In 1987, when Langkawi first invited the world to visit its beaches, mountains, waterfalls, wildlife and people, it decided to have a gimmick. The Malaysian government decided to transform Langkawi into a duty-free island, and this gimmick did get the attention of travelers and shoppers from all over the world, especially Europe. Shopping in Langkawi is as popular as the island’s beaches and resorts.
Langkawi is not just one island but an archipelago that is made up of 104 islands. The largest island is Langkawi Island and the small ones are atolls that are not any bigger than a normal house. The only other inhabited island is Pulau Tuba. Langkawi is located off western Malaysia in the Andaman Sea. This part of the Malaysian Peninsula is known as the state of Kadesh. Just in 2008 during Langkawi’s Golden Jubilee Celebration, the archipelago was officially re-named as “Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah”.
Langkawi’s capital and main commercial area is Kuah. This is where most of the shopping happens. Sold tax-free are popular international names such as Nike, Adidas, and even labels for the finest and imported chocolates. A number of retail stores line up from the jetty port to the center of Kuah. Nearby is the Jetty Point Duty Free Complex with a variety of shops selling perfume, handicrafts, liquor, chocolates and clothes, as well as Starbucks and KFC; Saga Shopping Center, which showcases household items, clothes, and ceramics; and Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall with over 100 outlets, a food court and money changers. This is an old shopping mall that is more popular with locals.
Perhaps the best and most well-known shop in Langkawi is Al Ikhsan in Kuah. On sale are sporting apparel and shoes by Adidas, Nike, and Reebok.
For more shops elsewhere in Kuah, Pantai Cenang is made up of several shops and stalls that primarily sell souvenirs such as beads, trinkets, accessories, and handicrafts. Located along the beach road in Kuah, some of the stores along Pantai Cenang are Aishah Bt. Husin, Amitabha Primitive Art and Langkah Tuah Enterprise. Nearby are the Zon Duty-Free Shopping Complex in Underwater World Langkawi and the Thursday night markets in Temoyong.
Meanwhile, outside Kuah, there are rows of shops in three other areas, specifically in Atma Alam Batik Village, the roadside to the Field of Burnt Rice, and Padang Matsirat. The way to the Field of Burnt Rice and Atma Alam Batik Village located within the Langkawi Village are known for the many beautiful local batik-printed cloths for sale at affordable prices. There are also original paintings, mementos and souvenirs sold in Atma Alam Batik Village. Padang Matsirat, where the international airport is located, is about 25 minutes away from Kuah by car. There are no major duty-free shops here, just a number of stores selling all sorts of handicrafts and souvenirs. Just outside the borders of Padang Matsirat is a large shopping center called the Teow Soon Huat. This mall sells an array of commodities such as clothes, perfumes, foods, and so on.
There are more shops in and around Kuah. Mentioned above are a few of the major ones, just to prove that shopping in Langkawi is truly a blast.