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This was our first trip to Langkawi, and one of our ‘must dos’ was to visit the island’s mangroves (known collectively as Kilim Karst Geoforest Park). Spanning around 100 square kilometres with an abundance of native flora and fauna, this isn’t really something that can be done independently so we opted to do a Langkawi mangroves tour with Dev’s Adventure Tours.
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Langkawi Mangrove Tour
This tour starts with a pick-up from your hotel and has generally small group sizes (as do most of the local tour operators). We are then met our guide for the day, Danny, a knowledgeable young man who has an obvious passion for nature.
As they explain in their literature, Dev’s Adventure Tours try to be environmentally minded in how they operate, from not feeding the sea-eagles (as they become reliant on it and find it hard to hunt), through to minimising use of plastic by giving each attendee their own big bottle of water (‘Sippy’) which you hand back at the end – commendable (in fact, everywhere we looked in Malaysia, the use of plastics and straws seems to be a hot topic and their use is being phased out).
Once on the water (our group of 10 had their own covered motor-boat), our first visit was the bat-cave (try not to think of Bruce Wayne and Robin when you hear that!). Before we went in, we heard about the history of the area including the ferns that had taken thousands of years to grow. Going into the batcave was a unique experience – there were hundreds of bats hanging upside down from the ceiling (best not to look directly up if you don’t want any bat-poop in your eye).
As we exited the cave, we were joined by a family of monkeys and their alpha male (the best advice we were given was not to look directly into their eyes or show our teeth – message understood). Just as we were getting back onto the boat, we also saw a monitor lizard poking it’s long tongue out of a rock, and some mudskippers (odd looking walking fish).
We then spent a couple of hours on the boat exploring the mangroves – for the most part in the smaller waterways, we saw very few other boats – there were actually saw more monkeys than other tourists (one monkey even swam up to our boat in the water with her baby clinging to her). We also saw a young viper in one of the trees (although some of our fellow passengers weren’t too keen to linger near it).
Check out our Top things to do in Langkawi, Malaysia blog post!
One of the highlights of the Langkawi mangroves tour was witnessing the sea-eagles and kites swooping down to catch fish from the water – this is apparently their main habitat on the island now after their original ‘home’ became the new Langkawi airport. It is also fitting spectacle as the direct translation of Langkawi’s name partially stems from the eagle (‘Lang’ comes from the word ‘helang’ meaning eagle).
The mangroves and associated scenery are sublime – the closest thing I can compare it to that I’ve previously done is some of the rivers and swamps in the middle of Australia. It is so peaceful to sit it the boat, and see all manner of inquisitive wildlife on either side of you.
We also stopped at a pristine beach for a 30 minute swim break (or you can just laze on the sand – we won’t reveal the name of it so it’ll be a surprise to you if you take the tour, but it is the antithesis of Cenang Beach – not a jet-ski or fire-juggler in sight). It was one of the best beaches in southeast Asia we had seen during our 2019 trip.
The final stop of the Langkawi mangroves tour was a floating restaurant, where we had a delicious group meal – fried rice and Thai tom yum soup (with a choice of chicken, prawn or vegetables). With our stomachs sufficiently full, we then made our way back, via the famous Hollywood style ‘Klim Geoforest Park’ sign (big white letters on the rockface).
We spent a week in total in Langkawi, and we think exploring the mangroves via boat was one of our highlights of our entire time there. The sheer abundance of wildlife coupled with such contrasting landscapes, plus the history of the area is such a world away from the beach-bars and glitzy resorts.
Langkawi mangroves tour – how to book
We booked our ‘Geopark Langkawi Mangrove Boat trip’ tour online with Dev’s Adventure Tours. The tour runs twice a day starting at either 9.30am or 1.30pm and lasts 4-5 hours. The price per adult person is 170RM and includes transfer to and from your hotel, mineral water, a set lunch at the floating restaurant and insurance. Dev’s also offer a kayaking tour through the mangroves if that is more your thing!
Travelling around Malaysia?
Other South East Asia blog posts
- The perfect 2 week Malaysia itinerary
- Cruising in Langkawi – a ‘spirited’ sunset adventure
- Island hopping half day tour in Langkawi
- Top things to do in Melaka, Malaysia
- A guide to Georgetown’s street art in Penang, Malaysia
- A Thai cookery class in Bangkok’s flower market
- A budget day tour in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
- Exploring Kuala Lumpur from above – KL Tower and Eco Forest Park
- Exploring Bangkok at night on a Tuk Tuk tour
- Avani Riverside hotel in Bangkok review
Download the Grab app
Grab taxis are widely used by both tourists and locals, and the fares are really cheap! Download the Grab app here and use the code GRABCKTRAVELS to earn a free ride when you sign up.
Sim cards and pocket WIFI
Having data on your phone whilst travelling is almost essential these days – from planning your route around the city, booking a Grab taxi or for staying connected with friends and family back home. SIM cards are pretty cheap in Malaysia with generous data allowances and are available to purchase from airports, malls and convenience stores (bring your passport along for identification purposes).
You can also prepay online and collect a SIM from Langkawi airport. Just remember to make sure your phone is not locked to your local network provider before purchasing one.
Alternatively if you do not want to change your sim card then renting a pocket WIFI device might be for you. We’ve used them multiple times and love that we can both connect our devices to it, however the downside to the Malaysian ones is that there is a data allowance of 1GB per day. Pre-order one online with Klook for collection when you arrive at either KLIA or KLIA2 airport in Kuala Lumpur.
Where to stay in Langkawi
Here are some ideas for accommodation for all budgets if you are planning a trip to Langkawi!
Here are some cheap hostels that come highly rated on hostelworld:
If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels have great reviews:
Alternatively if you are looking for something more special then treat yourself to a stay at one of these seriously beautiful hotels in Langkawi:
Disclosure: The Mangroves Tour places in Langkawi were complimentary, but as always, opinions are all our own.
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