There are four main ways to get to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur, and I have tried three of them. Each way has its goods and bads. The most common for tourists is to fly of course, but you can also go by tour bus or train or rent a car and drive yourself. I have done all of these except for driving myself, and I hope to do that sometime this year.
For those of you whose main point is to lounge on the beach, dive, and snorkel or are limited in time, flying is still the best option. You can take MAS or Air Asia, as both have daily flights to Langkawi itself. MAS is an excellent airline and Air Asia is the budget alternative. I have covered those somewhat in other reviews.
The first trip I made to Langkawi was by bus, and I’m actually glad I went this way. I wasn’t on a limited time schedule, so it worked out rather nicely. There are several different companies running buses to Langkawi, and the prices range from RM20 to RM25 one-way. Actually, the buses take you to Kedah, where you take a boat to Langkawi. The cost of the ferry is RM12 one-way. You can catch these buses at the Puduraya Bus Station in Kuala Lumpur. They leave about every hour on a daily basis.
Beware, though, as the journey can take as much as 12 hours. To make matters easier, most of these buses are really nice. The chairs are all nice recliners that are similar to business class seats on an international flight. Many of the buses have TV’s at the front, but they will be playing a Malay language feature. The buses do stop at least two times at rest areas, and there will be hawkers and food courts there. What are the big advantages of this you may ask? Well, if you are traveling with several people, you will save some money. The main advantage to me, though, is really seeing the country. You get to have someone else drive you while you see the scenery. If you aren’t up for a round-trip this way, and I wouldn’t be again, you can take a bus one-way and fly back.
The train is also an interesting way to get to Langkawi and can be quite nice and a bit romantic for a couple. The cost of a train will run anywhere from RM18 per person one-way for a basic seat to RM100 for a private cabin with a small table, beds, and a sink. It can be quite romantic and a nice way to travel in first-class on a train for a cheap price. They have a dining car that serves both Western and Malaysian dishes at a fair enough price. It’s also a good place to strike up a conversation or play a game of cards with other passengers. The journey takes about 10 to 11 hours; the train runs every day and can be caught from Kl Sentral.
I recommend the private cabins for a couple, but the highest grade seats aren’t too bad; they are better than coach on an airplane but not as nice as business class. Once again, you can take the train to Langkawi and fly back, as a round-trip journey would be a little redundant. It’s a nice experience but I like trains, and they are preferable to the bus. The trains information and timetables can be found here. Remember, when searching for fares on the site, that the KL terminal is called "Sentral Kuala Lumpur" and the train is called the #8 EKSPRES LANGKAWI.
Malaysian Train KTMB
I have yet to rent a car, like I have said above, but it looks to be an interesting journey. From riding on the bus, I can tell you that most roads are pretty good. Its mostly a four-lane highway, and there are towns spaced equally along the way that may make for interesting exploration. There is also parking at the pier once you get to Kedah and take the boat to Langkawi. You cannot take your car onto the island from what I understand.