Getting to Langkawi
If you’re in Penang already, Langkawi is just a boat ride away, albeit, a long, uncomfortable boat ride away. The boat only leaves from the Swettenham Pier twice a day, so be sure to book ahead of time.
The boat is almost always full. It seats all 80-100 passengers below deck in tightly packed, 4-seater rows. There is barely any airflow and the windows are small, making for a rough 3-hour ride. Definitely take some dramamine if you get sea sick. The boat brings you to the Kuah ferry port. Most accommodation is on the west part of the islands, only a 20-minute Uber/taxi ride.
We stayed at the Honey Badger Hut Hostel. It’s a bit out of the main downtown area, but it’s quieter, supremely relaxing, and has beautiful lighting in the afternoon.
Private rooms are uniquely built a-frame huts scattered around the property, making for a boutique resort vibe.Except for the resident cows that hang out with you around the patio at night, who are very friendly nonetheless.
Things to Do in Langkawi
Whether you’re here to cross the famous SkyBridge or just kick back on the beach for a few days, Langkawi is perfect to slow down for a little bit. The easiest way to get around is on a scooter, which can be rented anywhere on the island. We rented ours from Vila Thai, the big green hostel on Jalan Bohor Tempoyak.
BE AWARE THAT SCOOTERS ARE DANGEROUS. This doesn’t mean you can’t use them, but BE FKN CAREFUL. We ended up at the local Langkawi hospital at 2 in the morning. Everyone’s fine, but just be careful on scooters.
The SkyBridge is certainly the most popular attraction on Langkawi, so expect crowds and long queues. It’s on the north part of the island, about 25 minutes from downtown via scooter. BE AWARE that Wednesdays are scheduled maintenance days, so the the skycar doesn’t open until noon - which we didn’t realize until we got there at 10:30 in the morning.
First, buy a ticket for the skycar which will take you up to the top of the mountain. The ride up is beautiful and will make your fingers tingle at the shear height of the cabs. You can opt for a glass bottom car for a few extra bucks, but the regular ones give you spectacular views anyway.
Then at the top, you can buy a second ticket to take another cab across to the bridge for $10, or you can just walk for $5. The walk includes a LOT of stairs, which is fine getting to the bridge. But the walk back will be a sweaty one.
The bridge is stunning. Predictably amazing views of the island and surrounding water, but stunning nonetheless. There are some areas of the bridge built with clear panes of glass so you can see through to the forest below. It’s a bit exhilarating to trick your body into stepping out onto the glass, but makes for cool pictures if you can brave it. The far end of the bridge has more beautiful views, so make sure to go all the way to the end.
There are a bunch of shops and food options in the base village as well. You’ll have plenty other attractions to fill your day with if you so desire. Otherwise, if you’re just there for the sweeping blue skies and gondola rides, head to the Seven Wells for the afternoon instead.
The Seven Wells are equally frequented by locals and tourists alike. They’re right nearby the SkyBridge on the north part of the island, so it’s the great stop for an afternoon dip. The place is like a naturally occurring waterpark. The slippery orange rocks create a network of smooth waterslides, complete with pockets of deep pools to float around and relax in - a perfect hotspot to cool off on any day.
Scarsdale’s Fish Restaurant
If you’re already on the North side of the island, do NOT miss the opportunity to get fish and chips at Scarsdale’s. It’s right on the beach, and they make some awesome fried Dory.
Great spot for a sunset dinner. Or show up for lunch, grab a beer and spend the afternoon soaking in the sun out front.
This is where you’ll want to head to for some adrenaline-based activities. They have banana boats, parasailing, jet skiing, or plain old sunbathing for the slower-paced beachgoers. There are a bunch of dive shops and snack shacks along the beach, too.
Head here for a stunning sunset, and stick around for the late-night fire dancers. Bars along the beach will set out mats and little tables around the main performance area for audience enjoyment. Feel free to order some snacks, fruity drinks, or even a hookah for the show.
Digs on Langkawi
- Scarsdale’s Fish Restaurant - reference above.
- The Kasbah on Langkawi - amazing burgers, outdoor lounge seating, and all around chill vibes.
- Thirstday Bar and Restaurant - modern vibes with outdoor seating on the beach, plenty of cocktails and legitimate pizza options
- Yellow Beach Cafe - A yellow restaurant on the beach, surprised?
- Honey Badger Hut Hostel on Langkawi - they have cool huts for private rooms and friendly bovine pets.
- Vila Thai - huge hostel with big dorms, and they have scooter rentals and massages available even if you’re not staying there.