Langkawi is in my top 3 favorite island destinations in South East Asia so far. That may seem crazy with all the beautiful Thai islands, but Langkawi offers something most Thai islands can’t. Seclusion.
I arrived in Langkawi with the intent of staying one week or less and ended up staying more than a month. I just loved the people, the scenery, and the lack of tourists. Not to mention, there’s a lot to do and see on a backpacker’s budget. So don’t fall for the “Crocodile Farm” tourist trap – here are my top 5 cheap things to do when in Langkawi.
1. Chase some waterfalls.
Langkawi has a 3 major waterfalls – Seven Wells, Temuran and Durian Perangin. They are all easy to access and all worth checking out!
The Seven Wells waterfall is probably the most built-up and therefore most popular of the waterfalls. You can swim here, though it might be slightly awkward. There are several small pools – not much space to move around – and chances are you’ll be the only one swimming while everyone else is standing around fully clothed.
Temuran Waterfall is much easier to swim in and is the tallest waterfall in Langkawi. To really enjoy this waterfall, you need to visit during the wet season. In the dry season, when we visited, all you’ll see is a small pool and a 30 meter high cliff-face. Still beautiful, but not a waterfall.
Durian Perangin was my personal favorite. We had the waterfall all to ourselves and it was still flowing during the dry season.
TIP: If you want to beat the crowds, visit in the morning.
2. Find an unknown beach.
Forget busy Cenang – take your scooter and drive around the island. You’re sure to find a spot perfect for lounging or taking a dip! It just takes a little exploration.
I lucked out and was invited by a local couple and their daughter to have a “beach day” with them. They drove us out to a seemingly local’s only spot with beautiful white sand and transparent water. I didn’t even know Langkawi had beaches like that!
3. Catch some views.
You don’t have to pay for the sky bridge or cable car to catch a glimpse of Langkawi from the air. You can drive it!
We took our scooter up to Gungung Raya (the highest point on the island) and the drive alone was worth the trip. If you’d like, you can drive up to the building on top and pay to go up the tower, but you really don’t need to. We caught the best view of the sunset from a concrete patch on the right side of the road.
4. Visit the Mangroves.
Cost: $40 per private boat
Get a group together, split the cost and take a private boat tour through Langkawi’s Mangroves! This is a must-do when on the island.
Your guide will take you to see eagles, monkeys, a bat cave, and lastly, a fish farm where you can choose to sit on the floating dock and have a seafood meal (which I highly recommend you do).
You view the fish, hand-pick what you’d like and it is cooked for you right there on the dock. You can’t get seafood any fresher than that!
Feel free to check out our mangrove tour video to see what it’s like!
TIP: As with most things, the best time to go is early in the morning – that’s when the eagles and monkeys are most active.
5. Watch the sunset from Tanjung Rhu beach.
You’ve probably heard people say Cenang beach is best for sunset viewing. WRONG. I saw the best sunsets from Tanjung Rhu. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Tanjung Rhu is much less populated and just generally prettier than Cenang beach (at least in my opinion).
Sprawl out in the sand or get some pricey but extremely delicious fish & chips from Scarborough’s and wait for the sun to drop.