I had never heard of Langkawi Island. But this was to be the site of my husband’s recent work trip and luckily I could go too. This was our first overseas trip since 2019 and I was grateful that we would not be going too far. My auntie is from Malaysia so I grew up loving Malaysian food, but I never dreamt I would ever be going there. Langkawi Island is the place that I didn’t know I needed to visit , but one I will be looking forward to revisiting again and again. It is absolutely magical!
About Langkawi Island
About 30 kilometres off the west coast of Malaysia lies an archipelago of over 100 islands, known as the ‘Jewel of Kedah’. The main island where we stayed is called Pulai Langkawi. It is buffeted by the gentle turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. It’s a picturesque island with rainforest, mountains and pristine beaches.There is something for every traveller from hiking, jet skiing, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, bird watching, nature walks and so much more. You can ride the cable car, visit the sky bridge and enjoy beautiful Malay cuisine. The best part is it is just a short one and a half hour flight from Singapore.
Things to Know
Langkawi Island is predominantly Muslim so if you venture into the villages and towns it is wise to dress modestly. Head scarves will be needed for cultural visits. Langkawi is duty free everywhere, making it easy and cheap to purchase items in town. Langkawi is also hot and steamy for most of the year so it is wise to bring cool clothing, sunscreen and swimsuits. I was pleased I’d brought along my rash vest as the sun has bite here.
I would suggest that you book a room with a plunge pool, if possible, so that you can cool off between activities. Monkeys like to hang about the resorts, so doors to balconies must be locked when you are not in your room. Remember these are still wild animals so be aware.
Where to Stay
Resorts of every type, for all budgets, are dotted along the coastline. We stayed at the beautifully landscaped Ritz Carlton, Langkawi, which is only a short ten minutes from the airport. This resort reminded me of the Hyatt – Coolum in its heyday; with sprawling grounds, a variety of pools, picturesque gardens and spacious rooms and villas. Golf buggies are provided to whizz you around the island.The resort has a range of dining options, all of which are terrific, authentic and staffed by the most beautiful and helpful staff.There are beach villas, rainforest view rooms, ocean view rooms and facilities like a gym, inviting kids club, yoga room and tennis courts.
We arrived in time for cocktail hour where we visited the water facing Beach Club before dinner. I enjoyed a margarita which signalled the beginning of a wonderful few days. We ate dinner at the Langkawi Kitchen and really enjoyed the local samosa, Beef Rendang and green Pandan Rice. The Langkawi Kitchen is where we breakfasted every day. The breakfast buffet is filled with stations of food from around the world , making choosing very difficult.
We woke early on our second day so took a stroll around the grounds before breakfast. It is picturesque with hidden wonders like chess boards, waterlily filled lakes and pretty butterfly gardens at every turn. Sitting on the deck at breakfast, enjoying a mushroom omelette, I spied a giant black squirrel scampering through the trees. I loved the traditional Hijau juice and enjoyed this detox blend every day of my visit. The nearby library is a haven with books and games.
Jumping into our bathing suits we lathered on the sunscreen and hit the beach. We found a quiet and shady spot under swaying palms. The famous Pantai Cenang Beach has beautiful clear water and soft, white sand. Most days the temperature was a humid 31 degrees… perfect swimming weather. The water was so calm and warm, we spent the day hopping in and out of the sea and reading in the sunshine. Others had chosen to canoe, jet – ski or stand up paddle board.
Getting peckish we headed up the hill to check out Horizon, where we spied the adult’s only infinity pool and the restaurant and bar. I changed into a pretty sundress and lunched on the Chef’s Bento Box which was filled with yummy Malay chicken satay skewers, rice and cucumber. Sipping a lovely signature gin and tonic made with Hendrick’s Gin, cardamom and Yuzu tonic water, whilst staring out across the clear, turquoise sea, is a pinch yourself moment.
We ended the day with a gym session where we were the only ones in the well equipped wellness centre.The work awards dinner was in the evening so we donned our glad rags and headed to the Beach Grill where we enjoyed a lovely buffet dinner. I opted for all the local curries, but there was every cuisine imaginable, as well as barbecued meats and seafood.
After spying the beautiful Horizon infinity edge pool we decided to spend our next day by the pool. The water temperature was just right and we had a lovely relaxing time. Others opted for the hike which they found incredibly hard given the mountainous terrain and searing temperatures. Even the fittest didn’t make it to the summit. Golf and tennis are also available for the keen.
Late lunch was Caesar salad and chicken satay skewers, island style. We headed to the gym after lunch and our sunset drinks were at the amazing Hai Yan restaurant, the resort’s fine dining Chinese option. This restaurant at the tip of the resort provides breathtaking 180 degree views of sunset over the Andaman Sea. We tried the signature cocktail which included dragonfruit and gin. Many stayed on for the generous Chinese banquet …whilst we opted for a quiet , romantic dinner at Langkawi Kitchen.
We had enjoyed the Horizon pool so much we decided to rinse and repeat the next day. In the afternoon I headed to the private yoga room.You can book personal yoga sessions for any time of the day. Others headed to the overwater spa for facials and massages. Some had booked private cooking classes which they loved. The Langkawi Kitchen chefs helped create a three course feast of spicy salad, prawn curry and sweet moneybags for dessert which you could then enjoy for lunch.
There is also a family pool where many with children spent some happy days and still others enjoyed a boat trip checking out local wildlife and hidden inlets.Their lunch was fresh seafood grilled on a pontoon in the sea. Still others ventured into the afternoon village markets or headed up the island to enjoy some snorkelling.
Monkeys congregate at dusk and gave me a real fright as I opened my door to a whole family one evening. During the day they are difficult to spot in the dense foliage but you can see many monkeys, mostly Macaques, lining the roads to the village and in the rainforest. Bird and sea life is abundant.
You can book beach dinners or barbecues or why not create your very own mocktail. For the crafty there is bespoke soap making , batik painting, pottery classes or Mak Inang folk dance classes. I was very tempted by the night time nature walk where you can spy the island’s nocturnal creatures. Next time!
Our last night was a beautiful dinner with friends watching the sun set at our island favourite, Horizon restaurant. In the evening you can choose from a range of local flavours and we feasted on Green Chicken Curry and Massaman Beef under the stars. This memorable evening will stay with me forever and I was so sad to say goodbye to the beautiful locals who had looked after us superbly every day.
If you are looking for an alternative to places like Hamilton Island, Hawaii, Fiji and the Maldives, I can thoroughly recommend the gorgeous Langkawi Island. With friendly locals, ancient rainforests, warm seas and the most delectable fresh food and drinks, it is an island that caters for everyone. It can be as relaxed or active as you like.
We stayed at the amazing Ritz -Carlton, Langkawi, a place where luxury and nature intersect. If you decide to go just tell them Miss Michelle sent you. It’s the friendly place where everyone knows your name. Selamat Tinggal, until we meet again!
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).