When planning a beach and resort family holiday in Southeast Asia, there are so many beautiful places to choose from.
There are the wonderful islands in Thailand such as Krabi, or in the Philippines, such as Palawan. We can go on and on and debate as to which one is the best.
From our experience, each has something beautiful to offer.
Malaysia for some reason, though a neighboring country of some of the hot beach destinations, gets little credit or fanfare in comparison.
When we were mapping out our journey, we included Malaysia as a destination, but not one for the beach.
During a Travel Conference held in Bangkok, we were introduced to the thought of going to Langkawi, Malaysia. Spending time in both Kuala Lumpur and Penang for stretches of time, we figured it would be worth a 30-minute flight from either to check out this island.
By our estimation, it was one of the best places to go in Malaysia during our time in Southeast Asia.
How to Get to Langkawi, Malaysia
There are multiple daily flights to Langkawi from both Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
The flight takes approximately 40-minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and approximately 25-minutes from Penang International Airport.
There are multiple airlines to choose from.
For best deals, try Air Asia, Malindo Air, and Firefly. With Air Asia, be mindful of the weight of your luggage, and though the flights may seem less expensive than its competition, hidden surcharges add up, so do the math pre-booking.
As for pricing, it ranges a bit, but an inexpensive getaway proposition regardless. When we went, we paid the equivalent of $15 USD o Firefly.
What to Pack on your trip to Langkawi
Langkawi is not just a beach destination, but an active one as well. So, pack light and casual. Even in the 5-Star Resorts, there is very little need for anything too dressy.
It’s hot, so bring lots of sunscreen, clothes in breathable materials such as cotton, and comfortable shoes.
Where to Stay in Langkawi
Our pick for Best Family Hotel is the Berjaya Langkawi.
The property is set between the coastline of the Andaman Sea and a Rain Forest. All rooms are Chalets that either face the sea or are set on the hills in the forest. We had no preference, as the view from any room balcony is stunning.
There are swift makeshift golf carts that act as a shuttle to bring you to and from the main lodge from your chalet, where you will find dining options and a few bars.
At the foot of the main lodge are the private beach and the luxurious and large pool.
There is wildlife everywhere, most predominant are monkeys and monitor lizards. As opposed to taking the shuttle, we, as a family, opted to walk down the hill from our chalet daily and usually bump into one or two creatures.
Not to worry, they are not aggressive, just keep some distance.
The grounds are well maintained, and there is security everywhere, which make the guests feel very comfortable.
The best option for food in the property is a Thai Restaurant set a few meters out into the sea called, Phan Thai. The food is good, the prices fair, and the view and vibe are everything one can ask for in a resort setting.
The Berjaya is a perfect choice of accommodation for kids of all ages.
- Read TripAdvisor reviews for the Berjaya Langkawi here.
- Book your stay at Berjaya Langkawi through Booking.com here
For more places to stay in Langkawi choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancelation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.
Planning Your Visit
Langkawi is a rather big island, and to fit everything in smoothly, we recommend a company called, GC Butler to serve as your docent for the trip.
They acquire all your likes and dislikes and curate the best experiences to be had on the island.
Their staff are all very knowledgeable and friendly.
They not only save you time by picking you up and dropping you off anywhere you’d like, but also navigate the island beautifully, so you can have the best views and vantage points during the drive to destinations.
With Langkawi being a UNESCO Geopark, there is an abundance natural beauty to take in.
Activities in Langkawi
This fabricated village is a fairly new attraction on the island.
It is geared toward visitors who may want to do something other than lounging at the pool or getting sun at the beach. The property is done beautifully, with it’s Alps style aesthetic.
It sits at the base and has a great vantage point to gaze upon Mount Machincang with an elevation of 2,339 feet.
Within the village, there are many shops and some eateries.
There are also activities well suited for families. A wonderful place for the family to spend a few hours out of the sweltering sun in the kitschy 3-D museum.
It’s hours of fun, taking pictures and making silly poses in front of some inventive artwork by some of the best 3-D artists in Asia
The main attraction, however, is the cable car, which is boasted as being the steepest ride in the world. In the ascending gondolas, the riders are given the opportunity to appreciate the island from up high.
There are many ranges of gondolas, from private two-seaters with lounge chairs, to private group glass-bottomed ones, to a traditional gondola.
The costs, of course, vary, but by our estimation, the traditional was just fine.
Upon reaching the top, for more exhilarating views, there is the Sky Bridge, which ranks as one of the world’s longest suspension bridges.
The views, again, are spectacular, but a warning to those who suffer from a bit of acrophobia, it’s a knee-knocking height, so be prepared.
All the kids, however, including our daughter, seemed to have loved it.
There are plenty of water based activities on the island of Langkawi. The two that we most recommend for a family are:
The private yacht tour by a company named Naam. There are many options, but for families, the four-hour sunset tour is the best. It gives the family an opportunity to see the beautiful coastline and the diverse topography of Langkawi.
The captain and its awesome crew also give the passengers some information on what they’re seeing and also give them some fun time by letting them jump off from the boat and swim in the beautifully clear, warm water.
The staff on board are all very professional and make sure everyone is always safe during this session.
They are also very attentive and are always serving drinks, and snacks along the way.
A wonderful meal is prepared on board and served on the top deck for the best sunset views. It is one of the best 4 hours a family can spend together.
A luxurious experience that every family deserves to have every once in a while
The second is from a company named, Mega Water Sports. Again, there are many options, but the one we recommend for families is the Jet-Ski Island hopping tour.
With the use of the jet-ski, a guide takes a group out to 8 of the 99 islands of Langkawi. It’s both thrilling and educational.
This activity, however, is limited to children 10 and up, as the ride gets fast and the water somewhat choppy at times.
Island stops include EagleIsland, where a multitude of these regal creatures soar in the air. Langkawi, loosely translated, means eagles rock. So no surprise as to the number we saw during our visit.
Others include a private beach, where there is snorkeling to be done, to a lake where on the outskirts are monkeys driving tourists crazy by snatching at their bags of food.
Watching it happen is always good for a laugh, and children are kept fascinated by their antics.
The best part of the island hopping tour was being able to jet-ski through some beautiful grottos and rock formations that would otherwise be unreached by a vehicle any larger.
Fantastic, to say the very least. Makes one really appreciate the awesomeness of the sea.
Food in Langkawi
There are great food offerings from inexpensive hawker food stalls to high-end options at some of the 5-star resorts.
Our favorite spot is a local favorite named, Seashells, where you sit crossed legged and eat with your hands, outside, under a wooden gazebo.
The cuisine served is absolutely delicious. Order the fried chicken and the crabs which are their specialty, and don’t forget to get some coconut rice to go along with it.
However, if there is one quintessential dish that needs to be tried, it is a soup called, Laksa.
It’s Malaysia in a soup bowl.
The taste profile is a fine mix of Chinese and Indian cuisine. For these delicious Laksas, GC Butler took us to a group of street stalls next to the beach by the airport, where locals come for fresh and inexpensive local eats.
The broth is fish and tamarind base and has an almost cream-like texture created by coconut milk. The protein of choice is usually fish or chicken.
Watch out, though, it can be very spicy if not modified to taste. The locals love it really hot!
If you and your family are looking for a place where you can enjoy nature and all its wildlife, along with some beach time, Langkawi is a great place for this.
If you’re looking to get away from it all and have a great time relaxing, and enjoying the sun and some luxuries, then Langkawi is the place.
If you seek some thrill, or maybe just want to goof off with the family, Langkawi should be on the list.
If education in nature and adventures in food are on the list, then look no further.
If you’re looking for a place with smiling faces, then Langkawi Malaysia is for you.
So next time you’re looking for some options for a perfect family holiday on a beach and resort destination, don’t overlook Naturally Langkawi.
Thank you to Lada for hosting our stay in Langkawi. All opinions, as always, my own.