Although Langkawi is a relatively small island, hoofing it on foot will only work in certain areas and public transportation is not an option. So you’re left with getting around the island via taxis, rental cars, motorbikes and for the hearty souls, bicycles. Prices tend to vary throughout Langkawi as much as the weather, so it’s worth checking more than one source for your transportation needs.
Lets start with taxis. It’s 24 ringgit to get from the Kuah ferry terminal across the island to Pantai Cenang and 18 ringgit to get the few miles from the airport to Pantai Cenang. Those are extremely reasonable prices, considering the price of fuel these days. Do remember that’s per vehicle not per head, so you can actually get four people in a taxi at those prices; it’s definitely worth making a social connection with other travellers heading in the same direction. Don’t however expect to get everyone dropped at different stops en route as this really confuses things and your deal will go out the window.
Although there are ‘set’ prices for taxi fares, it’s okay to shop around for a taxi as well — unless of course you’re out in the middle of nowhere and desperate. We’ve found that the taxi vans are sometimes more negotiable than others in respect to shaving a few ringgit from fares, so it’s always worth asking. But whatever you do, please don’t argue with the taxis about the fares, as they truly aren’t trying to rip you off here.
Rental cars are convenient and allow total freedom of movement, but there’s usually a hefty price tag that comes with them unless you’ve pre-arranged a killer deal beforehand. But be forewarned: occasionally a friend will rent their personal car or even an out-of-town friend’s car to a deal broker. And with that lower price may come questionable registration and insurance issues. If stopped by the police, you’ll be hard-pressed to explain. Keep in mind that car rentals will generally cost you more from the ferry terminal, airport or your hotel because of the commissions being doled out, so your best bet is to go straight to the source.
Ten minutes from the airport is Brite Laundry and Azams Car Rentals in Kuala Teriang. They cover the bases on autos, scooters/motorcycles and even bicycles. They can sometimes pick you up from the airport or other locations, depending on their time demands. Expect to pay 80-90 ringgit a day for an economy car with longer term leasers getting a small discount; this generally runs true for most sources.
The almost-least expensive and most practical choice would be a motorbike, which is easily rented on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. But depending on the particular time of year, a heavy thunderstorm could really dampen the fun. Add a few cows to the mix and some monkey madness and you could indeed have a lot to share with the folks back home. Basic scooters and motorcycles are an average 35 ringgit a day and hourly rentals are available at some venues, such as Langkawi T-shoppe in Pantai Tengah. They also rent cars and bicycles with an easy no-hassle process. The usual wear-a-helmet, have insurance advice applies.
There’s also been a crackdown on renters required to possess an actual motorcycle license due to the fact that if you’re stopped by law enforcement without one, there’s a good chance that the nice folks that rented you the supersaver scooter will be fined up to 1,500 ringgit. But it’s up to the individual businesses to make that call, so feel free to shop around. We feel that more reputable companies are the ones that stick to the rules, as well as adhering to proper maintenance of their rentals.
Last but not least we have bicycles, the economy ride. Most rentals are 10-15 ringgit a day, but some guesthouses offer free usage or minimal rates just to cover the wear and tear on the bikes. Although the main roads and vast stretches of highway aren’t always the most relaxing at times, plenty of side roads lead into various kampungs and through paddy or rubber tree plantations. These areas are beautiful and with the array of plant life and culture to explore, cycling is excellent means of exploring Langkawi.
Simpang 3, Kuala Triang, Langkawi
T: (04) 955 2312
By Vanessa Workman
Last updated on 8th January, 2013.