While there are many amazing destinations on our travel bucket list around Asia, we can’t help keep boomeranging back to one of the easiest short break island destinations of all: Langkawi. Once a hotspot for pillaging pirates taking a rest from plundering the Andaman Sea, the island has left behind its plank-walking history and is now a popular refuge for families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Singapore. If you haven’t been already, you’re missing out! Langkawi absolutely needs to go on your family holiday radar for its kid-friendly hotels, palm-fringed beaches and short journey time – there aren’t many places you can be sipping a sunset cocktail on the beach just a few hours after leaving work! Here are five reasons why we still love Langkawi and why you should be getting that flight booked, pronto…
1. The cheap and easy journey: We love our children, but that doesn’t mean we want to spend endless hours travelling with kids for a quick weekend away. With a flight time of less than 90 minutes, and some great family-friendly resorts within a 15 minute drive of the airport, this is a drama-free journey if ever there was one. Air Asia and Tiger Air offer some crazy cheap flight deals to seal the deal.
2. The powdery beaches and clean sea: If it’s a beach vacay you’re after then it doesn’t get much better than Langkawi. The waters are calm and clean (but do look out for seasonal jelly fish) and the beaches are white and endless. Pantai Cenang Beach is popular for water sports, exotic cocktails and serious seashell finds (enjoy them, but always leave them behind!), while if it’s pure luxe you’re after then the private Datai Bay is where it’s at. With 11 beaches to choose from, there’s definitely a stretch of sand for you.
3. The kid-friendly adventures: If you fancy vacating your sunbed once the kids have had their fill of sandcastle building, then there are plenty of opportunities for some exploring. We love the rice fields, restaurant and museum at Laman Padi Langkawi: a fully operational rice farm complete with working buffalos. The eagle feeding adventure into the mangroves, the cable cars, island snorkelling trips, jet ski island hopping and the small aquarium in Pentai Cenang are also worth putting on your schedule if you can. Or you could just stay by the pool and wait for happy hour…
4. The perfect family hotels: Langkawi is big on family and those beautiful beaches have drawn a host of fabulous all-singing, all-dancing hotels perfect for a family escape. We’ve just stayed at the Meritus Pelangi Beach for the fifth time (dino water park, good sized family rooms, beach-front location, easy stroll into town and the best milkshakes in Langkawi keep us coming back), but we also hear glowing reports about The Andaman, Datai Langkawi, The Westin Langkawi and Casa Del Mar.
5. The delicious food: We have to give a shout out to Yasmin in Pentai Cenang, a small Syrian restaurant that packs a punch, but whether you decide to dine in your hotel (look out for the regular kids-eat-free offers) or explore options in town, from Chinese seafood to traditional beef rendang, it’s all delicious. Take us back, now!
Photography: Tracy Tristram