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Getting There

By Plane -- The Langkawi International Airport (tel. 04/955-1311; airport code: LGK) is located on the southwest side of the island. The best way to reach town from the airport is to prearrange a shuttle pickup from your resort; otherwise, there's a taxi counter where you can buy coupons for RM30 to most resorts.

Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Silk Air, and Firefly make Langkawi very convenient from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or Singapore.

By Train -- Taking the train can be a bit of a hassle because the nearest stop (in Alor Star) is quite far from the jetty to the island, requiring a cab transfer. Still, if you prefer rail, hop on the overnight train from KL (the only train), which will put you in to Alor Star at around 7am. Just outside the train station, you can find the taxi stand, with cabs to take you to the Kuala Kedah jetty for the ferry ride to Kuah.

By Bus -- To be honest, I don't really recommend taking a bus to Langkawi. If you're coming from KL, the bus ride is long and uncomfortable, catching the taxi transfer to the jetty can be problematic, and by the time you reach the island, you'll need a vacation from your vacation. Fly or use the train. If you're coming from Penang, the direct ferry is wonderfully convenient, as are a few flights per day.

By Ferry -- From the jetty at Kuala Kedah, on the mainland, there are about five companies that provide ferry service to the island (trip time: about 1 hr. and 45 min.; cost: RM25). Ferries let you off at the main ferry terminal in Kuah, where you can hop a taxi to your resort for RM20 to RM50, depending on where you're staying.

Ferries also ply between Penang and Langkawi, with operators clustered around the tourism office at the Clock Tower in downtown Georgetown. Langkawi Ferry (Ground Floor, PPC Building, Pesara King Edward; tel. 04/264-2008 or 04/966-3779) has two early-morning ferries for RM60 one-way and RM115 round-trip.

Visitor Information

There's no Tourism Malaysia representation on Langkawi, but the local tourism board provides information at two service counters, one at the ferry terminal in Kuah (tel. 04/966-0494; daily 9am-5pm) and one at the airport (tel. 04/955-7155; daily 9am-11pm), where you can find brochures and answers to queries.

Getting Around

By Taxi -- Taxis generally hang around at the airport, the main jetty, the taxi stand in Kuah, and some major hotels. From anywhere in between, your best bet is to ask your hotel's concierge to call a taxi for you. Keep in mind that, if you're going as far as one side of the island to the other, your fare can go as high as RM50.

Car & Motorcycle Rental -- Car and motorcycle rentals are very cheap and easy on Langkawi, which is good and bad. I'm wary of maintenance issues, as well as safety implications of how lax rental agencies are with regard to driving experience and insurance matters. Locally operated car rental desks can be found at Langkawi Airport, and if you're at the beach areas at Cenang or Tengah, a few places rent jeeps and motorcycles from RM80 and RM30 per day, respectively. Pick a good helmet. Note: If you have an accident, you could be responsible for all repairs.

By Foot -- The main beaches at Cenang and Tengah can be walked quite nicely; however, don't expect to be able to walk around to other parts of the island.

Fast Facts

The only major bank branches are located far from the beach areas, in Kuah, mostly around the blocks across the street from the Night Hawker Center (off Jalan Persiaran Putra); there is an ATM at the airport. Moneychangers keep long hours out at Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, but for other resorts, you'll have to change your money at the resort. Along the Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah main road, you'll find at least a half-dozen small Internet places.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.