All cheap flights to Langkawi transit through Kuala Lumpur. The lowest fares are available from Perth, with cheap east-coast departures from Sydney and Melbourne. Australians do not need a visa to visit Malaysia, as long as the intended stay is less than three months. As public transport around Langkawi Island is very limited, visitors will need to grab a taxi to take them from the airport, which is in Padang Matsirat, about 20km away from the main tourist areas. Many tourists arrive at Langkawi Island courtesy of a ferry from the mainland.
Taxis are an easy way to get around Langkawi, but can be pricey, with a short trip costing around A$5. A cheaper option may be to hire a car. Prices start from A$10 a day, but can double in peak periods. There are many car rental agents at the airport and ferry terminal. Renting a motorbike (especially a scooter) or a bicycle is a cheap option. Visitors can also opt to rough it and wait for a bus, but stops are limited to a few places and the wait is long. There is a bus station in front of the City Bayview Hotel and they run from the jetty to the centre of town. The only other destination for buses is Pantai Cenang.
Langkawi’s attractions are scattered around the island and its surrounds. The most developed beach is Pantai Cenang and its southern appendage of Pantai Tengah, but it is in Kuah where visitors will find most sightseeing spots, from Lagenda Langkawi Dalam Taman to the Al-Hana Mosque. At the Kuah Jetty visitors will be greeted by “Eagle Square”, a massive 12m tall monument of a sea eagle preparing for flight which is surrounded by landscaped ponds, terraces and bridges. Underwater World – Malaysia’s largest aquarium – features 200 different species of marine and freshwater creatures, while the Oriental Village is a charming pseudo-French old-style Chinese town. The Village is where travellers can buy tickets to the Langkawi Cable Car and enjoy a 20-minute ride to the top of the imposing Gunung Machinchang. At the final station of the journey is the Sky Bridge, the best spot for unobstructed views of the whole of Langkawi.
Langkawi’s best places for after-hours drinks are located around the beaches of Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok. Cenang’s stretch is popular for its restaurants that morph into nightclubs with cocktail bars, while Pantai Tengah’s strip has pubs with DJs spinning music and live performances from local acts. Pantai Kok’s after-dark scene is centred on the Telaga Harbour Park – a boardwalk opposite the marina. Popular eating destinations are Kuah Town, Pantai Cenang, Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok, but visitors can find eateries all over the island. Budget eateries are hard to find, but the Malay-operated road-side are cheap. Langkawi is a duty-free haven so visitors can find cheap liquor, perfume and chocolates. The best place to grab shopping bargains is in Kuah where scores of stores and malls are dedicated to providing the lowest prices of tax-free goods.