For someone who fancies herself an off-the-beaten path traveler, Langkawi in Malaysia would not seem like an obvious addition to the itinerary. Given its status as a duty free shopping hub, coupled with the numerous beach resorts that dot its shores, I was a little unsure if I’d even enjoy my time there.
However, as a solo traveler, when I have a friend in close proximity, I do what I can to make our paths cross. In this case, Victoria and I had a chance at our fourth country together, so we naturally had to make it happen. I’m glad we did, because we both ended up enjoying Langkawi immensely.
One of the best things we did was renting a car to drive around the island, giving us an opportunity to test out the cable car, take in the amazing view, and explore some of the lesser-known beaches on the island.
The cable car, though touristy, is definitely worth the time and ringgit. The views of the waterfalls and jungle fauna are spectacular.
The vista from the top was equally impressive:
If not a bit cloudy and ominous by the time we left!
Following the cable car adventure, the drive along Jalan Datai was probably my favorite, given the more secluded beaches. Datai Beach, in particular, was completely deserted, and probably the most beautiful beach we saw:
Then, there was the famous black sand beach. Neither of us had ever seen black sand before, so naturally, we had to check it out:
Lastly, Cenang Beach was gorgeous, with white sand and bath water-temperature water.
It turns out, even on islands that would normally seem touristy, there are still off-the-beaten path adventures to be had.
Do it yourself:
- Getting there: AirAsia offers cheap flights nearly hourly from Kuala Lumpur. If in Georgetown/Penang, access the pier at either 8:15 or 8:30am to take the ferry across. It takes right around 2.5 hours.
- Eat: Consult the map for which night market is happening on your night of the week. Some of the best eats can be had for less than a dollar (total, for the evening) per person.
- Stay: Stay: Cenang Beach, near the airport and a 15-minute car ride away from the pier, is probably the easiest area with the most options for food and car rentals. We chose Rainbow Lodge guest house which appeared to have the cheapest accommodation.
- Imbibe: One Love Langkawi is a great bar during happy hour, with reggae music and beach BBQs, but the real gem is a pop-up bar just outside of a small convenience store, a short walk away on the side of the street opposite to the beach. Walk down the sidewalk with the beach to your right and you can’t miss it.
- Rent: Cars can be rented from any red T shop for 65 to 80 ringgit (manual vs. automatic transmission).