A Review of our Mangrove Tour in Langkawi
One of the top things recommended to do as a tourist when visiting the island of Langkawi is to take Langkawi Mangrove Tour. We had a fabulous day exploring the mangroves by boat so I want to share our experience with you. If you’re planning a trip to Langkawi then you should definitely put this on your list of things to do.
We chose to do our Langkawi Mangrove Tour with Langkawi Nature. The reason I picked them is that they are eco friendly and I think this is especially important when taking a nature tour. They offer a selection of different tours and you can check out all the details on their official website. We took the morning Mangrove Boat Trip but they do a later one and also offer Kayaking trips if you prefer to paddle yourself. Just to be clear, we paid for our tour as normal tourists and they didn’t ask me to write this review. It was a great day out and I can happily recommend it.
We paid approx £34 per person for the trip and this includes lunch and hotel pickup. The actual boat trip is around 4-5 hours but it takes a while to get there by minibus so plan for the whole day.
Our Langkawi Mangrove Tour started with a pickup from our hotel around 9 am. This is a small group tour so you share the transport and guide with other groups. So a minibus collected us from our hotel and we joined several other couples and a small family for our trip to the geopark. I like the door-to-door nature of this trip. It makes it so much easier than having to travel to a central place to meet up and of course, it means you can’t get lost.
Just a heads up on taking your own water. They say on their website that they supply mineral water and in fact, they do. However, it is in heavy glass bottles. Which of course, I know is much more eco-friendly than plastic bottles but they are very heavy to carry around all day. I think it would be far better to encourage people to take their own reusable bottles and fill them with water. Or just get people to bring their own. Nobody in our group wanted the glass bottles so we ended up with plastic ones from the shop which is a shame.
What do you see on the Langkawi Mangrove Tour?
Once we arrived at the geopark, we walked a short distance to the jetty to board our boat. Most of the time you spend on the boat so it is a fairly relaxing trip. However, there are some occasions when you need to get in and out of the boat. You’ll also need to climb some steps and sometimes a steep ramp. So, it’s an easy day out and you don’t need to be particularly fit but you will need to be able to cope with the steps.
As you can see there are lots of boats waiting at the jetty. In fact, you don’t have to visit the geopark on an organised tour. Instead, you can turn up and join one of the public boat trips around the park. However, we saw a few of these during our trip and they were much more crowded than our boat.
We only had 8 adults and 1 small child on our boat so we had plenty of space to move and get the best views. Also, one guide to 8 people is so much better than the huge groups we saw. Of course, it’s your choice but I don’t think it’s any cheaper to turn up on your own by the time you’ve paid for transport to the park, bought lunch and paid for your boat trip. I think our experience looked a lot nicer and more relaxing.
On the Kilim River
Once we boarded our boat we set sail along the waterway to the first stop. It all feels a bit crowded at the starting point but the park is large and you soon get away from the crowds.
You travel along the Kilim river which runs through the park. The park is supported by UNESCO and really is a natural marvel.
Before we set out on the trip, I didn’t realise there were caves to explore here. However, our first stop was Gua Kelawar or Bat Cave. You pull up to a jetty which is on stilts. The level of the water changes quite dramatically throughout the day and at times it is high out of the water. At other times, it is not so high at all.
You step out from the boat and climb the steps onto the wooden jetty. From there it is a short walk along with a raised platform to the cave entrance. Inside the cave, it is very dark and there is no lighting so our guide used a torch. He asked us to be quiet inside the cave as it is a natural environment and home to many bats who don’t like loud noises. This seemed very reasonable to me and our group was very quiet as we moved through. Unfortunately, some of the larger tour groups didn’t seem to want to stay quiet and our guide had to keep reminding them as they bustled noisily past. This is another good reason not to travel with the larger groups as they are just not as environmentally friendly.
Inside the Cave
Bat Cave isn’t just a name. It really is filled with bats. Once inside the cave, look up and you will see them all hanging above you. It’s really quite spooky. As you may know, bats are nocturnal and they don’t like the light so our guide only shone the torch on them briefly so we could see. Otherwise, we left them in peace.
As well as the bats, you can see some fabulous rock formations in the cave. Over the years water has dripped in from the roof and created amazing stalactites and stalagmites. In the photo above you can see a rock waterfall which stretches all the way to the ground.
Another highlight of the trip was the wildlife. We saw this monkey sitting on the rail as we exited the bat cave. He may look tame but actually, they can be quite vicious so it’s best to keep your distance. Sadly, some people in the tour groups do feed them but this is strictly forbidden. It’s not good for monkeys to eat bags of crisps and other human food. One of the reasons I picked the Langkawi Mangrove Tour with Langkawi Nature is because they don’t allow guests to feed the wildlife.
We spent some time enjoying the marvellous scenery from the boat as we travelled along the various waterways. This large open area draws many eagles which you can see circling above you in the boat.
Of course, lunch is included on the tour and we stopped at this floating restaurant after spending some time on the water. As you can see it is laid out to cater for large groups of people so not an intimate experience. However, when we visited, it was very quiet here. I’m sure it’s much busier in peak season.
Everything was organised by our guide who arranged our food and drinks. You get a basic choice between chicken or veggie fried rice. Then either spicy or non-spicy soup. You also get veggie spring rolls which were delicious.
We both had the veggie fried rice. Paul had the spicy soup which you can see in the photo below.
I chose the non-spicy soup instead and you can see this in the photo below. It looks a bit watery but it was actually very nice.
We also had as much squash as we wanted to drink and plenty of time to wander around the floating platform after lunch to look at the fish.
My thoughts on the Langkawi Mangrove Tour
We had a fabulous day out on the Langkawi Mangrove Tour and I recommend it if you’re on the island. It’s a long day especially in the heat but well worth it. The geopark is a quite unique environment and there is a lot to see.
The tour itself was well-run and the hotel pickup and drop off made the whole experience very easy. Our guide was helpful and friendly and looked after our group well. If you’re visiting Langkawi then definitely put a mangrove tour on your itinerary.