Before diving into the best beaches in Langkawi, here 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’ translating to road. Most of Langkawi’s beaches use pantai in their name. Another term to be aware of is ‘pulau’, or island in English.
Langkawi’s longest and most famous beach hugs the western coast. The soft sand lined with coconut trees and resorts provides a view of Pulau Tepur and Pulau Rebak in the distance. Beachgoers can rent a sun bed for a few ringgits while various duty-free shops, restaurants and bars stretch along the street behind. Apart from relaxing and enjoying one of the most beautiful sunsets in Asia, the calm water is suitable for swimming.
Located to the south of Pantai Cenang and often said to be a continuation rather than a separate stretch, Pantai Tengah provides a beach with fewer tourists. While the beach itself feels less developed compared to its southern neighbour, visitors will have the opportunity to relax in relative privacy. Several water sports activities including banana boating and jet skiing start at Pantai Tengah
Often rated as the best beach in Langkawi for a luxurious holiday, Pantai Kok provides both gorgeous stretches of sand and a selection of high-end resorts. On the western coast near the Langkawi Cable Car, the beach area boasts a wide range of bars and restaurants. Those looking for romance can appreciate the sunset while enjoying a drink at the bars overlooking the coast.
Hidden away on the northern coastline, Pasir Tengkorak provides visitors with a more secluded place to enjoy the beach surrounded by a forested area. The clear water is suitable for swimming, and its relative isolation means visitors will practically have the beach to themselves. Just be aware of the roaming monkeys and anticipate a lack of facilities.
As the name suggests, the sand on this beach is black. Located a few kilometres southwest of the famous Tanjung Rhu, legends shroud this mysterious beach and why the sand is black. From stories of giant eagles and shipwrecks to geological wonders and ash from a burnt rice paddy, nobody knows the origin of the sand’s colour. Stroll along the beach and take the chance to see a traditional wooden jetty serving the nearby fishing village that extends into the sea. Black Sand isn’t the best beach in Langkawi for sunbathing, but it makes for an interesting excursion.
The small beach stretching just 200 metres (656 feet) gets its name from the stone shark statues along the promenade rather than a population of Great Whites living in the sea. Despite its relatively small size, visitors often rate Teluk Yu as one of the best beaches in Langkawi. The calm waters make an ideal spot for swimming while several restaurants and cafés line the promenade and the Langkawi Craft Complex sits a few minutes away. Shark Bay continues onto Black Sand Beach.
Before reaching Tanjung Rhu, visitors will pass along the road hugging the northern coast. The nearby beach, called Jalan Tanjung Rhu Road Beach, after the road’s name, offers an easy-to-reach stretch of sand. While the views might not be as stunning as its northern neighbour, it does provide an attractive spot for a few photographs.
Often ranking among the best beaches in Langkawi, Tanjung Rhu on the northern coast can be described as a sandy paradise. Picture white sand shaded by palm trees as limestone crags jut from the shallow waters. The clear water houses a vast array of marine life and the chance to experience this by renting snorkelling equipment. Several resorts and hotels line this stretch of coastline to give beachgoers a luxurious experience. While this might be smaller in comparison to the other beaches in Langkawi, it makes up for it with pristine conditions and attractive views.