Most people start their Malaysian itineraries in the capital Kuala Lumpur — fair enough, but you’d like to get to a great tropical beach fast, right? You came to the right place.
This post describes in detail how you can travel from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi and its best beaches, using every means of transport available from Malaysia’s capital.
Flights, trains, buses, ferries, and even traveling by road: we covered all the bases for you to confidently travel to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur.
Remember: besides direct flights (that take 1 hour and 1 minute) from Kuala Lumpur, there are three boat connections to Langkawi. The longest is from Penang island (5 to 6 hours one way), then there is one from Kuala Kedah (2 hours), and the fastest is from the town of Kuala Perlis (only 1 hour 15 minutes).
Why you should travel from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi
Leaving Kuala Lumpur for Langkawi means abandoning Malaysia’s capital city’s concrete and congested traffic in favor of one of its best holiday islands. Langkawi has secluded tranquility, high-class resorts, eclectic bars and a cafe scene, attractive sunset cruises, and first-class tourist facilities to be a perfect holiday destination for KL people for a short trip in Malaysia.
READ MORE – 19 Best Tours in Langkawi for an amazing holiday
Important things to know before traveling from KL to Langkawi
Distance from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi
The distance from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, as the crow flies, is 413 km, and it takes about 7 hours to reach by using land transportation. Flights from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi take about 1 hour and 1 minute.
This is a map of the journey from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, with all the important places and routes by air, car, and ferry marked:
Best time to visit Langkawi
Langkawi is a tropical island and enjoys warm weather throughout the year. The main monsoon season is between September and October when there’s the highest chance of rain — but it shouldn’t be a deterrent from visiting, as it usually only rains for about two hours, and the whole island becomes greener.
READ MORE – A Perfect 3-Day Langkawi Itinerary
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Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi by flight
It’s a short 1-hour and 1-minute flight from KL to Langkawi International Airport.
All the local low-cost companies, such as AirAsia, Malindo, and Fireflyz connect the two cities several times per day.
Kuala Lumpur has the major airport of all the low-cost flights, KLIA2, which is only a few kilometers away from the main international airport KLIA. A shuttle train connects the two airports every 5 minutes.
Check the time and best prices of flights from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi here.
When flying from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi, try to get to KLIA2 at least 2 hours prior to your departure, as check-in queues can be time-consuming, especially if you have luggage to check in.
The departure gates are also quite a walk (about 30 to 45 minutes) from the main departure hall.
KLIA2 is also connected to downtown Kuala Lumpur via the fast train Klia Ekspres which leaves from KL Sentral and takes about 30 minutes.
There’s also a cheaper alternative to reach KLIA2 from downtown Kuala Lumpur: you can catch one of the direct buses to KLIA2 (RM12 one way) departing every 20 to 30 minutes from:
- The lower ground floor at KL Sentral
- The main bus hub Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)
- The former Pudu Raya station is next to Kuala Lumpur’s tourist district at Petaling Street — similar to Penang’s Chulia Street.
Traveling by bus from the city to KLIA2 takes between an hour to an hour and a half, so start moving to the airport at least 4 to 5 hours before your flight.
How to get from Langkawi Airport to my hotel?
Once you arrive at Langkawi airport, you may have trouble renting a car or a motorbike on the spot. Fear not, however, because, with Grab or a Taxi, a ride to nearby Pantai Cenang should cost you between RM 15/20.
Otherwise, you can plan before you go and book a private airport transfer directly to your hotel of choice, using an air-conditioned coach that can fit up to 10 people — a perfect option for groups or moving big luggage. You can reserve your private hotel transfer from Langkawi airport here, with a special RM10 discount.
READ MORE Best Hotels in Langkawi
How do I get from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi by train?
Traveling by train between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi is a very convenient and relatively fast option. Kuala Lumpur is, in fact, well connected with Kedah via the fast and comfortable ETS train system — but Langkawi is obviously an island, and you will have to alight the train and then proceed to the ferry terminal on your own.
These are the two possible options for traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi by train.
Catch a train from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar
Catch a northbound ETS train either from KL Sentral or at the KTM terminal at the Old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station and travel via Ipoh (where you may hop off to visit the beautiful Ipoh cave temples and Penang – read more if you need to decide whether you should go to Penang or Langkawi) all the way to Alor Setar.
Once in Alor Setar’s KTM train station, you can either catch a taxi to the Langkawi jetty at Kuala Kedah or walk into the town center and take a cheaper bus.
Catch a train from Kuala Lumpur to Arau
The other option is to get to Perlis state and get off the train at Arau.
Once in Arau’s KTM train station, you can either catch a taxi to the Langkawi jetty at Kuala Perlis, which is only 37 km away from Langkawi, or walk into the town center and take a cheaper local bus.
Read our ultimate guide to catching the ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi, and don’t forget to book your tickets in advance, for there are few departures, and they sell out.
Don’t forget that from Kuala Perlis, there is also a RORO ferry you can use to bring your car to Langkawi. There is usually only one daily service at 2 pm.
Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi by bus
Taking a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi is quite convenient and cheaper than an ETS train. You could catch a bus to Kuala Kedah and then hop off and take another bus to the Langkawi jetty from there, but the very best solution is by far to take a direct bus from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Perlis. It’s very easy to get to Langkawi from here, as Kuala Perlis’ bus station is within walking distance of the Langkawi jetty in Kuala Perlis.
How to Catch a Boat from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi
Boats used to leave from 7 am to 7 pm daily, but these days there are few departures available, and you must book in advance. Check the official schedule to keep abreast of any changes.
Don’t forget to read our guide to catching the ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi. A one-way ticket only costs RM18 for adults and RM13 for children.
Arrived too late and missed the last boat?
No worries. You can stay at one of these hotels in Kuala Perlis and catch a boat to Langkawi the next day.
Hotels near Kuala Perlis’ jetty
Good Hotels a bit further away from Kuala Perlis Jetty
Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi by car
If you feel like getting on a little road trip, driving from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi by car takes at least 5 hours.
You can catch a ferry from either Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis, but if you are driving, the second option is the best because the ferry trip from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi is the shortest.
Remember: you must have a Touch & Go card, or you won’t be able to pay highway tolls in cash at any highway turnpike. If you don’t have one, you can still drive along the interstate roads — they are all very well-paved — but with speed limits and traffic lights, the journey will take at least double what it’d take using Highway E1.
You just have to drive straight up north along Highway 1 just before Alor Setar. From here, you will take route 7 to Kuala Perlis. Otherwise, you can continue on Highway 1 until Arau, and from here get off and drive on Road 194 to Kuala Perlis.
If you want to bring your car to Langkawi, from Kuala Perlis, there is a RORO ferry you can use to bring your car to Langkawi. There is usually only one daily service at 2 pm and it costs about RM136 one way to bring in a vehicle.
If you only stay in Langkawi for a few days, it may be cheaper and more convenient to simply park your car in Kuala Perlis.
Parking tips in Kuala Perlis
If you are not staying long in Langkawi, there’s no point in bringing your car over. It’s possible to park at Kuala Perlis and pay about RM10 per day.
Don’t listen to the guys on motorbikes who will inevitably approach your car as you drive into town, suggesting you follow them to their “great, secure parking spots”. Based on personal experience, these people are not dangerous, but most often are there to sell you more expensive, private parking. It’s much better to stick to the public parking manned by security guards. You can’t go wrong: they always have a guard on standby near a turnpike gate in front of an open parking lot.
Alternative Ways to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi
If you are not rushing, we recommend you take a detour to Penang island. Here you can read a free itinerary to what to do in Penang in 3 days. After that, you can catch a ferry from George Town to Langkawi.
Read our complete guide for more information on how to travel from Penang to Langkawi. You can take a flight, or head back to the mainland and take a train or bus to Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis.
And if you need more information on Penang, you can read about:
- Best budget hotels in Penang
- Best boutique hotels in Penang
- A guide to Penang Street Art
- A Guide to Penang Food
- The Top Penang Cafes
- Where to have breakfast in Penang
Arriving in Langkawi: the Kuah Jetty
Langkawi has no public transport. If you arrive by boat at the Kuah Jetty, you can catch a taxi (about RM15/20) to Pantai Cenang, where most accommodation is.
We think it’s more convenient to either rent a car (RM50/day) or a motorbike (RM30/day) from the jetty here so that you may move around Langkawi at your own speed.