Arriving by ferry at Kuah you'll find yourself to the east of the town centre. Travelling further east from the Ferry Terminal you'll find the local dive centre, The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club and the Westin Resort. As you head toward the town centre on the main road you will pass Eagle Square, where a landmark eagle stands looking out at sea, and a bit further along is Legend Park. Across from the park sits the Langkawi Fair shopping complex and slightly on from there leads to the recently redeveloped Pekan Rabu.

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Kuah's town centre is just over the bridge and inland on the main road from Pekan Rabu. Here you'll find most of the major banks on the island (open Mondays to Friday 09:00-16:30) along with hawker stands, restaurants, electronics and duty-free outlets. Just to the left at the main traffic lights is a long row of shophouses that overlook the seafront catering to groceries, electronics and furnishings. Along this stretch you'll find Thai, Chinese and Malay restaurants on the inland canal.

North-south running Tengah beach is the smaller and quieter of Langkawi's two most popular beaches, with the yellow grainy sand that stretches between two jungle clad outcrops at each end sheltered by forested hills to its back. The only money changer in Pantai Tengah outside of the larger hotels is about 20 metres up from T Shoppe located across from Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa.

Heading north, on the other side of the northern outcrop, Cenang beach "officially" begins, but most consider the end of Jalan Pantai Cenang (at the intersection of Jalan Pantai Tengah) as Cenang beach. In between the beach and main road is a cluster of budget motels, amusingly named restaurants and sleepy beach bars that mainly come alive after sunset.

Further along the main road of Jalan Pantai Cenang, you'll reach looming Underwater World and the duty-free shopping complex. There are ATMs there as well as a Maybank in nearby Cenang Mall. There are numerous and well marked money changers all along Jalan Cenang from the intersection at the east end of the main road onward. Pantai Cenang is exited to the north, clearly marked with the sighting of the vast fields of rice. A few scattered scarecrows will welcome you to the Laman Padi Museum, which is located nearby.

Most centres on Langkawi lack dedicated internet cafes, but WiFi hotspots are quite common in restaurants and cafes in the southern area. In the north you'll most likely have to rely on your hotel. Scarborough's Fish and Chips near Tanjung Rhu offers WiFi to their customers.

The main Langkawi police station (T: (04) 966 3999) is located just north from the central lights on Jalan Ayer Hangat coming into Kuah. This is the station where all criminal investigations and bookings take place as well as direct public assistance. The Matsirat police station (T: (04) 955 1090) covers several areas including the Kedawang district, which includes Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah. A limited number of tourist police patrol the area, especially at night. The Ayer Hangat police station (T: (04) 959 1223) is located on Jalan Tanjung Rhu just north of the Padang Lalang roundabout and is responsible for the northern stretch of the island.

Langkawi has very good facilities and services available for all but the most critical of medical conditions. Langkawi Hospital (website is in Malaysian only) accepts all walk-in patients seeking medical attention, from simple ailments to emergencies. For a flat fee of 50 ringgit for your basic examination, the cost of prescriptions is also covered as well as X-rays if they are deemed necessary.

If you’re suffering from a cold or flu or even a minor laceration or twisted ankle, the better option is one of several small private clinics on the island that are a usually open daily, often except Fridays and public holidays. The standard fee of 50 ringgit still holds true, but any additional services or supplies such as prescriptions are extra.

In Padang Mat Sirat, Klinic Govin is a convenient option and walking distance from the international airport, directly across from Airport Corner restaurant at the roundabout. Dr Govin offers personal consultation and has a fully stocked pharmacy in house. In Kuah, Klinik Perdana has up to three doctors on site or on call at any given time. It’s located near the Pier restaurant just off the main highway into Kuah.

Joe Pakiaraj of Joe’s Pharmacy in Kuah, has the first and oldest pharmacy on the island, as well as a wealth of knowledge on remedies from basic ailments to those mysterious rashes.

In case of a severe accident dial 999 (the local emergency number). Be aware however that the 999 dispatch is actually on the mainland, so relaying information back to Langkawi could take time that you might not have to spare. For immediate emergency medical service dial the hospital direct — or dial both 999 and the hospital just to cover all the bases.

If you find yourself in Langkawi with a tooth ailment then local dentist Dr Chew (yes that’s her real name) is well versed on the latest technology in dentistry and can provide service for everything except surgical procedures such as root canals. Normally appointment based, her office will alter their scheduling for emergencies.

Langkawi emergency number: 999
Langkawi Hospital for ambulance assist: (04) 966 1804/(04) 966 3333
Dr Govin (Mat Sirat): (04) 955 9499
Joe’s Pharmacy (Kuah): (04) 966 0180
Kinik Pergigian Chew: (04) 966 0661

Reviewed by

A short contract job in a (Singapore) hospital initially landed Vanessa in Southeast Asia, where she decided to take a break from her medical career for more creative endeavours. She is presently basing herself in Langkawi, Malaysia from where she continues her exploration of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and other destinations on her bucket list.

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