One of the activities I wanted to do was a Mangrove Swamp tour, and on our last day at Tanjung Rhu we thought we would give it a go. At the end of the beach there was a small market with tour guide stalls so we walked over and bought tickets. The sky was becoming darker by the minute and I was thinking that this might not be a good idea, but too late our driver was there to make the quick drive to the start of the swamp.
The Mangrove Swamps are set in the Kilim Geoforest Park, which is now a UNESCO geopark.
We were met at the jetty by our man Maddy and there was just the two of us plus him on the boat. Good job as the tiny roof was just big enough for two and he was rather on the large size! We had brought umbrellas but when we opened them up we realised they were child’s umbrellas! Five minutes down the river my shorts were soaked, at least it wasn’t cold rain. All of a sudden the boat started put put puttering and I was like “oh ooh” and our man said no problem and lifted the lid of the engine up and started pumping away at the fuel line. I really did not fancy sitting on the banks waiting for help.
It was quite difficult to take photos as we were going fairly fast by now and the rain didn’t help either. Our man Maddy liked to sit on one side so the boat was fairly unbalanced! But I managed to take quite a few.
We headed along the river, through narrow tree lined channels, under tunnels and outside the other side again. The limestone cliffs towering above us covered in dripping ferns were a sight to behold. There were monkeys clambering over rocks along the muddy riverbanks who came down from rocks and trees to greet us, hoping for a crust or two.
The Mangrove Swamps in Langkawi mangroves provide an important sanctuary for a wide array of life. They are habitats for many wildlife species, including fish, crustaceans, eagles, monkeys and otters. The mangroves serve as a buffer zone, a transition from the sea to the land, and act as a coastal barrier. If another tsunami were ever to strike these mangroves would serve to protect the coastal villages.
We had to take it slow through this tunnel and it was nice to get out of the rain for a bit!
We met these very jolly fisherman in their colourful long boat as we passed through a very narrow channel between huge limestone rocks. At one point I thought we might scrape their boat!
Our first stop was a floating fish farm where we could disembark and feed the fish. We said no to the fish feeding and just had a wander around. Quite tricky getting on and off the boat with man Maddy balancing at the front helping us off!
The luxury yachts above were in quite a dilapidated state and have been left unattended for two years during the Malaysian lockdown. Most have been abandoned now. We saw many of these dotted up and down the river.
Back onto the boat again and our next stop was Kelam Cave, a limestone cave housing bats. I didn’t realise that bats also play a very important part in the world, they are also pollinators like bees. They are becoming endangered in South East Asia due to fruit farmers shooting them down as they think they are damaging the fruit trees. Bats are highly sought after for their medicinal properties.
There was a very small charge to enter the caves and they provided you with a torch. I must say we found it fascinating but very creepy. We had to crouch in many places to get under the stalactites and extremely low ceilings!
The next stop was to feed the eagles, I think my favourite part of the whole trip. It was only after reading about the birds here that feeding is not encouraged, but all the tours still do this. I could not get one good photo but took many videos.
They really did put on a fabulous show. It was wonderful to hear the eagles crying above and watching them swooping and diving for the food.
In the background of this photo you can see Thailand. Our Man Maddy said we could go back via the open sea or along the waterways of the river. There was no way I would take the chance of the open sea in the sputtering boat we were in! So the waterways it was.
This limestone hill really does look like a gorilla.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of the Mangrove Swamps as much as we did. If you ever visit Langkawi be sure to look out for this tour.
I’ve also posted this as part of Friendly Friday – Green