Sam (from Malaysia)
The Langkawi nightlife scene isn’t as great as people expect when they visit this tropical paradise. Some visitors, especially those looking for hard partying, find it quite a let-down… especially when you compare it to places like Bali or Phuket. In fact, the nightlife is relatively quiet and dull, but I like it.
The island has duty-free alcohol, which makes it a cheap destination in Malaysia, and the beaches are amazing. In my opinion, the Langkawi nightlife is best enjoyed by relaxing on the beach with a few beers and then heading to one of the bars later on.
The main stretch is in Pantai Cenang. This is the beach near the airport and it has plenty of hotels and bars. Most visitors stay here. You can also find expensive beach resorts around this area. The main town is Kuah, it takes around 30 to 45 minutes to get to Kuah from the airport. Fewer tourists visit and there aren’t many restaurants or places to drink.
The Langkawi nightlife is somewhat active in Pantai Cenang and not so much in Kuah. The former has rows of restaurants and bars along the beach, most of which open in the early evening and have 'Happy Hour' prices.
Whilst there is the usual South East Asia high and low season, the nightlife doesn’t get super active at any time of the year. Different religious holidays bring different crowds of locals. Indians and Chinese drink, Malays not so much. Western tourists visit all year round, so the nightlife is a bit uncertain depending on the crowd that’s there.
Some of the bars along Pantai Cenang play live music and open until after midnight. Drinks are cheaper than other parts of Malaysia but not so much in comparison to Thailand. Again, the atmosphere really varies.
Just to illustrate this point, I’ve been to Langkawi five times, twice in July and three times in January. The former is low season and the latter is the peak season. The first time in July was so busy you could hardly move. The following year, again in July, it was dead.
I went in January and had a great time spending most of my time in the bars and partying, so I went back the same time the following year and it was Ramadan… nothing was open! I tried again the following year in January and it was full of families. The Langkawi nightlife, from my experience, changes and it just depends on what’s happening when you arrive.
You need to avoid coming when it’s Ramadan as most places will be shut during the day. Alcohol is more restricted and therefore the nightlife is toned down. Not many tourists come and the bars close early or don’t open at all.
Most local tourists come between November and February when it’s the school or end of year holidays but again, the family atmosphere isn’t really good for the Langkawi nightlife scene. Places open longer hours during the high seasons yet it’s more family friendly. Remember that Malaysians are conservative and drinking is sometimes frowned upon.
There are always some westerners in Langkawi, the climate, beaches, and cheap drinks makes sure of that. Some are backpackers who tend to drink and want to party more, others are expats escaping the busy life in Kuala Lumpur.
You’ll probably see one or two westerners who have decided to open up their own bars and resettle here. These people are the best source of information if you can find them.
The locals love to come to Langkawi to relax and unwind. Girls from all around Malaysia visit for a few days and, when people are on holiday, they are usually easier to approach and are more receptive to flirting.
You’ll probably find a number of Malaysian girls on the beach, some may even be drinking. If you decide to try your luck with them, remember that Malaysian girls are conservative and one-night stands aren’t as common as in other SEA countries, but casual sex encounters are not impossible.
Just remember that the whole Langkawi nightlife scene doesn’t have to be about drinking and partying. Relaxing with a nice girl on the beach sipping a cocktail or a beer is just as good.
Casual encounters and sex in Langkawi is much easier to find than in other, more traditional, parts of the country. Like I said before, the girls are on holiday and they do let their guards downs a little, but don’t expect too much.
Prostitution in Langkawi is rare to non-existent; I’ve never seen or heard of it on the streets, but there are some online options to meet call girls in the area.
Pantai Cenang is just a small stretch near the beach and most of the population in Kuah are conservative Muslims. If you’re looking for a big P4P presence, consider heading to a different location altogether.
Langkawi is a safe destination and you won’t have any problems with gangs as you might in other cities in Malaysia but, saying that, theft and bag snatching does happen occasionally, especially at night on the beach. The Langkawi nightlife is toned down, but sometimes it’s just nice to relax on the beach under the stars with a cold beer and good company.
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