One of The Great Landscapes of Langkawi
At the north-east corner of the beautiful island of Langkawi, the fantastic karstic landscapes around 3 interconnected river estuaries have been protected in the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park.
Here, rivers meander in the middle of an extensive mangrove, itself nested between countless limestone hills and cliffs. One of the most beautiful beaches in Langkawi, Tanjung Rhu Beach, is also located in this area.
GPS (start of the tour): 6°24’17.79″N, 99°51’31.07″E
Best way to go: Tour booked from your hotel or rent a boat on the spot on the Tanjung Rhu Beach car park.
Cost of the tour: Usually RM120 (28 USD).
Duration of the tour: 4 to 5 hours.
Best season: November to April
What To Expect From The Tour in Kilim Karst Geoforest Park
I will describe here a typical tour that you book via a hotel. If you directly go to Tanjung Rhu, you will basically see the same thing but in a different order since you are leaving from the beach. I tried both options on two separate trips to Langkawi, and I found that when you go directly on the beach it seems less reliable. When I did, it was New Year’s Eve and the guide simply couldn’t wait to get rid of our tour to go have fun, and skipped a whole part of the itinerary.
Mangroves & Bat Cave
The tour starts in the mangroves on the Kilim River, where you embark on the boat that will take you around. The first journey is not a big one because barely a few minutes after embarking, you are already arriving at the first stop: the bat cave.
There is a small itinerary to follow, immersed in the mangroves, and crossing the cave where you can spot quite a few bats. They are always fun to watch and don’t seem particularly disturbed by the tourists walking below them.
After walking the whole loop, you get back on the boat.
As you sail away from the bat cave, the channels inside the mangroves get wider and let you catch a glimpse of the incredible scenery of the Kilim Geoforest Park.
Mangrove-fringed rocky hills are all around, you are in the middle of the wilderness. Soon enough, you will find yourself on a wider, main river.
On the river, restaurants and fish farms were built on floating platforms, and the people there will happily show you all the species of fish they keep. If you befriend them, they may let you touch various types of fish including stingrays, and take pictures with them.
One thing I enjoyed about this tour was the wildlife. You will get various opportunities to see monkeys really close to your boat. During my tour, one monkey even made it to inside my boat for a few seconds! They know they have nothing to fear from us, and don’t run away. Of course, they are probably hoping for a big of food as well.
Apart from the monkeys, the Kilim Geoforest Park offers great opportunity to see Langkawi’s mascot in action: the fishing eagles. These majestic brown and white eagles are the official symbol of Langkawi. They even built a giant statue of an eagle in Kuah, Langkawi’s main town.
There is a spot in the mangroves where the boat drivers purposedly leave some pieces of food in the water to attract the birds. It’s really fascinating to see their characteristic raptor’s flight, confidently circling above their prey, then go a catch the food and fly away with it.
Tanjung Rhu Bay & The Sea
The tour then continues towards the north, approaching the sea. This is my favorite part of the itinerary. Sailing on the Tanjung Rhu Bay was stunning, and it is in my opinion one of the most beautiful spots on the island.
As you leave the bay with the Tanjung Rhu Beach on your left, the boat will turn right to go all around the northeastern corner of the island of Langkawi. You will sail past impressive rocky cliffs, regularly interrupted by dream white sandy beaches you will wish badly to set foot on!
At some point, you will spot the “Kilim Geoforest Park” sign that was proudly installed on the cliff when it was declared as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
The boat will then enter the mangrove again via another river mouth and get you back on firm land!
Final Thoughts About Kilim Geoforest Park
You won’t be surprised to hear that the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park should absolutely be near the top of your to-do list if you visit Langkawi!
It is a great option to get acquainted to the natural beauty of Langkawi, and escape for a little while more touristy places like Cenang Beach.