Langkawi on a bike
The cheapest way to get around this duty free island is by renting a motorcycle. The roads are generally easy to navigate if you have a map, road signs are everywhere and if you do get lost, ask the locals ! They’ll be more than happy to help. Most of them can speak English even though Malay is their native tongue, so there isn’t much of a language barrier.
I stayed along Pantai Cenang Beach when I was in Langkawi, which is supposedly one of the best beaches in Langkawi. Location wise, it is also considered somewhere in the middle of the island so it doesn’t take long to get around different places.
Touring around with a bike allows you to explore more than you can imagine. Below is a list of places I visited on a bike over a period of 1 week (I took it slow)
1. Telaga Tujuh Waterfall
They call this the seven wells waterfall. True to it’s name there are many little wells where people can take a dip in. The real deal of this waterfall is actually a long hike up the mountain. I’ve seen pictures and it does look pretty impressive, but as compared to other waterfalls in Thailand, I don’t think this is worth the hike. I’d recommend chilling at the lower wells, but I headed up the mountain for about an hour and had no idea where the end point was. There’s no map, no estimation of how far ahead the final waterfall is and you could almost be walking forever. Eventually I gave up after an hour of walking through the forested hill.
2.Night market in Kuah town
The night markets in Kuah town are extremely lively. There’s loads of food, toys, clothes and even animals for sale and I highly recommend this place for dinner. Try some local laksa, pancakes, pulut ayam (rice with chicken), nasi lemak(coconut rice dish), goreng pisang (fried banana fritters) and the list goes on!
3. Catch the sunset on Gunung Raya
Some of the locals told us this was the best place to catch the beautiful sunsets so we decided to head up. It was about an hour by bike/car up the mountain, and midway you won’t be able to see anything along the winding roads due to cloud cover. So that might be a little dangerous if you’re an amateur rider. Reaching the top after such a long ride, we realized that to get into the observation deck, you’d have to pay RM10. But us being on a budget we decided that money could be put to use elsewhere, so we found a spot at some edge of the mountain and realized the floor was heavily vandalized with graffiti. That’s when we figured this is where the locals chill out to catch the sunset, because there’s no way they would pay RM10 just to go up to the observation deck when you get an equally alluring view overlooking the Andaman Sea! Riding down was a nightmare by the way. When the sun has set and there’s barely any light source apart from your own headlights, the 60 minutes journey downhill was mind wrecking and cold !
4. Stargaze at the airport landing strip
No picture can explain the amount of stars you are able to see when you ride down the long road along the airport landing strip. There are no lamps along the entire stretch, and if you switch off your headlights, the entire sky is filled with stars. Things like that are really rare since back in Singapore, the city’s nightlight is enough to blind people.
5. Local food truck!
The same airport landing strip that I’ve mentioned above is really quite a surprising spot. In the evenings, there’ll be a food truck selling Laksa, Cendol, Mee Rubus, Rojak etc, and they set up makeshift plastic tables and chairs by the beach, facing the sunset. This is by far the best Mee Rubus I’ve tried in my life, and it was cheap too!
6. Tanjong Rhu Beach
Based on the season, the tide at Tanjong Rhu Beach can get so low that it’s possible to walk over the the nearby islands. Within the window before the tide rises, you’d have to come back or it will get too deep then you’ll have to swim back! So we basically tried to catch the right tide timings early in the morning before sun rise, and in evenings as well but it seems we’re always off by a couple of hours 🙁 Despite the wasted trips back and forth, the view is always rewarding though
7. Go Kart!
This circuit can be found as you exit Pantai Cenang. It costs about RM35 (SG$14 / US$11) and is quite a thrill. There aren’t exactly many rules so you can just go crazy with the accelerator. Oh if you noticed why we’re wearing oddly mismatched slippers, you can blame the Full Moon Party at Koh Phangan LOL!
8. Restoran Haji Ramli
Fresh seafood is always a must when you visit Langkawi! And this restaurant has delicious food at really affordable prices. No, it doesn’t have a romantic sea view, or candle lights and nice music playing. It looks more like an outdoor localized eatery, but the food is A-MAZ-ING. I highly recommend the stingray! It isn’t cooked like our Singaporean Sambal Stingray, instead they chop everything up and stir fry with sambal sauce.
9. Relax back on Pantai Cenang
When you’ve had enough of exploring the island, it’s best to head back to Pantai Cenang and spend some time on the beach, do some water sports or activities and most importantly, catch the sunset. I’ve probably said this to my friends a billion times but Langkawi has the best sunset i’ve ever witnessed!
10. Grab a drink at Babylon.
The nightlife on Langkawi is not as vibrant as you’d imagine, as it’s a muslim country. Babylon is a great place to go if you’d like a drink or two. Alcohol is cheap as you’re practically on a duty free island and did i mention it’s a rasta bar? They have live music playing so expect Bob Marley covers, fire twirlers and an all round amazing vibe!
A lot has changed since i last visited in 2011, going back in 2013, it seems a mall is currently being established and the tourism there is booming so much that the entire place seems to be morphing into a city instead of a nice cosy resort island. Not sure what to make of this but I guess the soft white sandy beaches and alluring sunsets still remain untouched by development. Despite all these I’m sure if you rent a bike and head into smaller towns, you’ll ride through padi fields and find hidden spots waiting to be discovered.