News

Hosting a Visit to the Unique Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, Langkawi

27 March 2019

First Admiral (R) Dato’ Chin Yoon Chin led a group of participants from the 2019 International Conference on the Straits of Malacca on the abovementioned visit to the world-renowned UNESCO Heritage Site. The 40-member group comprised international speakers and delegates, representatives from Brunei, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Samoa, Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Vietnam, and Korea, officials from the Ministry of Transport Malaysia, as well as MIMA researchers.

The geoforest park, formed almost 350 to 490 million years ago, is one of the three conservation areas that make up the Langkawi Geopark. The Kilim geosite consists of Bat Cave, Langsir Cave, and Crocodile Cave. It is a site of countless natural wonders, home to a myriad of flora and fauna, with a vibrant local community called the Kilim Village. It practices unique ecotourism by applying added-values of edutourism and geotourism.

The delegates were split into four groups headed by a passionate and knowledgeable guide. The two-hour trip by boat began with the delegates witnessing the wonders of a unique and lush mangrove swamp forest that occurs on a limestone substrate, unlike the usual mangrove forests which occur on muddy substrate with two dominant species namely Rhizophora Mucronata (BakauKurap) and Rhizophora Apiculate (BakauMinyak). It is also the home to the rare Brown-winged Kingfisher which is exclusive to the area.

The group made a pitstop at the Bat Cave located in the heart of Kilim mangrove swamps. The cave measures about 60-meter-long and is aptly named for housing hundreds of insect bats from at least 3 different species. Interesting cave features and structures seen in the Bat Cave include stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and algae.

The most remarkable features, however, are the fossilized seashells encrusted on the cave walls. Radiocarbon dating reveals that they are about 5,000 years old and their locations indicate that sea levels at one time would have been about two meters above the present level.

The boats stopped by Paksu’s Fish Farm which stands on stilts above the water. Delegates were captivated by Paksu’s show-and-tell of the different species such as the horseshoe crab, archer fish, the stingray, and sea grapes.

The groups made a final pitstop at the eagle attraction. While numerous eagle species can be found on Langkawi island two main species inhabit the mangroves, namely the Brahminy Kite Eagle and the White-bellied Sea Eagle. The visitors were able to watch their flight from the boats below. Some could be seen resting on trees while others waited patiently on high branches assessing their next move before launching into the water for food with great agility.

The delegates thoroughly enjoyed the visit and viewing the remarkable features of this unique park. Everyone gathered for a group photo before saying goodbye to the forest park and its guides.

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Group photo before the boat ride.

 

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Safety briefing by the tour guide.

 

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Insect Bats in the Bat Cave.

 

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Fish farms at the Kilim Karst Geopark Park.

 

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Pak Su explaining about horseshoe crab to the guests.

 

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Group photo with Pak Su.

 

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Group photo before saying goodbye to the forest park and its guides.

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