The awe-inspiring and pristine natural scenery is undoubtedly one of the highlights of any tour in Langkawi, the beautiful island off the coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
Sungai Kilim Nature Park, with its focus on promoting eco-tourism in the region, is one of the most stunning places to visit in Malaysia. Home to an abundance of flora and fauna that expands from the sea and right up into the estuary, the 100 square kilometre protected mangrove swamp is flush with mangrove forests, secluded beaches, caves and glittering blue lagoons.
The Kilim mangroves are some of the most vast wetland forests in the area and act as breeding grounds for a diverse array of marine and marine life for visitors to discover.
It is best to enjoy the delights of Sungai Kilim Nature Park on a river boat tour and is a recommended activity for people wanting to know what to do in Malaysia. This will enable you to make your way through the extensive mangrove forests, explore the caves on foot and see as much of the vibrant flora and fauna that co-exists in this fascinating and fragile eco system as possible.
The estuaries and rivers of Kilim Sungai are rich with diverse fish and invertebrate species. Ninety one species of fish have been identified as living in the river basin and another fifty have been found living near the open shore. The box crab is a new discovery in Malaysia and has been described as a completely new species. Seaweed flora is another remarkable marine aspect with some types having properties which can be harvested for commercial and medicinal properties. Seven species of mudskippers and 55 of freshwater phytoplankton have also been reported to exist.
The national park is also famous for its rugged limestone rock formations which have historic geological significance. The Setul and Singa Formations are regarded as possibly being the oldest rock formation in the Malaysia. Heralding from the Paleozoic period, they have been dated between 260 and 540 million years. Over time erosion, caused by wind, sea tides and tropical weather conditions have created beautiful formations such as the Temple of Borobodur, Elephant Stone and the Hanging Gardens.
These geological forces have also carved many caves nestled amongst the lush jungle and rocks. Some of the main caves of interest that have been discovered so far include Gua Tok Jangkit, Gua Teluk Dedap, Gua Cerita (Cave of Legends), Gua Teluk Udang, Gua Siam, Gua Buaya, Gua Tanjung Dendang and Gua Kelawar (the Bat Cave).
Sungai Kilim is also a fantastic place for bird watching, particularly during the migratory season (September to March). Forty-five species of birds have so far been recorded as living in the area, includes ten migratory species. The most commonly found among the raptor species which nest along the sea coast and the rivers of the northeast region are the Brahminy Kite and while-bellied Sea-eagle. Finding these two birds are a highlight for many on the mangrove river boat tours as large groups of them can be found circling overhead, either fishing themselves or gorging on offal thrown into the water by guides to attract them and send them into a feeding frenzy. It is a truly amazing spectacle to behold.
Bats are the other fauna of interest to visitors to the park. Three species have been identified and found to live in Gua Kelawar. Tiny faunal species such as unique beetles can also be found in the craggy limestone cliffs.
Visitors who are holiday in Malaysia and travel to Langkawi are encouraged to adopt eco-tourism principles to travelling. Fostering respect for Malaysian’s natural wonders by helping conservation efforts will help to protect the wildlife which inhabits the fragile environments. This will enable many more tourists to enjoy Malaysia’s beautiful national parks for many years to come. Please take only photos and leave only footprints.