Cycling at Langkawi - Cycling at paradise island
Cycling at Langkawi is probably not your first thought when you think of this tropical paradise island. Langkawi is well known for its beaches, diving, playing golf and maybe for exotic dinners but certainly not known for cycling.
That said, every year the biggest cycling tour in Asia is held under the name "Tour de Langkawi". I have been a regular visitor and have been cycling around and yes, its a cool thing to do! But it has its challenges too!
One of those challenges is the tropical heat. For many people the heat is too much with 32C in the shade. For me, it's fine. Locals and foreigners alike think I am crazy. However, a bicycle can bring you to some awesome places.
Cenang Beach is the most popular beach. Here you find hotels, guesthouses and restaurants in all price ranges. For more about the hotels, check our hotels in Langkawi or check the following links for more options.
Personally I think the Cenang Beach is OK though there are better beaches. It seems the amount of tourist here do not bother keeping the beach clean but that said, every day the beach is cleaned up.
Cenang Beach seems to me the beach version (smaller though) of Khao San Road in Bangkok. The times I have been here were always disappointing. However, that doesn't mean the beaches here are all disappointing. Contrary, as we shall see.
Cycling from Kuah to Cenang Beach
Cenang is a good place to start your cycling experience at Langkawi. It's located 30 to 45 minutes cycling from the ferry in Kuah. There are nicer roads to cycle then the first 5, 6 km out of Kuah. Follow the direction to the airport. There are basically two ways to reach Cenang beach. The nicest option is to follow the directions towards the airport. A few km outside Kuah is a junction to Penang Beach (Pantai Cenang). This road follows mostly the coastline and you will end up at the southern point of Cenang Beach.
You can stay on the main road out Kuah and keep following the direction to the airport. After about 12 km you will find a junction to Pantai Cenang which leads almost directly south to the northern part of Cenang. It's quite straightforward.
I remember bicycling this road for the first time and thought: "is his now the "beautiful" Langkawi?" You may think the same but the best is yet to come.
The airport is just north of Pantai Cenang. This seems to be a disadvantage but the times I was staying here, I never heard any plane flying in or out.
Around the island
Langkawi has a kind of circle road around the island. I say, "a kind of" because it is not really a circle road. The north west area is not accessible and in the north east corner the hills are still mostly jungle though there are a few things to see (for example an interesting bat cave).
A nice ride on the island can start at Cenang Beach. Follow the direction to the airport. This is again not the best part of the island. You will bicycle around the airport following the beaches.
It's a nice ride to Pantai Kok, with some serious but short hills. Just before the Telaga Harbor Park you will have a nice view from above over the Harbor. Once you're down, you can follow directions to the Cable Car and the Oriental Village.It's quite interesting because it seems few people visit here though many go directly to the Cable Car and the Oriental Village. However, Pantai Kok is worth a visit too.
After visiting you can follow the road north east, which leads all the way to Tanjung Rhu beach. The first few kilometers go through partly estate and partly nature reserve. It's a few kilometers to the junction to The Datai and The Andaman. Both have a private beach, not available for non-guests. Before you would bicycle up to the Datai, you find a lovely beach: Pantai Pasir Tengkorak.
Although this is not the best beach of Langkawi it is so much better and cleaner then Cenang beach (which to me is most of the time very disappointing although it does have its moments). The road to Pasir Tengkorak has a short climb. Before the climb you may want to visit the Crocodile Farm: Taman Buaya. Admission to the park:
Malaysian Adult RM 10.00 Child RM 8.00 and Foreigners Adult RM 15.00 Child RM 10.00. Unless you are much into crocodiles, I didn't find it worth the money.
You can cycle back to the main road and visit Tanjung Rhu. This is the most beautiful public beach to visit in Langkawi.
There are two resorts claiming part of the beach as a sort of private beach but there's plenty left for public use. This beach shows the real beauty and popularity of Langkawi as a beach destination. With white sand and perfect blue water, you can't find a greater contrast compared to Cenang Beach.
The far end of Tanjung Rhu road has a restaurant but it seems they have a problem serving. I went twice there.
Once I was able to get a menu but the waiters didn't want to take my order, the second time, months later, I wasn't even able to get a menu though I witnessed people string at one. Fortunately there's a little ice-cream shop which has a much better service and nice ice cream.
From Tanjung Rhu it's a few kilometers to the traffic circle. You can bicycle two ways back to Cenang Beach. The first is to follow the road to Kuah. This gives you the opportunity to visit the Durian Perangin Waterfalls. Personally I didn't find it much worth the visit.
The falls are small but the pool is a nice refreshing for your sweating body though the beach is much better.
More interesting is the Perdana Gallery. It contains a section to the fine arts made of wood, leather, lacquer and crystal. Another section is completely dedicated to textiles, weapons, games and other Islamic arts. It's a well done museum/gallery. Worth a visit.
Back in Kuah you can do some shopping. Although Langkawi is a tax-free zone, it's never really cheap.
On the way back to Cenang Beach you may want to visit the Makam Mahsuri, a tomb of a maiden falsely accused of adultery and bled white blood when she died.
She has put a curse on Langkawi. For seven generations it should be barren but apparently the seven generation have past because today Langkawi is a major tourist attraction in Malaysia.
A little further you will find Ancient Tomb: Makam Purba. It's a historic graveyard at Hutan Buluh in Ulu Melaka. There are two graves and some believe they belong to Muslim scholars that traveled to Langkawi to spread the religion.
From here it's only a short bicycle ride back to Cenang Beach. You can follow small roads and trails leading through little Kampongs back to the beach.
cycling at Langkawi is not difficult but I would advise to take a few days, as you will spend some time in visiting sights.
Going around on bicycle is however very rewarding, you will see more then sitting in a taxi or even on a motorbike. And yes, you will release some additional sweat due to the tropical heat.
If you decide to go cycling, bring enough water. Especially if you are not used to cycle. But it is worth the effort and the beaches will refresh you.
Alternatively you can skip the eastern road and come back through the center of Langkawi. It's a gradual road with little traffic in general. You will pass Kampongs and the junction to Gunung Raya, the highest top of Langkawi.
If you want to cycle the whole circle road, it most likely will take you a full day.
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More about cycling at Langkawi
Langkawi is not known for the cycling options but it's a pleasant bikeride around the island.
Hat Yai - Betong-North Malaysia
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