Langkawi Land Tours by Taxi, Mini Vans, Coach
There are no public buses in Langkawi except for some very limited service in few specific areas and they are no good for touring around the island. So if you are planning for a tour of the island by road, one of the best options is to hire a taxi by the hour.
You will get taxis at any taxi stand or can even stop an empty one on the fly. Almost all taxi drivers know the island well enough and can take you to the main tourist attractions. However you will need to hire the taxi for a minimum of 4 hours and pay an hourly rate of around RM25. You can of course extend the hours if you so need.
So if you can design a tour of your own, you can easily take a taxi, go around the island and visit the attractions of your choice. This is the cheapest and probably the most convenient way of touring the island by road. Most of the tours that I have suggested below, can either be completed easily on your own by hiring a taxi or through a tour operator.
However there are few limitations with the taxi drivers. Most of them speak only the local Malay language and not English. Some can understand English, but very few can speak. And out of those who do, most can only speak in bits and pieces without using proper grammatical constructs. So if you are a foreigner, you will need to train your ears for a while before you start understanding what they actually mean. If you are taking a taxi from a stand, then ask them to get you a driver who can speak English, if you so need.
Another limitation with taxi drivers is that most do not have much knowledge (like background, history etc) about the tourist attractions and therefore are not good guides themselves. But fortunately, for most of the land based attractions in Langkawi you don't need a guide. They are either self explanatory, or there will be boards in English & Malay, signs, in-house guide and in some cases even audio-video rooms to explain the background and history of the attraction. So you can be easily on your own.
Taxis are air-conditioned. The standard taxis can accommodate up to 4 passengers (one in front and three at the back). However mini vans are also used in the island as taxis and they can accommodate 6-7 persons. The rates in that case may be a little higher.
You can also book a tour through one of the well known Land Tour Operators
in the island. Most hotels in Langkawi organize the common tours. They usually provide air conditioned mini vans. Note that the taxis in Langkawi are also air conditioned.
There are many travel stalls (small tour operators) along the road of Pantai Cenang offering all kinds of local packaged tours on sharing basis. They are the cheapest operators. However there are some unscrupulous ones you should be careful about. Some of them are only mediators, do not have vehicles or guides of their own and therefore may not be able keep their commitments.
The better ones have their own air conditioned mini vans or a private vehicles, and provide a knowledgeable guide. I have provided a link for the well known tour operators at the bottom of this page.
When you visit the tourist sites by car, you will pass by villages (known locally as kampungs) and vast stretch of greenery on the way. Langkawi is mostly unspoiled although many development have taken place in the island. There are hardly any billboards or neon signs to spoil the natural beauty of the island.
As you drive along the northern, western or southern coastline areas, you will see the emerald blue waters of the Andaman Sea and in many places the lovely white sandy beaches. In some areas you will pass by dense rainforests full of colorful bird life and amazing flora & fauna, and from some places you will get lovely views of the Mat Cincang & Gunung mountains at a distance. Overall the island and its natural treasures add to the wonderful experience of touring around on road as you visit the attractions.
Here I have suggested the top and most popular tours of Langkawi by taxi or mini van. Some of them are half day (4 hours) and others are full day tours. Visit the links and get complete details of the packages offered and best ways to avail the tours.
There are two different half day packages offered to take you around the island for visiting some of the top attractions.
The first package covers 1) The famous cable car ride from Oriental Village, 2) Telega Harbour park which is home to yacht marina and Perdana Quay which is a complex full of boutique shops and restaurants, and 3) Atma Alam Batik Art Village showcasing batik paintings and artwork.
The second half day package includes visits to 1) Mahsuri's Tomb & Cultural Complex where you will see legendary lady Mahsuri's tomb who was falsely accused of adultery & executed 2) Underwater world showcasing myriad of marine creatures, fish, birds and animals 3) Gamat Factory for healing oils 4) Eagle Square where a massive structure of golden brown eagle stands on the waterfront in Kuah
This is a day long land based tour by car that lets you discover some of the greatest attractions of Langkawi and get an all round flavor of the island including its culture, artwork, great rides and marine life. The tour includes visit to visit to 1) Eagle Square 2) Shopping complexes in Kuah Town 3) Galeria Perdana showcasing thousands of personal gift & souvenir collection of Malaysia's 4th Prime Minister received from all over the world 4) Cable Car Ride to the peak of Mount Mat Concang and walking on the Sky Bridge 5) Underwater World
This tour is about getting an insight into the rich heritage and culture of Langkawi. You will understand how Langkawi's culture has evolved over time, get an opportunity to talk to some of the local people & villagers, see traditional Malaysian architecture and houses, visit buffalo farm to know how dairy products like cheese & yogurts are made and so on.
Some packages also include visits to paddy fields and understanding how rice cultivation has evolved in the island, know about the local art and handicraft like Batik painting, visit the night market where vendors put up stalls & sell all kinds of house hold & souvenir items etc.
Chris Armstrong (December 2013)
Thank you for the very informative and helpful pages on your site. We shall be visiting Langkawi on a cruise in March, and I would like to know whether it would be practicable to pick up a taxi with an English speaking driver at the cruise terminal, or should I book one in
advance. If the latter do you recommend any in particular?
Raj (langkawi-insight.com) December 2013
Hi, It'll be a matter of chance (odds against you) to get a driver who speaks English. Most don't. So if that's what you must have, then book a taxi in advance. You can try Langkawi Taxi Service (Email: [email protected]
). One of their offerings is Round Island Tour of Langkawi which includes pick up and drop. The 5-hour tour covers: Eagle Square, Underwater World, Cable Car, Birds Paradise (now Langkawi Wildlife Park), Crocodile Farm, Waterfalls, Mahsuri Tomb, Shopping at Kuah Town etc. The package cost is RM145 for up to 4 persons (RM25 for every extra hour) and does not include any admission fee. You can however choose to visit any other places you want. While sending the email, mention your requirement for an English speaking driver. Regards,
GV.Gowrisankar (May 2013)
Hello Mr. Raj, I have already booked the Hotel room in Bayview in Lankawi from 6th to 9th June. During this time I would like to explore Lankawi by either Private taxi or Minibus. So how can I book that private taxi or mini van before I reach there. Kindly advise for the same. Thanks and Regards.
Raj (langkawi-insight.com) May 2013
You need not book taxis in advance. You can just go down to the nearest taxi stand or stop an empty taxi, and hire it by the hour. They charge RM25 per hour and you will need to book for minimum 4 hours. Private vans are usually offered only by hotels or tour operators. Unless you are a local, one problem is the language. Very few taxi drivers speak or understand English. So at the taxi stand ask for one who can communicate properly. Go through the following link for more options: Land Tour Operators