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For travellers’ purposes, there are essentially two facets to Kedah: the tropical island of Langkawi and its surrounding islets, and the rural, little-visited mainland, known as Malaysia’s ‘rice bowl’.

Langkawi is the stuff of tourist brochures that don’t skimp on descriptions such as ‘sun-kissed’ and ‘paradise’. The good news is that the beaches generally live up to the hype, but it’s also an island destination that continues to maintain its Malay roots. If, like most, Langkawi is the only destination on your itinerary, you can rest assured that you’ll still get the chance to experience both facets.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Kedah.