When we say Malaysia has some of the best beaches in Asia, we're not exaggerating. Langkawi, an archipelago of104 islands located on the Andaman Sea, may well be the country's crown jewel.
Langkawi's a very different beach vacation from Bali or Phuket, catering not to the touristy masses, but those who want to truly embrace nature and the local culture -- with a fair bit of indulgence thrown in.
What to do
The Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, located on the eastern part of Langkawi Island, features magnificently formed limestone hills, with pinnacles of various shapes and sizes.
Take a river cruise down the Kilim River to see mangroves, feed eagles and, most importantly, visit the floating fish farm where you can feed the fish, from little guys up to stingrays.
Where to stay
The Andaman is a Luxury Collection Langkawi resort located in the idyllic Datai Bay. In the northwest of Langkawi, the area is home to some rare wildlife, flora and event its own coral reef.
This exclusive hotel is an attraction on its own, which is good considering it's tucked away from the rest of the area, back in the rainforest. Enjoy a myriad of activities there from nature walks to water sports, reef walks and pampering spa treatments. The resort's restaurants and bars offer a range of local Malaysian specialties and international favorites along with menus for the health-conscious.
While you're there, don't forget to try the award-winning V Botanical Spa for an over-the-top therapeutic massage experience.
The Andaman, Langkawi, Jalan Teluk Datai, Langkawi, 07000, Malaysia, +60 (4) 959 1088, www.theandaman.com
Where to party
If you're looking for some good-yet-chill fun, check out the Raggae Bar located on Pantai Cenang, Kuah in Langkawi. The beach is always busy with both locals and tourists, so go there as much for the atmosphere as the surrounding pubs. With the exception of Raggae Bar, most bars in the area close early, so it's really there or nothing at all.