Exquisite rock formations soared into the blue sky as we flew across the aquamarine waters of the northeastern tip of Langkawi. Aboard a red jetboat, we watched in awe as one gigantic karst sped past our view after another; I’ve never seen so many of these towering sentinels packed in a single area!
|ONE OF LANGKAWI GEOPARK’S TOWERING ROCK FORMATIONS|
Welcome to the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, our host exclaimed above the racket our craft was making. The park, spread over a hundred square-kilometer area is part of the three UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the island, the other two being Mount Machincang Geoforest Park and the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park, which, unfortunately we were unable to visit.
|A COLORFUL FISHING BOAT DOCKED ON ONE OF THE KARSTS IN THE AREA|
Touring this Malaysian national park requires renting a boat, so it’s a bit expensive for solo backpackers and those with budgetary constraints, but we simply cannot pass exploring Langkawi’s Geoforest Park. We booked our tour via Naam Adventure, the same guys we went to for our Tanjung Rhu Parasailing and our Langkawi Sunset Cruise.
|TANJUNG RHU STAGING AREA FOR THE MANGROVE TOUR|
|AND OFF WE GO!|
While the usual boarding point for the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park tour is at the Kilim River Jetty, we set off from the Tanjung Rhu Beach where our handsome Sea Vulture jetboat (it uses water propulsion and no gas, amazing!) awaited us. No sooner did we board and seated ourselves out front did it dash across the waters. It was extremely fast!
|BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPE AT KILIM|
In a couple of minutes, we were snapping away at the gorgeous landscape filled with craggy rock formations set with hardy vegetations formed even before the dinosaurs walked the Earth. This place is indeed one of the best places you can visit when in Langkawi.
|AND THERE’S THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN!|
From afar, we spotted a white Hollywood-esque sign set on one of the karsts proclaiming that we were finally at the center of Langkawi’s Kilim Karst Geoforest Park. Our boat slowed down and our host asked if we would like our photos taken with the sign. My travel buddy and I looked at each other and laughed, no it’s okay, we told her. We’re really not the selfie-loving type of traveler, lol.
|BELOW THAT ROCK IS THE BAT CAVE|
Passing by a natural harbor where a score of expensive yachts were docked (for free, we were told), we slowed down as we approached a rock formation higher than most, the Gua Kelawar. Gua means cave in Malay and kelawar is bat. So to the Bat Cave it is!
|MOTHER AND CHILD MONKEY ON THE MANGROVES NEAR THE BAT CAVE|
A path snakes in and around the karst for visitors wanting to explore the insides of the cave. From a wooden pathway, we spied a family of monkeys along the mangroves. They’re quite popular to tourists, especially the mother monkeys with cute babes on their arms.
|ORGANIZED PATH AROUND THE BAT CAVE|
The pathway soon led us into the mouth of the cave. With our guide on lead, he turned on his flashlight and told us to be really quiet; the bats living inside are, of course, nocturnal and park officials don’t want tourists barging in on their beauty rest.
|HOLY BATS, BATMAN!|
|THE CAVE ISN’T REALLY THAT EXTENSIVE|
Indeed, as the darkness swallowed us, we saw numerous fruit and insect-eating bats hanging off the low ceiling of the cave. The cavern isn’t as vast as those I’ve visited in the Philippines and we were quickly back into the light in no time and into our boat once again.
|WAITING FOR THE EAGLES|
Our next stop didn’t require us to alight from our craft. We glided on an open water area surrounded on all sides by mangroves and rocks and we were asked to look up. Above, we saw a few eagles circling, white-bellied fish eagle and brahminy kites—the eagle Langkawi is supposedly named after as inscribed at Langkawi’s Eagle Square.
|AND THERE’S A BRAHMINY KITE!|
Another boat went past us, shredded the water and dropped chicken innards into it. Swarms of eagles followed suit, diving down and taking the chicken bits. I imagined a very different scene on what the eagle-feeding part of the tour was, I thought they’d be landing on our gloved arms as we feed them, I never thought it was gonna be this wild. Granted, the practice has a very negative impact on the wildlife, but I have never seen this many wild eagles in my life.
|FISH FARM WITH FLOATING RESTAURANT|
|SOME REFRESHMENTS BEFORE MOVING ALONG|
We dispersed from the scene as the eagles did. Next on our tour list was the fish farm with a floating restaurant. Tour guests usually have their lunch here at the floating wooden platform while watching staff demo on about their captive fishes and even, a manta ray. But we only dropped by for a few minutes of teh tarik ais (iced pulled tea) and we were off again.
|IT SOMEHOW LOOKS LIKE A CROCODILE, THEY SAID.|
I asked our host where we would be heading next and she said to the Crocodile Cave. I gave her a look that said, are you serious?, and she burst out laughing. There aren’t really any crocs inside the cave she said, it’s just that it somehow resembles its shapes. That’s a relief.
|DEFINITELY NO CROCODILES HERE!|
|CROSSING OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE|
The Geoforest Park’s Crocodile Cave is sort of like a train tunnel, which you can go through and through, but on water instead of land. It somehow reminded me of the Underground River in Puerto Princesa, only this one is way way shorter.
|KILIM’S MANGROVE AREA|
|THAT MOTHER LOOKS FIERCE!|
As we went past the cave, we emerged on a narrower portion of the park, both sides set with thick mangroves. From the corner of my eye, I spotted movement along the branches of the trees and was surprised to find gangs of monkeys looking at us. Both sides of the river were set with these creatures, and we were told that they don’t cross over since they’re separate tribes and they’re very territorial.
|TANJUNG RHU BEACH, OUR FINAL DESTINATION|
Our boat revved up as the marsh opened up to the sea once more. Skimming and bouncing along the water as if there’s no tomorrow, our boat approached a shoreline blessed with fine white sand with azure green waters. Our last stop, our host smilingly told us. I looked back at her, returning her smile in full; indeed, it was the perfect last stop for our Kilim Karst Geoforest Park tour.
~ THIS TRIP WAS MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE ASSISTANCE AND EFFORTS FROM NAAM ADVENTURE
Naam Adventure Mangrove Eco-Safari
Address: Tanjung Rhu Beach, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Contact Number: (604) 963-9200
Tour Fee: MYR215.00 per pax
GPS Coordinates Map: 6.440083, 99.803475