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Things to do in Langkawi

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia – half day tour review

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Given the number of beautiful islands around Langkawi (99 and counting), it is no wonder that an island hopping tour in Langkawi is one of the most popular day activities. As such, we wanted to escape the main area (stunning though it is) and visit some of the outlying islets. Alas, we can’t sail and given healthy competition amongst the many tour operators, there are are several different half day and full day island hopping tour excursions available with prices starting as low as 40RM (approx £8) for a 4 hour trip including hotel transfers – we opted to book with a company called Langkawi Tour.

Langkawi island hopping tour

Once you are picked up at your hotel and dropped off at the port (a very short ride from Cenang Beach), it is a bit of a free-for-all to find your boat on the harbour at first, but we eventually found where we were supposed to be. It was nice as our group size was small with only 9 people and we had the same small motor boat / captain throughout the trip.

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

A little out of the harbour, the captain went full throttle as we raced across the open sea (very ‘Miami Vice’) – our hearts raced a little as we hit some of the larger waves and our bums left our seats for a fleeting few milliseconds. Our first visit was to Dayang Bunting, the second largest island in Langkawi (the name meaning ‘Island of Pregnant Maiden’). This is because the outline of the island does indeed look like a sleeping lady with a small bump for her stomach.

The Pregnant Maiden

Once we docked, we walked along a long deck to the visit the large freshwater lake (known as ‘Lake Guillemard’ or ‘Lake of the Pregnant Maiden’) surrounded by Malaysian rainforest and boardwalks.

Note that there is a small admission charge here to access the lake, with the money collected being used to preserve the area.

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post
Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

Check out our Top things to do in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post!

Our first impression of the lake was enchanting, as the light shimmered on the turquoise blue colours and we caught glimpse of a couple of kayaks in the distance. As we approached a little nearer, a mini kitsch Disneyworld unfurled before us – from swan pedalos to solar powered vessels (a world’s first apparently) and a lakeside massage tent, it was a little OTT.

It felt that this area of outstanding natural beauty deserved better. A large glass bottomed vessel that would minimise traffic on the lake would be a better and less disruptive solution, not all the plastic animal boats.

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

If full-size turtle rafts aren’t your thing (yay), you could opt to just go for a swim (which they insist you need a lifejacket for), a kayak or go for a walk along the boardwalk. 

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post
Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post
Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

As we made our way back to the boat, several macaque monkey families appeared on the hilltop path – what we learned from this is try to avoid the alpha male, many tourists neglect to read the ‘do not feed the monkeys’ signs and that the macaques really like Oreo cookies (who knew?).

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post
Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

Travelling around Malaysia?

Check out our blog posts for travel tips on PenangKuala LumpurMelaka and Cameron Highlands.

Our next stop on the Langkawi island hopping tour is Pula Singa Besar, a wildlife sanctuary of sorts that is home to mangroves, steep rockfaces and all manner of nature – we were predominantly here to observe the sea-eagles. The island name means ‘Big Lion Island’ but you won’t see any Leos here.

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

During this part of the tour, you aren’t able to get off and explore but you’ll be transfixed as the eagles soar up and then dive down to catch fish from the ocean (note that the fish is thrown in by all the various boat crews so it isn’t entirely natural).

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

The final stop of the Langkawi island hopping tour is Pulau Beras Basah (or ‘Wet Rice Island’). As you arrive, you are dropped off on a gloriously sandy white beach, with a scattering of palm trees, an abandoned jetty (home to some more monkeys) plus a small food and drink kiosk (and yes, they have ice-cold soft-drinks and snacks).

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post
Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

It can get quite busy here with all the various island hopping boats but the beach is big enough to make it feel not too crowded and there are plenty of shaded areas (including a picnic table area next to the kiosk).

You can whilst away your time swimming or watching the monkeys trying to cadge food of tourists (make sure you keep an eye on your bag at all times as they are very quick to pounce – we saw them get away with several plastic bags of food). We even got chance to launch our DJI Spark drone here and get some pictures of the beach and island from far above.

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

As we returned to the mainland and got off the boat, we couldn’t but admire the resourcefulness of one of the locals who had taken photographs of us in the morning as we’d departed on the dock, and then printed them onto commemorative plates (at 10RM, they were more plastic than Wedgwood, but at that price, we were definitely making space in our already overladen backpacks).

Island hopping in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post

Given the beauty of the outlying islands at Langkawi and the comparative low cost of the island hopping tours compared to other excursions, we highly recommend that you search out of one of these tours – and with any spare Malaysian Ringit you have, make sure you invest it in a plastic plate bearing your face; it sure beats the usual kitsch keyring or baseball hat.

How to book the Island Hopping in Langkawi tour

Check out Langkawi Tour’s website to book their island hopping tour (includes return hotel transfer from either Cenang or Kuah). They also offer many other day tours such as snorkelling, Mangrove boat tour and sunset cruise, plus overnight packages.

Other Malaysia blog posts

Download the Grab app

Grab taxis are widely used by both tourists and locals, and the fares are really cheap! Download the Grab app here and use the code GRABCKTRAVELS to earn a free ride when you sign up.

Sim cards and pocket WIFI

Having data on your phone whilst travelling is almost essential these days – from planning your route around the city, booking a Grab taxi or for staying connected with friends and family back home. SIM cards are pretty cheap in Malaysia with generous data allowances and are available to purchase from airports, malls and convenience stores (bring your passport along for identification purposes).

You can also prepay online and collect a SIM from Langkawi airportJust remember to make sure your phone is not locked to your local network provider before purchasing one.

Alternatively if you do not want to change your sim card then renting a pocket WIFI device might be for you. We’ve used them multiple times and love that we can both connect our devices to it, however the downside to the Malaysian ones is that there is a data allowance of 1GB per day. Pre-order one online with Klook for collection when you arrive at either KLIA or KLIA2 airport in Kuala Lumpur. 

Disclosure: The Island Hopping tour in Langkawi was complimentary, but as always, opinions are all our own. Did you enjoy our Island Hopping tour in Langkawi blog post? Let us know in the comments or by sharing it on social media.

Where to stay in Langkawi

Here are some ideas for accommodation for all budgets if you are planning a trip to Langkawi!


Here are some cheap hostels that come highly rated on hostelworld:

Langkawi Dormitorio hostel / Two Peace House hostel / Tubotel hostel

Mid range

If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels have great reviews:

Bayview Hotel (Kuah Town) / Bon Ton Resort / Berjaya Langkawi Resort

Treat yourself!

Alternatively if you are looking for something more special then treat yourself to a stay at one of these seriously beautiful hotels in Langkawi:

The Danna Langkawi / The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort, Langkawi / Ambong Pool Villas Langkawi

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Johanes Bangao
    January 31, 2019 at 10:56 am

    Stunning pictures! I really love the pictures of the islands – you were able to take the green trees, white sand as well as the bluish water in that one drone pic. From that point of view I could see that the island is clean and well-maintained. It makes me want to pack my bags and just go!

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