Langkawi is an archipelago in the Andaman Sea that consists of more than a hundred islands that are blanketed in 10-million-year-old rainforests and smatterings of barren rock that poke through the vast tree canopy. The rock formations that can be found here consist mainly of hard granite that make up the spine of the main island and give rise to both Mount Raya (elevation : 881 m) and Sawar Hill, as well as much older sandstone formations in the north-west of the main island. These sandstone formations give rise to the Machinchang mountain range and are the oldest rock formations in South-East Asia, dating as far back as half a billion years. The Machinchang mountain range is also where, as one would expect, Mount Mat Chinchang (elevation : 701 m) is located. The fringes of the islands, on the other hand, consist of mangrove forests and sandy beaches. Jagged limestone formations, from ridges to sea stacks and pinnacles, that have been weathered and dissolved by the elements over time, also decorate the coastlines of the islands.

Emergency Numbers
Wildlife Crime Hotline 019-356 4194

Wildlife Department 1800 885 151

Langkawi Forestry Department 04–9666 835

Langkawi Hospital 04-966 3333

Langkawi Bomba (Fire Department) 04-969 3004

Langkawi Rescue Department 04-966 3434

Langkawi Police Station 04-9666 222

Male fiddler crabs (Family: Ocypodidae) are often found in mangroves and mudflats waving their massive claws in an attempt to attract females

This incredible geodiversity has bestowed the entire archipelago, and its three designated geoforest parks (Machinchang Cambrian, Kilim Karst, and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park), with the status of UNESCO Global Geopark, the first site to be designated in South-East Asia. These three geoforest parks are considered to hold exceptional natural and geological significance, and the fact that they are special conservation areas helps to protect the amazing biodiversity in the huge range of ecosystems that can be found there.

Eagle Feeding

There have been concerns in recent years, however, that have been significant enough to put Langkawi's Global Geopark status in serious jeopardy. There are numerous issues for this, such as bad waste management from the hotels that line the beach fronts to the use of jetskis and oil-emitting two-stroke boat engines in delicate mangrove ecosystems. None of these issues have garnered as much attention as eagle feeding has, however. Langkawi is a bird watchers' paradise, and is considered home to as many as twenty different species of birds of prey. The two most common ones are the white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), with its loud honking call, and the brahminy kite (Haliastur indus). The latters' reddish colour is one of the leading explanations as to how Langkawi got its name--a combination of 'eagle' (Malay: Helang) and an ochre colour (Old Malay: Kawi). Boatloads of tourists head out frequently to watch these majestic birds being fed with unhealthy chicken skin and fat. This feeding not only leads to malnourished chicks, but also to a dependency on humans that, in the long run, may deprive younger birds of the knowledge to hunt.

White-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) swooping in for the kill

Fortunately, environmentally-friendly tour guides who do take conservation very seriously do exist. Two very reputable ones are:

Wendy Chin
Website: https://www.wendynatureguide.com

E-Mail: wendynatureguide@gmail.com

Telephone: +6012-595 2906 / +6011-232 36728 (WA)

Website: https://junglewalla.com

E-Mail: hello@junglewalla.com

Telephone: +6012 487 0600 / +6019 590 2300 (WA)

Langkawi is not only known for its geodiversity and biodiversity, however. The archipelago is one of Malaysia's most well-known tourist destinations because it seems to have it all: duty-free alcohol and chocolate for party-goers and shopaholics, unique flora and fauna for nature lovers, sandy beaches for those looking to relax, as well as scuba diving and several waterfalls and mountains to explore for those who are more adventurous. The map below has these waterfalls and mountains hyperlinked and clicking on them will bring you to their respective pages (if the map does not work for any reason, you may also find the links at the top of this page).

Interactive Location Map

WA Map

Mount Mat Chinchang
Sawar Hill
Mount Raya
Seven Wells Waterfall
Temurun Waterfall
Durian Perangin Waterfall

Next : The Giants of Langkawi

Malaysia Overview