Langkawi is anuntouched haven for beach bums.
Langkawi is a quiet, untouched haven for beach bums who like to do absolutely nothing but bum around on an island, aka yours truly. This gem off the coast of Malaysia makes Bali look like a frantic, overdeveloped metropolis (which if we’re being honest it kind of is).
I spent three heavenly days in Langkawi doing absolutely nothing but lounge lazily in the sun like a cat. There’s not much surfing or night life or any sort of trendy scene on the island, which means it’s a place where you can truly relax without having to think much about what you’re doing next (if you’re into that kind of thing). My recommendation for Langkawi is to just show up, go to a beach, get a coconut and repeat for the rest of the trip.
But for those who are looking for a bit more guidance on what to do, here are some very low-effort activities that I did while having the most stress-free tropical vacation I’ve had in years.
1. Rent a motorbike.
Renting a motorbike should actually be one of the very first things you do when you arrive. Anyone who’s ridden a motorbike in Bali or Vietnam knows the absolute unbridled joy of whipping past exotic scenery on a small scooter. Even if you don’t know how to ride one, get someone to teach you because a scooter is the most convenient and easiest mode of transportation on the island.
Riding a motorbike in Langkawi was particularly awesome because the roads are easy to navigate, there’s not too much traffic and of course, the tropical scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The best is riding through lush rice paddies and mountains, of which there are many. Even when you don’t have anywhere to go, cruising around the island on a motorbike is just a fun thing to do.
Renting a scooter will usually cost about 30-50 MYR a day, and you can find vendors renting them on the main commercial road along Pantai Cenang.
2. Ride to Tanjung Rhu Beach.
Once you’ve rented your motorbike, take that baby and ride it all the way north to Tanjung Rhu. It seems like a trek but it actually just takes about 30 minutes from Pantai Cenang, as long as you know where you’re going.
Tanjung Rhu is on the northern shore of the island and it’s easily the most beautiful beach in Langkawi. Glassy, crystal clear emerald waters are dotted with small islands and rock formations on the horizon. It’s the perfect beach to swim in as there’s no waves and the bottom is soft and sandy. People are far and few in between but there are still vendors selling snacks, hats and coconuts on the way into the beach. Trust me when I say that this beach is totally worth the trek to the “far” side of the island. You’ll thank me when you’re sipping your coconut in peace with no people in sight.
3. Sip and savor a sunset at Hidden Langkawi.
Hidden Langkawi is a fun new beach bar in Pantai Tengah whose colorful boho décor will remind you of the trendy beach clubs in Bali. The entrance is located on the sand and there are oversized pillows and tables for you to lay on while you sip your fruity drink on the beach. The bar has a tropical cocktail menu at good prices as well as shareable Western snacks like pizza, fries and nachos. Thus it’s easily a top place to watch the sunset and get a drink any day of the week.
4. Gorge on Street Snacks at the Night Market.
The rotating night market on the island is super awesome and it’s where you’ll find the best local food throughout Langkawi. I binge-bought way more snacks and food than I could stomach because everything cost between 1-10 ringgit. Everything from samosas, fried noodles, nasi lemak, satays, fried chicken, cold juice and fresh fruit, you’ll find it all there!
The night market rotates and changes location nightly. The one closest to Pantai Cenang happens every Thursday on the street parallel to the main street. The one in Tanjung Rhu comes to town on Friday. Check here for the weekly night market schedule.
5. Treat Yourself to an Affordable Spa Treatment at the Ritz-Carlton Langkawi.
Did you know that the spa at the Ritz-Carlton Langkawi has stunning treatment rooms in individual pods floating over the ocean? And did you know that with the current exchange rate you can get a spa treatment there for a little over $100 USD? I never would’ve dreamed that I’d be treating myself to a five-star hotel spa with my millennial budget. But dreams do come true, especially in Langkawi. A full body treatment overlooking cost me $105 USD, which would be a deal at any hotel spa even in the States.
The spa at the Ritz-Carlton Langkawi is extra dreamy, as the treatment rooms and outdoor plunge pool are set above the ocean. You can truly soak in the nature around you and relax in warm tropical bliss.
Photos: Nadia Cho