Monday, August 18, 2014

Malaysia Trip: The Mangrove Tour

Something that I really wanted to do whilst on Langkawi was explore the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park.  One of the easiest ways to explore the park was to go through a travel agency.  Agents seemed to be at every local attraction, so it wasn't difficult to book "The Mangrove Tour."  

Mangrove Tour Info:
1.  90 ringgit for the tour
2.  6 hours total
3.  9 attractions around the Geoforest Park
4.  Lunch at a Fish Farm
5.  Transport to and from hotel

We also got an amazing local guide, though he was originally from Kuala Lumpur.  Each boat could hold about 10 - 12 people.  We all boarded at about 9:30 AM. 

Boarding our boats

The first stop was Gua Kelawar or the Bat Cave (picture below).  Our guide told us his fun fact about how bats arrange themselves in the cave.  He said that the bigger bats, because they are heavier and move slower, usually settle in the middle of the cave.  The smaller bats, because they are lighter and faster, settle in rings around the bigger bats.  So, when they head out to feed, there's no traffic jam as they all fly out.

Bats hanging from the cave ceiling

Crab just outside the cave

Mudskipper just outside the cave

Second fun fact, our guide told us that there were three different types of mangrove trees around the Park and one was quite poisonous.  He said, like poison ivy, the plant nearest this particular mangrove tree could be used to combat the poison.

Third fun fact, as we were checking out the monkeys, our guide told us that the king of the monkeys always wore his hair in a mohawk.  He also had the opportunity to mate with all the females of his tribe.  In the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, there were two tribes of monkeys.  Our guide said, the more you visit, the more you can note the differences between the tribes.  He said, over the years, he learned to tell that the tribe that lived on the right of the river were more aggressive (pictured below on the boat canopy).

Further along, we were able to view eagles.  The eagle is actually a symbol of Langkawi, a giant eagle statue being the main attraction in Kuah Town (Eagle Square).  These birds were beautiful to watch.  We sort of just sat there, watching them fly around our boats and fish for food.

Fourth fun fact that our guide told us, he said that the eagles grabbed food out of the water and quickly will duck their heads to eat the food.  After he told us this, we all watched as they were feeding.  This, I tell you, was mesmerizing.  If he hadn't told us this, I would have just assumed they grabbed food with their beaks and swallowed.

Being able to see the wildlife was amazing.  We also got to foray into the open ocean, where our boat captain pointed out how close Thailand was.  Fifth fun fact, he also noted that most islands were named for what they looked like:  Shoe Island.

Fish Farm

Looking at the different fish as we waited for lunch

After lunch, we stopped at a beach for an hour to swim and take a siesta
Shoe Island
Lasting impressions

1.  I enjoyed the visit to the Geoforest Park immensely,

2.  Our guide and boat captain were so great,

3.  I was so glad to be able to view all that the Park had to offer,

4.  We were lucky to have a great group of folks in our tour boat,

5.  And, I felt, the tour should have costed more than it was!

Great memories!