11 Secret Beaches in Langkawi You Won’t Believe Exist

11 Secret Beaches in Langkawi You Won't Believe Exist

When it comes to beaches in Langkawi, Pantai Cenang is often the first name that pops up in an internet search. While it’s a decent beach, it’s also highly commercialized and crowded with tourists year-round. But what if I told you there are a few beaches in Langkawi that are far better, more secluded, and have very few or almost no tourists? Most of these hidden gems are a bit farther from Pantai Cenang (though nothing is really far on the small island of Langkawi) and can be slightly more expensive to reach, especially if you don’t have a vehicle. However, that shouldn’t deter you from exploring and enjoying the hidden beauty of Langkawi.

I’m not a big fan of touristy beaches, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way, seeking something more pristine, secluded, and beautiful. I have personally visited all of these beaches during my extended trip to Langkawi. The island is blessed with white sand and palm-tree-lined beaches with turquoise waters, some even surrounded by beautiful mangrove forests. You’ll be surprised to know that most of these beaches are located in the northern part of Langkawi island.

So, let’s explore these offbeat beaches that are not on every tourist’s radar and aren’t frequently mentioned on the internet. As a bonus, I’ll share some vital information about these beaches that you won’t easily find elsewhere on the internet – unless, of course, someone copies it from here!

[1] Sandy Skull Beach (Pantai Pasir Tengkorak)

I rank this beach as the second-best in the entire Langkawi archipelago, outshining the next best by a significant margin. You might wonder which beach holds the top spot and why I haven’t listed it first. Have patience; I will reveal the best beach of Langkawi as a big surprise later in this blog.

The tranquil turquoise waves at Sandy Skull Beach in Langkawi provide a picturesque backdrop
The tranquil turquoise waves at Sandy Skull Beach provide a picturesque backdrop

“Skull Beach” – does the name ring a bell? It has nothing to do with the Skull Island movie. Pasir Tengkorak (Sand of Skull) earned its eerie name from a mix of ancient legends and historical facts. Let’s delve into the legends first.

A local legend mentioned about a sea demon or giant whirlpool that swallowed numerous ships, depositing the victims’ skulls on this beach. Another legend describes a fierce battle between the mystical creatures Garuda and Jentayu on a nearby island, resulting in many casualties. The bodies of the fallen warriors were said to wash up on this beach.
For a factual perspective, let’s turn the clock backwards by 90-95 years. From the beach, if you look out to sea, you can see a large island in the distance. This is Tarutao Island in Thailand, just 5 km away. Often, your phone network at the beach will switch to a Thai telecom operator due to its proximity. In the 1930s, Tarutao was notorious for its prison, surrounded by shark- and crocodile-infested waters that ensured only a few escapees survived. Some of these bodies were swept to Pasir Tengkorak, giving the beach its name. Additionally, the waters around Tarutao were known for feared pirates who raided passing merchant ships, dumping the bodies of the crew into the sea, with some washing up on this shore.

Overlooking Tarutao island, the plaque tells the history of Sandy Skull Beach
Overlooking Tarutao island, the plaque tells the history of Sandy Skull Beach

Enough of the history; let’s talk about the beauty of this sandy Skull Beach. This is the perfect spot if you love swimming in crystal clear waters and prefer fewer tourists. During the off-peak season, you might even have the beach to yourself. We visited twice, and on one of those occasions – a Sunday – it was slightly busier with a handful of locals. The white sand and turquoise water resemble the stunning beaches of Hawaii.

This beach is relatively small and surrounded by a lush rainforest. Located on the way to Datai highlands, it’s easy to miss the small entrance if you don’t keep an eye on Google Maps, as there are no signboards. There is a parking lot that accommodates about 40-50 cars. From there, it’s a 100-meter walk through dense forest teeming with wildlife, especially monkeys. Be watchful, as they can be quite aggressive, and I recommend not carrying any food with you.

The parking area has showers and changing rooms, although they were broken when we visited. One side of the beach features rocky terrain, with a couple of trails for those interested in exploring. Additionally, the beach has plenty of trees providing shade, offering a respite from the beating sun.

Things to know

  • Parking: Free
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 9 am to 7 pm (all days)
  • Best time to visit: Late afternoon
  • Food: Not available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: broken
  • Logistics: You may have difficulty getting a return taxi, so it’s best to take your own vehicle or hold your taxi.
  • Google Maps Location

[2] Tanjung Rhu Beach (Pantai Tanjung Rhu)

Tanjung Rhu, located at the northern tip of Langkawi, is among the best beaches on the island. It hosts two luxurious properties, the Four Seasons Resort and Tanjung Rhu Resort, but the public beach remains accessible to all. While slightly commercial, it is not as bustling as Pantai Cenang, offering a few shops and restaurants around.

This expansive white sand beach is flanked by mangrove forests and rainforests, offering a stunning panorama of nearby karsts reminiscent of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, though on a smaller scale. The view, with its turquoise waters, is breathtaking, inviting you to relax and soak in nature for hours. Beach chairs are available for rent by the hour, allowing you to enjoy a drink while basking under the sun.

Panoramic view of Pantai Tanjung Rhu's turquoise waters and white sand beach
Panoramic view of Pantai Tanjung Rhu’s turquoise waters and white sand beach

Tanjung Rhu also offers a variety of water activities and Jet Ski rides for the adventurous. It is one of the starting points for the popular mangrove boat tours. While parking at the beachfront is limited, a large parking lot is available across the road where the boats are anchored.

Jet Skis lined up along the shores of Tanjung Rhu beach, ready to take adventure seekers on thrilling rides
Jet Skis lined up along the shores of Tanjung Rhu beach, ready to take adventure seekers on thrilling rides

Things to know

  • Parking: Free
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: Early morning (less crowd) and late afternoon
  • Food: Available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Pay & use
  • Logistics: You may have difficulty getting a return taxi, so it’s best to take your own vehicle or hold your taxi.
  • Google Maps Location

[3] Black Sand Beach (Pantai Pasir Hitam)

Another one in northern Langkawi, Black Sand Beach is notable for its blackish sand. The origins of this color are steeped in both ancient legends and scientific facts.

According to one legend, the beach’s dark sand resulted from a fierce battle between Garuda (a creature both bird and human) and a Roman prince. This prince fought the beast to save his kidnapped princess, turning the sand black. Another tale speaks of a mermaid from an underwater kingdom who came to the land seeking love, sparking a fiery battle between two worlds, which blackened the sand. A plaque on the colorful stairs recounts this story, though it is in Bahasa.

Swing over the sparkling Black Sand Beach and enjoy the breathtaking views
Swing over the sparkling Black Sand Beach and enjoy the breathtaking views

Scientifically, the black sand is attributed to large amounts of tourmaline and ilmenite from the granite of Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s tallest mountain. These minerals washed down and mixed with the sand, giving it its distinctive color.

It's a really black beach here in Black Sand Beach in Langkawi
It’s a really black beach here

The beach entrance is right on Jalan Teluk Yu (Route 113), immediately after you enter the highway from the eastern end. Access is through Medan Niaga, a small shopping and food plaza where you can park. A short walk behind the plaza leads you to colorful stairs, reminiscent of those at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, which descend to the Black Sand Beach.

A short flight of stairs brings you to this beautiful beach, characterized by swings in the water. Popular with locals, this beach is less frequented by tourists compared to Tanjung Rhu. Many locals can be seen taking photos on the swings. In the distance, you can spot a cement factory on the west side.

Stunning views of colorful stairs leading down to Black Sand Beach
Stunning views of colorful stairs leading down to Black Sand Beach

The presence of numerous anchored fishing boats suggests a nearby fishing community. Despite this, the beach remains quiet and clean. The water was calm during our visit, allowing us to enjoy a barefoot stroll along the shore, with small waves lapping at our feet. The sand is very soft but heats up quickly in the sun.

It's me, taking in the tranquility of the beach and the endless ocean
It’s me, taking in the tranquility of the beach and the endless ocean

Things to know

  • Parking: Free
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: Early morning and during sunset
  • Food: Available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Pay & use at Medan Niaga
  • Logistics: Your own vehicle is ideal, but a taxi will get you here and back.
  • Google Maps Location

[4] Wild Beach

Just a few hundred meters down Jalan Teluk Yu from Black Sand Beach, you’ll find Wild Beach. The entry to this beach is a bit tricky and easy to miss. You need to park your car slightly off the road and look for a narrow flight of stairs that will take you down to the beach. I haven’t found a local name for this beach yet, so if you know it, please let me know, and I’ll update the blog.

The narrow stairs that lead you to the Wild Beach in Langkawi
The narrow stairs that lead you to the Wild Beach

Wild Beach is truly beautiful and remarkably clean. I am not exaggerating when I say that almost no tourists know about this spot. Even the locals visit here less frequently than other beaches on the same road. The beach offers a picture-perfect vista with rounded rocks along the shores and in the ocean, reminiscent of Anse Source D’Argent Beach in Seychelles, though the rock formations here are smaller.

The stunning backdrop of rock formations frames my daughter's playful swing on the Wild Beach
The stunning backdrop of rock formations frames my daughter’s playful swing on the Wild Beach

You can climb some of these rocks for a great photo opportunity with a stunning background of turquoise water. Be cautious, as the rocks can be slippery and some are filled with water in the center. A stroll along the tranquil waters of the beach is soothing to both body and soul. This beach is perfectly situated in the ocean arch, offering a beautiful sunset view. Just stay at the spot where you descend the stairs, and you’ll have a front-row seat to the sunset. We wanted to return here for the sunset but got a little delayed coming back from Sandy Skull Beach.

Things to know

  • Parking: Free
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: During sunset
  • Food: Not available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Not available
  • Logistics: If you don’t have a vehicle, walk down to the Black Sand Beach and you’ll be able to get a taxi.
  • Google Maps Location

[5] Shark Bay (Teluk Yu)

Just one kilometer further down the same road, you’ll come across Teluk Yu, also known as Shark Bay, which is the exact translation. It is opposite the Langkawi Craft Complex. Don’t worry, there are no sharks around; the name comes from the concrete shark structure along the promenade.

Concrete shark sculpture along the promenade of Shark Bay (Teluk Yu) in Langkawi
Concrete shark sculpture along the promenade of Shark Bay

This beautiful promenade is lined with palm trees. Park your car at the roadside designated parking spots and walk down the stairs to reach the beach. The beach is not very wide, just about 200 meters, but its calm waters are perfect for swimming. It is a favorite family beach for the locals, who enjoy the cozy huts along the promenade overlooking the turquoise water. Most of the beach disappears during high tide, so try to visit during low tide.

Clear turquoise waters and soft white sand make Shark Bay Beach an idyllic swimming and relaxation spot
Clear turquoise waters and soft white sand make Shark Bay Beach an idyllic swimming and relaxation spot

A view of Shark Bay from the gazebo, surrounded by azure waters and untouched nature
A view of Shark Bay from the gazebo, surrounded by azure waters and untouched nature

The entire area is known as Taman Awam Teluk Yu, which means Shark Bay Public Park. Children especially love this beach. There are a couple of seaside restaurants where you can enjoy a meal while watching the pristine ocean, as well as small food stalls both inside the park and along the roadside.

The vibrant shoreline of Shark Bay Beach is lined with restaurants and food stalls offering a colorful tapestry of flavors
The vibrant shoreline of Shark Bay Beach is lined with restaurants and food stalls offering a colorful tapestry of flavors

However, the only downside of this beach is the cement factory just a stone’s throw away to the west. The sunset colors here are amazing, although most of the time the sun sets behind the factory. The hues of orange splashing the sky and water create an amazing effect.

A breathtaking display of vibrant oranges, pinks, and purples illuminates the sky above the tranquil waters of Shark Bay Beach
A breathtaking display of vibrant oranges, pinks, and purples illuminates the sky above the tranquil waters of Shark Bay Beach

Things to know

  • Parking: Free (roadside)
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: During sunset
  • Food: Available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Available
  • Logistics: Your own vehicle is ideal, but a taxi will get you here and back.
  • Google Maps Location

[6] Pantai Rekreasi Kastam

Pantai Rekreasi Kastam is an incredible beach enroute Pantai Tanjung Rhu. It’s tucked behind a vibrant complex of shops and restaurants, which might initially obscure its entrance until you venture closer. Along the road, accommodations and dining spots block the view, adding a touch of mystery to discovering this hidden gem.

During our stay at De Balqis Chalet, a charming beachfront property just 200 meters from Pantai Rekreasi Kastam, we relished having our own private beach. We also enjoyed strolling to Pantai Rekreasi Kastam from our property along the shore. For those seeking a tranquil beach experience on a moderate budget, I highly recommend staying at beach-facing properties like De Balqis Chalet.

A view of Pantai Rekreasi Kastam beach from my room at De Balqis Chalet
A view of Pantai Rekreasi Kastam beach from my room at De Balqis Chalet

Right at the shores of the ocean and adjacent to Pantai Rekreasi Kastam is De Balqis Chalet in Tanjung Rhu
Right at the shores of the ocean and adjacent to Pantai Rekreasi Kastam is De Balqis Chalet

In the evenings, we visited Pantai Rekreasi Kastam to soak in its unique atmosphere. The beach was lively with local families enjoying the ocean breeze. A popular landmark, the Tanjung Rhu pin board, provided a perfect spot for memorable photos.

Under the starry night sky, an idyllic scene at Pantai Rekreasi Kastam in Tanjung Rhu
Under the starry night sky, an idyllic scene at Pantai Rekreasi Kastam

Things to know

  • Parking: Free
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: After sunset
  • Food: Available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Available
  • Logistics: Your own vehicle is ideal, but a taxi will get you here and back.
  • Google Maps Location

[7] Pantai Kok

Pantai Kok is a secluded yet stunning beach near Langkawi SkyCab, making it a perfect complement to your cable car adventure. Located opposite Paradise 101 and next to Telaga Harbour, this sandy stretch is distinguished by its prominent lighthouse at the eastern end and a cluster of yachts moored in its calm waters.

Pantai Kok lighthouse, opposite Paradise 101, provides a scenic backdrop to the clear blue sky and serene beach
Pantai Kok lighthouse, opposite Paradise 101, provides a scenic backdrop to the clear blue sky and serene beach

The beachfront along Jalan Tanjung Rhu is currently being developed but promises to offer one of Langkawi’s finest beach experiences. With its expansive shoreline, pristine white sands, and clear waters, it’s an ideal spot for photography and offers panoramic views. Take caution about jellyfish before swimming, and don’t miss the spectacular sunsets.

Pantai Kok's beachfront was still under construction, but the views are breathtaking
Pantai Kok’s beachfront was still under construction, but the views are breathtaking

Things to know

  • Parking: Free
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: Morning or during sunset
  • Food: Available (near the lighthouse)
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Not available onsite
  • Logistics: Your own vehicle is ideal, but a taxi will get you here and back.
  • Google Maps Location

[8] Pantai Tengah

You might be disappointed with my blog if you’re looking for Pantai Cenang. Instead, I’ve uncovered a gem just a stone’s throw away. Pantai Tengah, merely 2 km south of Pantai Cenang, offers a serene escape. It is a long stretch of white sand beach speckled with seashells where a handful of vendors offer island hopping tours. Unlike its bustling neighbor, Pantai Tengah remains refreshingly quiet and unspoiled by commercialization. Accommodation options span from budget-friendly to mid-range, ensuring there’s something for every traveler. And yes, the sunset views here? Absolutely breathtaking.

Things to know

  • Parking: Free
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: Morning or during sunset
  • Food: Available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Available
  • Logistics: Never a problem
  • Google Maps Location
A parasailing flight over Pantai Tengah at sunset offers a breathtaking view of the waning sun
A parasailing flight over Pantai Tengah at sunset offers a breathtaking view of the waning sun

[9] Paradise 101

If you’re dreaming of a luxury getaway, Paradise 101 is the beach for you. While I haven’t visited personally, it’s widely known as Langkawi’s premier destination for luxury and relaxation. Situated on a manmade island originally built as a wave breaker, this unique spot is part of Langkawi’s efforts to protect its harbors. The Langkawi archipelago boasts 99 natural islands, and Paradise 101 earns its name as the 101st. Accessible only by boat tour, it’s renowned for thrilling water sports, gourmet cuisine, and a variety of exotic drinks.

Paradise 101 as seen from the middle station of SkyCab
Paradise 101 as seen from the middle station of SkyCab

Things to know

  • Parking: You can reach here only by boat
  • Entry: Chargeable (part of the package)
  • Hours: 10 am to 1 am
  • Best time to visit: Morning or late evening
  • Food: Available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Available
  • Logistics: Hire a boat from Pantai Kok

[10] Tanjung Pandan, Pula Tuba

Ever pondered where this beach came from? This hidden gem remains a well-kept secret from the usual online searches. Nestled on Pulau Tuba, a serene island just a short 20-minute boat ride from Kuah, this beach transcends the typical tourist haunts of Pulau Langkawi. Its allure lies in its unrivaled beauty, a sanctuary cherished by photographers and wanderers seeking solitude alike. Picture-perfect in every sense, it boasts powdery stretches of white sand that seem to melt into the shimmering turquoise embrace of the sea. The gentle lull of the ocean, adorned with hues of azure and emerald, invites you to linger and lose yourself in its tranquil embrace. Indulge in delectable seafood dishes against the backdrop of this unspoiled paradise – an experience that truly justifies the boat journey from Kuah.

Tanjung Pandan is an oasis of tranquility in Pulau Tuba
Tanjung Pandan is an oasis of tranquility

Things to know

  • Parking: No need to worry
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: Any time of the day
  • Food: Available
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Not available (you can change at the restaurant)
  • Logistics: Hire a scooter from the main jetty
  • Google Maps Location

[11] A Secluded White Sand Beach on Pulau Dayang Bunting

I consider this beach to be Langkawi’s finest gem, though its name eludes me. Don’t mistake my uncertainty for whimsy; this place truly stands out.

Accessing this coastal paradise presents just two options. One, embark on a boat journey from Kuah to Selat Bagan Nyior jetty, followed by a leisurely stroll to the shore. Alternatively, depart from Kuah to Pulau Tuba jetty, rent a scooter, and navigate your way here. The narrow bridge linking Pulau Tuba and Dayang Bunting island is too slender for cars so a scooter is your only way to reach here.

On the other end of this narrow bridge, just a stone’s throw to the right awaits a beachscape straight out of a dream. Imagine soft, powdery sand beneath your feet, shimmering in the sun’s embrace. It is as if the waters stretch out into a liquid crystal, inviting you to plunge into their cool embrace. Cliffs decked in verdant green surround this pristine haven, their echoes blending with distant calls of hornbills. Time seems to slow down here, allowing you to savor every moment of serenity and natural beauty.

A beautiful white sand beach and tranquil waters on Dayang Bunting Island
A beautiful white sand beach and tranquil waters on Dayang Bunting Island

Things to know

  • Parking: No need to worry
  • Entry: Free
  • Hours: 24×7
  • Best time to visit: Any time of the day
  • Food: Available at nearby restaurants
  • Change rooms, showers & toilet: Not available
  • Logistics: By boat and scooter
  • Google Maps Location

[12] Datai Bay

This is one of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in Langkawi, nestled within the serene Datai Highlands. Public access to this pristine shoreline has been restricted, with entry granted exclusively to guests of the luxurious properties in the vicinity. Only those staying at these high-end resorts can enjoy the beach’s stunning beauty and tranquil ambience.

Reflecting on Langkawi’s Unseen Coastal Wonders

You can escape the crowded tourist spots by exploring these 11 hidden beaches in Langkawi. Please exercise caution while swimming at these beaches since there are no lifeguards on duty. Always assess the conditions before swimming at a beach. Not every beach is suitable for swimming. Whether you’re looking for solitude, stunning scenery, or just a unique beach experience, these hidden gems provide unforgettable experiences.

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