Part of an archipelago of about 100 small islands and limestone rock formations off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Langkawi is one of the few Southeast Asia ports that’s all about nature. It’s green, quiet, and ringed with gorgeous beaches. Go ashore to see the mangroves, waterfalls, and jungles that monkeys, lizards, and flying lemurs call home.
What We Love
Seven Wells Waterfall: Trek along a scenic path that wends through the rain forest to this group of pools connected by a series of waterfalls. Enjoy the natural beauty along the way, from wild orchids to enormous towering Meranti trees.
Langkawi Cable Car: This ride brings you from the foothills of the Machinchang Mountain up to the top at 2,300 feet. If you’re unfazed by heights, walk the sky bridge, a curved suspension bridge hanging some 330 feet above the side of the mountain.
Best Known For
Beaches: The best are gorgeous Tanjung Rhu in the north and Cenang and Kok on the west coast. When the tide is out, there's coral offshore with sea cucumbers and giant clams.
Mangroves: Book an excursion that takes you along the mangrove forests flanking the Kilim and Kubang Badak rivers to look for hornbills and herons, plus monitor lizards and the loud langur monkeys.
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Who It's Best For
Families: There’s a lot to do for the whole brood, from rain forest treks and splashing in waterfalls to snorkeling and swimming.
Birders: More than 200 species of birds live here, so if you get a kick out of spotting an eagle, kingfisher, or falcon, bring your binoculars and zoom lens.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
You May See Leeches: If you sign up for a jungle trek, avoid going off the trail as these bloodsuckers hang out in leaf litter and vegetation, waiting to latch onto passersby. Wear socks and sneakers, and don't sit on the ground. And definitely check your extremities — and your kids'.
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.