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We have already covered in great detail on the pages Information about the islands of Penang and Langkawi. Both islands are the most popular resorts in Malaysia, primarily due to their accessibility. And so the question of which of the two islands to choose arises for most tourists planning a holiday in Malaysia. If you do not have time to read detailed information about each of the islands, we offer a brief overview and comparison of these resorts.
If you are interested not only in these two places, but also in other resorts in Malaysia, then see our Overview of resorts in Malaysia, which resort to choose.
Langkawi is the most popular resort in the country. Here is one of the best beach holidays among inexpensive and developed tourist places in Malaysia. The island maintains a kind of balance between civilization and nature. On the one hand, there are quite developed resort areas on the island, where you can find everything you need, an airport, a marina. And on the other hand, there are still a lot of places untouched by civilization. There is, of course, one large city on the island – the capital of the island of Kuah, but most of the other settlements are more like villages, and even tourist areas.
The main attractions of the island are beaches, and the main attractions are natural beauty. Nightlife is almost nonexistent. The rest is very quiet, almost rustic. Get ready to go to bed early here, because if after 9 pm you do not come up with entertainment for yourself, you will only sleep. During the day, you can lie on the beach, swim in the sea, or go on excursions to the rare sights of the island, which, if desired, can be viewed in 2 days.
There is one huge plus in Langkawi: the island is declared a duty-free zone, which is very important for Malaysia, where alcohol and cigarettes are subject to serious duties.
Despite the geographical similarity, Penang is almost the complete opposite of Langkawi. This is a developed city-Island, entangled with roads and built up with high-rise buildings. Of course, not the whole island is like this, there are plenty of preserved natural corners here, but still the face of the island is an industrial city – its capital is Georgetown.
There are few beaches in Penang, but they are there. But in terms of purity, they are very far from Langkawi. The main "feature" of Penang are its historical attractions. There are an incredible number of them here, and the capital of the island itself is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In walks and trips around the old quarters of Georgetown, you can spend more than one day. Among the attractions there are many temples, a fortress, churches, museums, old houses and much more. There are Botanical Gardens, butterfly farm, bird park.
If lying on the beach is not for you, and you want to move more and learn something new, then Penang is perfect for you. But the ideal beach holiday is not to be found here: so, a strong middle peasant or even a little lower.
Comparison of Langkawi and Penang
In Langkawi, the beaches are much cleaner, more beautiful and more diverse. Water is also cleaner. You can choose to relax as a developed Beach Pantai Chenang, where there are many tourists, and stay in a hotel on a remote beach, where no one else will be.
Penang has only a few beaches that can not boast of cleanliness and diversity.
- Learn more about Penang beaches and hotels
- Learn more about Langkawi beaches and hotels
Attractions and excursions
Penang is a real paradise for lovers of all kinds of historical and cultural attractions. Sightseeing of monuments and temples, if you are interested, will be your main occupation during your stay on the island. And you can hardly see everything even in a week. What is good, thanks to the developed public transport on the island, you can see most of the sights without resorting to expensive excursions.
Langkawi, compared with Penang, is not much to see. All interesting places, including waterfalls, mangroves, Bat Cave, jungle, sky bridge, aquarium, can be viewed in two days. If you have money, you can swim to neighboring islands, including a national park and a Marine Park. But such excursions are quite expensive and not every package tourist will be on a budget.
- Learn more about attractions in Penang see here
- Learn more about attractions in Langkawi see here
Entertainment, night rest
On both islands there is almost no entertainment and night rest. If you do not count excursions and sightseeing (see above), then there is only massage, medical and spa salons, some water activities on the beach. As evening entertainment in Penang, you can walk around George Town, and on the most developed beach of the island of Batu Ferringi there is some party. In Langkawi there is nothing like that, and having dinner in a cafe after nine o'clock in the evening you will have to go to bed in a hotel.
Both islands have airports, and it is very easy to get there with a transfer through Kuala Lumpur, as well as from some other resorts in Southeast Asia. In general, both islands are not difficult to reach.
As for local public transport, Penang has a first-class public transport system. You can get from anywhere to anywhere, the fare is very cheap. In Langkawi, there is no public transport at all, and the only way to get around is by taxi or rented transport.
Definitely say where shopping is better, it is impossible. On the one hand, there are no shopping centers and markets in Langkawi. You can buy something in small shops. But on the other hand, there are a huge number of dry-free stores where you can buy alcohol, cigarettes, confectionery, perfume, etc.in Penang, all this is already subject to ordinary state taxes and is more expensive, but in Georgetown there are many shopping centers, hypermarkets and markets.
In terms of prices for hotels and food, there is practically no difference between the two islands, but Langkawi is a dry – free zone, so you will spend much less on hot drinks and cigarettes here.