A UNESCO World Geopark, Langkawi is a tiny archipelago off the west coast of Malaysia composed of 99 islands. It’s an underrated gem that harbors the most amazing beaches, hot springs, rock formations, and other marvels of nature. Adventures begin on the main island Pulau Langkawi which is, luckily for adventures, served by numerous airlines and ferries on the daily and has various transportation options.
Here’s everything you should know about getting to and around Pulau Langkawi!
Getting to Pulau Langkawi
The fastest and most convenient way to get to Pulau Langkawi is by plane. Pulau Langkawi has an international airport served by many airlines, most notably AirAsia, Malindo Air, Firefly, and Malaysia Airlines. Direct international flights are limited to a few nearby countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and China.
For tourists from other countries, transiting through Kuala Lumpur is the best way to go. To give you an idea, flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) range from MYR 90 (USD 22) to MYR 220 (USD 53). The average flight time from KLIA to Langkawi Airport is around one hour.
Other domestic flights run from Subang, Johor Bahru, and Kota Bahru.
Train/Bus + Ferry
If you’re doing away with air travel and you’re coming from Kuala Lumpur, a combination of land and sea travel is your next best option. This may not be as convenient as flying, but it has its own charms especially if you’ve got that backpacking spirit. You can take it slow and take the time to appreciate the Malaysian landscape en route.
From Kuala Lumpur, you can take a bus or train to either Kuala Perlis or Kuala Kedah, the two closest ports to Pulau Langkawi from the mainland. Electric Train Service (ETS) is relatively faster (by about an hour) but requires another local taxi or bus ride to get to the actual jetty.
Your most direct (and cheaper) option is taking a bus to Kuala Perlis Bus Terminal. From the terminal, you can just walk to Kuala Perlis Jetty. The bus trip takes about seven hours. Several bus and coach companies run from Kuala Lumpur. You can find most express buses at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) and Hentian Duta Terminal. Bus fares range from MYR 40 (USD 10) to MYR 60 (USD 14).
The main ferry port in Pulau Langkawi is Langkawi Jetty, also called Kuah Jetty, which has a duty-free shopping center and a tourist information center. The closest jumpoff point from the mainland is Kuala Perlis, which only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. Fare is around MYR 18 (USD 4).
Other ferry terminals with trips to Langkawi are Kuala Kedah (1.5-hour ferry trip) and Penang (2 hr. 45 mins.).
If you’re coming from Thailand, you also have the option to take the ferry from Tammalang Pier in Satun via Langkawi Ferry Services, with two trips running daily. The trip only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes, with a one-way fare priced at MYR 35 (USD 8).
Getting Around Pulau Langkawi
There are many ways to explore Pulau Langkawi, the most convenient of which is by car. The bus is a public transport option but is not recommended as the routes are very limited.
From the Airport/Ferry
First, before you get anywhere, it’s important to know how you can leave your port of entry and get to your accommodation. As mentioned, buses are limited and are unavailable from the airport. You can take either a taxi or a car rental, which are both readily available at the airport.
Meanwhile, buses are available at Kuah Jetty but just the same, taxis and cars are more convenient options.
You can find car rental counters at the airport and at the town center, but it is highly advisable to book them online in advance as it’s usually cheaper. You can get a self-drive car for as low as MYR 50 (USD 12) per day.
Another great option is car rental with a private driver for better convenience and ease of getting around the island’s top spots. You won’t have to worry about getting lost as you already have a knowledgeable local driver to get you around safely.
Another popular private option in Pulau Langkawi is motorbike rental, great for solo travelers or couples who want a more liberating spin. Easily get to the nooks and crannies of the island. Motorbike/scooter rentals cost around MYR 40 (USD 10) per day.
If you don’t like to drive around, taxis are another option, albeit more costly. It’s a better public transport option than the bus. They don’t run on a meter, but they follow a fixed fare per destination. It’s best to confirm the fare to your destination before riding a taxi.
If all else fails, you’ll be glad to know that Grab is also available in Pulau Langkawi. It’s also a cheaper alternative to taxis. Travelers have remarked that it’s generally easy to find an available car on the platform.
- If you’re looking for the best weather, the best months to travel are from December to March although travel costs also tend to be more expensive. You can plan your trip in the shoulder season (April–August) to avoid huge crowds and high costs.
- For tourists from other countries, be aware of the immigration process and check the requirements for a visa, if required.
- ATMs and currency exchange are available in Pulau Langkawi, but it’s best to bring sufficient cash when going around the island.
- Pulau Langkawi is also a popular duty-free destination. The best shopping awaits in the capital Kuah. Note that duty-free applies only to tourists staying at least 48 hours.
- There are so many things to explore in Pulau Langkawi. Plan ahead and book your tours here!
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*Featured images via Kelvin Zyteng and Izuddin Helmi Adnan on Unsplash