Langkawi - Best Beaches with Map

Updated: Sep 4

Looking for the best beach in Langkawi? This article aims to show you that Langkawi has a number of free public beach gems around the island (more than 10 in fact) and not just the well known Pantai Cenang!


Although most beaches in Langkawi are (theoretically) public and thus free to access, some resorts have purchased large sections of land, restricting vehicular access to the beach itself. Most of the beaches are located on the northern and western shoreline of Langkawi Island and it would be best to have your own transportation to reach all of these beaches, although using a Grab Taxi to get to a few would also be feasible put possibly a little more costly.

Langkawi is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Western Malaysia. With so many options for cheap flights and boat trips to reach this wonderful (and duty-free!) island, it is entirely understandable why. While the main tourist area of Pantai Cenang is developing fairly fast and is almost entirely focused on tourism, the rest of the island remains laid back, rural and mostly inhabited by locals. This island is less than 480 km2 and can easily be circumnavigated by vehicle in a day. We first visited Langkawi Island in 2014 and returned to spend a month here in August 2019.


A Clockwise Tour of Langkawi's Best Beaches

(starting from Pantai Cenang)

Be sure to read all the way to the end as we’ll make a full circle and end with a hidden spot just south of Pantai Cenang! The word “Pantai” in Malay actually means beach, so look out for local signage or direction boards that indicate “Pantai …” and you’ll be sure to find a few other sandy white beaches you didn’t know about!


Click the MAP to go to Google Earth

Or download Google KML file HERE


Pantai Cenang Beach

(along Langkawi’s western coast)

Pantai Cenang is by far the busiest and most touristy beach on Langkawi Island. That being said, it is a fantastic 2km long slightly curved stretch of uninterrupted white sand beach located on the western shoreline of Langkawi and just a 10-minute drive from Langkawi International Airport. The wide sandy beach is lined with palm, coconut and other large trees providing plenty of shady spots to hang out in the midday sun. You can find all kinds of fun water sport activities ranging from gentle boat rides to racing jet skis or exciting parasailing. If you do consider parasailing, remember that this is a very risky activity and that it may be advisable to book with a reputable operator rather than making use of just anyone along the beach. You can find reviewed operators with Viator here. You can even go for a jet ski tour of the nearby islands which is guaranteed to be great fun!

The water at Pantai Cenang is calm, shallow and warm, so it’s a great place to take a swim or splash about. If all the water-sport activity is a little too much for you, you can walk north along the beach and easily find a more tranquil and relaxing spot as the activities are concentrated towards the southern end of the beach. One thing that makes this beach so appealing is, of course, the amazing view of the ocean and all the smaller islands close by. Although the water quality is fine for swimming, it is a little murky and unfortunately not crystal clear.


Most of the high-end hotels and resorts are concentrated in this area and it is a very convenient area to stay in. The beach is lined with a wide variety of accommodation including backpacker style rooms, chalets, bungalows and fancier hotels as well as beach bars, cafes and restaurants. This makes it easy to grab a snack, meal or drink along the beach. While water sports activities continue until sunset, it is after sunset that these places come to life with tables and candles being brought onto the beach for some romantic (and slightly cheesy) settings! Being a duty-free island, drinks are cheap and freely available at most beach-side cafes where you can enjoy some live music and fire performances until late into the night. Although there is an evening vibe, it’s not a crazy party scene.

One thing to note is that there are currently no public toilets or changing facilities at Pantai Cenang Beach. If you are really desperate, you can ask one of the hotels to use their facilities and they will most likely oblige. Although it is considered a family and child-friendly beach, be aware of both the racing jet skis in the shallow waters and also support vehicles racing along the beach as these could catch small children unaware.


If you are feeling adventurous, apparently at low tide you can walk across to Pulau Rebak Kecil. Just be warned that the tide only remains low for a couple of hours so if you don’t get back in time you may just get stuck there! Be sure to take enough water and sunscreen as there’s nothing on the smaller island and you are exposed all the way.


Although the busiest and most touristy beach, we still like this area of Langkawi as it is easy to find budget accommodation within walking distance to the beach as well as within walking distance to convenience stores and many local eateries. If you want to stay somewhere (other than a resort) where you do not need your own transportation, we recommend this as the most suitable area of Langkawi.


How to enjoy Pantai Cenang on a Budget

If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend popping into one of the many convenience stores along Jalan Pantai Cenang to grab some beer (or other drinks), for about half the price compared to from a bar on the beach, and then sit and relax either along the beach walk or on the beach to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the ocean. Depending on the season, if the sun is aiming to set behind the island of Pulau Rebak Besar, just walk further north to see it setting over the sea instead! It will also be much quieter along this section of beach. If you’re going DIY sunset style like us, then grab a bargain takeaway pizza from “Pizza on Fire” to enjoy with those cheap beers and sunset!


Best Value for Money Island Hopping Tour of Langkawi

One of the best half-day outings that you can do from Pantai Cenang is a 3-4 hour island-hopping boat tour. This really doesn’t break the bank and is a fantastic way to see some of the nearby islands such as Pulau Dayang Bunting where you can swim in the freshwater Pregnant Maiden Lake, Pulau Singa to feed the famous Langkawi Eagles and Pulau Beras Basah to enjoy yet another beautiful white sandy beach.

You can find plenty of booking agents along the main street just off Pantai Cenang beach to arrange a trip or you can book a tour online.

Spoil Yourself with a Langkawi Sunset Cruise

Being budget travellers, we did not do this ourselves. However, a sunset cruise with ocean swimming in the clear warm waters and BBQ dinner with drinks sure does sound good!


Laksa Beach

(along Langkawi’s western coast)

This is a very small beach area at low tide right alongside the airport and roadside parking area. The area under the trees is lined with small local Laksa stalls which come to life in the late afternoon and evening. Although not a glamorous beach, this can be a fairly secluded spot during the morning and midday.


Pantai Kok

(along Langkawi’s western coast)

Situated only 12km north from Pantai Cenang, the public section of this beach is actually located south of what is indicated on Google Maps, closer to Telaga Harbour Marina. The smaller bay (indicated at Pantai Kok) has been acquired by a hotel and vehicular access is no longer possible to the public. The larger bay, just opposite Seratosa Island and NAAM Sports Island, is a lovely long and wide stretch of white sand with a grassy park area with large trees behind it providing much-wanted shade. You can access this area either from the south, just adjacent to The Danna Resort or from the north at Teluk Burau, where there is a small parking lot and a few local vendor style eateries where you can grab a bite to eat, cold drink or ice-cream. Be sure to stop by here if you visit the Langkawi Cable Car as it right nearby.


The water here is a little clearer than the nearby Pantai Cenang and the beach offers spectacular views of the bay with the many islands on the horizon. The mountains behind the beach are covered in rain forests which make this beach rather special. When we were there in August, the beach was almost entirely deserted, so if you’re looking to escape the crowds of Pantai Cenang, but still want a long sandy beach with shade, then this is a great option for you.


There are water-sport activities on NAAM Sports Island (Paradise 101) which is currently run as a Private Island Day Resort for which you can purchase various package deals here. This is a great way to keep the whole family entertained for a day!


Teluk Datai Beach

(Private / Inaccessible)

Although this beach looks appealing on Google Maps, the land surrounding it belongs to The Datai Langkawi Resort which makes the beach inaccessible to the public. The road that leads here is however very scenic and we enjoyed riding it with our scooter even if it didn’t lead to the beach! Do not fear, there is a fantastic beach (Sandy Skulls Beach) less than 10km’s away...


Pebble Beach

(along Langkawi’s northern coast)

This is really not much of a beach and more of a small pebble bay which is probably better suited to fishing than swimming. But if you just want to sit on the rocks away from the crowds, or cool your toes after visiting the waterfalls, this could be a suitable spot. To be honest, we didn’t find it very appealing at all. Situated right opposite the Temurun Waterfalls in the Datai area, you walk down a fairly steep and very littered trail from the parking lot. Considering all the rocks, it’s not a great place for swimming though. Our advice would be to rather go to the beautiful Sand Skulls Beach just nearby.


Sandy Skulls Beach @ Pasir Tengkorak Recreational Forest Datai

(along Langkawi’s northern coast)

This may well be the most beautiful and our favourite beach on Langkawi Island. Although you will most likely not be alone on this beach, it does to a large extent remain off the main track of most tourists and day visitors as you need transportation to get here. For this reason, it is also a favourite amongst locals. Situated about 25km’s from Pantai Cenang, you can access the beach from the Pasir Tengkorak Recreational Forest parking lot, through a small forest park with tall shady trees and picnic tables. There are also paid shower rooms and toilet facilities available and in peak season there will be a few vendors too.


This white sand beach is actually a relatively small bay with fairly clear and calm water for swimming. There is plenty of shade provided by the trees along the beach edge and there are usually a few vendors selling fruit and cold drinks. We were there in August and there was only one vendor open, but in peak season there should be more. The bay is perfectly peaceful as there are no water sport activities. Looking up at the forested hills from the water makes you feel well immersed in the surrounding nature.

If you want to stand a chance of being alone, follow the stairs that lead from the beach through the forest. In low tide, you may come across a small secluded bay!


Shark Bay Beach @ Teluk Yu Public Gardens

(along Langkawi’s northern coast)

Situated along Jalan Teluk Yu and bordering on the Teluk Yu Public Gardens paved promenade, this lovely stretch of sandy beach has multiple access points. You can also enjoy the shade from the nearby palm trees and there are even seating areas along the edge of the promenade to stop and enjoy the view. The water here is very calm but didn’t look all that clean or appealing for swimming. When we were there in August, we were almost the only ones on the beach, so if you want to escape the crowds, then this can be a good spot. In season and in the late afternoons, there are a few street vendors who set up restaurants along the promenade here.


Wild Beach

(along Langkawi’s northern coast)

Just a little further east from Shark Bay Beach, you will find a small gravel rest stop area. There are stairs that lead down to a small and secluded beach called Wild Beach. The tiny bay is engulfed in a forest which provides much-wanted shade. It may get busier in season, but if you want a small bay all to yourself, then this may be the one. Just bring your own snacks and drinks as there is nothing available here.


Langkawi's Black Sand Beach

(along Langkawi’s northern coast)

Just adjacent to Teluk Yu and usually accessed through the Medan Niaga Black Sand Beach Complex, his beach is known for its black sands. To be honest, the beach is not really a black sand beach, there are just some natural deposits of black sand along the beach which give it this name. This is a fairly popular beach and tourist stop as it has many vendors selling clothes, souvenirs, accessories and food at the Medan Niaga Black Sand Beach Complex. Although when we were there in August many of the vendors were closed in comparison to our previous visit in April when it was very busy. There is also a kids playground just above the beach and toilet facilities are available at the beach complex.


Pantai Rekreasi Kastam

(along Langkawi’s northern coast)

This is a lovely long public beach with easy access from Jalan Tanjung Rhu. The wide white sandy beach stretches out far in both directions, although to the east it becomes private property in front of the Four Seasons Resort. You will find many vendors selling fruit, snacks, local food and cold drinks. There are sun loungers and umbrellas to rent and even water sports activities in season. That being said, the beach is MUCH calmer and more laid back compared to Pantai Cenang and very few people actually seem to go here. That may be why the water is also clearer and more enticing for swimming. Also a great beach for walking as it is nice and long.


Tanjung Rhu Beach

(along Langkawi’s northern coast)

Continuing along Jalan Tanjung Rhu from Pantai Rekreasi Kastam, you will eventually reach the North-Eastern most beach of Langkawi Island! This beach is located in a picture-perfect setting with blue waters and many islands forming the scenic backdrop along the horizon. Although the beach is located away from most of the tourist attractions, we found quite a few people on this long wide stretch of soft white sand. These may be people from the nearby resorts or day visitors taking a trip from other areas on the island. Either way, the white sands and shallow emerald waters may make this one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. There are many stalls and local eateries along the coastal road that leads to the beach so be sure to either grab some snacks from a street-side vendor along the way. There are also a few stalls at the beach access itself, we had some fresh pisang goreng from the stall right at the beach and an amazing mango shake from the restaurant on the right as you approach the beach. There are also paid toilet facilities. If you want to get away from the crowds a bit, just keeping walking to the east, through the shady forest area and you will come across a much quieter and almost secluded bay. Be aware of the currents and swell of the water, although the water is warm and shallow, it can be a little turbulent.



Pantai Tengah

(along Langkawi’s western coast)

This beach is the southern extension of Pantai Cenang beach but separated from it by a rocky cliff. It's a very small (600m) picturesque sandy beach which is a lot more tranquil than its neighbouring Pantai Cenang. The beach is fringed by a row of palm and coconut trees that provide shade on a sunny day. Although in close proximity to Pantai Cenang, it is a stiff walk from one beach to the other due to all the coastal development blocking off beach access.




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