Monday, July 4, 2016

Malaysia: Mangrove Eco-Safari and Parasailing in Langkawi

Hundreds of feet up in the air, me and my two travel buddies were hanging on to our dear lives, literally. Screams of anxiety and happiness echoed throughout the air. After minutes of yells and shrieks, it was silence, awe-stricken of the beauty from above; those little islands dotting the vast blue sea and the dreamlike hazy mountain range. I loved it. No need for words, we just smiled at each other as we enjoyed every second of parasailing.

When at the beach, I never had time for water activities. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that I’m too engrossed on exploring the underwater world that I usually forget that there’s so much to see and experience above it.

Naam Adventure Langkawi Malaysia
Antonette - a Filipino staff at Naam Adventure
It was around eight in the evening when we arrived at Langkawi International Airport for the Langkawi leg of our Beach Hop Asia 2016 summer backpacking trip. We just came from Melaka and Kuala Lumpur and this will be the first time we’re exploring the archipelago off the northwestern coast of Malaysia.

As we approached the gate at the arrival area, I saw Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy looking happy on a parasail. It was the booth of Naam Adventure, a company that offers water activities and such in Langkawi. It was cute, I admit, that it made me grab a brochure and check out something that we could do.

So yes, we booked three activities from the company; parasailing, mangrove tour and sunset dinner cruise (I will dedicate a separate post on our sunset dinner cruise).

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia
Posh Eco-Safari tour
Parasailing Sensation

The call time was eight in the morning. We grabbed a quick bite at Century Langkawi Beach Resort and waited for the van that will pick us up from our place. We then drove off to the main activity area of Naam Adventure at Tanjung Rhu.

We filled out some forms (waivers and such) and were asked to take our weights at the Naam Sports Headquarters. It was needed as it would determine whether the three of us could do a triple parasail or not and luckily, we all passed the weight requirement for such. By the way, it’s everyone’s first time to parasail (read: excitement).

Naam Adventure Langkawi Malaysia
Tanjung Rhu Beach
Naam Adventure Langkawi Malaysia
Naam Adventure's activity center
The sun was showing off its best at eleven in the morning. We waited at the tent area where we were briefed on what to expect and the safety regulations during the course of the 10-minute ride. And then they signaled the boarding and off we went with five other guests.

We boarded the gorgeous 32-foot Osprey parasailing boat with three other groups and we decided to be the last one to do parasailing. We have to watch them first as one of my buddies has fear of heights. And after witnessing everyone's excitement, it was our turn.

Parasailing Langkawi Malaysia
Starting position
Parasailing Langkawi Malaysia
32-foot Osprey Parasailing Boat - the first (and only) of its kind in Langkawi
The staff strapped on our harnesses and securely fastened everything. And then it was time.

We sat comfortably at the back of the boat and waited for the release of the state-of-the-art tow line. It happened very fast and screams (from my super frightened buddy) went with it.

Parasailing Langkawi Malaysia
Securing the harness
In no time, the happy yellow smiley parachute sailed and off we went up above. It was so cool!

The twelve noon sky was clear and we had a great view of the little islands on azure water surrounding mainland Langkawi. The picturesque hazy mountain range was also breathtaking.

Parasailing Langkawi Malaysia

Parasailing Langkawi Malaysia
Trio ride!
It felt like a dream as we hung on, and witnessing everything from above. The 10-minute ride felt longer. At that moment, we were higher than anything else in Langkawi and it was fun.

We were asked beforehand if we wanted a ‘dry’ or a ‘wet’ landing, we chose the latter. As the descent started, we waited as our feet touched the water. And then they lowered it some more, up to our knees. We landed back safely on the boat, savoring our last moments at the parasail. It was so much fun and very exhilarating, we definitely could do it all day!

Parasailing Langkawi Malaysia
Amazing view from the top by C
Parasailing Langkawi Malaysia
Breathtaking landscape
Mangrove Eco-Safari

Langkawi is known to be the first UNESCO World Heritage Geopark in Southeast Asia (accorded in 2007). Of course, we couldn’t leave the archipelago without exploring the mangrove forest bordered by amazing limestone rock formations. We had the same call time as the other day and gladly, Naam Adventure was always prompt on their pick-up time.

We drove back to Tanjung Rhu and were greeted by the communications manager, Ms. Sherry, who joined us on our excursion that day. Our handsome red 24-foot Sea Vulture Jetboat (an eco-friendly boat that uses water propulsion instead of petrol, amazing eh?) was waiting for us on the plastic buoy jetty, we didn’t waste any moment and hopped on to the boat and started our journey to the northeastern tip of Langkawi. And boy, our ride was really fast!

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia
Look at that view!
It started off as a sightseeing trip all the way to the Geopark. The stunning blue water was the perfect base for the rock formations and karsts. We went into a maze of wide and narrow waterways until we reached the center of Kilim Geopark Forest, a huge Hollywood-ish sign said so.

Spanning over a hundred square kilometers, the area is part of the three UNESCO World Heritage Geoparks in Langkawi (the other two are Mount Machincang Geoforest Park and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park). The beautiful landscape kept us in awe as we navigated the dense mangrove forest.

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia
Makes me wanna dip into the water, but no, we have some exploring to do
Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia

We went ahead and explored Gua Kelawar  (bat cave). We went to the drop-off point and started the journey toward the mouth of the cave.

It was essentially a dead cave that housed thousands of bats. There was a boardwalk for visitors and I was too careful not to touch any bat dung. It wasn’t as grand as the caves in Vang Vieng, Laos but the short walk ended on a mangrove forest which was nice.

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia
Gua Kelawar
Going back to the jetty, we were greeted with a troop of monkeys with their alpha male proudly standing on one side. There were mommy monkeys with their babies as they watched the ins and outs of the guests (which found them fascinating as they snapped a number of photos). I was, on the other hand, too scared to go near them as I had a not-so-fun experience with monkeys at MacRitchie Reservoir Park in Singapore.

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia
No, I won't harm nor feed you
Next stop was an open water area where hundreds of eagles (white-bellied fish eagles and brahminy kites) can be found. We specifically didn’t want any ‘feeding activity’ compared to the other tour agencies who offer it as we don’t want to ruin the natural ecosystem. You see, if you keep on feeding them, they would be too reliant on humans for their food rather than hunt for their own. It's simply not in keeping with the natural order of things.

There’s a sense of freedom watching over these eagles, I’ve never seen so many eagles flying freely but now.

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia
It's the first time I've seen so many eagles flying freely
We then navigated the way to the Monkey Village where thick mangroves lined both sides of the river. Two separate troops of monkeys guarded their territories on both sides. They knew how to swim and beg for food. Ugh, blame those guests who find it amusing to throw any food for them.

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia
No, I ain't giving you anything
Kilim Karst Geoforest Park Langkawi Malaysia

We ended the tour on the white sandy beach of Tanjung Rhu. It was a fine day as we settled on one of the huts and had a late lunch of Nasi Goreng. The stillness of the beach was comparable to the tour we just had. This is one of the things that I miss most about Langkawi, the lingering feel of having like you have all the time in the world to absorb each and every passing moment. I wish I could do that here in the busy city of Manila.

Tanjung Rhu Beach Langkawi Malaysia
Tanjung Rhu Beach. The perfect end to our Mangrove Eco-safari tour

Naam Adventure
Tanjung Rhu Beach, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Contact Number: (+60) 4.963.9200
Email Address:
Check Langkawi accommodations here

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