How to Spend 48 Hours in Langkawi, Malaysia

Eagle Square from above | © Abdul Razak Latif/Shutterstock
Eagle Square from above | © Abdul Razak Latif/Shutterstock
Photo of Sam Bedford
22 February 2018

Langkawi attracts visitors for beaches, islands, nature and its duty-free status. Some tourists spend their time on the sun lounger while others have an adventure. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Langkawi to experience everything this tropical paradise offers, from mangrove tours to driving around the entire island.

Day one: Experience Langkawi’s nature

The first day gives tourists the chance to experience the island’s nature. Visitors have two options. Take a river cruise through the Kilim River mangroves. Or ride the Langkawi Cable Car, walk along the Sky Bridge and hike to the Seven Wells Waterfalls (Telaga Tujuh). Expect today’s activities to take up most of the morning and afternoon. The itinerary assumes tourists stay in the hostels and hotels in Pantai Cenang during their 48 hours in Langkawi.

The Kilim River Cruise

The Kilim Nature Park covers a vast area along the northeast part of Langkawi. Cruises follow the labyrinth through mangroves, past lagoons and into hidden beaches. Not only will tourists experience the wonders of this exotic landscape but they’ll also get to see a vast array of wildlife from eagles and kites to monkeys. Most tours include lunch at a nearby floating restaurant before taking passengers through the limestone formations, into Bat Cave and onwards to a small river island. Expect cruises to start at 9:30am returning at 3:00pm or later. Factor in the travel time from Pantai Cenang to reach the Kilim Nature Park.

A great way to experience the Geopark in Langkawi | © Katja Hasselkus/Flickr

The Langkawi Cable Car and the Seven Wells Waterfalls

Instead of joining the Kilim River Cruise, head to the Langkawi Cable Car in the morning before hiking to the Seven Wells Waterfalls. Head to the Oriental Village at 9:30am to enter as soon as it opens. The Cable Car climbs to the peak of Mount Machinchang at 708 metres (2,323 feet) offering views of the forest below. Follow the Sky Bridge over the canopy (for an additional fee). Later return to Oriental Village and follow the signs to Telaga Tujur. The seven waterfalls cascade into seven pools surrounded by dense rainforest. Expect the hike to take 45 minutes to one hour, along a trail with more than 600 steps.

Enjoy a scenic view from the cable car | © Mikadun /Shutterstock

Evening: Sunset drinks on Pantai Cenang

After an active day, return to Pantai Cenang. Various restaurants serving a mixture of local, Asian and international cuisines line the beach. Bars serve cold beers and cocktails overlooking the sea. End the day sipping a drink on a bean bag or hammock watching as the sun slowly dips below the horizon. Don’t stay out too late – the second half of 48 hours in Langkawi features an active and adventurous day, and an early start is crucial.

Lounge in one of the beach side cafes and bars | ©AsiaTravel/Shutterstock

Day two: An epic adventure around Langkawi

The best way to get the most out of 48 hours in Langkawi involves a mini-road trip. With a circumference of approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles), renting a motorbike or car to explore Langkawi is an offer too good to refuse. Wake up early, get a set of wheels and explore Langkawi.

Morning: Exploring Western Langkawi

Starting from Pantai Cenang, follow the road north along the coast towards the airport. Make a small detour to Kampong Padang Mat Sirat to visit the historical site of Beras Terbakar or Field of Burnt Rice. During the early 19th-century, war broke out with the Siamese. Locals burned the paddy fields to stop the rice falling into enemy hands. Continue along the road to Kampong Kok near the Langkawi Cable Car. Stop and enjoy the views of Telaga Harbour and Pantai Kok. Follow Jalan Teluk Yu for approximately five kilometres (three miles) and take a left towards and past the Crocodile Farm to Pantai Tengkorak, one of Langkawi’s most secluded beaches.

Afternoon: Northern Langkawi

Return to Jalan Teluk Yu and follow the road for approximately eight kilometres (five miles) to Teluk Yu Beach. A promenade hugs the coast. The nearby Langkawi Craft Complex is worth visiting for 30 minutes before you continue to Pantai Hitam and stroll along the black sand beach. The wooden jetty serving the nearby fishing village makes a nice photograph. Explore the markets and grab lunch at one of the restaurants near the beach before continuing to Tanjung Rhu, one of most beautiful beaches on the island. Kuah, Langkawi’s capital with the famous Eagle Square and duty-free shopping with its attractive promenade, lie 18 kilometres (11 miles) south.

Evening: Return to Pantai Cenang

After exploring and enjoying Kuah, follow the road back to Pantai Cenang. Enjoy passing through the small Malay villages with smiling and waving children. After returning to the beach, grab a bite to eat at one of the several restaurants lining the main road and head down to the beach to see the sunset again. Enjoy the views and reflect back on your incredible and active 48 hours in Langkawi.

Relax and enjoy the beautiful sunset on Cenang Beach | © Vasily Gureev/Shutterstock

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