Situated on the mainland, and usually only visited by tourists departing to and arriving from Langkawi, Alor Setar, in the heart of Malaysia’s rice growing region, nevertheless has some fine buildings, including Masjid Zahir Mosque, Balai Besar (Great Hall), Museum Diraja (Royal Museum) and Muzium Negeri (State Museum). The nearby coastal village of Kulaa Kedah is a good spot for sampling the local seafood.


Langkawi archipelago itself floats offshore from the west coast of the peninsula, close to the Thai border, and consists of over a hundred forested limestone islands, the largest of which is Pulau Langkawi, famous for its beach resorts. The main town and ferry port of Kuah takes advantage of the island’s tax-free status, with a host of shops selling electrical and other goods.

The most popular of Langkawi’s beaches is Pantai Cenang situated at the southwest tip, with accommodation to suit all budgets. Adjacent Pantai Tengah is a slightly quieter alternative.

For those with more ambitious budgets, Burau Bay beach is host to two luxury resorts, whilst Tanjung Datai boasts a luxury resort, private beach and golf course. The secluded northern beach at Tanjung Rhu is likewise renowned for its exclusive resorts.

Other features of Pulau Langkawi are the Muzium Padi (Rice Museum), the marine species on view at Underwater world, Oriental Village, Langkawi Cable Car and Skybridge, Taman Buaya Crocodile Farm and Gua Kelawar (Bat Cave).

A great way to appreciate the rest of the archipelago is to take a boat trip around the neighbouring islands, to Pulau Dayang Bunting and its unique lake, the wildlife sanctuary of Pulau Singa and the beach at Pulau Bras Basah.

Though water visibility is often limited to around three metres, snorkelling and diving trips can be made to Pulau Segantang, Pulau Kaca, Pulau Lembu and Pulau Payar marine Park, the latter where, should it take your fancy, you can also hand feed wild sharks from the shore.