If you’re after a taste of luxury with a side of pristine beaches and ancient rainforests, let me introduce you to Langkawi.

Langkawi is a luxurious island off the northwestern coast of Malaysia. Langkawi is actually a group of 99 islands that all centre around a main island, and the main island is the tropical paradise I’m going to be talking about.

The main island of Langkawi is known for its crystal clear waters and its tantalising stretches of beach. It’s also home to the SkyCab cable car which will take you up to the heights of Machincang mountain where you can really take in the magnificent landscapes around you.

From the mangroves and caves to the mind-blowingly luxurious resorts, you can have the ideal mix of nature and sumptuosity.  However, you can still travel to Langkwai on a budget – you just have to know where to look!

That’s where I come in. Whether you want high-end, wait on your hand and foot vibe or you want a cheap shack in the hills, I’ve got you covered. I’ve written this guide on where to stay in Langkawi to help you to decide where will be best for you (whatever your budget and travel style).

So, sit back and relax while impart my wisdom to you!

Where to Stay in Langkawi

Look no further than our highest recommendations for places to stay in Langkawi below!

Langkawi Skybridge Cable Car

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Ranis Lodge Nature Getaway | Best Airbnb in Langkawi

Ranis Lodge Nature Getaway

The perfect tranquil tropical island retreat, this lodge is located in the foothills of Bukit Sawak Forest Reserve.

Ideal for a couple, this Airbnb is run by a really friendly family who has decorated the lodge beautifully and keep it spotlessly clean. Soak up the views from the terrace and see if you can spot the wildlife in the surrounding nature.

Tubotel | Best Hostel in Langkawi


For a unique hostel stay, choose Tubotel. Guests can opt to stay in the hostel’s clean and fresh dorm room, or select a solo pod room and wake up with your very own view of the ocean.

The hotel’s breakfast is delicious and the beachside terrace has unbeatable sunset views.

Cenang Plaza Beach Hotel | Best Hotel in Langkawi

Cenang Plaza Beach Hotel

For a location just a few steps from the beach and with comfy and clean rooms, this hotel is great value for money. Close to all of the action, you can find a wide selection of restaurants and bars close by, as well as malls.

Rooms come with balconies so you can spend some time relaxing in the sunshine; plus the staff is really helpful.

Langkawi Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Langkawi

Kuah Langkawi


Kuah is the modern heart of Langkawi, the biggest town on the island and, as a result, home to many shopping and dining options.

Pantai Tengah Langkawi

Pantai Tengah

The alternative beach destination in Langkawi – the other and most popular being Pantai Cenang – Pantai Tengah was only accessible via a dirt road until 1994.

Pantai Cenang, Langkawi

Pantai Cenang

Pantai Cenang has long been a haven for all sorts of travelers and holidaymakers on various budgets, though recent developments have made this beach even more bustling and popular than ever – even out of season.

Tanjung Rhu Langkawi

Tanjung Rhu

Tanjung Rhu is a beautiful spot to behold on an already beautiful island; after a drive through a rainforest, pine trees fringe the meandering white-sand beach, gradually giving way to atmospheric mangroves at Kilim River Geo Park, whilst karst rocks shoot out of the sea.

Langkawi is Malaysia’s luxury island, one of the best places to stay in the country, popular with local and international tourists alike for its pristine beaches, ancient rainforests, and duty-free shopping.

Officially known as Langkawi Permata Kedah (‘Langkawi, The Jewel of Kedah’) after the state in which it is located, Langkawi is actually an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea off the northwestern coast of Malaysia – all of it centered on the main, eponymous island.

Though only just under 480 kilometers in area, there are many areas to choose from when deciding where to stay in Langkawi. But we’re here to help with a handy guide.

We’ll start with Kuah, the biggest town and main transport hub of Langkawi.

As well as being a port town it’s home to many shopping opportunities and lacks the beachside amenities of other areas, but being the biggest town is an advantage: accommodation can be cheaper, the food is plentiful, and tours and vehicle rentals are arguably easier to put together here.

Clockwise around the island on a southwestern promontory is Pantai Tengah (‘Middle Beach’ in Malay). This area plays host to the longest expanse of beach on the island, so the main activity here is reclining in the sand.

Pantai Tengah has a laid-back feel, with some beachside cafes and a backpacker scene with cheaper accommodation slightly inland.

Further north along the coast, most of the beachside action takes place at Pantai Cenang. The white sand and palms of this beach attract family-friendly hotels as well as luxury 5-star resorts.

Slightly further to the west is the secluded Pantai Kok, where accommodation is lavish; it’s also the gateway to the jungle and the district’s second-highest peak, Gunung Mat Cincang.

Lastly on the north of the island lies the beautiful hideaway of Tanjung Rhu, home to a white-sand beach, mangrove swamps, and some Ha Long Bay-esque karst pinnacles jutting out of the sea.

It’s a beautiful spot that’s also popular with locals, with cheap eateries but few other amenities located nearby.

So much is packed into the relatively small area of Langkawi island that it can be difficult to decide exactly where to go during your holiday trip to Langkawi. Read on as we’ll cover the towns above in more depth.

5 Best Areas to Stay in Langkawi

Linked by an easy-to-navigate ring road that sometimes traverses the jungle, Langkawi is a joy of an island to navigate by rental vehicle; whether it’s by car or bike, nothing beats the freedom on offer when it comes to your own set of wheels on holiday.

And not only is it easy to get around Langkawi, but it’s also a beautiful place for mini road trips amidst stunning sea views and palm-fringed roads.

You’re never too far from another area of the island. In fact, it can be traversed in one day by car. But with waterfalls and rainforest to explore, and beaches to recline on, seeing it all can depend on where you’re based.

Will you opt for luxury or something more down-to-earth? Here’s our guide to help you out!

1. Kuah – Where to Stay in Langkawi for Convenience

Kuah is the modern heart of Langkawi, the biggest town on the island and, as a result, home to many shopping and dining options. Shiny shopping malls, fast food outlets, and other modern amenities have sprung up in recent years, making it a place to stay for convenience, despite the lack of beaches.

Though not as famous for nightlife as other areas, the position of Kuah as the island’s port means that most visitors start their journey to Langkawi in this town. Deliciously fresh seafood restaurants open until late and there are a few pubs and bars dotted around town.

Kuah Langkawi

3 Bedroom Modern Apartment | Best Airbnb in Kuah

3 Bedroom Modern Apartment

This air-conditioned apartment with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms – A master bedroom with a king bed; the second bedroom has a queen bed and a smaller bedroom with a single bed. The kitchen is fully equipped for guests who like to cook.

The Ocean Residence | Best Hotel in Kuah

The Ocean Residence

Peaceful and serene, this hotel is all about the sea views and surrounding gardens. Choose to stay in a well maintained double room or excellent longhouse and be treated to a pool with unbeatable views of the ocean. Breakfast is delicious and staff is available to help you with any requests.

Clover Guesthouse | Best Hostel in Kuah

Clover Guesthouse

A hostel with a relaxed atmosphere, this guesthouse is close to the beach and pier, perfect for independent travellers. The dorm and private rooms are neat and tidy and there is a shared kitchen for guests to use.

Experience the local life in the surrounding area with a wide selection of cheap eats nearby.

Things to See and Do in Kuah

  1. Snap a selfie with the statue of the sea-eagle (Langkawi’s emblem) at Dataran Lang – ‘Eagle Square.’
  2. Visit the Al-Hana Mosque and admire the unique mix of Malay and Uzbekistani motifs.
  3. Stroll through CHOGM Park, built in 1989 to celebrate the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting held that year in Malaysia.
  4. Explore the night market on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Pusat Bandar Kuah.
  5. Embark on one of the reasonably priced tours advertised at Kuah Jetty.
  6. Try some Chinese seafood at Langkawi Fish Farm.
  7. Go to Langkawi Legend Park and learn about the island’s local myths and folktales.
  8. Fill your suitcase with shopping from one of Kuah’s many malls, including Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall, Jetty Point Mall, and Saga Shopping Center…
  9. … And catch a film at Teow Soon Huat, a large mall that’s also home to Langkawi’s only cinema!
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2. Pantai Tengah – Where to Stay in Langkawi on a Budget

The alternative beach destination in Langkawi – the other and most popular being Pantai Cenang – Pantai Tengah was only accessible via a dirt road until 1994.

Before then, intrepid travelers came and went, but some made it home, so you’ll find a sizeable chunk of Malaysia’s backpacking scene here. Because of that, this area of Langkawi is relatively laid-back, but with some truly late-night nightlife on offer.

More bohemian than other destinations, though still, we’d use the word loosely, Pantai Tengah is Langkawi’s longest stretch of beach and therefore it attracts visitors from all over the world today. It’s home to bars, restaurants, a large harbour, and even a cruise ship terminal.

Pantai Tengah Langkawi

King Studio Suite | Best Airbnb in Pantai Tengah

King Studio Suite

Pantai Tengah has many budget options, and this Airbnb deserves a spot at the top. With stunning interior design, it’s one of the most stylish homes in the area. The floating bed is worth an Instagram and the location couldn’t be better. On top of that, there’s a food truck stopping next to the hotel, offering cheap local dishes. Perfect if you want to keep the costs low and experience the tasty Malaysian cuisine.

Langkawi Western Motel | Best Bed and Breakfast in Pantai Tengah

Langkawi Western Motel

Located close to the beach (maximum five minutes by foot), you’ll be in a top location when staying at this cute Western Motel. The rooms are basic but charming, equipped with an aircon, a fan and a flat screen TV. It’s incredibly affordable as well. There’s a in-house restaurant serving the most delicious food according to previous guests.

The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa | Best Hotel in Pantai Tengah

The Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa

Indulge in a slice of luxury by the sea. Choose to stay in a room or a lavish private villa set among lush landscaped gardens.

With two pools, a restaurant, bars, and local amenities close by, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Frangipani.

Things to See and Do in Pantai Tengah

  1. Eat at one of the many international restaurants here, from Italian and Lebanese to Thai and Malay.
  2. Make merry at one of the late-night bars until the early hours; Tammy’s Place, for instance, is often open until 6AM!
  3. Give your body some TLC at one of the numerous spas in the area.
  4. Book yourself a tour to go eagle-feeding or mangrove-exploring.
  5. Simply relax on the beautiful beach that this area is most famous for.

3. Pantai Cenang – Where to Stay in Langkawi for the Best Nightlife

Pantai Cenang has long been a haven for all sorts of travelers and holidaymakers on various budgets, though recent developments have made this beach even more bustling and popular than ever – even out of season.

It’s the two-kilometer stretch of white-sand beach that keeps travelers returning year-on-year.

With the influx of tourists visiting this area, a lot of Langkawi’s best nightlife has centered in this area, plus bars and eateries to suit all budgets. The accommodation here also runs the whole gamut of types, from all-inclusive 5-star resorts to budget guesthouses.

Pantai Cenang, Langkawi

Beachfrone one bedroom chalet | Best Airbnb in Pantai Cenang

Beachfrone one bedroom chalet

Offering stunning view of the beach. This beachfront chalet unit is perfect for one or two guests who want to partake in wate activities. The room has 1 queen-size bed or 2 single beds and an attached private bathroom. Sleeping arrangement comfortable for 2 adults, max 3 (if 1 child sharing a bed).The chalet also has air conditioning, a TV and minibar.

Cute Garden Cottage | Best Guesthouse in Pantai Cenang

Cute Garden Cottage

This super cute guesthouse doesn’t just place you minutes from the beach, it also won’t break your bank, even if you’re staying for long term. The charming cottages are equipped with aircon, a mini fridge, kettle for tea and coffee and a TV. It’s a super quiet and peaceful place, with a garden and great outdoor seating areas. If you need some help with booking tours or renting a vehicle, your hosts will be happy to assist you. They also give great recommendations on what to do in the area.

Fuuka Villa | Best Hotel in Pantai Cenang

Fuuka Villa

Quiet, clean and just a stone’s throw from the beach, the friendly staff at Fuuka Villa will make your stay in Langkawi stress-free. Rooms are large and come equipped with everything you should need.

Cool off in the sparklingly clean pool, take some time out on your private terrace and stroll to the restaurants nearby for dinner.

Things to See and Do in Pantai Cenang

  1. Wander Jalan Pantai Cenang to sample cuisine from fancy restaurants to street food…
  2. … And check out its shopping options, including a duty-free mall.
  3. Visit the Laman Padi Museum and learn about rice production.
  4. Check out Underwater World, Malaysia’s largest aquarium.
  5. Try some water-based fun including banana boats, speedboat rides, and jet-skiing.
  6. And of course, relax and catch some rays on the beach itself.
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4. Pantai Kok – Coolest Place to Stay in Langkawi

Formerly a small fishing village with a few seafood restaurants, Pantai Kok is a thriving little area centered around a marina that houses yachts and restaurants. It is, of course, also home to a charming beach area surrounded by limestone hills and palm trees.

It’s here where the southern beach vibe of Langkawi gives way to the ancient mountains and jungle of the north and west of the island.

At Pantai Kok, you’ll find Langkawi’s two tallest peaks – Gunung Raya (881m) and Gunung Mat Cincang (850m) – and the now world-renowned Langkawi Sky Bridge. You’ll find a surprising amount of Langkawi’s attractions jammed into this are which is why it’s so damn cool!

Pantai Kok Langkawi

Modern Secluded Cottage | Best Airbnb in Pantai Kok

Modern Secluded Cottage

If you want to experience nature, tranquility, and still be connected to the Island, this cottage with 2 bedrooms and bathrooms is the perfect place to stay. With complimentary WIFI and every amenity you can imagine, including ingredients for breakfast.

SHAKA SeaGyspy | Best Hostel in Pantai Kok

SHAKA SeaGyspy

This hostel is less about luxury and more about enjoying nature, meeting other travellers, and adventuring to lesser-touristed spots on the island.

The simple rooms are basic but well maintained; bathrooms are shared. Breakfast is provided, and there are plenty of local restaurants to discover close by as well as the local market to stock up on snacks.

GeoPark Hotel | Best Hotel in Pantai Kok

GeoPark Hotel

Surrounded by the lush rainforest, the GeoPark Hotel is close to popular activities on the island, such as the Sky Bridge. Rooms are clean and good value for money and staff are helpful with information on things to do in Langkawi.

There are some local restaurants nearby to enjoy evening meals, but the best part of staying in this hotel are the views of the lake and mountains.

Things to See and Do in Pantai Kok

  1. Get adventurous and hike the trail up Mat Cincang…
  2. … Or take the Langkawi Cable Car to the top!
  3. Check out the multiple falls and pools at Telaga Tujuh (‘Seven Wells’) Waterfall.
  4. Relax in the tranquil and secluded setting of Pantai Kok beach.
  5. Marvel at the rainforest below and the incredible vistas as you walk the Langkawi Sky Bridge.
  6. Get a horse ride or watch a spectacular horse riding show courtesy of Island Horses.
  7. Check out around Oriental Village – a nice spot filled with shops and eateries.

5. Tanjung Rhu – Where to Stay in Langkawi with Families

Tanjung Rhu is a beautiful spot to behold on an already beautiful island; after a drive through a rainforest, pine trees fringe the meandering white-sand beach, gradually giving way to atmospheric mangroves at Kilim River Geo Park, whilst karst rocks shoot out of the sea.

In terms of natural scenery, Tanjung Rhu has it all, so we think anyone will enjoy staying here, though families and couples will enjoy the peace and quiet.

It’s a quiet, sleepy place with few resorts – 5-star Tanjung Rhu Resort and the Four Seasons Langkawi are located here – but at the same time this area is popular with locals who you’ll find sitting and eating some mee gulung (Langkawi’s speciality noodle dish) at roadside eateries.

Tanjung Rhu Langkawi

Duplex Cottage with stunning views | Best Airbnb in Tanjung Rhu

Duplex Cottage with stunning views

It’s a 15x17ft compact studio unit on the upper story of a duplex rise with a stunning view. The one-bedroom and bathroom also has a bar table and stools, fully equipped kitchen and private entrance.

Eagleye Village Homestay | Best Hostel in Tanjung Rhu

Eagleye Village Homestay

In an area of luxury hotels, this sweet holiday village offers affordable holiday bungalows located among lush gardens. The fantastic location – just a five-minute walk to a paradise beach – is near to excellent eateries and an interesting food market.

The owners are super friendly and the cottages come with extremely comfortable beds.

Four Seasons Resort Langkawi | Best Hotel in Tanjung Rhu

Four Seasons Resort Langkawi

If you want to experience amazing luxury, look no further than the Four Season Resort. Guests have access to the private white-sand beach and the massive outdoor pool. There are different types of suites, including private villas which offer space for up to 8 people at a time – perfect if you travel with friends or family. Of course, there’s also a restaurant on site, meaning you can even enjoy room service. On top of that, the resort also offers Spa facilities, a kids club and yoga courses!

Things to See and Do in Tanjung Rhu

  1. Embark on a fascinating tour of the mangrove swamps and karst landscapes at Kilim River Geo Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site…
  2. … And visit Pulau Anak Tikus to see 480 million-year-old fossils.
  3. Be brave and go for a swim at the (almost) secret Shark Bay Beach!
  4. Check out the black-sand beach at Teluk Yu and – if you have children – let them go wild at the great children’s play area here.
  5. Simply wander the tranquil and beautiful stretch of Tanjung Rhu Beach.
  6. And try a delicious plate of mee gulung at one of the roadside stalls.
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Langkawi

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Langkawi and where to stay.

What To Pack For Langkawi

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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Make Some New Buddies…

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Langkawi

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Langkawi

We’ve covered the best areas to stay on Langkawi, whether you want to base yourself near the best beaches on Langkawi, lively nightlife, or deep in a secluded jungle.

There is so much to do and see in Langkawi for all types of budgets and travel styles; still, you’ll want to base yourself in the right area for your interests.

Still not sure where to stay in Langkawi?

Tubotel is an awesome, unique hostel that offers clean dorm rooms and privates with an ocean view! You can’t beat the hotel’s delicious breakfast and sunset views!

Cenang Plaza Beach Hotel is another top choice, as it’s just a few steps from the beach with comfortable and clean rooms. Here you can find a wide selection of restaurants and bars close by, as well as malls.

Do you think visiting Malaysia might be dangerous? Take one look at our travel safety report on Malaysia and you’ll find that it surely isn’t.

Have you been to Langkawi? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Langkawi and Malaysia?