Pantai Cenang Langkawi ( Cenang Beach )


Pantai Cenang is probably the most visited beach area in Langkawi. From just a sleepy and tropically-correct long stretch of white sandy beach, which it was about two decades ago, today's Pantai Cenang has taken a life of its own. Gone are most of the coconut trees, except for a few that are being preserved to set the tropical island mood by the many resorts and hotel operators who have taken up almost  every inch of land available. The range of accommodation starts from the most basic  to the medium and five-star establishments. Today's Pantai Cenang is a bustling beach thoroughfare that comes to live during the afternoons and evenings.

Don't expect a quiet deserted beach as the operative word here is excitement - whatever that may mean to you. With the beach being the anchor feature, the land fronting it is almost all hotels and resorts, while whatever is left in between have been taken up by shops selling garments, trinkets and souvenirs, restaurants, stalls, bistros, convenience stores and almost anything to share the roaring tourism trade.


Pantai Cenang has been equated to the beach thoroughfares of Phuket, Thailand. Sharing the same waters of the southern Andaman Sea, geological features and even persona, Pantai Cenang is considered by many visitors as a more family-friendly destination that does not tout glitzy night life and bacchanalian abandon despite the duty free beers and liquor. There is no sex trade -- just a wholesome tropical island destination. One of the most popular beach destinations among tourists and locals alike, Pantai Cenang is known not only for its delightful sunsets but also for its long and sandy beach. Located about 18 kilometres from Kuah town and only three kilometres from the airport, it offers all kinds of water sports and opportunities to go "island hopping" to the other Langkawi islands.

Just what do you do at Pantai Cenang? You can just hangout on the beach (there are still quiet spots to be alone). You can gravitate to the beach bistros for some cold beer during hot afternoons, hangout at the beach bars in the evenings, station yourself at one of the warungs and do some people watching or walk over to Laman Padi or Underwater World.

At Underwater World,  visitors will get to come up close with freshwater and marine life without getting wet. Currently the largest aquarium in Asia with a walk-through tunnel, more than 5000 marine and freshwater species are on show here. Also showcased are the African Penguins, Rockhopper Penguins and Harbour Seal within the sub-arctic adventure section.  Visitors can experience the wonder of literally being in the midst of these graceful and awe-inspiring creatures, from the majestic to the small, everyday from 10 in the morning until 6 in the evening. An experience not to be missed, for approximately RM28 Non-Malaysian Child / RM18 Malaysian child and RM28 Malaysian Adult / RM38 Non-Malaysian adult. Malaysian Senior Citizens / Government Employees RM22, and their children RM11 per child.

Alternative, you can go for a foot massage, pamper yourself with a good full spa treatment or explore the area on a rented motorbike, car or bicycle. For walks and exploration, you can go beachcombing or collect seashells.  Boats are available for hire if you'd like to go over to explore Pantai Tepor, that inviting island with a stretch of white sandy beach, which you can see from Pantai Chenang.  On certain days you can go to the weekly pasar malam (night market) at Temoyong, about three kilometres away.

For food, Pantai Cenang probably has the most to offer to suit your budget and taste. Take your pick from Chinese, Thai, Thai-Malay, western, Indian, or fusion restaurants. Should you want to go local on a shoestring,  try the nasi lemak bungkus (a favourite local breakfast) stall opposite the Underwater World. Go early as they sell out fast. For tea, lookout for the girl who sells a variety of Malay kuih (cakes) in the afternoon somewhere opposite Debbie's Irish Restaurant. Whatever you do, shop around before deciding, as ambiance, prices and offerings differ from outlet to outlet.