Prior to 1987, nobody knew about Langkawi and its remarkable beaches and mountains. Today, it is one of the top tourist draws of Malaysia. Travelers from the United States, Thailand, Japan, Korea and most especially European countries come to this inviting archipelago off the northwestern shores of mainland Malaysia. The archipelago consists of 99 islands (104 if including those that appear during low tide), the largest of which is Langkawi Island. Getting around Langkawi is fairly very easy with the numerous forms of transport available.
The most convenient and available ride is on rented car. In fact, a few rent-a-car companies are stationed in designated booths at the international airport and jetty ports. At the jetty ports, car rental companies actually race to incoming tourists to see who gets the first customer. So far, the cheapest rent-a-cars are compact cars operated by Faizal, only RM30 from 8:45 AM to 4:30 PM. This is just enough time to see major parts of Kuah (the island’s capital), run some errands, eat lunch and stock up on groceries. This is very cheap, especially if you’re sharing the bill with someone. The more expensive ones could range from RM50 to RM150. Throw in a little more money and you may ask the operator to deliver the car to wherever you want it delivered. If you have a bit more money to spare, you can hire private chauffeured limousines to enjoy the island and its attractions in style. However, car rentals normally double during peak season.
Motorcycle rentals are also recommended. It is cheaper, at only RM25 to RM45 a day. Most motorcycle-rental companies are stationed at the international airport, jetty ports, around Kuah, and at the Pantai Tenguh and Pantai Cenang tourist beaches.
Traveling on land either by car or motorcycle is the coolest way to go since there is not much traffic in the island. Roads are not congested and motorists are disciplined, unlike those in Phuket and mainland Malaysia, but do watch out for crossing water buffalos. They are very tough animals. Avoiding them is for your own sake. By the way, you would need a Malaysian or international driver’s license to be allowed to drive, although nobody really bothers to check foreigners. Officers are more concerned with local drivers. Know also that wearing seatbelts is mandatory, as well as wearing helmets when on a motorcycle.
Besides rentals, public buses and taxis are always an option. There are, however, few buses and limited routes, which means you have to wait long to get one, and walk for good distances to get to your specific destination. Taxis are still the most convenient way to see places on land but they are very expensive. A short distance already costs RM15.
If you wish to go by sea, you can take a ferry from the main island going to any of the beach resorts. There is a ferry service from the marina of Rebak Island to Port Langkasuka and back. The ferry runs every hour beginning at 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM. From Port Langkasuka, Kuah is just a short ride away. If you wish to go by plane when getting around Langkawi and its island-resorts, you would need to book charter flights, which could be very expensive.