Langkawi is a streamlined tourist destination that knows how to take care of its guests. Visitors can dive into the local culture or retire to the beaches in seclusion. Facilities around Pentai Cenang are thorough, with everything to meet tourists' banking and shopping needs. Meanwhile, the remote backcountry is a short drive away by rental car.
Malaysia is no stranger to international visitors, especially on a resort island like Langkawi. Tourists will find that the atmosphere is exceptionally laid-back. In many ways, the resorts are cut off from the mainland, and international customs prevail.
With this in mind, it is still important to mind local taboos when venturing off the resort, especially when it comes to public displays of affection. Nude sunbathing is also unacceptable.
Generally speaking, Malaysians don't tip, but the international currents of Langkawi have to be taken into account. Larger, upscale restaurants are likely to add a 10 percent service charge to the bill. Smaller establishments won't do this, but there is still a good chance their wait staff has been told to pocket the change more than a few times.
The Malaysian ringgit (MYR) is used in local commerce. Visitors can exchange currency at the airport, at most hotels and at banks in Kuah Town. Private moneychangers around the duty-free shops offer the best rates. Aside from duty-free bargains, tourists will find that things cost a bit more on Langkawi, but prices are still low by Western standards.
Cash is needed at night markets, some handicraft workshops and smaller boutiques, while most of the larger duty-free shops accept credit cards. ATMs are found wherever resorts congregate, especially along Pentai Cenang. Take care to guard your credit card, as other parts of Malaysia have had reports of credit card fraud.
Langkawi is popular year-round, and there are two distinct seasons. The monsoon season rolls in from May to October, during which time rain falls consistently, but rarely enough to ruin a day's activities. The weather generally dries up for a month or so during July or August.
Come November, the skies have cleared over Langkawi and the Malaysian resorts on Borneo have succumbed to a much soggier rainy season that doesn't affect this side of the country. Langkawi is one of few island resorts enjoying warm, dry weather this season, and its hotels and resorts fill up accordingly. Room prices are highest during December and January.
Getting around Langkawi isn't as convenient as it could be. There are no public buses, so tourists are left with taxis and hotel shuttles. The latter is convenient for seeing major tourist attractions, but won't help with exploring off the beaten track. The most practical means of getting around is to rent a car and explore on your own. Motorbikes are also available.
There are two ways to get to and from Langkawi International Airport (LGK). Taxis are abundant and clearly marked, but fares are higher than on the mainland. Virtually all of the major resorts arrange pick ups at the airport, and this can be convenient for anyone not planning to hire a vehicle.
Spoken languages: Malay, English
Electrical: 220-240 Volts, 50 Hertz
Phone/calling code: +60 604
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