Experiencing Langkawi's Natural Beauty (Langkawi Part 2)
By Shaun Mun
October 13, 2011
Clad in lush tropical rainforests and surrounded by stunning turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, Langkawi is a treasure trove for nature lovers. Langkawi has been conferred with the Geopark status by UNESCO in 2007 for its beautiful geological history dating as far back as 500-million years. Langkawi is the only Geopark in the Southeast Asian region.
With almost two third of the island covered in untouched vegetation, Langkawi’s biodiversity is revered by naturalists. in2it.sg had the opportunity to experience Langkawi wilderness after dark together with island’s renowned naturalist Irshad Mobarak from JungleWalla. If you find him familiar, you might have spotted him in Tourism Malaysia’s advertisement aired on Star TV channels recently.
We began the tour by heading up Gunung Raya, Langkawi’s highest peak at 870 meters high. Gunung Raya boosts over 5000 hectares of pristine rainforest, home to more than 400 species of wildlife. On our way to the summit, we caught sight of the dusky leaf monkeys as the group made its way down the hill just before dusk. As the darkness fell, the mating calls of the cicadas could be heard reverberating throughout the rainforest.
We took a short break at D’ Coconut Hill Resort, located at the top of Gunung Raya. When we reached our pit stop, the resort was shrouded with mist from passing clouds, adding a mystical feel to the surroundings. While we were not able to get a scenic outlook of Langkawi from the resort, Irshad shared that on a clear day, D’Coconut Hill Resort is the perfect vantage point to have a 360degrees view of Langkawi.
We were on a mission to spot the Great Hornbill that evening. Measuring 1.3 metres from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail, the Great Hornbill is the largest bird in Langkawi. The bird remained elusive for the better part of our tour. But thanks to Irshad’s extensive knowledge of the bird’s traits and habits, we came across a flock of hornbills perching close to a fig tree during our descent from Gunung Raya.
As we observe this magnificent bird in its natural habitat, Irshad shared anecdotes on the traits of the hornbills that he had observed over the years.
The tour ended at Langkawi’s Book Village where we ventured into the dark armed with torchlights to spot the nocturnal flying squirrels. The tour brought us up close and personal with Langkawi’s beautiful flora and fauna and allowed us to experience every sight and sound the rainforest has to offer.
Having a veteran naturalist as our guide was the highlight of our night tour in one of Langkawi’s rainforests. While many of us secretly hold a dream to be a National Geographic adventurer, going on a tour with Irshad was the closest we are ever going to get to a live National Geographic moment.