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In the Andaman Sea 18 miles off the coast from Kuala Perlis, Langkawi is made up of a group of 99 islands, accessible by boat. The main island, Pulau Langkawi is fringed with long, sandy beaches and has an interior of jungle-clad hills with picturesque paddy fields. If you want a location where the pace of life is a little slower, then the island of Langkawi is the ideal option. As capitals go, Kuah is tiny, but it does have a night market and a couple of shopping malls where you can make the most of the fact that this is a duty free island. Langkawi is renowned for its beautiful beaches. The Datai beach in the north is a long, sandy stretch of sand with some nontourist visitors in the form of monkeys. The views out over the outlying islands as far as Thailand are stunning. At Pelangi Beach, the tide goes out a long way revealing a fine, sand beach which shelves gently and is ideal for children. This is also the main resort on the island and behind the beach, along the roadside, there are a variety of bars, restaurants and shops. Langkawi is relaxed and relatively uncommercialised. What it lacks in culture and history, it more than makes up for in beautiful scenery.
If you can tear yourself away from the beach, you will find an assortment of sights and attractions to visit. An array of traditional Malaysian handicrafts can be admired at the Cultural Craft Complex, or you may be interested to visit the Rice Garden, which imparts knowledge of the humble grain! Other sights include the Summer Palace, Underwater World Langkawi which houses 5,000 mammals and reptiles, or you may prefer to take the Langkawi cable-car ride which rises 706 metres above sea level and offers spectacular vistas of the sea and Thailand.
In Langkawi, the capital, Kuah‘s indoor mall houses a selection of restaurants and in the evenings, there are often cultural shows and dancing. Along the seafront is a pretty promenade flanked by gardens where you can eat out and enjoy the view. Alternatively, head for Pantai Tengah and Pantai Cerang near Pelangi Beach.
Langkawi has shopping on a much smaller scale, but attracts visitors from neighbouring Penang to make the most of its duty free prices. Shoes and leather are particularly good value.