Our first day with Naturally Langkawi took us to the amazing Kilim Geoforest Park, one of the top things to do in Langkawi. Kilim Geoforest Park is part of the wider Langkawi Geoforest made up of Kilim and two other parks. We only visited Kilim, the coastal mangrove forest on this visit.
The other two parks are Machingchang Cambrian Geopark (located under the SkyCab) and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforst Park. This was our first visit to a coastal mangrove and I certainly had no preconceived ideas of what to expect. Lucky, because I could not have imagined the beautiful scenery we were about to experience.
Langkawi Geoforest is Malaysia’s first global geopark and the first in South East Asia. It received the status of Global Geopark by UNESCO on 1 June 2007. The Geoforest is comprised of 99 beautiful islands and is home to ancient geological heritage, timeless natural wonders and abundant flora and fauna. Its also home to the local people of Kilim Village which is situated near the Kilim Jetty where our tour began.
After we boarded our longtail boat we headed straight across the river to the Bat Cave a.k.a Gua Kelwar. We climbed up on to the man made pontoon then on to the path leading into the cave. It is called the bat cave for obvious reasons, it was full of bats. Now, Caelan was pretty excited about this but I have to admit I was a bit scared to look up and made sure I did not open my mouth!!
Part of the cave was under repair during our visit so we were only able to walk through it to the other side and back again. Usually the path continues around the outside and back to the start. It did give us a good idea on how the cave grows with the visible stalagmites and stalactites that have been produced over millions of years. You can also see how the mangrove feeds and sustains itself with wildlife and thick lush forest surrounded by tall limestone karsts. Much of the rocks in the Kilim region were formed 370-490 million years ago.
Not many people will know this about me but I love birds. Needless to say I was pretty excited about the eagle watching. In fact, Kilim is a great place for bird watching in general. Our little longtail boat took us on a scenic ride through the mangroves to get to the area where the eagles a.k.a the Brahminy Kite, come swooping down to pluck fish straight out of the water. There were so many eagles that I didn’t know which way to look. It was like a scene out of a Steven King movie! Luckily I love birds so was happy to watch them swooping and flying around.
I have to admit though, that the ride and scenery through the mangroves was enough to blow me away. I probably enjoyed that slightly more than the bird spotting. After the bird spotting we were able to jump off the boat and onto one of the islands to view fossils that were millions of years old. The island was uninhabited but there was a jetty and pathway to explore the fossils and take in the views across to the mangroves. It really was spectacular.
From here we headed off to the Crocodile Cave. Unfortunately for us we arrived just on high tide and our boat had a flag pole on the back which meant that we were unable to squeeze under. We watched a couple of others go through the dark mouth of the cave. I did manage to get a nice photo of the mouth of the cave from where it gets its name from. It looks like the jagged teeth of a crocodile.
We sailed past some lovely yachts heading back to the floating fish farm where we jumped off our boat to have lunch. The floating village consisted of many different fish farms and restaurants. We had a quick look at the fish farm and the kids got to pat the sting rays which they thought was pretty exciting. The sting rays were great as they come up to the edge of the water when the kids splashed the top of there cage/pen. There were a few enormous fish there but they were hard to see with the tide being high and the water was a bit murky.
Now lunch (insert OMG emoji now) I have never seen so much food, seafood actually! There was grilled whole sea perch, calamari, crabs, prawns, salad, rice and fruit!! That was only lunch! There were 2 serves per dish and I believe we didn’t even come close to finishing it all. It was all freshly cooked and straight to the table, what more could you ask for.
The scenery along the river was breathtaking. I could have sailed around there for days. I noticed some other tourists kayaking around the estuaries and I thought that would be great for when the kids are older. The water ways are relatively calm apart from the boats ferrying tourists between the attractions. It would be fairly easy to navigate via kayak. They also have bird watching tours along the river that I would have loved to have done also. I think you would see some lovely birds while you kayaked around the edges of the mangrove forest. The water is this beautiful green colour teaming with fish and other sea life. It’s a very eco rich area and I am glad they are doing the best to preserve it but also show tourists in an environmentally sound way.
The tour costs are calculated as per boat load and then by the hour. You can see the costs below, these are correct as at June 2017. For up to date prices please click here.
I have to admit, I was blown away but this experience. Having never been on a mangrove tour before I was unsure of what to expect. I knew it was a half day tour and I was concerned that the kids would get bored if it was spent on the river in a boat the whole time. It was not like that at all and we were on and off the boat regularly learning about the area and its significance to the wider eco system on Langkawi. I loved learning about the fossils and the scenery was unforgettable.
We all enjoyed it and our guide was able to entertain us all, right down to Caelan by keeping him engaged and interested. It takes a great guide to be able to communicate on all levels and keep everyone entertained. This area should not be missed if you are planning a trip to Langkawi.
While in Langkawi we stayed at the Meritus Pelangi Resort & Spa, we loved our stay there and would definitely stay there again.
Have you been to Kilim Geoforest Park? Or either of the other two at Langkawi? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
Sal and Co.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Naturally Langkawi, as always our opinion is our own.