05 January 2016

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure in Langkawi, Malaysia

If you look up blog posts about vacationing on the island of Langkawi, you come across a bunch of lovely trip reports detailing stays at beautiful hotels, complete with daytime adventures including tour guides and island-hopping cruises and mangrove reserve boat tours and spa days and private jacuzzi rentals--all of these blog posts and trips, sponsored, unsurprisingly, by a social media campaign to get Langkawi and its tourist industry a little more press.

That's all well and good, and those trips look fun in their way, but reading those posts when attempting to plan a vacation to Langkawi can leave one with the impression that if you don't have a lot of cash to spend and if you prefer to do your own thing instead of hiring boats and tour guides and drivers--Langkawi isn't the place to go.

After spending 4 nights there in honor of our 5th wedding anniversary, I'm happy to tell you that it's completely possible to have a choose-your-own-adventure vacation in Langkawi. If you don't like parasailing and getting into boats with other random tourists, feel free not to. There's plenty to explore and enjoy at your own pace.

If you truly want to choose-your-own-adventure, you will need to have transportation, though, as taxis and buses on Langkawi don't really cut it, especially if you want to circumnavigate the island and take yourself to whatever little nook or cranny of the place you find interesting. The rental car was the one big expense of the vacation for us, and it was worth it to have our own transport. We took a ferry to the island, stayed in an inexpensive room we rented off of Airbnb, and ate at local nasi kandar restaurants that reminded us very much of the restaurants on our home island--so Langkawi was a perfect 'budget destination' for us!

So what did we do on the adventures we chose for ourselves? Well, we took long, long walks down every beach (hehehe, stereotypical online dating profile answer).

We visited every waterfall we could find. My favorite was Temurun Waterfall, because we were there early in the morning and had the whole place to ourselves. It felt like a destination somewhere in Middle Earth.

Telaga Tujuh Waterfall

Temurun Waterfall

Durian Perangin Waterfall

We successfully found the location of Gua Landak (Porcupine Cave), something that was actually quite hard to do until a local guy on a motorbike led us to the right spot. Upon arriving, though, we discovered that the cave entrance had been blocked off with a fence and barbed wire and this highly-law-abiding lady sadly determined that we must not attempt to see the cave...even though we love caves. Angel pointed out that the bent fence and the ladder indicate that other people aren't quite as law-abiding as I am.

Gua Landak, Langkawi

Gua Landak, Langkawi

We splurged on cable car tickets because Angel loves mountains and I love bridges and I had to go on the SkyBridge.
SkyCab, Langkawi

SkyBridge, Langkawi

SkyBridge, Langkawi

SkyBridge, Langkawi

SkyBridge, Langkawi

We learned about rice farming at Laman Padi--and sat and watched cows in the fields and cats eating rice. Angel loves cats. If he were a blogger, he'd probably be a cat photo blogger and he'd be much more popular than I am.

Cat (Langkawi, Malaysia)

We took a lot of wrong turns because this was our first driving trip with no GPS and only a paper map. Angel favorite strategy when we're not sure where we need to turn is to drive really quickly past the correct turning and then have to make a U-turn somewhere and come back to the right place. Maybe it's not efficient, but we get there eventually. We also discovered the "meaning" of the forest. These signs appeared regularly and never failed to crack me up.

We took a winding road up a mountain and climbed the stairs to the tower that marks the tallest point in Langkawi, where we sat in a glass room and drank herbal tea. The wind whistled so fiercely around the room that I suffered from giggling throughout most of our visit. I don't know, something about standing alone in a really tall glass room with wind so loud it sounded like a typhoon whistling outside just feels hilarious.

'Twas a grand adventure. This was a slower-paced trip than most of ours. We'd adventure in the morning, return to our room to watch a show and take a nap during the heat of the day, and head out again in the evening. I sure hope I'm not turning into a lazy vacationer, as unceasing energy is one of my trademarks, but it was a very enjoyable couple of days of peaceful adventures and explorations!

Have you ever been to Langkawi? What's your vacation style? Do you like to do your own thing, or do you like the convenience of a guide and packaged adventures? Do you think Angel should become a cat blogger?
Fillia Barden said...

That's really great place to visit. I love to do the same style of vacation as yours. It's adventurous! I'm from Indonesia, we have many great places as well to visit on your next adventure 😊😊

Fillia (

Lisa @ Naptime Chai said...

Oh gosh, I've never been there (or to Malaysia in general) but it looks AMAZING. And that sky bridge.. wow! -- Lisa | Two Martinis

Domestic Mamma said...

Beautiful photos, looks like you had an amazing trip. I'm always a "choose your own adventure" type traveller. Makes things more interesting I think.

Jessica Nicole said...

what beautiful photos! this looks like a gorgeous place, I really want to travel more this year! looks like you had an amazing time :)
Jess from

Bash Harry said...

I've been to Malaysia sooo many times but I've been never been to Langkawi, which is weird because I have cousins there haha! I would love to visit the Sky Bridge one day, it looks amazing!

xx Bash | H E Y   B A S H | bloglovin'

Lilly's Home Designs said...

What an amazing vacation location, I would love to take a vacation like this with my husband someday!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Those pictures of the waterfall are GORGEOUS! I'm happy you had such a wonderful vacation!

Leslie said...

I'm living vicariously through you. Love the pics!

Kati Rose @ Constantly Seeking Wonder said...

One of the only things I knew about this area was that bridge so I am excited to see you both went on it! It looks like such a neat adventure.

Bekah Loves Blog said...

What a gorgeous place! I love all the waterfalls, and the cats with their beans and rice crack me up.

Charlene Maugeri said...

Wow! Those waterfalls are stunning! And the view of the sky bridge with the mountains behind it... breathtaking! I am usually the type that wants to go go go on vacations. But my husband has slowed me down somewhat. Just yesterday we were reading an article about taking a trip to Disney world (we're planning to go for our 5th but that's still 1.5 years away). Anyway, the article mentioned 2 options... get up early to head to the parks and return to your room before the parks close... or sleep in and stay out late. To which I said "Why can't we get up early and stay out late?" Because that's the only possible way to get even close to everything in that I would want to do.

Suzanne said...

Well you still managed to squeeze in quite a bit.

That photo of the waterfall is gorgeous.

The bridge freaked me out a bit as I'm scared of heights.

Shame about the cave. When we were in Australia we went spelunking and it was one of the scariest and coolest things I've done to date.


Caravan Sonnet said...

WOW!! This looks so beautiful and so much fun!! You are brave lady! That bridge looked scary just from the pictures!!! Thank you so much for sharing this part of the world with us!!
Rebecca :)

Marla Young said...

Thank you for sharing the stunning photos of your trip! I especially loved the waterfall photos!

Paige @ Reasons to Come Home said...

Personally, I think Angel SHOULD become a cat blogger. I'd follow along :). Girl, that bridge! I don't know that I could stand that close to the edge. But those views are gorgeous!

Aishwarya Shenolikar said...

You and your husband are living the dream! Travelling on your own, going on amazing adventures, finding great spots led by wonderful walks! It's just truly inspiring! The bridge looks fascinating! Great clicks! I enjoyed the humour in your writing as well! :)

AnneMarie said...

That island looks amazing!!! You're right-that waterfall is so Middle Earth :) I love the whole "choose your own adventure" thing. I don't leave the USA very often, but when my husband and I spent a semester of college in Europe, we loved travelling to the smaller cities and towns away from the tourists, to do fun things that gave more of a "local flavor." And finding the unique experiences in bigger cities was much more adventurous than just doing the "normal" routine!

Beka @ Sunshine to the Square Inch said...

Angel needs a cat blog! I'd read it. I love cats and Dave and I always pet and hold cats when we find them.

That sky bridge is epic and makes me want to clap my hands in excitement :)

Yes to doing your own thing on the island! I think so many places offer "tours" but you can do the exact same your for free with a little research.

Happy anniversary! I'm glad you guys had a great time.

Toni @ Running, Loving, Living said...

Wow looks like an amazing place to visit! Those waterfalls! That bridge looks a little scary to me, but what amazing views, thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

That looks totally gorgeous and so much fun! That sky bridge, though...yikes!

Unknown said...

Love the "choose your own adventure" concept. Totally my style of travel too! Although usually with the help of a trusty travel book or two :)

Cook with 5 Kids said...

What beautiful photos! I just love the waterfall ones the best.

Bethany Carson said...

Happy anniversary! Wowww! This looks like a completely awesome vacation!!
Loved seeing the waterfalls. The ladder over the fence made me smile. Apparently people are blatant criminals! The bridge looks amazing--just the place for someone who loves heights. It must have been quite the experience. Very interesting to see cats eating rice. I don't know if my cats would believe it if they saw those photos!

Like you I much rather prefer to plan my own trips.

Anne said...

Langkawi is a great spot but I must admit I mainly just hung out on the beach!

Unknown said...

Wow, this really is a different take on Langkawi than I usually see. It looks like you had a fabulous time. You've definitely increased my interest in Langkawi. #MondayEscapes

Packing my Suitcase said...

What a beautiful place!!! You are brave for crossing the bridge and even looking down... I couldn't hahaha I'm afraid of heights, very afraid.
But I surely would love to go to the restaurant, I love to eat with a view :D
That's cool that you decided to try visiting Langkawi by yourselves, it helps other people wondering if and how they can do it :D

Thank you for linking up with #MondayEscapes!