Langkawi, Malaysia

Visually stunning and begging to be explored, Langkawi’s 99 islands (or 105 at low tide) sit majestically in the Andaman Sea, about 30 kilometers off the coast of mainland Malaysia. When it comes to natural beauty, Langkawi has it all - dense rainforests, rugged mountains, white sand beaches and glistening azure water. Grab a cold limau ais and choose your adventure. Almost as alluring as Langkawi’s breathtaking scenery is its duty-free shopping. Just as popular with Malaysian nationals as it is for tourists, this shopping mecca is ideal for anyone on the hunt for chocolates, liquor, perfume, cigars, luggage or sportswear.

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Time Zone UTC+8
Currency Ringgit (RM)
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Population 95,000
Area 478.5 km2
Languages Malay, English
Dining

The cuisine of Langkawi is more or less in line with the rest of Malaysia, drawing influence primarily from Chinese, Indian and Thai cooking styles. When sitting down (or standing, for that matter) for a meal, expect to encounter garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime and plenty of chilli. The most common proteins used are chicken, beef, seafood and, for the non-Muslim community, pork. The best place to sample a wide variety of Malaysian dishes in one place is the Langkawi Night Market, held every evening but at a different location each night. The food here is an absolute bargain, so be sure to arrive with an empty stomach and plenty of five ringgit notes. Satay chicken, grilled seafood, samosas, fresh fruit and tasty desserts like Ketan Srikaya are all among the favourites. For casual sit-down dining, it doesn’t get much better than Pantai Cenang, Langkawi’s main tourist strip. The range of dining options here has visitors spoilt for choice, with everything from Malaysian and Thai to Italian and Mediterranean on offer. After dinner, enjoy a drink at one of the many vibrant bars in the precinct. Those looking to splash some cash on fine dining are not without options - there are several very well renowned upscale options on the island. The Nam (Pantai Cenang), Jala Restaurant (Jalan Teluk Datai) and Pahn-Thai Restaurant (Burau Bay) all offer world-class fusion cuisine and a peaceful, picturesque environment in which to enjoy it.

Shopping

Since its declaration as a duty-free area in 1987, Langkawi has been one of Southeast Asia’s foremost shopping hotspots. The best of the duty-free shopping can be found in Kuah, the district capital. Duty-free shopping options here range from entire complexes such as Jetty Point and Langkawi Parade, to smaller stores specialising in specific product areas like sportswear, alcohol or cigars. Those interested in local arts and crafts should pay a visit to the Atma Alam Batik Art Village, near the Langkawi Airport. This one of the best places in Malaysia to pick up authentic handmade batik (beautiful designs made on fabric using wax) items. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the batik production process and even try their hand at painting their own batik. The Craft Cultural Complex in Tuluk Yu is also a must-visit for any handmade craft enthusiasts. If stocking up on alcohol for your stay on Langkawi, the place to shop is Teow Soon Huat, just a few minutes’ drive from the town centre. The centre is home to the island’s biggest selection of alcohol under one roof, at prices that would scarcely be beaten anywhere in the world. Bear in mind though that if taking liquor out of Langkawi, the legal allowance is one litre per person.