I promised to tell you the best islands to visit with my website, but I also want to make sure you know which islands to avoid. You don’t want to travel to Langkawi Island. I had heard that the beaches in Malaysia are stunning, but Langkawi wasn’t an island I enjoyed. I did enjoy Penang, especially Georgetown, but that island wasn’t about the beaches. So, make the best use of your time in Malaysia, and avoid Langkawi Island.
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Travel To Langkawi Island
1. The Beaches Are Disappointing
I visited most of the beaches on Langkawi, and I was really disappointed. The main beach, which I had read was the prettiest, was the most disappointing of all. It was completely overrun by jet skies, parasailing operations, boats, and gyrocopters buzzing through the sky. Some people might enjoy this type of beach, but I am more the type who prefers to get away from it all.
2. Taxis Are Very Expensive To Reach The Remote Beaches
The best beach that I visited was Pasir Tengkorak. It was quiet with beautiful green water and white sand. However, it still wasn’t worth flying all the way to Langkawi for. And to get there and to some of the other remote beaches (only about 20 km, or 12 miles, away from Kuah Town) I had to spend $40 USD to hire a taxi for 4 hours. I wasn’t planning on spending $40 per day just to visit the beach, and it really stretched my vacation budget. All of the prices on Langkawi seemed to be more expensive than the rest of Malaysia, but especially the taxis.
3. Touristy, Overcrowded Excursions
I have gone on incredible snorkeling excursions that didn’t feel touristy at all. But, the one on Langkawi Island was the worst one I’ve ever been on. I didn’t realize when I booked that the Pulau Payar snorkeling tour was the only one available on the island. When I arrived there were over 100 people all trying to snorkel in the same small area of water. Sadly, the coral reef is mostly dead from the number of people they have allowed into the area. The beach was polluted, and the water isn’t that clear. And, once you arrive, you are stuck there all day. Not my idea of a good time.
I like to visit the beach because I like to swim in the ocean, but on Langkawi Island it was almost impossible. There were a lot of jellyfish and sea lice in the water. The sea lice were the worst because you can’t see them. After swimming for a bit in the water, my body would start stinging all over. I learned that these stings were from sea lice, and they made swimming in the ocean impossible and frustrating.
5. There’s Just Not Much To See Or Do
Ok, besides the underwhelming beaches, there was the Langkawi cable car. It did offer some stunning views, but it took only about an hour to visit. There was also the Seven Wells Pools and natural slide which I visited. But, most of the island seemed to be made up of soulless shopping malls and tourist shops, and I didn’t care for it. I am definitely the kind of girl who can spend all day on the beach, but with the cost being so high for just four hours of a taxi driver’s time, I was left with a lot of time with nothing to do.
My suggestion? Skip visiting Langkawi and go to Koh Lipe instead!
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Sorry you had a disappointing visit to Langkawi, but thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us! Hope you enjoyed your other stops 🙂
Yes, the rest of the trip was fantastic! Thank you!
Thats for sharing!! I go to Malaysia often, but I havn’t been to this island yet. Ill give it a miss now that I have read your review.
I was wondering if there’s anyone else who found Langkawi disappointing. Then I found your blog & I’m a bit relieved that I’m not the only one.
I’m a Malaysian myself. Earlier this month my wife & I went there for the 1st time ever. I was anticipating this trip, hoping to witness 1st hand all the places & scenery I’ve seen in the photos. Once there, I felt like a victim of false advertising. The photos may have been taken only last year but the differences are scathing. Infrastructures that were recently built are already deteriorating due to poor maintenance & even left without being repaired.
Maybe the haze kind of dampened the trip, we couldn’t enjoy the scenery much but weren’t really bothered by it. At least we got to go to the 2 waterfalls. What really ticked me off is the overwhelming uncontrolled constructions. It’s like, they’re building resorts, motels, homestays, etc. left & right & in the most unlikely places. There are already so many resorts, yet it’s like everyone is racing to build another. Then there are the abandoned resorts plus new constructions left halfway unfinished. Which, to me, is a terrible eyesore & the ultimate buzzkill.
Same goes for duty free malls, which are soulless just like you said. I couldn’t fathom how there’s a mall in the middle of a forest. We weren’t planning to go shopping at all, but once some friends & relatives found out, one by one asked us to buy some goods for them. Note to self, never post photos during trip, only afterwards.
We stayed in a small motel off Black Beach, way up North. Quite secluded yet comfy & cozy enough for people like us. The beach is not so bad & overall the area still has that village vibe to it. Unlike the more popular Chenang & Tengah beaches. Overcrowded & too Bali-ish, which really disgust us.
Anyways, sorry for lamenting so much. I just felt I had to let it off my chest & share with someone.
So glad that someone else felt the same way!
I went to Langkawi a few years back now. It was awful! I took the next plane straight out of there. Didn’t even stay the day.
This article was written in 2015. Perhaps now things are better. Regarding taxis; well taxis are expensive anywhere in the world. The solution to that is Uber or Grab car. Go with that and it can solve half of your complaints 🙂 Also, you can rent a car or a bike which should be cheap considering vehicles on that island are tax free. But even without tax, a bike for rent is generally cheap, gas/petrol is about RM 5 full tank. Dirt cheap. Personally my husband and I always move around in a rented bike when we go on a vacation be it in Malaysia or in other countries (we rented a bike when we were vacationing in Bali, Hatt Yai (Thailand) and Nepal). We never take taxis. It’s only when the distance is too great that we take a bus. We avoid taxis at all costs.
That said, I wouldn’t go to Langkawi for its’ beaches; unless it’s those private beach types owned by the big resorts such as Berjaya resort and others. Those beaches are gorgeous, clean and quiet.
I’d go to Langkawi only as an escape from the city feel, and to look for cheap local herbal beauty products which otherwise would be expensive in Kuala Lumpur. And simply to chill.
If I am looking for a real beach feel, I would go to the islands in Terengganu instead. Please do look up Redang Island, Kapas Island, Perhentian Island and others in Terengganu. They’re absolutely perfect for a totally islander feel. There is a famous story of a Brit who decided to leave UK and stay in one of the Terengganu islands for good after he sets his foot there. He was totally in love with the island and locals nickname him “Mat Dan”. You can google that one too.
Yes, I’ve heard some of the other islands there are glorious, and I look forward to checking them out!
No it is not better now , it is worse. So disappointing .
Hi, date ,- 8 August 2022, coming to you live from Langkawi…
It’s got worse. The streets are dirtier, the beaches full of jet skis,the streets are Full of crap, and motorbikes…
And … There are very few tourist here. The ones that are are indians and tourists from Dubai, Doha and Saudi… … And they are shocked. The few I spoke to felt like they have been decieved!
70% of shops are closed and it’s once real advantage and reason you came here was it’s cheapness… Well that’s gone too!
It just disappointing, the meal sizes have shrunk, the prices increased and there is rubbish everywhere! My local refuge station is nicer.
And what makes it truly unbearable are the noisey/ sleazy night clubs ( Sunba, Rockefellers, & Bambooba) , that pump out loud bass from 9pm to 4am every night( and we can hear it over 2km away) .
Langkawi is a disgrace to the locals. Malaysians need to maintain / cleanwhat they have and keep infrastructure maintained better, rather than building new stuff.
” They love building stuff but fail to maintain it”
I would not swim at the beaches either. We got lost trying to find a new beach cafe and found the local river that enters the bay and wow!… It stinks and is full of rubbish that flows straight into the bay upstream of the beach.
Langkawi has become filthy, Expensive, hole!
The only highlight is…
McDonald’s And Starbucks… Oh and duty free chocolate!… Yip there is more chocolate for sale here than people in Malaysia.
Thank you for the update!