If you’re planning on visiting Malaysia then you need to make sure Langkawi is on your itinerary. My recent visit to Langkawi did nothing but strengthen my love for the country and all things beachy, stuffed with food and generally, well, beautiful. From the cooler climates in the mountains to the blue waters lapping up onto the sand, there’s easily enough to fill a 2 day Langkawi itinerary that will leave you relaxed as well.
From the moment you arrive in Langkawi and see this small island surrounded by the gleaming turquoise Andaman sea, it’s hard not to be excited about what it has to offer. It’s a great combination of forest and beach and touristy things and hidden nooks. So here’s what you can fit into 2 days in Langkawi.
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How to get to Langkawi
I was travelling from Penang to Langkawi on a budget and heard about a neat way to get between the 2 from a lovely local lady that involved going mostly overland. The journey meant catching the short 10 minute ferry to Butterworth from Penang, then getting a train to Arau and the shorter ferry from Kuala Perlis to Kuah on Langkawi. It took about 5 hours in total but was a nice journey and travelling by train is a great way to see some incredible countryside. You can check out all the steps to make the journey this way here and I would definitely recommend it if you’re travelling on a budget but want to minimise the amount of time you spend on boats.
Boats run everyday from Penang to Langkawi and take about 3 hours. They are inexpensive but I’ve heard stories about the journey being quite rough which is something you might want to consider if you get seasick. You can get tickets from the office on Weld Quay, between Fort Cornwallis and the Victoria Clock.
Langkawi has an international airport making it super easy to get to. The airport is located on the west side of the island, close to Pantai Cenang which is a popular location to stay. Be sure to book flights in advance and keep your eyes out for sales and deals to get a bargain flight.
Where to stay in Langkawi
Pantai Cenang is the most popular are to stay on Langkawi and is a great place to base yourself for 2 days in Langkawi. Here you will find plenty of hotels suiting all ranges as well as plenty of bars, restaurants and shops. If like me, you’re travelling on a budget, I would recommend staying at J Dorm if you want to be close to the main strip in Pantai Cenang but in a nice quiet location too. It’s only a small hostel run by a really friendly guy but it’s comfy and it backs on to a bit of beautiful countryside.
Find the perfect place to stay here:
My 2 day Langkawi itinerary
The best way to explore Langkawi is to rent a motorbike and hit the road. There are plenty of bike rentals in the Pantai Cenang area so take a look around and find one you’ll be comfortable on. Once you’re all ready to go, hop on and make your way north to the Langkawi Cable Car. As you drive through the mountains towards it you’ll feel the refreshing clouds of cool air hit you which is a welcome temperature in the humid climate here! The roads on Langkawi are well kept and fairly easy to drive, just a bit windy up the mountains.
The cable car here is an awesome way to get panoramic views and definitely one of the top things to do in Langkawi. As you walk in you will almost feel like you’re walking into a theme park with music playing and sculpted gardens throughout. Follow the signs to the SkyCab and grab your tickets. The SkyCab itself has a couple of options to choose from, you can either get the standard ticket or opt for the glass bottom car. The cable car takes you over the mountains through 3 stations before you reach the top with panoramic views. Sadly I went on a cloudy and rainy day meaning the views weren’t as clear but I was still glad I did it.
Once you’re at the top, you can also get another ticket to go on the famous SkyBridge, the longest curved and free span bridge in the world. The bridge walk takes you between 2 mountains at about 100m above ground.
After you’ve taken in the views of the island as a whole, make you’re way back down on the SkyCab and head to the nearby Seven Wells Waterfall. The name comes from the 7 natural pools within the waterfall and reaches a height of just over 90m. If you’re feeling energetic you can climb to the very top pool and catch the views from up there. Don’t worry if this isn’t your thing though, just a short but steep walk from the carpark up the service road leads you to the bottom tier waterfall which has a great little pool to swim in too. This is a chilled out guide after all!
If you’re feeling peckish, there are a number of little restaurants near the waterfall car park to have a delicious local meal before heading off. Make your way to the northern tip of the island to visit the beautiful Tanjung Rhu beach. I loved this beach with the rock formations jutting out of the water in front of you and the calm waters. It’s perfect for swimming, relaxing or even taking a tour out to the nearby mangroves.
The final stop of the day is the gorgeous Durian Perangin waterfall. It’s located just a short drive from Tanjung Rhu and a serene place to finish off your day. As you go in you’ll cross a pretty little footbridge to reach the bottom of 14 levels that make up this waterfall. It’s a beautiful area and seemed to be as popular with the locals as it was with tourists when I visited. Be sure to head up the stairs to one of the slightly higher levels and search for a deserted pool to take a dip in. Tom and I found one and it was incredible!
If you’re staying in or near Pantai Cenang you won’t have been able to miss the abundance of watersports going on at the beach. From jet skiing to parasailing, there are loads to choose from here if you want to get your adrenaline pumping. If you’re more into relaxing though, this beach is still a really nice beach. Just find a quiet spot and soak in the sun for a bit.
This might surprise you (it definitely did me) but Langkawi has a tonne of duty free shops. If you walk up and down the main street in Pantai Cenang you will see a number of these shops so if you’re looking for a good deal on something, this could be a great place to find it.
Alternatively, if you still want to do some more exploring around the island, there are loads of great tours to go island hopping and to see the mangroves as well. It’s acceptable to haggle here so try out your skills when you find a tour you’re interested in.
For the afternoon and evening, grab your bike and make your way over to Kuah. Over here you will get the chance to see the famous Eagle Square. This giant eagle statue sits on a star-shaped jetty overlooking the water. The name ‘Langkawi’ comes from 2 Malay words meaning ‘eagle’ and ‘reddish brown’ which is why the eagle is the emblem of the island. It’s a great spot to be to watch the sunset too.
As the sun goes down, the street food vendors come out selling their delicious Malaysian dishes. If you’re in Kuah on a Wednesday or Saturday then you can visit the night market there, but if not, take the roads back to Pantai Cenang and check out the food stalls lining the road for some local treats. If you like spicy food, be sure to try the favourite Tom Yum soup or Nasi Kandar for something just as tasty but less likely to blow your socks off! No trip to Langkawi would be without trying some local food and washing it down with a cold beer.