Langkawi EcoTour - Mangrove Forest
One of the wow! must-do while you're in Langkawi is to spend a few hours exploring a truly magical eco-system full of unexpected surprises - the Kilim mangrove forest! The large mangrove forest covers about 1,309ha, including the river banks up to the estuary. Mangrove swamps are Langkawi's natural defence system that act as a natural shields against strong waves. Thanks to the mangroves, many Langkawi coastal communities were saved from the full force of the deadly 26th December 2004 tsunami.
Price: From USD $51.38
Appreciate the wonders of nature and its attributes towards the eco system. Starting from the Tanjung Rhu fishing village, the boat journey will take you through limestone caves and hidden canyon where monkeys, king fishers, monitor lizards and mud crabs congregate along the river banks.
Visit a fish farm, have some light refreshment before the highlight of watching the protected white-headed eagles being fed - a scene not to be missed by your camera or video. After the last stop at a Bat Cave, cruise back to Tanjung Rhu along the coastal area of northern islands.
*Services provided by Aviator.
The mangrove forest tours vary in terms of price and itinerary. If you're not on a tight budget, you can book your trip with your resort. It's quite costly (from RM80 to RM130 per adult) but it's all worth it as you're given well-versed nature guides that will take you on a 4-hour boat tour. The guides are very knowledgeable of the flora and fauna, and speak English very well too. It'll be a very enriching experience especially for children.
But if you're on a tight budget, it would turn out much cheaper to hire a boat of your own that will cost about RM180 to RM200, and split the bill with a few more people. However, the guide may not be as knowledgeable as the nature guides nor proficient in English. You may have communication problems but you can still have a good time and learn something about the precious mangroves.
If you want to hire a boat, you can make your way to the little jetty at Tanjung Rhu on the northeastern point of the island. There are no public buses to Tanjung Rhu (22km from Kuah town) and the trip can cost you RM40 by taxi. The coastal road leads past the exclusive Tanjung Rhu Resort and ends at a public beach, where you can find shops selling food and souveniers.
We recommended that you stock up some water and snacks for the trip in Kuah as the stuff are a bit pricey here.
From the beach, you need to head to the river by following the dirt road behind the row of shops and you can find boats there for hire. It is best to get there by 10.00am as when the tide recedes the boats will not be able to leave the area.
The mangrove forest tour may starts with a short boardwalk to the Gua Kelawar (Cave Of Bats) introducing you to the residents of the dark chambers - a colony of bats hooked to the ceiling of the cave. As you enter the cave, the rustle of wings and squeaks of the young bats immediately calls for attention.
Uhh.. bats? You don't have to worry as the bats are not blood sucking vampires - they're just the harmless fruit bats. These bats are harmless to you but be warned as you might be harmful to them. These delicate creatures are very sensitive to even the slightest pollution such as loud noises and cigarette smokes. So, no smoking in here please!
Most of the time, you can see some monitor lizards swimming in the shallow murky water. These reptiles are very good swimmers and can dive, sometimes remaining under water for a couple of minutes. Langkawi's monitor lizards are not as big as the Komodo dragons found in Indonesia and they're not toxic.
Your mangrove forest journey will take you into another magical moment - the eagle feeding!
The guide will circle your boat in another cove while revving its noisy engine. Within minutes, you will see them - 20 to 30 sea-eagles circling the beautiful sky - in a magnificent dance. The guide will toss some chicken entrails on a square wooden pontoon and the hovering eagles begin screeching and swooping down across the water to grab up the food.
You guide may take you to another cave, the Gua Cerita (Cave of Stories) where you can find old Arabic inscriptions on the cave's wall.
Mangrove forest tour is indeed an enriching experience for everyone - you'll be able to learn about various species of flowers and butterflies, birds and names of trees in the jungle. It'll make you appreciate the nature a whole lot more.
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