How to visit Langkawi with kids
Still relatively unknown, the stunning Malaysian Island of Langkawi makes a wonderful place to visit with kids. After a hectic few weeks in the busy cities of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Followed by the buzzing island of Penang, we knew we needed a week of relaxing by a beach and Langkawi was the perfect place to do it.
This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase from one of the above links I may receive a small commission. At no extra cost to you.
For me, Langkawi is all about it’s natural beauty and opportunities to relax. The hotels are stunning and the scenery breathtaking. But if you’re visiting Langkawi with kids, they’re not going to want to spend the whole day doing nothing. Luckily there’s still plenty to entertain the kids.
Things to do in Langkawi with kids
Langkawi Wildlife Park
Kids love animals and a visit to Langkawi Wildlife Park will give them the opportunity to get up close to several cute creatures.
The wildlife park started life as a bird park and I think the tropical bird enclosure was my favourite. This gives the larger species plenty of room to stretch their wings and fly. Smaller birds will fly up to you and eat seeds from your hands.
For an extra £1.50 you can purchase a bag of animal food. With which you can feed several of the animals. Pipers highlights were having cuddles with the cute bunnies, guinea pigs and feeding the friendly deer.
The zoo does feel a little run down and I didn’t think that some of the enclosures were big enough. But Piper really enjoyed herself. Langkawi with kids doesn’t get much cuter than this!
There is a duty free shop at the exit, this is Langkawi after all!
Langkawi Cable Car
Also known as the Skycab this is the steepest cable car in the world and not one to try if you’re afraid of heights. The 20 minute journey from the oriental village at the bottom all the way up to the top of Machinchang mountain takes you soaring over untouched jungle and dramatic rocky outcrops.
If you’re feeling particularly brave you can choose a glass bottomed gondola. We didn’t but little thrill seekers would absolutely love this.
Once you reach the top there are a couple of excellent view points. On a clear day you would be able to see for miles. Unfortunately we visited when it was cloudy but even then we could still see the sea.
The Skycab costs around £10.50 for adults and £8 for children. A glass bottom gondola is £20 per person.
This is also where you can find the Skybridge. At 125 metres in length it is one of the worlds longest curved bridge. Again this requires a pretty strong stomach, it’s suspended 100 metres above the ground.
It only costs £1 to walk across and tickets can be purchased at the skycab station.
In the North East of the Island, this is where you need to head to to take the Skycab. There’s plenty more to do than simply take the cable car. It’s a bit of a strange shopping village with lots of souvenir stores, cafes, restaurants, foot spas and galleries. The views of the surrounding lush green mountains made it felt somewhat otherworldly.
There are plenty of family friendly activities at the Oriental Village so if you’re planning on including a trip on the cable car and across to the skybridge then schedule the best part of the day here. Kids can play in a giant orb on the lake. Or take a zipwire across it. Quad bike into the jungle or visit one of the quirky museums.
Family friendly beaches in Langkawi
The beaches in Langkawi are some of the most beautiful in the world. The turquoise Andaman sea is plenty warm enough for swimming and the fine sand feels heavenly under your toes. If you’re visiting Langkawi with kids there’s a good chance you’ll spend most of your time at the beach. I loved that most beaches offered great views to the surrounding mountainous islands. It makes you feel like you’ve stumbled into a James Bond movie.
Some beaches can get very busy with locals and tourists fighting for their stretch of sand. Whilst some are like your own tropical paradise. It seems the further you get from the airport, heading North, the quieter they get.
If you’re a family of adventure junkies you’ll find plenty of watersports on the beaches along the west coast of Langkawi. Also many beach markets and bars and restaurants. For a those just looking to relax then Tanjung Rhu beach near the Four Seasons is one of the best in the world.
Visit Eagle Square
Located next to the jetty in Kuah, this is where you’ll find the famous 12-metre-high Eagle Statue. It is a wonderful place to watch the sunset.
There’s also a night food market which is a fantastic place to try some great value local food. It’s set out food truck fashion and you’ll eat at plastic tables outdoors with the locals.
Watch the amazing Langkawi sunsets
You’ll be spoilt for choice for places to watch the colours of the sunset around Langkawi. My favourites were from the Kuah side of the Island. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many unusual colours light up the sky. You could try visiting the Westin resort for a sundowner overlooking their infinity pool. The area around Eagle square or from the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club.
Both Pentai Cenang and Tengah are great places to view the sun setting into the sea over neighbouring islands. Whilst enjoying a nightcap on the beach.
For the ultimate luxury sunset chasers you could book onto a sunset cruise, you’ll get three hours on the boat, unlimited drinks, an onboard disco, swimming net so you can cool off in the Andaman Sea, a BBQ dinner and some unforgettable sunset views all for just $65 per person ($32 for a child).
Tour the local islands
As mentioned, Lankgawi is part of an archipelago of 104 island, mainly uninhabited, some not much larger than big rocks. There are several places around the island that operate these tours. You can do it by jet ski or the more family friendly way, by boat.
Tour the mangroves at Kilim Geoforest Park
This Geo park is a huge nature reserve with hidden beaches and caves. And some of the most stunning scenery on the island. Here you can take a tour of the mangrove swamp on low laying boats spotting some amazing wildlife as you go. Most mangrove tours will take you to private islands, caves full of bats and finish with a delicious local lunch.
Prebook your mangrove tour on Viator for just $60 for adults and $38 for kids
Best Area to Stay in Langkawi with kids
Langkawi is not too big. It will only take you 45 mins to drive from one side to the other. So when you’re deciding on which area to stay in, I would go on which hotel you like the look of rather than the location. The most popular areas of Langkawi are:
Located on the Western side of the island, this is probably the most popular tourist area. The beach is lovely and there are plenty of resorts, bars and restaurants within walking distance. There aren’t that many tourist attractions but plenty of beach watersports and boat operators to take you island hopping
This is the capital of Langkawi and also where the jetty is located. For this reason it seems to be a hub for duty free shopping. Kuah is the place to come if you’re in the mood to shop.
This isn’t the place to go for beaches, but there are several lovely resorts just outside of Kuah. The Westin where we stayed is a five minute drive from Kuah Town. It’s also where you’ll find the fabulous Eagle Square and some lovely views out to the surrounding islands
Pantai Cenang, located slightly north of Tengah is another popular place for beach lovers. There are loads of hotels and restaurants lining the beach and it can feel pretty busy in high season. It’s only 15 minutes in a taxi from the airport. So probably the best choice for a flying visit. This is where you’ll find Underwater World and the rice museum.
This is the place to stay for ultimate luxury and relaxation. Located in the North of the island it is home to one of the prettiest private beaches around. The main draw for this area is the mountain rainforest stretching down to sea. And is probably the reason two luxury resorts, the Datai and the Andaman chose the area. You’ll also find the beautiful Temurun Waterfalls, crocodile farm and the stunning Tengkorak Beach. But very little else, to be honest, you’ll probably not want to leave your hotel!
This area will be heaven for beach lovers. It’s a little bit further away from the airport and very isolated. Meaning most people don’t make the journey. Once you arrive, you’ll be spoilt with quiet stretches of golden sand. This is also the place to visit for boat tours of the mangrove swamps and some wonderful wildlife sightings. This is where you’ll find the luxury Four Seasons Resort, widely thought to be the best on the island.
Family Friendly Hotels in Langkawi
The Westin Resort Langkawi
This is where we stayed and I can’t recommend it enough, my daughter has stayed at many hotels around the world and has voted this one her favourite. You can find out why in my Westin Langkawi review.
From the Malaysian design of the lobby through to the crisp, contemporary rooms, this place is a simply wonderful resort to relax and enjoy some family time together.
The hotel has four pools, meaning they never feel too busy. The main pool is an infinity one with views out to the neighbouring islands offering arguably the best sunsets on the island. The swim up pool bar is located in this pool serving delicious happy hour cocktails, bar snacks and ice cream. We spent several afternoons not moving from this area.
Pipers favourite was the boulders pool, split over a couple of levels with some fountains and rocks to climb.
The Westin has a fitness centre, spa, tennis courts and a small beach.
Four Seasons Resort Malaysia
Another stunning luxury resort we visited was the Four Season, widely thought to be the best on the island. This place is opulent, intimate and set right on the beach. They offer huge rooms and villas, many of which are family friendly. The design is laid back luxury with muted colours and high end furniture.
For children, there’s a fantastic kids club for those aged between four and twelve, the geopark discovery centre and a family pool. They even regularly come round with kid friendly snacks and lollys, so very child friendly.
The Four Seasons is in fact so glamorous that parts of the film Crazy Rich Asians was filmed here.
Langkawi Lagoon Beach Resort
We didn’t stay at this hotels but when doing my research I have seen several other bloggers recommend the Langkawi Lagoon Beach Resort, I found prices starting at just £44 per night. This hotel is located very close to Langkawi airport and is just 10 minutes drive to Cenang Beach.
It has an infinity pool, private beach, plenty of bars and places to eat and lots of activities to keep the kids entertained. Some rooms have kitchenettes and there are suites available if you need more space.
Airbnbs in Langkawi with kids
If you’re traveling in a group or have a larger family then a villa in Langkawi is going to work out the best value. All the ones I researched on Airbnb look absolutely stunning and are mainly less than £100 per night. Search your trip dates here.
If you’re a first time Airbnb user then use my referral link for $31 off your stay and $11 towards an experience of your choice.
Where is Langkawi
Off the west coast of Malaysia is an archipelago of over 100 islands, most are uninhabited but the largest is Pulau Langkawi or Main Langkawi. Langkawi is around 30 miles off the coast of mainland Malaysia and is easily accessible by ferry or flight.
Wildlife in Langkawi
Langkawi is the kind of island where wildlife rule, there are no off limit places for them and it’s not unusual to encounter langur monkeys in the grounds of your hotel. We also came across a huge monitor lizard sunbathing by one of the pools and heard stories of other guests finding a snake on their balcony. Don’t approach the animals, just enjoy seeing them, they won’t do you any harm.
Head into the jungles or mangroves and you’ll see even more, bats, tropical birds, mudskippers (or walking fish), flying squirrels, eagles and many monkeys will fill up your camera feed. Langkawi truly is a haven for animal lovers.
How to get to Langkawi
If you’re travelling internationally then several airlines fly into Langkawi from the UK, these include China Southern, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines. None of them are direct from the UK and some require two changes. Flight times range from 15.5 hours to 24 hours including stops.
I recommend flying to either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore and adding a few days either side of your Island break in one of these wonderful cities.
Flights from Kuala Lumpur are super cheap (around £30 one way) and take less than an hour. Low cost airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air and Air Asia service this route just make sure you factor in cost of luggage to you budget.
It’s a bit more expensive from Singapore (around £45) again with Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia or Malindo Air and takes around an hour and a half.
You can easily get a ferry across to the Island of Langkawi from mainland Malaysia from Kuala Perlis ferry terminal, the crossing on the express ferry takes just an hour and fifteen minutes. It will cost under £10 return, even less for kids. Boats arrive in Langkawi at Kuah Jetty in the South East of the island, very close to the Westin hotel where we stayed.
If you have a car then you could take one of the drive on ferries again from Kuala Perlis and will cost around £90 for a family of three return trip. This is best booked in advance, you can do so here
How to get around Langkawi with kids
We flew into Langkawi airport with very little idea on how we planned to get around. Our original idea was to get a taxi to the hotel and spend most of our time there but on making it through baggage claims, there were so many cheap car hire companies we decided to go with that – it was sooooo cheap!
Unfortunately it was super cheap for good reason, the car was old, looked like it would give up at any point and there was an infestation of ants in the passanger side foot mat. Oh boy!!! Don’t make the same mistake, if you do want to explore the island by car I highly recommend you book one from a reputable company in advance. You could of course hire a scooter and travel like a local but these always terrify me, only do it if you know what you’re doing!
You could also just rely on taxis, they’re a bit more expensive than other parts of Asia – this being a holiday island but still a lot more economical than in the West. A half hour trip from the airport to Kuah will cost you around £8. You’ll find them waiting outside most tourist attractions, if not just ask a staff member to call one for you.
Eating and drinking in Langkawi
One of my absolutely favourite things to do is to eat outdoors watching the sea with some delicious, freshly cooked food. You’ll be spoilt for choice in Langkawi. Malaysian food is wonderful
In terms of restaurants, there’s pretty much everything you can wish for, from high end hotel restaurants to roadside shacks selling street food. I loved both and everything in between so I’ll let you make your own mind up.
Night markets are a fantastic place to try new foods very cheaply. It’s all freshly cooked and generally each dish will cost less than a pound. Bargain! I think if you’re in Langkawi with kids they’ll love wandering the markets.
When we visited with my daughter she was a bit fussier and most places were happy to dull down the spiciness for her. She pretty much lived on chicken rice and the occasional nuggets and chips the whole time we were there.
Langkawi is a duty free Island so it’s pretty cheap to buy alcohol from one of the many duty free stores – do not buy from the airport, it’s much more expensive! Buying alcohol from high end hotels and restaurants is not very cheap. If we fancied a drink then we would mostly buy our own and sit on our balcony listening to the sea.
Best time to visit Langkawi
Langkawi has three main seasons, wet which is August to October, dry season which is November to March and mid season which is April to July. Dry season is typically the most popular, enjoying temperatures in the mid 30s and mainly dry days. Hotels will whack up room rates and popular attractions can get quite busy. I recommend mid season, it cools down a bit making it a better time if you’re in Langkawi with kids. Plus it’s much, much cheaper. However, we were there in August (the start of wet season) and the weather didn’t bother us too much, we did get plenty of sun but also some cloudy and rainy days.
Langkawi is a muslim state so you’ll find that many places close early during Ramadan which can be April, May or June depending on the year.
Vaccination Advice for Langkawi
Please don’t take my word for it, always check the latest advice from your doctor but when we travelled we only needed a tetanus jab as we wouldn’t be trekking through the jungle, staying in a homestay or doing any particularly adventurous activities. If you have visited a country at risk for yellow fever you will need a vaccine certificate.
As with most places these days make sure you have at least six months remaining on all your passports after your return home. Travel Health Pro has some excellent advice on visiting Malaysia.There is currently no evidence of a Zika outbreak in Malaysia but it has had a history of previous Zika virus transmission.
Although there has been malaria present in some parts of Malaysia I don’t believe it is on Langkawi, we didn’t take Malaria tablets during our visit. Practice vigilant anti-mosquito bite measures during your stay – plenty of repellent (yes we use ones with deet), long trousers and sleeves, especially in the early evening and mainly avoid inland still water. Most luxury hotels will spray to keep down mosquitos, it really does make a difference.
Make sure you pin for later to help you plan your family holiday to Langkawi with kids.