Getting to Langkawi by
Air, Ferry, Cruise, Road, Rail
Although Langkawi may seem to be an isolated cluster of islands on the Andaman Sea and separate by the Malacca Strait by some 30kms from the nearest point of Malaysia's western coast, it is well connected with various places of Malaysia as well as several other neighboring countries. There are both regular air and water way connections to the main island of Langkawi.
However there are no road or rail connections from Malaysia's mainland all the way up to Langkawi as the island is several miles off shore. If you plan to take rail or road transport, then you will first need to come to a point on the north western coast of peninsular Malaysia which is close to Langkawi and then take a ferry or boat service to reach the island.
Here are all the options of getting to Langkawi from various places including Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah, Penang, Phuket, Singapore and other places:
Reaching Langkawi by Air
Langkawi is connected with several points in Malaysia like Kulala Lumpur and Penang, as well as several other overseas cities like Singapore, Phuket (Thailand), Seoul (South Korea), and cities of Australia, China, Japan etc with regular and direct air connections. Langkawi Airport
is located at Padang Matsirat and is served by airlines like Malaysia Airline, Air Asia, Silk Air etc.
Check out Air Travel to Langkawi
to know all about the airlines operating to the island, logistic involved, facilities at the airport, transfers, travel documents required, and more.
Getting to Langkawi by Car/Bus
There is no road connection all the way to Langkawi. You can however drive down from the mainland Malaysia (like Kualalumpur) on your own car or by bus to one of the following places:
1. Ferry terminal at Kuala Kedah which is located at the north western coast of Malaysia. If you are driving along the North South Expressway (E1), take the exit at Alor Setar Selatan, and follow the signs. It takes about 6 hours to reach Kuala Kedah by car from Kuala Lumpur.
2. Ferry terminal at Kuala Perlis further up and takes about an hour more.
Regular buses/coaches are available between KL and Kuala Perlis (takes about 8 hours). Buses leaves from Pudu Sentral bus station or Hentian Duta bus station in KL. The bus stand at Kuala Perlis is at a walking distance from ferry dock.
You will get regular daily ferry service from both Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis to reach the Kuah Jetty of Langkawi. The express ferry takes about 1 hour 30 minutes from Kuala Kedah and 1 hour 15 minutes from Kuala Perlis to reach Langkawi. There are paid car parking available next to the jetties of both Kuala Kedah and Kuala Perlis. Minimum parking fee is RM15.00 per day.
Kuala Perlis has become a more popular ferry dock for tourists who want to reach Langkawi by ferry from the main land like Kuala Lumpur. This is because the ferry ride from Kuala Perlis is shorter than Kuala Kedah. The basic facilities like eateries, car parking etc have been upgraded by the government in 2015/16. More than 30 ferries operate to Langkawi from Kuala Perlis.
Check out Ferry Services
to know about ferry schedules and other information.
Ferries Carrying Cars & Cargo
There are regular roll-on-roll-off ferries that operate between Kuala Perlis and Langkawi island that carry cars and cargo along with passengers. So this means you can simply roll on your car into the ferry, travel in the same ferry and on reaching Langkawi (at Tanjung Lembong) just roll off your car.
Two companies operate the car ferries - Langkawi RoRo Ferry Services and Langkawi Auto Express, and each company operates one or two such car ferries per day. Timings vary depending on tide time and seasonal demands. The fare depends on size of car and number of passengers travelling. To give you an idea, the return fare for a small car (bellow 1500cc) along with a driver and accompanying adult would be around RM348, and for a motorcycle (below 125cc) would be around RM140.
Check out the following company website links for exact ferry timings and fares. You should book such car ferry in advance (can be easily done online through their websites):
Note that there is no such roll-on-roll-off service available at Kuala Kedah. There was a cargo ferry option earlier (currently not operating) which would only carry cars (and not passengers). On reaching Langkawi on a separate passenger ferry, you could pick up your car next day from the ferry terminal.
Getting to Langkawi by Ferry/Boat
There are regular express ferry services from Kuala Kedah, Kuala Perlis and Penang to Langkawi (Kuah Jetty) and back. There is also a daily ferry service between Satun of Thailand and Kuah of Langkawi.
Check out Langkawi Ferry Services
to know about the routes, operators, schedules, journey time and other information.
Getting to Langkawi by Train
While there is no train connection all the way up to Langkawi, the Malayan Railway Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) runs comfortable and economical train services from Kuala Lumpur. It actually starts from Singapore. You get a wonderful view of the countryside if you take the train. This is an overnight train and slower than the bus. But you can sleep overnight and be ready for a tour next morning.
You can get off at one of the following stations:
1) Alor Setar (Kedah). Then take a bus or taxi to the ferry jetty at Kuala Kedah.
2) Arau (Perlis). Then take a bus or taxi to the ferry jetty at Kuala Perlis.
From the jetty take an express ferry to reach Langkawi. Check out Ferry Services
to know about ferry schedules and other information. For inquiry and reservations at the Malayan Railway, call at the following KTM phone numbers: 603/2267 1200, or, 1 300 88 5862. Or check out the KTM website www.ktmb.com.my
for the train schedules and reservations.
Passenger cruise ships make regular calls at Langkawi. Usually such cruises make calls to several other ports and also dock at Langkawi for a day. Star Cruises has its own berth (or pier) known as Star Cruise Jetty. This is where most of the other large cruise ships also dock. The 350m berth is located close to the southern end of Pantai Tengah at an isolated area. There are virtually no facilities at the jetty other than telephones and availability of maps & brochures. The nearest hotel is Awana Porto Malai Resort (now known as Resorts World Langkawi) which is about 300m away.
Location of Star Cruise Jetty, Langkawi
There are buses organized by the cruise lines for shore excursions. You can also walk up to Pantai Cenang and Tengah beach along the main road (about 3kms from the cruise terminal and takes about 35 minutes). You will find plenty of taxis outside the cruise terminal. The fare is RM20 to Kuah Town (about 13kms). You can also hire a taxi by the hour (usual rate is RM25-30 per hour and minimum 4 hours) and take a tour of the island. Visit Langkawi Land Tours
to know about the tour descriptions, duration, places you can visit etc.
The cruise ship also takes care of the immigration clearances before you can set out to explore the island. Customs Phone: (604) 969 9010; Immigration Phone: (604) 425 1624
For Star Cruises, the popular embarkation points in Southeast Asia are the ports at Klang (Malaysia) and Singapore. Check out their website www.starcruises.com for information about destinations & packages, schedules, cruise ship details and reservation process.
There are also other cruises that come occasionally from places like London, Dubai, Perth etc. Here are some of such cruises operating to Langkawi:
From Singapore: Azamara Journey of Azamara Club Cruises, Costa Victoria of Costa, Legend of the Seas from Royal Caribbean, Minerva from Swan Hellenic
From Sydney: Sea Princess of Princess Cruises
From Perth: Dawn Princess of Princess Cruises
From Dubai: Queen Mary 2 of Cunard
From London: Queen Mary 2 of Cunard
Required Travel Documents
If you are a foreigner visiting Langkawi, you will be required to carry travel documents like passport and even Malaysia entry visa depending on your nationality. If you have already completed your customs & immigration clearances at other port of disembarkation in Malaysia, then of course no further formalities would be required to be carried out on your arrival in Langkawi. Check out Visa & Passport for Langkawi/Malaysia
for details of travel documents required for entering Malaysia.
Customs Duty & Duty Free Allowances
Langkawi enjoys a special Duty Free status. Therefore unlike the most part of Malaysia, you won't need to pay customs duty or sales tax for most items that you bring into the island. However, there are some exceptions. Check out Langkawi Customs Duty
Josse Kunst (July 2013) - Car in a ferry?
I am preparing a trip with the family to Malaysia. Is it possible to take a rental car by Ferry over to Langkawi? If so can you inform us where and how this works? We aim to be at Langkawi from August 6 to August 10. With kind regards.
Raj (langkawi-insight.com) July 2013
Hi, You can bring your car to Langkawi. There is a cargo ferry which leaves from Kuala Kedah (6 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur). It leaves at around 11am and reaches Tanjung Lumbung in Langkawi next day. So you will be able to get your car only next day. For a short trip to the island, it may not be worth it. It costs RM100 to 200 per car (depending on the size of the car). Regards,