Why Langkawi is so much better by scooter (and boat)

Langkawi, a popular holiday island in the north-west of Malaysia, is made for scootering around. A great network of local roads can take you all around the island; and with so many beaches to see, mountains to ride up, and shortcuts to take, two wheels is the only way to go.

Sketch of a motorcycle food vendor in langkawi
Malaysian street food

Renting a bike in Cenang

We rented a motorbike from T-Shoppe in Cenang for 25RM per day, and we kept it for 3 days. Now, we were ready for adventure!

I was out of practice and nervous – It had been almost 5 years since the last time I rented a scooter in South East Asia, an indestructible red devil that we used to explore Laos’ plain of jars through gloopy mud and pouring rain.

But the Langkawi tarmac was in decent condition, the traffic was low, and the scooter was brand new. Let’s go!

Stopping for street food

One of the best things about travelling by motorbike is the ability to stop anywhere, for any reason. Today’s reason? Curry puffs and shopped pineapple.

A roadside street vendor was selling curry puffs (karipap, as the locals say!) in Langkawi, Malaysia. They were delicious, deep-fried puffs filled with curry and vegetables, sold from the back of a motorbike, followed by sliced pineapple sprinkled with chilli and salt.

Tanjung Rhu beach

We left the town of Pantai Cenang and began to ride through leafy palm groves speckled with rays of sunlight, villages and roadside shops, gentle mountain passes and tall dark forests. We found ourselves cruising past sandy beaches nestled in the many bays of the island, whilst Cindy took photos from the pillion seat.

Tanjung Rhu beach in Langkawi’s north was the first stop. We sat down to drink a coconut in the shade. Around the corner from the beach, near the inlet, we a shady cluster of slender trees growing up from the sand.

Many of the Malaysians had laid out their towels here, the better to avoid the sun. Bizarrely, a pair of western backpackers were perched awkwardly in the tree branches, reading books. They looked like they were trying extra hard not to show their discomfort.

Seven Wells Waterfall

A long winding path through a tall forest somehow blocked out the humidity, and it felt amazing as it seemed to be like riding through air conditioning.

We were headed to Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh), a decent hike to a waterfall at mountain’s top. There were hundreds of steps, and by the time we reached the viewpoint at the top, we were both dripping with sweat! The waterfall cascades down the mountainside from the very top, landing onto a shelf of rock pools filled with people swimming, before falling again into the abyss.

Parking to motorbike (and onto the water)

This is an archipelago of 99 islands, so Langkawi is made for island-hopping boat tours. These kind of tours in South East Asia were usually a shuttle to a few random sights with little explanation – but these day tours are often fun just to bounce around on the water and stop at some beaches.

The Geoforest Park

Sure enough, after passing the pregnant maiden mountain (so named because of it’s curvy shape from one particular angle), the main destination was the Geoforest park. Sadly, there were no signs actually explaining what was so ‘Geo’ about the park.

What it actually is, is a walk through a tall green forest to an inland lake, filled with families in red life vests bobbing around in the water. We stared at the kayaks and the pedal boats, wondering if this was a place for watersports, or a precious geological site.

Feeding…eagles?

Our heads full of question marks, we carried on to another island, where the boat driver threw chicken meat out to the local eagle population. It seemed a bit sad to see eagles dependent on humans for food, especially when half the boat weren’t interested, some not even bothering to look up from their phones.

And, of course, a beach

The final stop was simply a chance to sunbake on a small beach. By now, there was no telling where we were, but it was nice just to soak up some of Langkawi’s sunshine on a quiet stretch of sand.

Have you visited Langkawi? What was your highlight? Let me know in the comments!


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