We durian lovers have our own rendition of pina coladas on the beach. Yup. We want to eat our fill of something pungent and alcoholic and then flip-flop down to the sand to pass out in the sun. But such a day dream is surprisingly difficult to achieve, even on Malaysia’s #1 island getaway. Here are seven Langkawi durian spots to make your paradise durian dreams come true. Scroll to the bottom for the Google Map ↓↓.
Where I stayed
Pantai Cenang is the busiest beach in Langkawi, so I opted to stay somewhere different.
We ended up on the quiet north coast, at Tanjung Puteri Motel, a very quiet, clean budget hotel that had my other most important criteria: an excellent view. Not from the room — I don’t think we even had a window — but from the hallway we could see the ocean and if we stepped out of the hallway an unobstructed sunset over the ocean was all ours.
As of writing, a night at Tanjung Puteri Hotel costs $20-35USD. They cater to campers and budget family travelers, and there’s a small kitchen hut where you can make your own food because there’s really nothing else around. Make sure to have your own transportation. I rented a car through Easybook.com
Durian Peranginan Waterfall
If you’ve scanned a map while planning your Langkawi durian trip, you immediately noticed the word “Durian” in the upper northwest corner, about 16 km from the Kuah Town.
This is a small, well-maintained park for swimming and enjoying the beauty of the waterfall. The 14 small cascades run down Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s highest mountain, but they’re really easy to get to. The bottom pools are accessible almost from the parking lot, and even the highest and most impressive waterfall is just a 15-minute climb up a set of uneven rock stairs (probably not a good idea to take Grandma up there).
The parking lot has places to buy souvenirs and swimming stuff, and it’s there that you should look up.
Above your heads you’ll see some of the only durians growing on Langkawi. When I visited, at the beginning of July 2017, the trees were full of fruit but the durians hadn’t yet dropped.
I was told they normally sell the durians there in the car park. This is probably the best place to get fresh, tree-dropped durian in Langkawi.
MARDI Agricultural Park
Okay, so none of you suped-up fruit nerds will be impressed by the offerings at this Fruit Park, but it’s pretty cool that it’s here. The 35-acres park is a Fruit Disneyland. Fruitneyland.
It’s operated by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and is the only one of their Ag stations I know of open to the regular public, growing 20-something species of fruit.
They have all the tropical staples — mangoes, mangosteens, rambutans, jackfruits, pomelos, starfruits, soursops, chicos — plus grapes and vegetables. There are trams departing every 15-20 minutes for regular stops around the park, beginning with an all-you-can-eat fruit buffet.
This is where, I was told, that you can buy durian for 6RM per packet when in season.
It’s actually a really good deal, since the only varieties they have on the property are Musang King, D24, MDUR78, and MDUR79. There are about 15 trees on the property, all about 7 or 8 years old. When I was there, in beginning of July 2017, there were plenty of fruits on the trees but again, none dropping.
The fruit buffet looked mildly disappointing — pineapples, sticks of sugarcane, yellow and red watermelon, honeydew— but I bet it was partly because I was too early for rambutans, mangosteens, and the like. 2017 is a weird year.
I liked how nice the guides were, super silly and energetic. They delighted in taking funny fruit photos, dressing a jackfruit in nose glasses and having people stand directly behind, or holding a tiny pineapple close to the lens of the camera and asking the subjects adjust their arms to create the illusion of lifting a 10-foot-tall pineapple.
According to the manager, the durian season should be May to August, but this year (2017) she expects durian in September. Just a heads up.
A farm tour cost 25RM/head. You can also stay onsite at their campsite.
Durian King @ The House Langkawi
We arrived fresh from the Durian Perangin Waterfall, hungry, and not sure what to expect. Durian King is a small shop in the village just north of the airport. There didn’t seem to be much else around it, except for a few resorts. To be honest, I couldn’t even figure out what that part of the beach is called.
Durian King stocks all kinds of durian products from all around Malaysia — biscuits and coffees, freeze dried durian and freeze dried durian dipped in dark chocolate, ice cream and more. Michael, the durian boss, said that sometimes they also serve durian desserts like spring rolls and durian ice fire rolls, but that everyone was out of stock because of the poor season this year.
Luckily, he had just picked up two Styrofoam crates of durians from the jetty that morning. The durians came from Penang, Malaysia. The stems were wrapped in newspaper or tissue paper to keep them fresh, but when I slipped them off it was clear the durians were as fresh as could be possible, since the ferry takes 3 hours (so sometime during the previous night).
I was delighted to see that they were Kun Poh durians, my favorite kind. I told that to Michael. He replied, “They are Red Prawn.” I assured him the durians were not, in fact, Red Prawn, and hoped he hadn’t been cheated. He looked concerned and said he would check about it.
This is how you can identify a real Red Prawn durian, and not one of it’s lookalikes.
Because the durians were being shipped from Penang, they cost 70RM/kg. At that time, a Kun Poh in Penang cost about 25-30RM/kg. It seemed fair. And the quality was good.
It’s a treat, and what else are you on a tropical vacation island to do?
Pantai Cenang Durian Truck
Pantai Cenang is the most popular beach in Penang, so of course there’s going to be durian there. For the right price.
We were actually looking for a good, cheap place to get a massage. We were debating between two shops that were side by side, when a truck pulled up bearing the words MUSANG KING DURIAN. It was karma. The durian was coming to us.
The driver that day was Kojak, who said the truck parks there every day starting around 3PM. They were importing durians from mainland Malaysia, mostly Musang King and D24. Unfortunately the prices were higher than I felt like paying, so we wandered back across the street to get a massage. Tough back up plan.
Ah Huat: 016-529-1111
Pantai Cenang Durian House
We found this one by accident while trying to choose between the Middle Eastern and Mexi-Thai fusion restaurants on the main strip of Pantai Cenang.
It’s a small shop, not entirely dedicated to durians, but it did have all the basic durian products covered: durian coffee, freeze dried durian, durian chips, durian kuih, durian ice cream, etc.
More importantly: the freezer section. It has frozen durian pulp, so if you’re visiting Langkawi when it’s not durian season you can still get some Musang King.
Chea Kai Cheong Fruit Stand
As you approach Kuah Town, you might notice this large fruit stand. It takes a U-turn to get there, because of the cement divider in the middle of the road, but it might be worth your time.
The fruit stand sells bananas and watermelons and dragonfruits and mangoes and all that jazz, and they also sell imported Thai durians. There were whole Thai durians for 30RM/kg, and also ones chopped up and sold in packets in the refrigerator.
To be honest, the durians in the packets looked… not so good.
This stall had mostly Monthong, which I thought was interesting. I saw other fruit stalls around selling Thai durians, but they were mostly selling Chanee durians, a different variety usually preferred by Malaysians.
Rotating Night Markets
The evening night market in Langkawi changes location depending on the day of the week, which is both annoying and completely not boring. It means you can visit the night market 6 times in a row without having the same experience. Clever.
Evening markets are about everything good to eat. From noodles to donuts to sweet fruits, it’s there. And also durian. I was surprised to see that it was from Thailand, since the night market caters to local Langkawi(ans? Like Hawaiians). What it means for durian searchers, is there’s likely to be durian sold at the evening markets most days of the year.
There was just Chanee for sale for 25RM/kilo. The guys I was with, out of durian desperation, bought a few, and they said they were pretty good. Maybe not Malaysian style, but definitely enjoyable.
The local night markets can be found at these locations:
Monday: Ulu Melaka
Friday: Air Hangat
Saturday: Kuah again
Sunday: Padang Matsirat
Or just follow the map below.
Go To All The Langkawi Durian Spots
Use this map to find spots to eat Langkawi durian, or navigate to other locations nearby where you can have better quality, more abundant, and cheaper durians.
And if you have any Langkawi tips or finds, please leave all your advice in the comments section below to help other durian hunters!