The enchanting Langkawi is a cluster of 99 islands located 30 kilometres off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia. Langkawi is Malaysia’s pride and has been chosen as UNESCO Global Geopark. Since the island is a duty-free zone, leisure travelers often dubbed it as a shopping haven. There are many ways to get to the captivating Langkawi.
Locals from other states in Malaysia as well as foreigners can get in to Langkawi by plane. Among some of the airlines offering flights to and from Langkawi are Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly, Happy Airways, Tiger Airways and SilkAir. The airport is located at Padang Matsirat, on the northwestern part of Langkawi. One can take direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Singapore and even from Hat Yai and Phuket.
If you are looking for majestic scenery along the way to Langkawi, then perhaps you should take a road trip. First stop, you have to make your way to Lumut town. This small town is accessible from Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and also Penang. Well, do not fret if you are thinking of taking a bus because buses run several times a day from Kuala Lumpur bus station, Medan Kidd (Ipoh) and pengkalan Sultan Abdul Halim in Butterworth.
Once you reach Lumut, you can purchase ferry ticket at the counters to take a boat ride to Pangkor Island. The fare starts at RM4 per person. Finally, when you reach the enthralling island, you can hire a cab, take a local bus or rent a motorbike to get your destination.
Fast air-conditioned boats are also available from other point of origins such as Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah, Penang and Satun. The ticket prices vary starting from RM18 (departing from Kuala Kedah) to RM60 (departing from Penang).
All these fast air-conditioned boats are operated by Langkawi Ferry. Meanwhile, for those who are traveling from other tourist destinations such as Ko Lipe, Thailand, check out ferries operated by Telaga Harbour. Book your tickets earlier as the ferry runs twice per day during peak season.
Comprehensive Transport Guide
Getting to Langkawi island is very easy if you are a traveler to Malaysia. This is because Langkawi is an international tourist destination that welcomes visitors directly or through other major airports around the country. Here is where one can fly in directly from neighbouring countries or through the domestic airports here.
Getting to Langkawi By Air – Langkawi International Airport
Langkawi is served by the Langkawi International Airport which is located at Padang Matsirat which is around the northern region of the island. The airport accommodates more than 1 million people each year and is connected to most major airports in Malaysia. If you come in through KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), there are connecting flights from there to Langkawi.
Apart from that, 2 of Malaysia’s budget carriers, namely FireFly and AirAsia too have flights coming into the island. Apart from that, there are also direct flights coming in from Japan, Taiwan and the United Kingdom which use the Malaysian Airlines network. Silk Air also services this route where it ferries passengers from Singapore here. There are direct flights to Langkawi from London twice a week.
Getting to Langkawi By Sea
Another way for one to get here is through boat where for RM18, one can take the Langkawi Ferry service that come through Kuala Perils. From Kuala Kedah, Penang and Satun, there are also ferry services available. Apart from that, one can also come from Ko Lipe in Thailand through Telaga Harbour services.
Express ferries provide regular services daily to Langkawi from both Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis. The journey takes about 1 hour 15 minutes and 45 minutes respectively. From Penang to Langkawi the ferry takes about 2 hours 30 minutes. The island is also a stopover for Star Cruises, one of the largest luxury cruise lines in the world.
Getting to Langkawi By Bus
If you are coming in from the major towns, you can take express buses which will bring you to the embarking towns before taking the ferries over to the island. From Kuala Lumpur, you can take the bus to Alor Setar in Kedah, the state capital. Once you reach there, you will need to hail a taxi to Kuala Kedah where you can then take the ferry there.
Alternatively, you can also take bus to Kuala Lipis where you can then head off through the jetty here. Among the common operators that service these routes are Transnasional, the largest bus service provider in Malaysia and Maraliner.
The former usually departs from the Hentian Duta station while Maraliner operates from the Duta and Puduraya stations. Bus rides to Alor Setar can be tiring as it usually takes about 6 hours.
Getting to Langkawi By Train
For those who would like the more adventurous way of travelling can take the rail service. This is where one can start from KL Sentral and head up north to Alor Setar. This is surely a longer journey where it will take almost 12 hours. Once you reach the Alor Setar station, then you will need to follow the same way as with buses and take a taxi to Kuala Kedah. Another way to do that is to take the train to Arau, which will be half an hour more and then from there, take a taxi towards Kuala Perlis and board the ferry from there.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) or Malayan Railway provides economical and comfortable rail services from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Star in Kedah and Arau in Perlis (north of Kedah). From these points, take a taxi or bus Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis for your ferry to Langkawi.
Self-Drive – More about Car rental in Langkawi
The PLUS North-South Expressway is the ideal way to get to Langkawi if you prefer to drive here. This is where you will need to head up north through this highway which will bring you pass most major towns along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia which includes Ipoh, Taiping, Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Petani.
Your destination is to get to Alor Setar Selatan or Exit 177 of the expressway and from there you will go to Kuala Kedah. From there, you can take the ferry to the island. Check out our Car rental section on how to get car rental in Langkawi.
Driving or getting around In the Island of Langkawi
There are many ways to get around in Langkawi Island and public transport is just not one of it. This is because unless you are a local here, chances are you might not be too familiar with the bus service and such. Hence, the best choice is to hail a taxi to get you around. Most people like to rent vehicles when they visit Langkawi.
This is where you can rent cars or motorbikes depending on your preference. Families here would usually rent 7 seater MPVS while smaller groups would go for the passenger cars.
A lot of foreigners rent motorbikes as they are more convenient and more refreshing. Ensure that you are renting the vehicles from the legal operators and not from the touts as you might be cheated. Renting of vehicles usually start around RM70 per day depending on the model and the length which can be negotiated.