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A view of the mountains near Port Malai Langkawi in Malaysia

Porto Malai, Langkawi, Malaysia

While some 99 islands make up the Malaysian archipelago of Langkawi, Pulau Langkawi, the largest island, is the destination where cruise ships call (at Porto Malai) and where ferries and flights arrive from Malaysia's mainland, just 30 kilometers (19 miles) to the east. The lush island lies just south of Thailand in the Andaman Sea and is home to roughly 95,000 people. There's an excellent infrastructure of hotels, international and Malayan restaurants and eco- and adventure attractions that make Langkawi a paradise for visitors looking to enjoy beautiful beaches served up with the exoticness of a Southeast Asian vacation.

Scuba divers flock to the area to explore the Andaman Sea's colorful coral reefs, just offshore. If you would rather stay dry during your marine exploration, you can visit Malaysia's largest aquarium. Spend your days exploring the beautiful coastline, shopping for traditional batik goods (the entire island of Langkawi is a duty-free destination) or just sipping a cold drink under the shade of a palm tree. And don't miss the chance to ride a cable car high above Langkawi's jungle canopy to the top of Mount Machinchang for the island's most spectacular views.