out that there was a soehtrr route from Sheraton to town .thanks to the map provided FOC by tourism malaysia ..I was truly amazed that the crime rate in the island is near zero .probably u can’t go any further on an island like Langkawi. The car rental service told us to return and leave the vehicle UNLOCKED at the airport car park, and the key???? just place it under the driver’s seat. Now I know where to borrow a car my next trip to Langkawi

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