Don’t Feed the Animals! Langkawi part two
During the two days at D’Coconut Villas we had been looking for somewhere to spend the rest of our time on Langkawi, but had not really come up with much, we made the plan to spend one night closer to the beach, see what we thought. If we didn’t like it we would either go back to KL earlier, seriously anything in our budget looked like a pile of poop with awful reviews, or see if the DCV would take less money.
The new place was fine, a really lovely owner, definitely not somewhere we wanted to stay more than a day or two, described to a point, but with the now cloudy raining day, damp and just ever so slightly depressing. It’s a 5-10 minute walk to anything and the beach is accessible through a resort down and across the road, more 15 minutes than the 2 advertised. So we called the DCV, offered our budget and 5 hours later were told nope and booked a flight back to KL for 2 days time.
We hadn’t really seen much of Langkawi at this point and what we had seen wasn’t exactly thrilling so we booked a mangrove boat tour in the GeoPark for the next day with Dev’s adventure Tours. We’ve unfortunately had more than one average meal in Malaysia so far and that evening had another one. The mangroves and soaring limestone islands were however the real highlight of our short trip. The GeoPark currently has Unesco World Heritage status but is in danger of losing it as they have not completed any steps that were asked of them in 2011 when they received a caution from Unesco. At the boat jetty within the park, dozens of tourist boats wait pumping noxious fumes into the air. The boats speed in the park causing waves which are eroding the mangroves, implementing a speed limit would immediately resolve this but none exists.
The tour we had chosen was an eco tour with no bird or monkey feeding and the boat kept a slow steady speed. The GeoPark allows both and the feeding of chicken skins to the Brahminy Kites has led to a severe drop in successful hatchlings. The chicken skins, funnily enough not their natural diet, do not contain enough protein for the kites and their eggs are subsequently not forming thickly enough. Those that do hatch and are unable to hunt as they have now become used to and dependent on the regular feeding, leading to a rise in the number of snakes, that are eating more of the eggs that do survive. So if you do visit this beautiful place, please be responsible and don’t feed the wildlife, as part of a tour or otherwise.
Our group was mostly Malay, 5 fun and rambunctious men on a boys weekend who we bumped into at the airport the next day, a young Malay couple and a Singaporean couple. The tour started with a visit to a bat cave which was packed with idiot tourists flashing their camera torches and talking loudly, clearly agitating the bats who should be sleeping. I wouldn’t be surprised if this cave used to be a lot fuller and the bats are gradually finding new caves that are tourist free.
But then the tour picked up and we made our way slowly along the mangroves. Low tide had exposed great swaths of root and going slowly meant we were able to spot wildlife those speeding by simply missed. Vipers almost indistinguishable from the branches they curled upon, monitor lizards (including the handsome chap in the photo) trying to catch some sun and magnificent sea eagles and Brahminy kite perching on high branches along the way. We peeled off the main river and made our way deep into the mangrove until the water was so shallow and the way so narrow that we had to reverse until we could turn around and head back to deeper water. It was spectacular, like being in a totally different world, silent save for the shriek of the kingfishers and occasional monkey call. After an hour or so of exploration we headed out to sea to look at an island shaped like a giants shoe and briefly stopped on a beach that would have been quite lovely were it not for the building works taking place and the broken glass in the sand. A delicious lunch of prawn, chicken or vegetable rice and soup was provided in a floating restaurant and our tour was over. As we headed back to the jetty to disembark all trace of the mangrove roots was covered, the sea having come in and raised the water level by some 4-6 feet.
The wifi in our apartment had been out since the previous night, so we went to the Sun Café on Pantai Tengah for dinner and some internet surfing and had our second good meal on Langkawi, with the most amazing chocolate lava cake for dessert.
After an uneventful tour of the island we left Langkawi the next day and most probably won’t go back, it wasn’t really for us. Tourism seems to be moving too quickly, building works everywhere and standards not keeping up with the pace of the changes unless you are paying a fortune. We met some lovely people including Aizat our driver who was a wonderful man, and saw some lovely wildlife, making the trip, brief though it was, totally worthwhile Xx