3 days in Langkawi is the perfect amount of time needed to enjoy the sights and delights of Malaysia’s most popular island getaway. Found off the northwestern coast of Malaysia, Langkawi is closer to the Thai islands than it is to the mainland, and the beautiful scenery here is more reminiscent of a tropical island than anywhere else you might find in the country. With huge limestone karsts and spectacular white sand beaches, it’s unlike most other destinations in Malaysia.
It’s a small island, so three days is enough to see all the best sights and to enjoy the best beaches and waterfalls. But the chilled out, holiday vibe combined with the incredible surroundings and friendly Malay culture might make you extent your 3 day trip to Langkawi for much, much longer.
What You’ll Find in this Article
- When to Visit Langkawi
- Where to Stay in Langkawi
- Getting Around Langkawi
- Language in Langkawi
- Safety in Langkawi
- The Perfect 3-Day Langkawi Itinerary
When to Visit Langkawi
Langkawi experiences warm weather year-round, however, the seasons are split into a distinct wet and dry period. The wet season can see torrential downpours and monsoon-like weather, and this usually occurs between May and November. The dry season runs from December to April, and this is when the weather is at its best. However, visit too late in the dry season and you will find that the waterfalls have all run dry. Really, the best time to visit Langkawi is January, when you miss the rains and miss the rush over Christmas, but still experience the waterfalls in full flow.
Check flights to Langkawi from the USA (from $544) and UK (from £422)
Where to Stay in Langkawi
While you were wondering what to do in Langkawi in 3 days, you may also have been wondering where are the best places to stay in Langkawi too.
Pantai Cenang is the main base for travelers, as this is where the best value accommodation can be found. It also tends to be busier around here though, and many will choose to stay in quieter areas such as Pantai Tengah, which is just down the road. Here are our three favorite hotel options, for budget, mid-range, and luxury travelers to Langkawi.
- Tubotel Langkawi: The Tubotel is found in a secluded, quiet area at the end of Cenang beach, and this budget hotel has used recycled shipping containers and other materials to create a wonderful, refurbished style of budget accommodation. They have private ‘tubes’ available, some with sea views, as well as dormitories.
- Vivanta By Taj: The Vivanta is found on Rebak Island and offers a private beach experience in luxurious settings for a great price. Rebak Island is just a short ten-minute boat ride away from Pantai Cenang, meaning you’ll be staying on what is, essentially, a private island.
- The Andaman: The Andaman is one of the best and most luxurious hotels on Langkawi. As well as offering an incredible level of service and amenities, the Andaman is found on the sands of its own private beach, far off in the north of the island. It’s secluded luxury at its finest, but there’s a price tag to match.
Getting Around Langkawi
Langkawi has no public transport system, so getting around involves arranging your own transport. The island is small and it’s easy to travel from one side to the next within an hour.
Many travelers find hiring personal transport to be the easiest method of travel. The roads are good, it’s hard to get lost, and outside of Kuah and Pantai Cenang there’s little traffic. Cars and motorbikes can be rented at the airport, on Pantai Cenang, and in Kuah. For the best car rental prices check Rentalcars.com.
It’s also easy to arrange a driver for the day since there are many taxi drivers on Pantai Cenang who can help. If you are just traveling from one point to the next though, the cheapest method is to use Grab Car.
Langkawi has an international airport with a few connections outside of Malaysia, notably to Singapore or Thailand. However, most flights are domestic flights into Kuala Lumpur, from where it’s possible to travel to almost anywhere else in the world.
A lot of travelers will arrive by ferry, as there are regular connections to Penang, which is 2 hours away, and to Thailand.
Recommendation: Use Bookaway to easily compare and book bus, ferry or train tickets to and from Langkawi.
Language in Langkawi
Langkawi isn’t as multicultural as other parts of Malaysia, and you’ll find the predominant language spoken is Malay. There are a few areas and businesses where Chinese or Tamil are spoken, and increasingly Arabic too. However, most people will also speak a high level of English.
Safety in Langkawi
Langkawi is a safe destination to visit, and even at night, the main beaches are very safe to stroll along. The biggest annoyance on Langkawi will be the monkeys, especially at the waterfalls or at more remote beaches, as they tend to be quite mischievous. Be careful they don’t run off into the jungle with your belongings, they are the worst thieves on the island.
The Perfect 3-Day Langkawi Itinerary
Our detailed 3-Day Langkawi itinerary will help you to explore the best that Malaysia’s most famous holiday island has to offer and to make the most of your time here!
However, before we get to our Langkawi itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
We personally use and recommend SafetyWing. For only around $10 a week, it’s really a no-brainer. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:
Even if you don’t get travel insurance with SafetyWing, please make sure to get travel insurance from somewhere. One popular alternative, for example, is World Nomads.
Now with that out of the way, here are the best places to visit in Langkawi in three days.
Langkawi Itinerary: Day 1
Kuah and Langkawi Eagle Square
Start your journey in Langkawi by exploring the island’s main ‘city’, Kuah. Although hardly a city by most standards, it’s still the most populated place on the island, and it’s the best place to start to get your bearings and to understand what Langkawi is all about.
You’ll quickly realize once you’ve seen the large shopping malls and shops at the busy ferry terminal here that Langkawi is a duty-free, holiday island. Everything here is much, much cheaper than in mainland Malaysia, so if you like the odd drink, then this is the perfect place to be.
More than just shopping though, Kuah is the often overlooked heart of the island. Most tourists just skip on through to reach the beaches, but this is where the locals live and where you will find some of the island’s best local restaurants. Visit the enormous eagle statue that looks out over the beautiful bay and stroll around the lovely shorefront gardens and promenade before settling down for lunch outside one of the many restaurants clustered around the ferry port.
Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah
Once you’ve got a feel for Kuah, then next on the Langkawi travel itinerary is a trip to Pantai Cenang. This is the longest and most popular beach on the island, and while Kuah might be the centre for locals, Cenang beach is the hub for tourists. Many of the best hotels are found here, as are some of Langkawi’s best bars.
Despite being the busiest beach on the island, you will soon find that compared to many other southeast Asian beaches of a similar quality, Langkawi can be incredibly quiet and clean. If you do find yourself in a busy spot – particularly when the sun goes down – the beach is long enough for you to find a peaceful area.
If it is too busy, then just a short taxi ride away, or a long walk, is Pantai Tengah, a stretch of equally beautiful sand that’s in a much quieter and much less developed location. Spend the late afternoon on the sands here and watch the glorious sunset over the ocean when the sky turns a fiery, tropical blend of reds and purples.
Head back to Pantai Cenang and enjoy dinner and evening drinks at one of the many restaurants or bars along the beachfront. It’s the perfect place to spend your first evening in Langkawi.
Langkawi Itinerary: Day 2
Langkawi Sky Bridge
Start the day nice and early and visit the Langkawi Sky Bridge before the crowds arrive. This spectacular feat of engineering allows visitors to quite literally walk between the mountains. After a long cable car ride you will arrive at a long viewing platform which extends out from the summit of Langkawi’s second tallest peak. At a dizzying height of 700 metres, the dense jungle canopy is visible far below while the panoramic views are absolutely unparalleled. The Thai islands are very visible to the north, while the stunning mountains on the northern coastline of Langkawi can be seen in all their green and rugged glory.
Ride the cable car back down to the base of the peak, enjoy a few local Malay-style street food snacks at the many stalls found by the entrance, and then head off to spend the rest of the day chasing waterfalls.
Although Langkawi is best known as a beach holiday destination, make sure to include the glorious waterfalls on your Langkawi itinerary. The mountainous terrain and green jungle of the interior lends itself well to producing the ideal conditions needed for some truly epic waterfalls.
One of the best things to do in Langkawi is to visit the best waterfall of them all, the staggeringly high Seven Wells, which is located just around the corner from the Sky Bridge. In fact, you may have seen it on the cable car ride up to the peak, far below in the trees.
There are two main viewing areas for Seven Wells. A steep but short hike takes you from the car park to the top of the waterfall where you can stand on a small viewing area and watch the water plummet beneath you. The waterfall takes its name from the seven natural swimming pools which are found at the top here, and in the midday heat, the cold water will be irresistible. The smooth rock has formed natural slides, but don’t worry, although it looks perilously close to the edge of the waterfall, the rocks form a natural barrier to add to the man-made one.
From Seven Wells, head further to the north of Langkawi to visit the other spectacular waterfalls on this beautiful island. My personal favorites are the wild and remote Temurun Waterfall and the more accessible Durian Perangin Waterfall.
Langkawi Night Market
Langkawi hosts a night market every day of the week and it’s a great opportunity to see local life and to try some of the best local delicacies on the island. The night market changes location every evening, however, so check locally where it’s going to be held.
Langkawi Itinerary: Day 3
To really see the best of Langkawi, on day 3 it’s time to hit the water and to join an island hopping trip. Langkawi is actually made up of 99 different islands, most of which are uninhabited. There are endless itinerary options here, but spend the morning out on the boat before it gets too hot, and ensure you visit Pulau Dayang Bunting where there’s a huge freshwater lake you can swim in. Around the islands there are hundreds of eagles – the symbol of Langkawi – to be seen, and they are usually spotted feeding in secluded bays.
After island hopping around Langkawi, it’s time to spend the afternoon relaxing on the white sands of Tanjung Rhu in the north of the island. It’s the best beach on the island, and when traveling Langkawi in 3 days it can’t be missed. There are spectacular views out over the islands to the north and of the surrounding limestone karsts too.
Kilim Geoforest Park
End your 3 days in Langkawi with an up close and spectacular tour of those towering limestone cliffs. Head down the road from Tanjung Rhu to the Kilim Geoforest Park found on the island’s northeast side. Walk the mangrove boardwalks before taking a boat tour along the winding rivers that weave in and out of the trees under the shadow of the limestone karsts. This protected area is one of the most beautiful in Langkawi, and it’s an incredible natural spectacle to finish your trip on!
And there you have it – Langkawi in 3 days. Planning a trip to Penang or Kuala Lumpur as well? Check out our Penang itinerary or Kuala Lumpur itinerary next.
Is it possible to do the island hopping tour and kilim geoforest trip on the same day?
In my opinion three days is not nearly enough for a visit on this wonderful island. I think one week is minimum. We usually stay 4-5 weeks every year.
Introvert Traveller says
agreed.. I travelled the whole island with a scooter for a week, visit every waterfalls & every beaches, except Island Hopping & Kilim Geopark boat tour.. need extra 3 days..
a.w. nugraha says
Nice and comprehensive info. Thanks.