Easily accessible by plane from Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi is an island which begs to be explored, as well as a firm favourite among tourists from all over the world. It can be difficult to know where to begin, so this guide aims to narrow it down to the best and most interesting spots.
Before diving into the best beaches in Langkawi, there are a few important things to know. Most public beaches line Langkawi’s western and northern coastline with many lacking public facilities such as changing areas. When looking at a map or planning an adventure around the island, two terms always appear: “pantai”, which means beach, and “jalan”, which means road. Most of Langkawi’s beaches use pantai in their name. Another term to be aware of is “pulau”, or island.
Datai is very much the upmarket area on Langkawi, with a number of high-cost resorts. You don’t have to be a high roller to visit Datai Bay though, as the beach is open to the public and well worth taking the time to visit. The relative remoteness of the area means that this beach is quiet, pristine and belted by jungle and mountains, making for some great views while you swim in the warm, clear waters.
For a real taste of seclusion, why not leave the main island entirely and head somewhere a bit smaller? Pulau Tuba is about 5km southwest of the Kuah jetty. Unlike many similar surrounding islands, it isn’t privately owned, and anyone can go across. The only habitable area is taken up by a traditional fishing village, the rest is forest. The beach itself is immaculate, and you can spot a variety of rare tropical birds as you relax on the sand.
Perhaps the most famous attraction in Langkawi is the cable car, and what better way to follow it than with a trip to a quiet beach? Burau is a mere 10-minute walk from the cable car, and while the two edges of the beach are owned by resorts, the middle is open to the public. You can see a number of islands from the shoreline, and various migratory birds visit the trees which line the edge.
Batu Hampar is interesting in that it is very much a public beach, though since it sits so close to the Century Langkawi Beach Resort, you’d be forgiven for thinking they owned it (the many chairs and parasols daubed in their branding would appear to support this too). In truth, they don’t, anyone can hang out on this beach, and the rewards for doing so are great, with the mangrove trees surrounding the perimeter making for a unique atmosphere, and lots of fish to see if you’re packing a snorkel.
There’s more than just white sands on Langkawi, and although a pebble beach might seem like a poor cousin, this one has an edge because it’s so secluded that almost nobody knows it even exists. Hidden near the Temurun waterfalls, you have to walk an overgrown path to get there, but you’ll be rewarded with a short stretch of utterly deserted shoreline. Granted, the rocks make barefoot walking unadvisable, but the plentiful shade and seclusion make it a great spot to sit and relax, soothed by the sound of the waves.
Additional reporting by Callum Davies
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