Up in the northwest corner of peninsular Malaysia, Langkawi is a lush archipelago of around 100 islands, only two of which are inhabited. Its main island is dominated by a spine of mountains which rise to a plateau of paddy fields. The coastal fringes are dotted with fishing kampungs, coconut plantations and a string of idyllic sandy bays - some developed, others wonderfully remote.
There's an international airport on the west coast - though most visitors are from southeast Asia rather than Europe - which makes access a breeze. To its south are a pair of bustling beaches at Cenang and Tengah, with all manner of watersports (waterskiing, sailing, parasailing, banana boat, windsurfing). A couple of small sandbank islands lie just offshore, one of them reachable on foot in low tide. Most of the seafront is lined with large, generic resorts, but a short distance inland you can still find some unsung gems such as Bon Ton and Temple Tree.
Without doubt the island's best beaches and most virgin tracts of jungle are tucked away in the northwest corner, around Datai Bay - which is home to just one very exclusive resort. There's a golf club nearby, and several waterfalls which you can hike to in the company of a guide; look out for flying squirrels, flying snakes, monitor lizards, wild boars, dingos and birds galore.