SEAP Southeast Asia Pilot-1

Langkawi Island

Creek at Hole in the Wall
Creek between Hole in the Wall and Tanjung Rhu | Photo by Bill O’Leary

On the north-western shore of Peninsular Malaysia is the Langkawi archipelago made up of 99 islands, where all but two (Langkawi and Tuba) are uninhabited. Most of the mainly Muslim population of around 55,000 live on the big island, in and around Kuah town rimming Bass Harbour facing south.

Kuah is the main administrative stop for customs, immigration and harbour department clearances for cruising yachts crossing the Malaysian-Thai border, just three miles north of the island. The archipelago is lush with jungle and is a mixture of mountains, limestone karsts and granite boulders. It was granted exclusive Geopark status by UNESCO in 2007.

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Langkawi Island chart
  • A


455 miles from Singapore


The various official checking in and out offices are conveniently located at the head of the ferry jetty. Bass Harbour is home to The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (RLYC) founded in 1996, a marina with 200 berths and two superyacht berths up to 60 metres on the southeast side of the main jetty.

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B & V Marine Langkawi shipyard
B & V Marine Langkawi
Langkawi Shipyards

West of Bass Harbour (Kuah) on the main island there are three shipyards for various yacht work. From east to west these are Northern Shipyard at 6°18.374N, 99°48.167E with a 200-ton travel lift and all round good facilities

One mile southwest is B & V Marine, where yachts up to 12 tons can be hauled out easily by their crane and cleaned, repaired or stored long term on the concrete hard stand. Heavier yachts will require an outside crane per job on consignment

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  • B


1.6 miles from RLYC


Anchor in 4-5 metres on the east side of the island. Alternatively anchor closer to Langkawi Island, but well out of the main ferry channels that are marked.

Moving north from Pulau Bumbon Besar there are several small bays where anchorage is possible in 4-6 metres, depending on wind conditions. Most notable are Pulau Timun and its half-dozen small sandy south-facing beaches, assuring absolute privacy.

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Eastern Scenic Route

The most scenic and easily navigable passage north from Kuah up the east coast begins just past the flashing green light at the southern entrance to the harbour at 6°17.389N, 99°51.649E.

Turn northeast through the 100-metre-wide channel between the southern tip of Langkawi and Pulau Bumbon Besar.

Salet Pulau Balek, Selat Eanir and Salet Pangkor are the narrow channels leading to the northeast coast of the island.

Safe anchorage can be found virtually anywhere in the passage, which is well lit both port and starboard and has a minimum depth of 2 metres. We recommend Malaysian chart #5622 for more detail.

  • C


14 miles from RLYC


Between Pulau Langguan and Langkawi is a scenic 8-10 metre deep channel from the north or south. Approaching from the south, stay well clear of the mud banks on the west by heavily favouring the deeper Pulau Langguan side until the entrance to the famous mangrove river on port.

On departure, heading north, deepest water is found on the west side of the channel. The mangrove channel running southwest narrows into the famous ‘Hole in the Wall’ (See Box).

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 Entrance to The Hole in the Wall Langkawi
Entrance to The Hole in the Wall Langkawi Photo by Bill O’Leary
The Hole in the Wall − Langkawi

Just to the south of a small islet, west of Pulau Langguan and on the west side of the channel, is a creek opening, locally known as the ‘Hole in the Wall’. (Anchorage ‘C’)

Proceed into the entrance in 7 metres of water, staying in the centre of the ‘Hole’. Once inside the depth decreases to about 5 metres and the mangroves open up to form a spectacular enclosed circular anchorage. Find yourself adequate swinging room and anchor in thick mud. Exploring the many mangrove creeks by dinghy is a must.

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North Coast Langkawi

The northern beaches and bays are arguably the most beautiful on Langkawi. We recommend only three spots, although it is possible to anchor virtually anywhere along this coast when conditions permit.

Never leave your vessel unattended here and be prepared to up anchor at any time, if conditions deteriorate.

Although the best beaches are situated along this coast, there are occasionally strong currents offshore and shifting sandbanks closer in.

  • D


17 miles from RLYC

TANONG RHU. 06°27.753N, 99°49.227E

Anchor in 4-6 metres well clear of the reef around Pulau Kelam Baya. There is so much to do at this anchorage we recommend at least a few days here. The tidal currents here are often strong, so hang a line and float if swimming off the boat. Ashore are beaches, rivers, the Tanjung Rhu Resort and a few good restaurants.

Just around the headland to the east is a beautiful shallow all weather circular bay at 6°27.716N, 99°49.759E. Anchor in 4 metres off the jetty serving the radar station and use your dinghy. Looking south from here are three mangrove rivers. The southwest one is sandy and shallow with a jetty and floating docks housing dozens of shallow-draft high-speed outboard-powered tour boats.

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  • E


22 miles from RLYC

PULAU JEMUROK. 06°26.001N, 99°44.558E

Past the industrial area with long jetties is Pulau Jemurok at the mouth of a large sand and mangrove creek. Anchor just west of the north tip of the island for a nice lunchtime stop in 6-10 metres.

There is a private sandy beach on the southeast of the island or motor right up the mangrove creek to the fishing village at the head. There is a small waterfall within easy walking distance.

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  • F


27 miles from RLYC

DATAI BAY. 06°25.855N, 99°40.174E

This bay is host to recently refurbished The Datai and Andaman resorts, two of Langkawi’s most exclusive luxurious 5-star hotels.

Anchor in 3-7 metres on the west side of the bay in the southwest season. In the northeast it is better to anchor in the east side of the bay near the Andaman Hotel but beware of the shallow reef in front and go ashore in the centre of the bay.

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North Coast Langkawi

  • G


17 miles from RLYC

BERJAYA RESORT. 06°21.744N, 99°40.037E

Anchor in 6-8 metres in front of the water chalets of the Berjaya Resort. This resort happily serves non-staying guests and there is a choice of other resorts with simpler amenities along the beach.

Also ashore is an excellent independent seafood restaurant, built on stilts at the northwest end of the bay. Prior reservations are essential and can be arranged through the kiosk at the end of the jetty. Remember to take adequate footwear as this beach has a rocky outcrop that you may want to cross.

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  • H


17 miles from Royal Langkawi Yacht Club

TELAGA HARBOUR MARINA. 06°22.029N, 99°41.043E

Two man-made islands have been built in Pantai Kok Bay to protect the entrance to Telaga Harbour Marina with Gunung (Mount) Mat Cincang providing a spectacular backdrop. A large sandy-bottom area of open water behind the islands offers good anchorage and some moorings in 3-5 metres.

The approach into the 67-berth marina leaves both of the artificial islands to port and there is a marked channel towards the lighthouse at the marina entrance. Entering the marina, the fuel and water berth is on the starboard side with local fishing boats tied alongside on port.

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Telaga Harbour, Langkawi
Telaga Harbour Marina, Langkawi | Photo by Bill O’Leary
  • I


12 miles from RLYC

REBAK MARINA RESORT. 06°17.690N, 99°41.834E

Moving south from Telaga Harbour there are huge cement breakwaters, built to protect the resort beaches, in an arc across the bay, well offshore. Passing inside these breakwaters is not recommended.

The island of Rebak that forms the southern end of this bay has a marina with its entrance on the south side. The creek entrance at the south end of the island has been dredged to 2 metres at low tide. The lagoon-shaped marina presently caters for 190 boats up to 35 metres in fully serviced wet berths.

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  • J


11 miles from RLYC

PANTAI SENANG & PULAU TEPOR 06°17.368N, 99°43.040E

Anchor just south of Pulau Rebak Kecil in 3-6 metres well off shore, in front of the Pelangi Resort. Watch out for the rocks just north of Pulau Tepor, which are well marked on the local charts.

This bay is Langkawi’s main beach resort strip and, as such, has plenty of hotels, bars and restaurants ashore. This is also where you’ll find the main nightlife activity on the island, although nothing as raunchy as in Phuket.

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  • K


8 miles from RLYC


Located on the southwestern tip of Langkawi, next to the private Star Cruises Call Port jetty, host to world-class cruise liners.

Anchor in 4-6 metres between Pulau Ular and Langkawi or motor around the breakwater into the 3-metre basin and short-term tie up along the floating dock.

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  • L


9 miles from RLYC

PULAU BERAS BASAH. 06°13.894N, 99°43.091E

This is a great anchorage in 5-7 metres between Pulau Kentok Besar and Pulau Beras Basah off the northern beach of the bigger island. Beware of the rocks at the western end of the bay.

There’s another more private beach around the western headland. Best on a rising tide. The sandy point mid bay has shade and is also a popular day stop for tour boats from Kuah.

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  • M
  • N
  • O


8-11 miles from RLYC

PULAU SINGA BESAR. 06°13.595N, 99°44.911E

The northeast anchorage at (M) 6°13.595N, 99°44.911 has a long, fine white sand beach and is very sheltered in the southwest season. In the northeast there’s some fetch so best to tuck in behind Pulau Singa Kechil in 6-8 metres.

Further south on the east coast at (N) 6°12.331N, 99°44.633E is a large open bay with good holding in 4-5 metres on mud. Enjoy the excellent views of this wildlife sanctuary and nature reserve island with many local sea eagles and Bamity Kytes, and monkeys in residence.

The south facing bay at (O) 6°11.118N, 99°43.839E is another great spot when conditions permit. Anchor in 6 metres and check out the snorkelling and fishing around Pulau Chupak in the south of the bay.

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  • P


6 miles from RLYC

WEST PULAU DAYANG BUNTING. 06°14.472N, 99°47.298E

Anchor outside this calm and quiet bay in 4 metres on a muddy bottom. There is a small beach ashore with access to a cave and stream.

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    8-11 miles from RLYC


    Q | R | S | T | U

    The northern anchorage (Q) 6°12.636N, 99°46.225E is in 8-12 metres on a muddy bottom surrounded by beautiful remote bush-clad islands. Do not anchor too close to the reef. There is no beach.

    The anchorage at (R) 6°12.257N, 99°46.775E on a muddy bottom at 6-8 metres, is a well protected bay in the northeast season and gives access to the commercial speedboat and dinghy landing jetty. From here take the conventional path leading to the famous freshwater lake, otherwise known as the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden. (See Box).

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    Tasik Dayang Bunting
    (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden)

    Legend has it that the waters from the lake (also known as Princess Lake) inside Pulau Dayang can bestow fertility upon barren women. Centuries ago this fresh water lake was supposedly the favourite bathing place of the local princess Mambang Sari. A famous young warrior named Met Taja used to spy on her while she bathed. They eventually met, fell in love and had a baby son who did not live long.

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    • V


    4 miles from Royal langkawi Yacht Club

    PULAU TUBA FISHING VILLAGE. 06°14.667N, 99°51.817E

    Anchor well out in the bay in 4-6 metres. At low tide, enter by dinghy to the long jetty and tie to a fishing boat to avoid the sharp barnacles. At the Malay fishing village there are basic restaurants ashore.

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    While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

    The copyright holders of all content, in print and digital editions, are: Published book © Phuket Publicity Services Ltd. Part. / Texts © Bill O’Leary, Andy Dowden & Grenville Fordham / Design, layout & charts © Grenville Fordham / Photography: © as indicated in photo credits. All rights reserved
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