Port of Langkawi
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Langkawi's heritage is steeped in myths and legends, with the most famous story surrounding a young maiden who cursed the islands with seven generations of bad luck (see "Don't Miss"). Following her death, Langkawi spent many years in turmoil and passed through the hands of the Siamese, British and Thai before finally gaining permanent independence in 1957. Whether it's coincidence or truth, Langkawi began to flourish in the 1970's, right around the time that the curse is said to have lifted. With a population of more than 60,000 people, today Langkawi thrives on tourism as well as many other industries, including the exporting of rubber, rice, teak wood and palm oil.
Pulau Langkawi, where the cruise ships dock, is the largest of Langkawi's isles and houses the majority of tourist attractions. The island is only about 154 square miles, making it a manageable size for taking in many sights during the course of a day. A rental car will buy you the freedom to wander at your leisure, and the best place to start is along the coast. Regardless of the direction you take, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views of the ocean, endless beaches for a quick or lingering dip, and a window into the lives of the Malay people as you pass by countless quaint and inviting villages along the way.
Top Langkawi Itineraries
Seabourn Encore37-day Seas Of SinbadAthens , Haifa, Jerusalem , Aqaba, Salalah, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island , Dubai, Sir Bani Yas Island , Muscat, Mumbai , Mangalore, Kochi , Phuket, Langkawi, SingaporeNow
Silver Muse17 Night Africa CruiseMuscat, Mumbai , Kochi , Colombo, Yangon , Yangon , Yangon , Phuket, Langkawi, Kelang , SingaporeNow
Star ClipperNorthernPhuket, Similan Islands, Langkawi, Phang Nga Bay, Ko Hong, PhuketNow
Seabourn Encore18-day Jewels Of Arabia & IndiaDubai, Sir Bani Yas Island , Muscat, Mumbai , Mangalore, Kochi , Phuket, Langkawi, SingaporeNow
Star ClipperSingapore – PhuketSingapore, Malacca, Langkawi, Phang Nga Bay, Ko Hong, PhuketNow
Where You're Docked
The Star Cruises jetty, where many big cruise lines dock, is about eight miles west of Kuah. Aside from a few resorts, this port isn't close to any of the main tourist attractions, so when you dock you'll need to either rent a car or take a taxi to explore the island. If you've booked a tour, the buses meet you right at the dock to start the excursion.
Good to Know
Langkawi is an extremely safe place for tourists. Many locals depend on tourism for their livelihood, so you're almost certain to be met with friendly faces everywhere you go. Although the island is practically crime-free, you should still protect your valuables. Don't invite someone to take something from you by leaving it unattended, no matter how comfortable you might feel.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The Ringgit (RM) is the official currency of Malaysia. Some tourist shops will take U.S. dollars, but those places are few and far between. And, despite Langkawi's proximity to Thailand, store owners will not take Baht. The best places to exchange money are at the airport, banks and some of the larger resorts. And, if you find yourself running low, there are several ATM's in Kuah and at the Kuah jetty near Eagle Square. For current exchange rates, visit XE.com.
Bahasa Malaysia is the official language, but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't speak -- or at least understand -- English. And, since Langkawi is a popular tourist destination, a great deal of the signage is also translated into English.
Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall (sandwiched between Eagle Square and downtown Kuah) houses many shops that specialize in beautifully handcrafted plates, made from the bark of Malaysian cinnamon trees. These elegant plates come in all shapes, sizes and designs and make the perfect accents for entertaining back home. You can also find a healthy selection of these dishes at the Oriental Village gift shop at Kereta Kabel (see below).