Journey into the forbidden paradise - the virgin rainforests of Langkawi, with the countless species of endemic plants and animals, coexisting for hundreds of millions of years in an unspoiled jungle.
Is a mystical and pure forest wonderland that time forgot. In fact they are the oldest in the world.
More than 72,000 acres of Langkawi is permanent Forest Reserve and presently about 70% of the whole island is covered by rainforest.
(It is immposible to cover this subject in detail here, what is presented in a list of the common ones only)
Insects - There are more than 35 butterfly species that are about 400 species. The "Common Birdwing" (the name is very deceiving - its not that common!) is found in abundance here. It is a very large butterfly usually about 17 - 18 cm in wingspan. It has striking black and yellow markings.
Beetles - Countless species ar found here. The giant rhinosurous is the most famous of all, sometimes bigger that your fist. Absalutely harmless.
Mammals - Langkawi is safe from big man-eating tigers and other ferocious animals. Most of the animals are nocturnal by nature. Here is the short gallery of our forest friends.
- The Long Tailed Macaque Monkey
- Marbled Cat
- The Mousedeer
- The Malay Badger
- Civet Cat
- Clouded Leopard
Scorpion - Can grow to morethan 10 centimeters. Be careful, though not essentially fatal, their sting can lead to quite a painful experience.
Centipede - Just like the scorpion, their bite can be very paintful.
Millipede - These are extremely harmless, and you encounter quite a few of them.
A trek in the rainforest will be most rewarding. But a word of caution, please make arrangements with an experienced and licensed jungle guide, to take you in safely. As Major Spencer Champman in his book - 'The Jungle Is Neutral' wrote, 'the Malayan rainforests can be great friend or foe'.
Unfortunately dinodours died out about 65 million years ago. There have been no excavations of their remains, on this island to date. But considering the age of Langkawi, we feel that it is just a matter of time before someone stumbles on some bones!
However, there are still pre-historic critters on this island. These animals ancestor have been around since. Befor dinosour came about and they still lurk or swim about, as trought time has not changed for them.
The Horse Shoe Crab
These are paleontholitic animals.Through called crab, they are not really crustaceans. They come under the genus Arthropods (Limulus Polyphemus). They have been on the shores of the island for hundreds of million of years.
Beside being 'living fossils' the eggs are of special interest. They provide vital nourishment for the thousands of migratory bird in Langkawi. Of particular importance to mankind, these ancient relics in 'living form', provide an important medecine used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Further, their eggs are considered a delicacy, and are available in the leading seafood restaurants.
The local fisherman use a very peculiar method of catching these female horse shoe crab. They catch a smaller male and tie a long string to its tail and let it go at the shore. This industrious and amorous male will go out and bring a female back!
The largest crocodile found in this region sometimes grow to more than 10 meters in length. These animal have an ancestral lineage of more than 240 million years. Their origins go back to the Triassic Period. These ancient creature exhibit complex and advanced behavior and they interact with others too. They are now all confined to the crocodile farm.
There is a myth the fresh water lake at Pulau Dayang Bunting is inhabited by a 'scared white crocodile'.
The Monitor Lizard
The Varanus Bengalensis can grow up to 1.5 meters and is a very common sight in Langkawi and is listed as an endangered species. They have been around since the Miocene Period, which is about 65 million years.
Belonging to the genus 'gekkonidae' these particular lizard, is quite common. You would usually hear them, in the evenings with a sound that resembles 'keeko' about 7 - 10 times. They are quite large for lizards, sometime up to 30 centimeters. They have been around for more than 70 million years.
The common plants you would find here are coconut palms,casuarina and cashew nut trees. At the water's edge you will probably find and abundance of seaweed of different hues and colours.
The most common type you will find in abundance here are thousands of species of shellfish (molluscs). You will be greatly amazed at the different shapes and colours. Most times at low tide you will find beautiful shells at the beach which will serve as a reminder of the various species that exist. Collection of shells always seems to be be the favouriye pastime of most visitors to the beach.
The most common molluscs found on these shores are limpets, chitons and cockies. The occasional washed up octopus, squid, starfish and seashore will add to the reality of the abundant marine life that exists. Among the crustaceans, there are various species of crabs, hermit crabs sometimes lobsters in shallow rocky waters and in the early hours of the mornings, you will notice many large fish at the shallow waters of the beach.
At dusk and down, if you are patient enough to wait you will come across schools of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins coming to play, sometimes quite close to the shore. Turtles are also commonly sighted.
The waters of Langkawi are teeming with an abundant species of marine life. To describe them in detail, would go out of the ambit of this writing purpose. The most interesting are :
Marble Garouper : This is a large but delicate fish with a unique marbled-effect skin. It is considered a delicacy in this region. It's sweet tasting mat puts it in great demand. It is caught only with a hand-line using cotton as a bait. Probably the best tasting fish in the region.
Seabass : " This is a popular fish as well. This is abundantly found around the water of Langkawi. These fish are normally kept 'live' in marine tanks at leading seafood restaurants.
Spotted Snapper : This is another favorite. It;s juicy and delicate meat puts it in great demand for many people.
Mangrove Jack : A powerful fish for the angler. It's a member of the Sea Perch and the Pacific Snapper family. The young stay in the mangroves till maturity and then head of to offshore reefs. Truly is an exquisite fish for the dinner table.
Roe Crab : Female crabs are separated when caught and fed well for about a week. They are then checked for roe content. Only when they are full of roe are they harvested for the restaurant.
Soft Shell Crab : Normal crabs shed their hard shell many times in the first 6 - 8 months of their life. When they actually shed their shell they burrow under the mud for protection as their new shell is soft and vulnerable. It take about 9 - 12 hours till their shells calcify. The salt water accelerates the hardening process.
Langkawi Green Mussel : Here again these are mainly cultivated at the farm. Millions of spawn which float about in the sea. attach to jute which are suspended at 2 - 3 feet lengths. This is a large species and taste like heaven. Apart from abobe there is also the Barracuda, the Lion Garouper. The Parrot Fish, The White Pomfret, the Sword Fish and many others to consider.