This guide has helpful tips and photographs from our day trip in Langkawi, which was the final island stop on our Costa Atlantica itinerary. Our port docking address is known to the locals as "Porto Malai" and its also where Resorts World Langkawi is located.
Yes, its that same Resorts World Malaysian company behind the Genting group and Sentosa hotels! If you only intend to do shopping you can choose to go with the Costa Cruises arranged shuttle bus ($8 USD per person round trip) as that goes straight to the duty free area. We wanted to go straight to the cable cars so we walked 10 mins past the dock out to the RWS lobby area and called a taxi which took us to Oriental Village for $33 RM (12 SGD).
We found Langkawi amazing and wish we had more time to explore the island. Because you only have 5 hours at this stop (8 am Arrival, 1pm departure), you can only do two things. We opted to try the Duty Free shopping and Cable Cars.
Check out our Langkawi stopover highlights video!
Duty Free Shopping
Langkawi lies on the border between Malaysia and Thailand. The great thing about the city? EVERYTHING is duty free! Since obtaining this status in 1987 its tourism industry has thrived. Alcohol, perfume and shopping in general is cheap and the island isn't commercialized in the least.
However, there aren't that many shopping malls and variety may be limited. Was talking a bit to the Taxi Driver who was a cheerful Langkawi local. He mentioned his self-owned car cost just $40k RM on Langkawi - same car would cost double on Malaysian mainland due to tax. And their taxi model system was very different from ours. He paid the government a taxi permit fee of $150 RM which allowed him to drive his taxi for 5 years. There is no agency that works as the middle man. Singaporean taxi drivers have to pay their Agencies $70 - $120 every single day for using their company owned taxis.
Oh my what a difference.
Panorama Langkawi (Cable Car)
The Langkawi cable car ride is the undisputed best attraction in Langkawi. Its located 20 mins away from the city in a beautiful place called 'Oriental Village'. Quaint shop houses encircle a lake and they even have a mini-korean garden based on Winter Sonata.
The cable car attraction is at the end of the village and it brings visitors right to the top the mountains you see in the background. It was built in 2002 by Swiss engineers and its steepest gradient is at 42 degrees! Remember how a vertical right angle is 90 degrees? During our ascent the gradient looked impossible to climb and we were amazed and terrified at the same time! It took us right up into the clouds for a lovely panoramic view of the island.
Prices for an adult ticket is $30 RM ($12 SGD). This is by far the best cable car ride we have experienced. Even better than the Hong Kong cable car ride which is very impressive (and long) in its own right. Its a pity the sky bridge at the top was still closed for repair but that didn't dull our experience. Repair costs are really high and involve helicopters so they have been stalling it for over a year now.
We asked the Taxi Driver what he thought was the next best thing to do in Langkawi. He said Dataran Lang (Eagle Square) where you get to feed eagles. Our timing was a bit tight so we played it safe and headed back early. We had about an hour to spend back at Port Malai so we opted to rent some Resorts World Langkawi bicycles and cycle around.
Overall, Langkawi was an extremely fun stop and we will definitely return someday for some island hopping (2 hours) as well as to explore the other attractions. And with that, we ended our Costa Cruise adventure on a high! This cruise turned out to be one of our best adventures and we travel A LOT! If there is one cruise you have to try in your life, this is it.
Langkawi Photo Gallery
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You can also check out Chloe's (Warning: Its in Korean)