Langkawi – The Jewel of Kedah

Andrew Leeson


Langkawi Malaysia
We’ve been a bit quiet for the last few weeks, and the reason is we’ve once again been enjoying the delights of South East Asia. You don’t need us to tell you it’s been somewhat chilly in Australia of late, and whilst that might be fine for lovers of Winter, for those of us who enjoy the sun, sand and surf, it’s been a perfect time to head North. Malaysia was our primary destination on this trip, and we were thrilled to visit one of this countries crown jewels, the beautiful and utterly captivating island of Langkawi. Whether you’re looking for a place to chill, or perhaps you enjoy a thrill, this place has it all.


Langkawi sits within an archipelago of some 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, approximately 30 kms off the mainland coast of North-Western Malaysia. To its immediate North is the highly popular Thai island of Phuket, and to its South is the expat retirement haven of Penang. Langkawi has a resident population of around 100,000 people, the vast majority of which are Malays, with smaller groups of Chinese, Indians and Thais.

The island was very much a hidden treasure until 1987 when the Government granted it ‘tax free status’ as a way to promote tourism and improve the life of islanders. Unsurprisingly this was the catalyst for a spectacular boom in activity, and it is noticeable that huge Duty Free stores are scattered around the main built up areas (such as Kuah and Cenang). 

Whilst the potential for inexpensive retail therapy may attract some visitors, for most it is the natural beauty of the island that brings tourists flocking from all over the World. In 2007 10,000 hectares of Langkawi were declared a World Heritage Geopark (the first in South East Asia) by UNESCO.


Nature dominates the islands attractions, with Tropical rainforests, mangroves, mountains and lush countryside. You’re never far the from the coast and the numerous islands that surround Langkawi appear to call out to you to explore them. No better view of this can be found by travelling up one the Worlds steepest Cable Cars.
Worlds Steepest Cablecar

World’s Steepest Cable Car

At its summit not only will have you a magnificent view of Pantai Cenang Beach below, you’ll also be able to walk amongst the clouds on the World famous Skybridge. Although its not for those scared of heights!
Skybridge Malaysia


As you’d expect with an island there are endless water based activities available and a multitude of beaches. Other popular attractions include the stunning Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls (aka Seven Wells), Gunung Raya (the snaking paved jungle road), Laman Padi Rice Garden, Crocodile Adventureland, Eagle Square and Underwater World.

Getting there

Langkawi has an excellent, highly efficient International Airport, located at Padang Matsirat, in the North-West of the island, about 15 to 20 mins drive to the main holiday accommodation centres. Airlines with services include SilkAir, Tigerair, Air Asia, Malaysian Airlines, Firefly and Malindo Airlines, and flights are available from Penang, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hat Yai and Phuket.

There are also regular ferry services to Langkawi from Penang, Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah. All services are to and from the main ferry terminal in Kuah, the largest town on the island.

Staying there

Whilst the island has a highly efficient hospital and transport links to KL, Penang and Singapore are good, we would view the island as very much a holiday destination for those who have retired in the region, or those simply on a short break. It offers a good range of short stay accommodation, from two and three star hotels through to truly magnificent five star resorts., and of course the food is superb (as you find it is everywhere in Malaysia). The ‘kicker’ for those who enjoy a drink is that the duty free status makes alcohol cheaper here than anywhere else in Malaysia.

The Jewel of Kedah is a wonderful location to relax, and get in touch with nature. The locals are genuinely warm and welcoming, and whether you enjoy, the food, lower prices or walking amongst the clouds, you’ll be beaming from ear to ear on this South East Asian tropical paradise.

If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.

Andrew Leeson

Andrew Leeson

Over 20 years of experience helping people live a better life in SE Asia. Having worked in financial services in Asia I understand the challenges when moving to and living in a new country. I have travelled extensively throughout the region and experienced what SE Asia has to offer to retirees.

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