Langkawi isn’t just one place, it is 99 islands that make up an archipelago on Malaysia’s west coast. It is surrounded by one of the most beautiful seas you will see and has Instagram-ready paddy fields and jungle-clad hills.
It is a place for nature lovers to see all of the beauty they want, with find sand and tropical coconut trees. Mother nature is beautiful here in all seasons as well. For adventure seekers, it is a great place for diving opportunities to explore treasure troves and caves.
Families also have plenty of activities as well, from walks on the beaches to nature hikes.
If you are coming to Malaysia, you have to stop in Langkawi for at least a day – though you could spend an entire trip here.
How to Get to Langkawi
There are a lot of ways to get to Langkawi that are easy and family approachable. Most people will choose to ride the ferries from the mainland, which takes them to the Kuah Jetty. This is definitely the cheapest way to get to the islands, though you will have to be sure to hold your children when you first get off the ferry, because there is a bit of a rush. The ferries run four routes to Langkawi from Kuala Kedah, Kuala Perlis, Penang, and Satun in Thailand around the clock.
If that seems too chaotic, there is the Langkawi International Airport that is 12.4 miles away that operate Air Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia. These operate daily to and from Kuala Lumpur. International travelers can connect with MAS flights from Osaka, Taipei, and London.
What to Do in Langkawi
There is quite a bit to do in Langkawi, some of it appropriate for traveling with children and some of it not appropriate. You’ll have to use your judgement with your own family to see if it is appropriate.
Langkawi Cable Car & Langkawi Sky Bridge
If you want to have even more fun, Langkawi’s most popular attraction is probably the cable car ride that will allow you to enjoy scenic overviews of the island. The ride has one of the steepest cable car ropes in the world, so it can be a little overwhelming at times. Make sure to keep your children close in case they panic.
Still, try to do this. You’ll see 360-degree views of the island, making it a must for nature lovers.
Tickets for the SkyCab cost MYR35 (US$10) for adults and RM25 (US$7.5) for children. For the best experience, avoid weekends.
Night Markets and Street Food
If you are addicted to traditional food or “mix” foods, you’ll absolutely love the night markets in Langkawi. The food is cheap, delicious, and it goes quickly so it is always fresh. If you want to try local foods, this might be the best place to do so. You’ll find homemade iced tea, fresh fruit, grilled chicken, freshly caught seafood, satay, salads, and many, many pastries. Pretty much whatever you like to eat, you’ll find.
The night bazaar is open daily from 7-10 PM, and it has a different location every week. The weekly locations are as following:
Monday at Ulu Melaka, Tuesday at Kedawang, Wednesday at Kuah Town, Thursday in Pantai Cenang, Friday at Air Hangat, Saturday again at Kuah Town and Sunday at Padang Matsirat.
It is free to walk around and the food comes at various prices.
If your kids have a lot of energy (and you do too), the Skytrex Adventure course is one of the best things you can do. Everyone is able to jump, swing, crawl, run, glide, and climb throughout the jungle. The zipline downhill will give you many beautiful shots of the jungle.
In order to do this, your children need to be old enough to support themselves and their own weight and you need to be physically fit as well. Make sure to bring sneakers.
To get the best rate for this one, book online at about $13 per person.
Kilim Karst Geoforest Park
Hop on a boat and explore this park with an area of 100 square kilometers. It has some of the most beautiful natural features you will finding the world, including beaches, mangrove forests, caves, and limestone formations.
There is so much to do that it can’t be listed here – just know that this is the #1 attraction on TripAdvisor for a reason.
For families that are adrenaline junkies, exploring the archipelago for a few hours by jet ski is exciting. For older children and families, the ride is thrilling and absolutely beautiful. It will give you a unique view of the rock formations. You rent for a set number of hours and then you can go off on your own, so you can stop to do some exploring, have a swim, or go on a picnic.
This one starts at about $150 per person, but it is definitely worth the steep cost. Once again, this is definitely an activity for older children.
Another favorite for children of all ages, parasailing will give you some of the best views of Tanjung Rhu, one of the most popular beaches in Langkawi. Note that this is a quick trip – because of popularity, you are only able to stay in the air for about ten minutes before you have to go down. Make sure to go through a company and not someone on the beach – better safe than sorry.
Parasailing starts at $70 per person, but you can sometimes get a better deal online.
Rice Paddy Exploration
For families that are from cities, you’ll enjoy walking along the rice fields in Pantai Cenang. The images are ones that you don’t see all that often. Take in the rice museum (free!) and learn about the history of rice cultivation and why it is so important to this part of the world.
There is also a restaurant here so that you can have a bite to eat.
Go to the Beach
Of course, the most popular thing to do in Langkawi is to go to one of the white powder beaches and take a dip in the water. Now, you should know that the water isn’t going to be clean everywhere you go. If you are worried, it is best to see where other people are going to find the best beaches. These are typically Tanjung Rhu, which is at the northern tip of Langkawi – this is also a great place to go to look at limestone formations. Pantai Cenang, at the south western tip of Langkawi, is probably the most popular beach for tourists. You’ll be able to find grass and sand to sit on while you get a fantastic view of the sunset. Finally, Tengah Beach, which is further south, is more relaxed and quiet for a relaxing day. It also tends to be less crowded.
3D Museum Art in Paradise
Finally, one of the best activities you can do with your family is to visit the 3D Museum. It is difficult to see how beautiful this place is from photos because you can’t capture it. The museum features some of the most well known architecture in the world, including the pyramids in Egypt, Venice, safaris, fantasy worlds, and rainforests. It is a great place to go if it is raining outside or you just need a break from the heat.
Entry to the museum costs about $11.
Where to Stay in Langkawi
There are a few different options for hotels in Langkawi, but we recommend these two hotels:
The Andaman is going to be the first hotel that people recommend to you when you ask for a “family friendly” hotel in Malaysia.
This is a luxury hotel that has everything you could want for a glamorous trip without having the air of superiority that some hotels have. You get the luxury of in-room kitchens, room service, pools, and a kid’s room. Even better, the rooms are soundproofed and quiet so that everyone can sleep at night.
Even better, the “Young Explorer’s Club” allows children to explore on their own and go on trips that are exciting and educational. Even better, it will allow parents to have some time together.
Of course, being on the beach is never a negative.
The Four Seasons
Sometimes you just have to go with the name that you know – even if it doesn’t seem particularly festive.
In this case, The Four Season in Langkawi is beautiful and one of the best family friendly hotels you can find. With a family pool and an attitude that lets kids be kids, this is a great place to go for families of any size.
You also get access to a private beach, which will give you more room for games, sitting out, and sunbathing. The water here is also very clean. The hotel offers resources for windsurfing, sailing, and boogie boarding.
For parents, the spa is a great place to indulge in massages, detox wraps, and aromatherapy. There are three restaurants onsite as well.
They have a special program called the “Kids for All Seasons” which will also take your children out onto the island and have them go on adventures. Even better, they will learn something while doing it. It also gets them free drinks poolside.
No matter where you go or what you do in Langkawi, it is going to be an absolutely beautiful and breathtaking experience.