Wednesday, 3 April 2013

After LIMA 2013- cruise through the Kilim Geopark

I had  one full day after LIMA for R and R, and I chose to spend it on a river cruise that took in the sights around the  Kilim Karst Geopark, situated in the NE of Langkawi island. We went with a tour organised by the Baron Group, which costed RM 90 per adult. The Kilim Geopark is one of the three Geoparks on Langkawi, and is characterised by mangroves three interconnected riverine estuary systems with characteristic limestone hillocks reaching to the sky, in the background. The place looks prehistoric, and one thought came to mind: Jurassic Park. It is, after all, situated at the oldest limestone area in the country, called the Setul Formation.

The official website is here:

Not much information there, unfortunately.

We were picked up by a minivan from the hotel  at 0915, and transited to the Kilim Jetty which is situated here (blue marker):

It is adjacent to the Galleria Perdana.

About the Kilim River:

The Kilim Jetty

We noticed that there were quite a few tourist boats plying the waters

There were many signs exhorting the importance of life vests, but we were not offered any.

Anyway, onto the speedboat:

First stop is the Bat Cave (Gua  Kelawar) - and no, the Batmobile does not reside within.

Jetty at Gua Kelawar

The walkway from the jetty takes you past mangrove mudflats into a tunnel through a semicircular cave, part of which is not passable during high tide.

The Gua Kelawar walkway system

On the walkway

Mangrove mudflat floor exposed at low tide

Mangrove roots

More mangroves

The weathered limestone at the cave entrance

Cave entrance

Mind your head!

Look at them bats!

There, a large number of fruit bats are suspended from the high cave ceiling in the gloom.

The expressions on some of the bats' faces are pretty creepy.

Exit up ahead

The boat traversed the waterways that were bounded on both sides by mangrove swamps, with karst hillocks pushing into the sky.

Low tide

At low tide, the ecosystem was exposed- mud flats, the dwellers within (like crabs) and breathing roots. As the trip wore on, the tide came in, and the intertidal zone was submerged.

High tide. Roots vanish under water.

We passed a fish farm, which was also the berthing point of some yachts from far afield, Well, the seafood must be good.

The "Hole In The Wall" restaurant has its own website here:

It has a lot more photos in its galleries.

After a cruise through more rivers, we came upon the Crocodile Cave, which is a passage in the rock  acting as a gateway between one river system and the next. Quite unforgettable. The boat could just squeeze through the entrance; it seems this not possible when the tide is higher.

The Crocodile Cave

No crocodiles here- it is so named as one side of the entrance is shaped like a crocodile's head

Halfway through

Almost out

A narrow part of the river- a mini boat-jam develops

No points for guessing what this chap does for a living outside of LIMA

The next stop was an area of the forest teeming with macaques on the mangrove banks.

Macaques aplenty

As the boat nudged closer, many of these animals jumped with gay abandon onto the boat and its canopy.

Coming aboard!


Munching on groundnuts. Burrp.

The passengers had a grand time feeding them, with groundnuts and crisps and even Coca Cola. Man, these macaques are picking up a lot of terrible human dietary habits, and will soon fall prey to obesity, diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesteremia.

At the next point in the river there was an opportunity to feed the eagles- both the brown Brahminy Kites  and White-Bellied Sea Eagles.   Chicken skin was thrown in the water, and the raptors swooped in with precision. I now regret leaving the 100-400 back at the hotel.

Note: I think feeding eagles this way is quite politically incorrect, but then so is thinking up supersonic machines of war and breaking the Commandment that says' "Thou shalt not kill."

Eagle feeding spot

Nap of the water flying.

Muscle-powered flight

The next stop was a section where the macaques had learnt to swim via operant conditioning. Groundnuts were thrown into the water, and groups of macaques dived in to obtain their reward. I am not sure if macaques do swim naturally, or not...

Groundnut sighted on the water


We stopped at another fish farm, where the workers demonstrated how the fish were fed, and the humans also got fed, The fish farm was a floating structure crisscrossed by planking, between which large nets were suspended to keep in the farmed fish,

Fish farm/ restaurant

On the floating fish farm

Huge stingray

Time for the humans to get fed

So peaceful

After lunch, he boat then piled on the horsepower, and we exited the riverine system heading north. We had quite a good view of the Tanjung Rhu Resort, before we turned right to hug the coast.

Tanjung Rhu Resort

The throttle was slammed open, and the boat responded, throwing up spray and a long wake.

Limestone islands

We ended up at White Sand Beach (Pantai Pasir Puteh) for a 1-hour swimming session.

The water was crystal clear, but the sand quality was not anywhere as nice as at the Tanjung Rhu Resort, or even the Holiday Villa. I thought the stop was way too long, given the intense UV that was filtering from above, and also being reflected onto the swimmers by the water. I think I was rather glad to get off The Beach, pretty as it was.

Next up was the Gua Cerita (Cave of Legends), a which are actually two limestone caves perched one above the other.


Location map

They are reached via a 200-metre walk from the jetty, then up some stone steps to the upper cave, which possessed  some drawings on the wall which had some connection with a romance between a Chinese Princess and a Roman Prince, and how they lived happily ever after, after some bloodshed and drama in between.

The story behind the Cave of Legends

Eroded rock strata

Staircase to Legend

Great view from the top of the stairs

Video thereof:

Cave entrance

Deeper in

Even deeper in

A bed? With some cave drawings

The boat then traveled to Bukit Anak Tikus, a small limestone outcrop where  limestone islands that been eroded by the weather and tides, leaving behind sharp limestone rocks, as well as gastropod fossils embedded within. Cycads, a living fossil since prehistoric times that predated the dinosaurs, lived on these harsh limestone outcrops as they have always done.

Eroded limestone formations

Here be fossils

Here be fossils

The way back

Next up was the Gua Langsir (Cave of The Banshee). It was such a small cave that I did not even notice its location.  It seems that unearthly screams emanate from this cave, but I did not even notice the cave, let alone hear the screams!

The walkway from the jetty led up a small hill and down the other side, to a hidden lagoon surrounded on all 4 sides by limestone outcrops.


Walking to the Hidden Lagoon

Video of The Hidden Lagoon:

The way back- gun the throttle!

We arrived back at Kilim Jetty at 1530, and returned to the hotel at 1615. Kilim was well worth a visit. As I'd already visited the Machinchang Geopark and now the Kilim Geopark, I'll pencil in the last Geopark on Langkawi (the  Dayang Bunting Marble Geopark) for LIMA 2015.

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