Simply Unforgettable – where to stay on Langkawi Island (2024)

If you’re not sure where to stay on Langkawi Island, follow this guide. We’re a family of 6 travelling the globe on a tight budget. Langkawi Island was a real highlight for us – beautiful beaches, minimal tourists, diverse wildlife and a host of really fun family friendly activities that won’t blow the budget.

Langkawi Island is located off the West coast of Malaysia, close to the border with Thailand. On a clear day you can usually see mainland Thailand from the beach. Some of the activities on Langkawi Island we have rated in our top 20 across the globe. It really is an impressive Island and one of our kid’s favorite destinations in Southeast Asia. If you need more encouragement, read our review of the Langkawi Skybridge and also the Langkawi Mangrove tour.

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands. We decided to base ourselves in the Tanjung Rhu area. Tanjung Rhu Beach was idyllic and was a short 7min drive from our accommodation. Perfect for younger children as there are no waves unless you venture right into the sea. At low tide on Tanjung Rhu beach, you can walk out to some of the other islands! We spent a day in kayaks, island hopping deserted islands. It was absolute bliss.

Emily and I did a bit of lifesaving as another tourist got stranded in deep water as the tide came in and he couldn’t swim! His wife called out to us for help, and we raced out in our kayak and towed him back to safety. Despite that event, it is actually really safe, flat and calm water. We had no concerns with our kids playing at the beach all day or kayaking and paddle boarding in the still waters.

When on the beach you will see a luxury resort to your left, this part of the beach in private. The beach is so long it really made no difference to our experience. We spent the majority of our beach time at Tanjung Rhu Beach (it’s hard to leave perfection!). It had a nice handful of food vendors selling local cuisine, burgers and good coffee at very reasonable prices. You can hire kayaks, paddle boards, quad bikes or book tours here and they also sold togs, hats, sunscreen, beach toys and touristy trinkets. The kids caught Hermit Crabs, watched Monitor Lizards, spotted snakes, chased frogs. Perfect for our nature loving children. The wildlife is really impressive.

In Tanjung Rhu, we have 2 restaurant recommendations. Dawan Thai Kitchen Seafood Restaurant was very cheap and had some of the best Thai food we’ve had outside of Thailand. If you are after a more luxurious food experience, then the Kelapa Cafe is your best bet. They have amazing breakfast options along with delicious coffee. If you’re considering where to stay on Langkawi, you will have a good amount of restaurant options away from the main city center, so don’t be afraid to venture out.

Check out our Langkawi Island Instagram highlight’s reel here. Since you’re in the neighborhood, make sure you pay Kuala Lumpur a visit also.

Getting there

You can catch a flight from either Kuala Lumpur or Penang directly to Langkawi International Airport which is located on the Western side of the Island. You can also get a ferry directly from Penang; however, these were not operational when we were there in the shoulder season and the flights are very affordable. If you are coming from Thailand, you can get a ferry from Koh Lipe or fly from Phuket directly to Langkawi International airport.

Where to stay on Langkawi

There are plenty of options for where to stay on Langkawi in the main town of Kuah or Pantai Cenang Beach – these are the more touristed areas. We were looking for a quieter beach getaway and went further afield and we are so glad we did! We stayed on the Northeastern side of the Island in the Tanjung Rhu area at the Dvilla Guest House. Accommodation is cheaper outside of the main town area and we got to encounter wildlife like this gem of a snake all the time!

The Dvilla Guest House had two and three bedroom motel rooms, complete with a lounge and kitchen, perfect as we self-cater. Even better it had a large clean pool, rice terrace views and lots of snakes and other wildlife to spot. It’s also next to a row of shops including several mini-marts and a small, cheap local restaurant.

Langkawi Rental Car

You will need a rental car to get around the Island if want to explore outside the main tourist areas. We picked up one at the airport when we landed. There are plenty of options, they are reasonably priced, just make sure you negotiate to get the best deal. We paid $135USD for our big 7-seater car hire for 1 week. This was significantly cheaper than the online prices we had seen before our arrival.

If you are not sure how to negotiate – they will open with a high price. Ask if it is their best price and when they respond, tell them how much you are willing to pay. If it is quiet, they will generally come closer to meet your price quite easily. Be firm on what you think is reasonable, but be polite, friendly and smile! You will quickly work out what their best price is. They want your business as much as you want their car. Remember, you can always walk away and talk to other vendors for other prices. They will always welcome you back again!

As for driving on Langkawi Island – it’s really easy. The roads are fine, and there’s not a lot of traffic. Be mindful of the motorbikes that are everywhere and the monkeys and monitor lizards you will encounter crossing the road! If you have a rental car, where to stay on Langkawi Island becomes much easier!

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